Meet the Megaprocessor: a room-sized computer with the processing power of a Super Nintendo

How many of us can say, hand on heart, that we haven’t at one point been tempted to turn a room in our home into, say, the Batcave, the U.S.S. Enterprise bridge, or some other bit of fanboy nerdery taken several dozen steps too far?

If that describes yourself, please raise a toast for James Newman, a software engineer from the U.K., who recently completed work on a five-year project spent turning an entire room of his house into an enormous 1,000 lbs, 16-bit computer he calls the “megaprocessor.” Over 30 feet long and more than 6 feet high, the room-size computer boasts more than 40,000 transistors, 10,000 LEDs, a price tag of more than $50,000 — and more man-hours than he probably dares count.

“The project started with the intention of learning how a transistor worked,” Newman tells Digital Trends. “I thought that would be easier if I actually built something, and for no particular reason decided to build a logic gate. Looking at the gate I built I could see everything and I just started wondering what it would be like to be in a computer where you could see everything in the same way.”

From there the idea ballooned — all based on his wish to see how exactly a processor works. “It’s not a big house and the Megaprocessor has taken up a lot more than its fair share,” Newman continues. “It lives in the lounge, [so] all the stuff that was there — shelves, books, sofa — have been stacked up in one of the spare bedrooms. To do that I had to move all the furniture from that room to the other spare bedroom so now I have no spare rooms.”

At present, the admittedly retro computer can play both Tetris and tic-tac-toe, although Newman says he also has plans to add the Nokia 3310 classic Snake to the machine’s repertoire soon. “It could obviously do proper mathematical calculations, but why do that when you can play games?” he continues.

Did we mention that we’re not-so-secretly envious of Newman for his amazing creation? “Five years of your life and a year’s salary, and you too could build your own,” he says. “Bargain.”

Well played, sir. Well played!


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