Realized I’ve not actually posted an update on the main page here in a while. I have been adding various screenshots to the 2019 page to save me time when compiling the final end of year write-up, but that isn’t really obvious unless you look.
In terms of what I’ve been doing it’s mostly been a lot of work with nothing really to show for it yet. We identified several Plug and Play systems as using a newer SunPlus based “System on a Chip” with an updated CPU core (extra opcodes) and an entirely different peripheral mapping etc. The only dumped games on it thus far are Smart Fit Park (Spanish release) and Wireless Hunting, with the latter also having a larger than usual ROM and presumably some banking.
Smart Fit Park allowed me to make some progress with it, but there are still errors in the game logic, including hangs and crashes, incorrect speed etc. Wireless Hunting still does nothing as it isn’t clear how the extended ROM access works (the system has enough extra RAM that they might just be copying everything into RAM with the DMA as DMA parameters not used by Smart Fit Park are used by it) We know the Spongebob Bikini Bottom 500 racer also uses the same SoC and Sean is trying to get that dumped, although at the moment it is resisting.
We’ve also been trying to figure out the AX208 CPU properly for another system (which will require extracting an internal ROM)
Other than that, I’ve been buying (mostly with my own money at this point) a whole bunch of Plug and Play systems and having them shipped to Sean. Sean might not have time to process them until Winter at least, depending on real life workload, so they get added to the pile of things that were purchased with donations etc. Still, providing there are no disasters we have a nice collection for later all going well. He did manage to find time to dump some easy cases, so the remaining 2 “I Can Play Guitar” cartridges were dumped recently as well as a KR-1 e-kara cartridge (I added some pictures on the 2019 page) Even without being able to dump things yet Sean has been providing useful insight into the hardware inside the things that have been sent to him, plus I’ve been pulling apart some of the ones that have arrived with me (and making real hardware videos for my YouTube page) so even without visible progress there is research going on, and I have a better idea of the bigger picture with some of these things now. When you’re dealing with things that require specialist processing there are always going to be bottlenecks in the process as the number of people capable of handling them is tiny and those people are in demand.
I’ve also been trying to work out what on earth is needed to get the Konami Track + Field and My 1st DDR Plug and Play units booting, the code on those is absolutely horrendous and they end up taking a pointer from RAM then jumping to 0, because the RAM with the pointers in it gets erased after startup.
I’d like to be able to show more, and we’re definitely going to need a bit more help funding some of the remaining Plug and Plays, but I’m not going to ask for anything until some of the backlog is cleared, things that existing donations were put towards have been dumped, and I have more to show, rest assured, work is being done tho.
If you need some extra funding please just ask. I did contribute (anonymously) last time and will certainly do so again.
Very much appreciate your work. I have been reading your blog for years.
I think it’s fairer that we let Sean catch up. He probably has close to 60+ units to dump at the moment, some relatively easy, some nightmarish, some where we have no viable plan at all because they’ve got ROM onboard the CPU dies.
We’ve managed to get his practically every JAKKS unit that’s known to be on the first 2 types of SunPlus ‘System on a Chip’, several on the newer ones, as well as a large number of Senario games and some misc ones. Clawgrip and Team Europe have also been picking things up, so there are some more Spanish exclusives with him too.
I know a lot of people feel differently, and consider this kind of thing to be junk, but I find it fascinating, and based on comments left on YouTube videos etc. a good number do have fond memories of them from their childhood. Each architecture is like a console platform in its own right.
I have been making emulation progress with the 2 Konami plug and play units tho, if you’ve watched my YouTube channel you’ll see the rapid progress on both “My First Dance Dance Revolution” and “Track & Field Challenge” which are 2 he dumped a while back. I’ll probably do an update about those soon; there are other games on that hardware too, not all Konami ones.