"Tap To Play" NFC Tags Give MiSTer FPGA A Physical Link Between Software And Hardware 1
Image: @Bedroom_Ninja

Anyone who has dabbled in the world of emulation will know that it's something of a double-edged sword. Yes, you can have entire libraries of games at your fingertips, but sometimes, too much choice can be a headache; how many times have you fired up an emulator only to spend more time scrolling through lists of ROMs than actually playing something?

The lack of physical media when it comes to emulation is a problem, not just because it drowns us in choice, but also because it detaches you from the games you want to play – hence the fact that even today, people still love collecting original carts and discs purely to have a tangible, physical object to reach for when they fancy a gaming session.

Thankfully, a MiSTer FPGA developer has come up with an ingenious solution to this quandary, and it uses Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to mimic the act of loading up physical media on your MiSTer.

As highlighted by this excellent piece on The Verge, developer Wizzo has created a script for MiSTer which allows you to use NFC cards and tags to boot up certain titles automatically. You'll need to install a script on your MiSTer, as well as a phone with NFC capabilities and a USB NFC reader. Oh, and some NFC cards or tags, of course.

Once you've set up pathways for various games (you can also create a tag that randomly selects a game for a particular system), just tapping it on the NFC reader connected to your MiSTer will launch that game – which not only saves time but also gives the whole process an 'old school' feel.

In fact, some people have even gone as far as to place NFC tags inside their game boxes and cartridges so they can still get the feeling of pulling a title off the shelf and playing it on the MiSTer.

Furthermore, it's possible to get stickers to place on your NFC cards, making them look even more authentic. To us, this seems like the ideal way to link software with FPGA hardware – which, as we know, already gives the closest possible experience to the real thing without actually being the real thing.

[source theverge.com]