October 13, 2020                                                                             8 minute re

Running CHIP-8 on an HP 48 calculator

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2024-05-11 12:00:02

October 13, 2020 8 minute read

In 1990, the 1977 programming language and interpreter CHIP-8 had its renaissance on the HP 48S, a graphing calculator that was common in engineering schools. The numeric keypad was well suited for CHIP-8 input, and the simple language made it easier to make small games to play in the classroom.

I recently purchased an HP 48GX to play CHIP-8 games on. The user manual is pretty hefty, so I thought I’d write a short guide on how to use CHIP-8 on a HP 48 calculator with no frills or maths.

I recommend an HP 48G+ or HP 48GX, for the faster CPU and additional memory. If you find one that comes with a cable, that’s nice, as you’ll need one (but you can buy one separately or even jury-rig one).

One thing you could look for is that some later 48G/GX/G+ models came with a better LCD screen with better contrast. You can tell by the color: Black pixels on gray background, as opposed to the usual blue pixels on green background. Here’s an hpmuseum.org forum thread with comparison pictures.

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