Once again I’m going to take an experimental approach to the yearly write-up, this time, keeping the page open all year and adding bits I’ve found interesting to it throughout the year.
The upside of this is that it might be easier to cover some stuff while it’s still fresh, and I can remember it. The downside is that MAME development can happen quickly at times, and the page might end up without outdated screenshots / information and require more revisions.
Loose Ends of 2017
As with most years some of the early 2018 work was tidying up work done at the end of 2017, and further progress on things that had been worked around around that period which just happened to cross over into the new year. Some of the bits towards the end of the year wouldn’t see a public release until the end of January 2018 anyway due to how the release schedule and freeze periods work.
Handhelds, more Handhelds
One other thing that certainly didn’t stop with the turn of the year is the number of Handheld devices, especially those from Tiger Electronics, that were being emulated.
Golden Axe, Crash Test Dummies, Super Double Dragon + more saw the MAME treatment.
Nintendo handhelds continued to be processed too, with Super Mario Bros. being one of the first of the new year.
Gaelco’s library of 16-bit games was comprehensively covered by MAME by the close of 2017, but that didn’t prevent 2018 from having a new Gaelco related surprised. Last KM is a piece of software developed by Zeus for Gaelco that wasn’t really designed for use in arcades, but in gyms, using an exercise bike as a controller. It functions like an arcade game, you insert a coin and you race to the finish line, although without the original controls there’s no real challenge to it, but like most Gaelco products it was a well presented piece of software and in this case certainly something a little bit different. It was also one of the rare cases where one of the original developers played a part in the contribution.
Every year sees some new interesting clones dumped. 2018 saw a version of Cookie & Bibi 2 that’s clearly an earlier build, using the Semicom logo found in older releases, rather than the one that was introduced later, presumably first appearing in the version of Cookie & Bibi 2 that we previously had dumped. It also has different backgrounds and overall less polish, for most manufacturers you might say it could be a prototype due to the little things that hadn’t been tweaked yet, but in the case of Korean developers, it’s more likely just an early build.
The handheld games are a good example of where smaller manufacturers obtained licenses for well known IP and made their own games from it, but that was far from the only time such things happened. Producing something that ties in to a popular piece of IP is a good way to guarantee sales, and in the mid 2000s “TV Games” weren’t an uncommon thing to see. These TV Games were low cost battery operated mini consoles that plugged into your TV and ran a single piece of software.
One manufacturer of such TV games was Radica. MAME already supported a few Radica published titles prior to 2018, of note, 2 Genesis / Megadrive based products, although instead of MAME recognizing them as individual machines they had been placed in the Megadrive Software List.
Not all Radica software was Megadrive based tho, we found one of their platforms to be using a 6502 type CPU to offer more basic games, something closer to the enhanced NES units you often saw but with entirely different sound / video hardware in these cases (the NES was also a 6502 derived CPU) A ‘5-in-1’ Space Invaders ‘Arcade Legends’ unit represented a cheap and easy way to play recreations of 5 classic Taito games on your TV.
Tetris needs no introduction, and Radica produced their own licensed take on Tetris, again advertising it a a ‘5-in-1’ due to having 5 different play modes, although in all honesty that is stretching things a little.