Perhaps more so than any of our categories, the worldwide economic crises probably impacted hardware the most. There were many less hardware products, especially commercial products, but the ones that did appear have proven to have an impact on how we create and display our works in the realm of chip.
Here are your 2009 nominations for Best Hardware:
Ultrasatan – This is perhaps representative of most of the modern chip devices. A tool that in itself does not enable the production of chip art, but one that simplifes workflows, provides better storage and backup, and takes all the danger and frustration that comes with interfacing with old storage mediums. Ultrasatan is well designed and well liked by its users and is a great example of it’s ilk.
TNS-HCF3 – Perfect for mml fanatics and nsf collectors alike, this cartridge for famicom systems enables playback of NSF sound files from an sd cart. The TNS-HFC3 adds several improvements over the TNS-HFC2 including Increased bank memory, VRC6 hardware support (without the TNS-HFE4 expansion) and SD cards up to 2GB.
Arduinoboy Mini – Taking advantage of the smallest kid on the arduino block, the Mini was a marvel in compact design and performance. The few people who managed to get a hold of one can attest to the quality and portability of these little guys. One can only hope that another run of these will happen in the future.
USB Gameboy Carts – Cartridge based trackers like LSDJ are only as strong as their weakest links, and numerous works of staggering genius has been lost to wonky backup software, or flaky storage products, or dodgy computer setups. The USB carts that appeared this year where a definite step forward, not only in their ease of use and reliability, but as one nominating wag put it “…(T)heir ability to create human drama”. Looking forward to further advances in this field in 2010, with universal love and understanding.
SNES Powerpak – It has not kicked off the kind of widespread development that its NES forfather has quite yet, but having the ease of use for developers and artists alike should mean a bright future for this new kid on the block from Retrozone.