Jump to content
Keatah

Did any consoles/cabs use the 8086/8088 chip?

Recommended Posts

Did any gaming consoles or arcade cabs use the 8086/8088 CPU?

 

I'm quite aware that the x86 series was never meant to be as low-cost as the 6502, and that alone may have stopped it from being used in a home gaming console. IIRC it wouldn't be till the XBOX that the x86 architecture came to consoles?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a great thread. This seems particularly apt. 

 

Quote

The original 8086 was quickly overshadowed by the Z80, which was somewhat compatible but easier to work with as it required less support hardware. Also many arcade developers preferred the 6502 and derivatives, and then later the 68000 which was easier to work with on both the hardware and software fronts.

Another issue was that the development machines available for testing code were often 68000 based as well. One prime example was the Sharp X68000. A lot of game programmers of that era were self taught too, and for hobbyist home computer systems Z80 and 6502 dominated with very few using 8086.

Finally, the 8086 was much more expensive than the Z80, while offering no real advantages over it unless you were expecting to buy millions and sell a line of compatible computers for years to come.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, here are some chip prices over the years:

 

6502: $25 in 1975, $19.95 in April 1978, $7.45 in August 1981, $4.95 in May 1985

Z80: $59 in 1977, $21.95 in April 1978, $6.95 in August 1981 ($9.95 for a faster Z80A), $2.49 in May 1985

6800: $24.50 in April 1978, $2.95 in May 1985 ($8.95 for the 6809, $39.95 for the 68000)

Intel 8080: $120 in late 1975, $11.50 in April 1978, $4.45 in August 1981, $2.95 in May 1985
Intel 8088: $125 in June 1979, $39.95 in May 1982 ($99.95 for the 16-bit 8086), $19.95 in May 1985 ($24.50 for the 8086)

 

So yes, by the mid-80's it might've been feasible to use at least the 8088 in a higher end console and we should remember those were prices for hobbyists to buy single chips, not volume deals of thousands of the same. But then I only consider the CPU, not all the other required hardware.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Checking MAME, a number of Gottlieb arcades used it, including Q*Bert.

Dragon's Lair II and Space Ace also spec one.

Also a few International Games titles (never heard of this company).  "Born to Fight", "Fantasy Land", and "Galaxy Gunners" are a few of those titles.

NVC Electronica "FreeWay"

Hot Blocks (a soft-core Tetris clone)

A couple of pinball games

"Golden Arrow"

 

The Bandia WonderSwan used the NEC V20, which is an 8088 clone.  Other appearances include a Ms Pac Man/Galaga remake and number of Japan exclusives.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2020 at 12:57 PM, The Usotsuki said:

I thought Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga used a Z180.

Yeah it looks like you're right.  I was grepping V20 and while that appears in that file, it's for an AMD_29LV200T.  Not quite the same thing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny how the tables have turned with modern top-shelf consoles being x86 (well x64) based (Switch excluded) as well as many many recent coin-op based machines.

 

I'm waiting for the raise of the ARM (like the Switch), it's bound to happen, just a matter of time ... now they have the A76/A77 class cores that start to be competitive in a server market [especially when price is factored in] it shouldn't be too long, give it a couple of generations (maybe 3Y) to see if the tide starts turning.

 

It's interesting as history repeats itself with the rise of the little: mainframe laughed at the x86 CPUs not so much now, and Intel kind of laughed at ARM and their embedded/mobile market ... not so much now.

 

A way ARM Holding could screw this up if the "open-source" RISC-V takes off .... but open sourcing HW design does not per se have the same "immediate" effect as open sourcing SW.

 

We shall see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While not the 8086, the Odyssey2 did use an Intel cpu and an Intel graphics processor.  Probably the only Intel graphics processor for a long while.

 

For those that wanted more than an 8-bit cpu the motorola 68000 seemed like the obvious choice. I read the 8086 was not a good cpu, IBM went with it because for a number of reasons it was their only option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the 8048 microcontroller. If you want, you could consider the early prototype leading up to the Channel F, since that project at a beginning was based on the Intel 8008 before they got Fairchild interested in it and made changes to use the Fairchild F8 CPU instead.

