Reverse engineering the Sony Playstation

The reverse engineering process begins by de-encapsulating the CPU, GPU, sound processing unit, and CD-ROM controller, taking very high magnification photos of the dies, and slowly mapping out the semiconductors and metals to figure out what cells do what function, how they’re connected, and what the big picture is. It’s a painstaking process that requires combing through gigabytes of die shots and apparently highlight gates, wires, and busses with MS Paint.

The entire process in itself is amazing when you think about it, and quite tedious. Yet, this is what needs to be done if you want to emulate proprietary legacy hardware.