This isn’t a complete article, just a bunch of screenshots and some preliminary text. I might actually finish it at some point and describe what is shown. It’s missing an awful lost right now. The first proper article is the 2012 one
2007, some would argue was the last significant year in MAME development, it was the last time there was large scale media interest in the project and the reason for that is likely already obvious if you’ve glanced down a few lines at the first batch of pictures here. I tend to disagree with this sentiment myself, and one of the reasons this series of articles has been made is to show just how many significant things have happened since then.
Capcom’s CPS3 system was easily the most requested emulation target of the previous 10 years, the last major unemulated Capcom platform, and while lacking in games (and even more lacking in variety) the games it did have were considered by many to be iconic.
The best known titles released on the CPS3 platform were the Street Fighter III trilogy. Obviously these attracted a lot of interest because Street Fighter was one of the biggest names in the arcades and this part of the series was still unemulated, the games did have good Dreamcast ports however.
The two JoJo games were also on the CPS3 platform
The real hidden gem here was however the very first CPS3 game, Red Earth, or, as it was better known due to the wider Japanese release, Warzard. This was a more ambitious Capcom project than any of the above, combining fighting game mechanics with some RPG-like ideas, a small cast of playable characters against large mythical bosses.
As big as CPS3 was in terms of media coverage a lot more happened in 2007.
Buggy Boy (Junior..)
Buggy Boy (Speed Buggy) was another game that people had been asking about since the dawn of MAME, but due to the complex hardware setup it posed some real emulation challenges. The full sitdown Buggy Boy was a 3 screen affair but the upright cabinet was a more modest single screen unit.
I opened by talking about CPS3 but 2007 was actually an even bigger year for CPS2 emulation. The decryption process for the program code was fully figured out, allowing MAME to ditch the use of fake pre-decrypted program data and actually implement the decryption and make use of the original roms, severing the dependency on the need to create ‘xor files’ for every new clone that was dumped. Working PCBs are still needed for data collection on completely unemulated CPS2 titles because the encryption is sufficiently complex that obtaining a key without any plaintext data is impossible, but it was determined that for clones, even alt. region clones, existing decrypted data from other sets was enough to run the attack and generate a key, the only case where this might not always hold true is Super Puzzle Fighter where the code is tiny, leaving little to work with.
As MAME strives for proper emulation whenever possible, this decryption work was a major step, and looking back, would provide further insight into how some other protection / encryption schemes worked, using techniques far beyond what anybody on the dev team had imagined until this point.
Aside from the decryption work, a number of previously unsupported CPS2 titles ended up being emulated in 2007.
One of the other CPS2 games that hadn’t been hacked to run with XOR tables was actually a Mahjong game titled “Jyangokushi: Haoh no Saihai” This is obviously a much lower profile release than the other titles.
While on the subject of Mahjong let’s take a look at some of the Mahjong titles for which support was added throughout the year.
2007 was actually one of the last ‘big’ years for Mahjong titles with emulation of the final 3 ‘SH2’ based Mahjong titles from Psikyo, two of them on the dual screen platform (the Hot Gimmick games) and another on the more advanced single screen board that was used by a number of well knowing shmup games
Semicom did some quiz games too..
Shoot Boom Boom…
Console hardware in the arcades…
As with most years a number of Playstation based titles were found, or the protection simulations improved to the point where they could be booted. Shin Nihon Pro Wrestling Toukon Retsuden 3 Arcade Edition was one such game, although you could argue that it was marked as working a little prematurely because the title screen and many of the 2D graphics still do not render properly, although the actual game part can be played.
Namco’s Super World Stadium is one of the longest running arcade series’ and the ’98 entry ran on a Playstation based board.
At one point it was thought that Gaelco’s Master Boy would be one of the most difficult titles to emulate, the game program was stored in an MCU, with the roms on the board only containing question data and graphics. In the end a weakness was found in how the game fetched data from the data roms, and that weakness was used to read out the internal area allowing the game to be emulated. It’s a Spanish quiz game, so emulation of the game didn’t really generate a huge amount of interest, and it’s since faded from the public eye even further but at the time it was a significant achievement.
Martial Masters is an IGS title that many people had been comparing to the likes of Street Fighter 3 and Garou due to the high quality sprite animation present in the title. Emulation of it arrived before CPS3 was emulated, and unsurprisingly sparked the usual rounds of people asking when CPS3 and Street Fighter 3 would be emulated, little did they know it was so close to actually happening! The actual game lacks the polish of anything Capcom made, and in all honesty feels like it was probably rushed out before it was quite finished, the AI is weak, and things like Win quotes are seriously underdeveloped, at least the English language ones.
Knights of Valour 2 used the same style of protection as Martial Masters, albeit with a different internal ROM. It gained working status in the same version due to fixes to the ARM CPU core being made around the time.