 

I don't know all the reasons why IBM went with Intel, but somewhere (aha, Wikipedia) I recently read that Zilog was considered to be interested to make their own personal computers beyond just being a chip manufacturer which may have put them as a competitor to IBM and thus their Z8000 series CPU was not chosen.

Edited by carlsson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/5/2020 at 6:54 PM, phoenixdownita said:

Funny how the tables have turned with modern top-shelf consoles being x86 (well x64) based (Switch excluded) as well as many many recent coin-op based machines.

 

I'm waiting for the raise of the ARM (like the Switch), it's bound to happen, just a matter of time ... now they have the A76/A77 class cores that start to be competitive in a server market [especially when price is factored in] it shouldn't be too long, give it a couple of generations (maybe 3Y) to see if the tide starts turning.

 

It's interesting as history repeats itself with the rise of the little: mainframe laughed at the x86 CPUs not so much now, and Intel kind of laughed at ARM and their embedded/mobile market ... not so much now.

 

A way ARM Holding could screw this up if the "open-source" RISC-V takes off .... but open sourcing HW design does not per se have the same "immediate" effect as open sourcing SW.

 

We shall see.

ARM laptops seem like a no-brainer. Microsoft tried to make a clean break with the low-end, ARM-based Surface (NOT Surface Go or Surface Pro), but the lack of software compatibility killed it. Apple seems likely to try next, with their latest Mac OS breaking a bunch of old software compatibility. It would be nice to have a truly all-day laptop with some power behind it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Intel needs another swift kick in the ass. Hopefully ARM will finish the job. They beat them already in low-power consumption applications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mr_me said:

I read the 8086 was not a good cpu, IBM went with it because for a number of reasons it was their only option.

IBM was being pressured from within to use their own CPU architecture, but IIRC production ability was a primary sticking point.  They also didn't use the 8086 for both cost and availability reasons.  Most likely the same for the 68000.  8088 was cheaper and available.

 

As for "not a good CPU", that's a highly subjective opinion.  It could access 1MB of memory and had plenty of registers to play with.  It performs well on benchmarks of "real world" problems.  I know the 6500 fanboys point to the instructions per clock as proof that their choice is vastly superior, but that ignores the fact that some instructions need less total time to finish, and the CPU is twiddling its thumbs until the next clock cycle for those instructions.  Intel's philosophy was to make every clock count, which meant greater execution granularity, at the expense of needing a faster clock to achieve the same performance.  When a simple instruction finishes, it's immediately on to the next one.

 

8088 also offered instructions that its competitors did not, such as multiply and divide.  It was still occasionally more efficient to use a subroutine, but the convenience of needing only a couple of registers to perform a complex operation can't be ignored.  They also offered the 8087 math coprocessor to do floating point, and the CPU was made to integrate seamlessly with it.

 

In all, the 8088 seemed like a reasonable compromise, and I doubt that anybody at IBM regrets the decision to go with them.

 

1 hour ago, Flojomojo said:

Apple seems likely to try next, with their latest Mac OS breaking a bunch of old software compatibility.

Apple did survive the switchover from Power to Intel, but it remains to be seen whether they survive the switchover to ARM, especially if they continue in their efforts to lock the system down to the point that it's just their machine in your home.  One might argue that Android runs on ARM, but with the T2 chip and other roadblocks, could you actually install it on your Macbook?  Alternatively, will we see Hackintablets?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole point of the IBM boca raton group was to be free of IBM pressure.  IBM had personal computers but determined they couldn't compete.  The Motorola 68000 had a number of advantages which includes being more compatible with IBM processors.  It was not considered because Motorola couldn't supply the quantities IBM wanted.  That left a choice between Intel and Texas Instruments and IBM chose the lesser of two evils.  I'm exaggerating, they're not that bad but people point out the segmented memory space of the 8086 compared with the flat 24-bit address space of the 68000 not to mention its 32-bit architecture.  The 8088 was a temporary workaround for the 8086 because 16-bit support chips weren't ready at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2020 at 2:35 PM, ChildOfCv said:

Checking MAME, a number of Gottlieb arcades used it, including Q*Bert.

Dragon's Lair II and Space Ace also spec one.

Also a few International Games titles (never heard of this company).  "Born to Fight", "Fantasy Land", and "Galaxy Gunners" are a few of those titles.

NVC Electronica "FreeWay"

Hot Blocks (a soft-core Tetris clone)

A couple of pinball games

"Golden Arrow"

 

The Bandia WonderSwan used the NEC V20, which is an 8088 clone.  Other appearances include a Ms Pac Man/Galaga remake and number of Japan exclusives.

 

Mameui will filter by cpu. 

The following includes the 80186 and the NEC clones but not the 32-bit 80386.  None used the 80286.

There are a few by companies Tatsumi (1983-1989), Leland Corp (1989-1991), Jaleco (1994)

Sega has a couple: Arabian Fight (1991) and Golden Axe The Revenge of Death Adder (1992).

Irem has a bunch from 1987 to 1994, they have the most by far.

Seibu Kaihatsu has a bunch from 1987 to 1996.

SNK has a few in 1997 and 1998.

There's also plenty of gambling machines and even a music synthesizer.

Edited by mr_me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mr_me said:

None used the 80286.

Gee, I wonder why :D

286 was the worst of both worlds.  Not only did you need complex support hardware, but it was just a faster 8086 in real mode, and required a complex software infrastructure for protected mode, and required protected mode for up to 16MB memory access.   I could definitely see arcade manufacturers giving that a hard pass.

10 hours ago, mr_me said:

people point out the segmented memory space of the 8086 compared with the flat 24-bit address space of the 68000 not to mention its 32-bit architecture

Yeah I remember being disgruntled with its 64K segment size.  I will say though that its segment paging system was still easier to work with than bank switching schemes such as EMS were though.  But 386's 32-bit addressing definitely made dealing with large amounts of data much simpler.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2020 at 5:58 PM, carlsson said:

By the way, here are some chip prices over the years:

 

6502: $25 in 1975, $19.95 in April 1978, $7.45 in August 1981, $4.95 in May 1985

Z80: $59 in 1977, $21.95 in April 1978, $6.95 in August 1981 ($9.95 for a faster Z80A), $2.49 in May 1985

6800: $24.50 in April 1978, $2.95 in May 1985 ($8.95 for the 6809, $39.95 for the 68000)

Intel 8080: $120 in late 1975, $11.50 in April 1978, $4.45 in August 1981, $2.95 in May 1985
Intel 8088: $125 in June 1979, $39.95 in May 1982 ($99.95 for the 16-bit 8086), $19.95 in May 1985 ($24.50 for the 8086)

Addition: I saw a reference to the TMS9900 at $70 in 1978. Supposedly IBM only had two choices for a 16-bit CPU: the Intel 8088 and TMS9900 because the Motorola 68000 was not yet in production by the time IBM needed a large supply of samples. In the volumes IBM required, I'm sure they brought down the 8088 price quite a bit from those $125 (plus that the IBM PC wasn't released until two years later in 1981), but OTOH they probably could've gotten similar discounts from TI.

Edited by carlsson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2020 at 8:35 PM, ChildOfCv said:

Checking MAME, a number of Gottlieb arcades used it, including Q*Bert.

Yes, I just stumbled across Reactor which uses an 8088.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactor_(video_game)

 

I understand that both Q*Bert and Mad Planets use a 8088 for main CPU and a 6502 for sound.

 

This MAME related page lists a number of games using the same driver, so most of them should be 8088 based too. Some might already have been mentioned in the above post I quoted.

http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/lista_mame.php?game_sourcefile=gottlieb.cpp&arcade_only=0&current_version=0

 

Gottlieb's pinball game Counterforce (1980) supposedly used dual 6502 for main CPU and audio.

The videogame New York! New York! (also 1980) used a 6809 + dual 6802, three AY-3-8910 (!!) and a 8-bit DAC.

No Man's Land (1980, not to be confused with modern titles) used a Z80.

 

The combined videogame/pinball game Caveman (1981) appears to have used a 6502 for main CPU, another 6502 for audio and a 8088 for generating the video. Possibly this was the first arcade or console ever to use a X86 CPU, though not as its primary CPU. Apparently they switched around the architecture for Q*Bert etc released the year after.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...