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MAME work and other stuff
September 30, 2020 Haze Categories: General News. 6 Comments on End of September Update

MAME 0.225 has been released over at mamedev.org

It contains a fair amount of work that I’ve done in the past month, as is usually the case.

Updates here have been a little on the quiet side as I’ve been main just uploading to YouTube and putting up links on Twitter

As you can see from those links, there’s been a fair amount of Plug and Play work, especially improvements to the VT based multigames and some SunPlus based Dance games for this release. At some point I would like to do a full write-up, but my priority will always be making progress when I’m on a roll with things.

I have been dropping various screenshots + brief text on the 2020 ‘write-up in progress page’ although that is also still only skimming the surface of things and will need a large amount of work at some point too.

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Hi

I read your page from time to time, and also keep track on MAME progress (although I only install new versions every 5 or so releases). So I have an offer, a warning and a question for you or the MAME team…

– An offer: I’m amused about those people working on emulating those crappy consoles, and I’ve got three consoles that are not included in MAME yet. They are a portable Lexibook with PJ Masks related games (actually disassembled, but it should work, https://www.lexibook.com/en/jl2365pjm-00-pyjamasques-yoyo-console-de-jeux-portable-compact-cyber-arcade.html ), a My Arcade Retro Micro Controller ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQJiEjx1peQ ) and a Retro Joystick with 200 games (manufacturer is Tai Kae, rebranded for Natura, is like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRelpho3Zf8 ). Are they dumped? If not, where can I send those things so they are properly preserved?

– A warning: In a recent release (between 0.220 and 0.225) they added new +3 disks to hash files, and the readme thanked Zup (between others) for some of them. Although I published some +3 disks, they were conversions of Spectrum tape games to disk format (and, in some cases, patched so they could run). Although I’m glad about being thanked in MAME project, I guess they are out of MAME scope (they are hacked/pirated games).

– A question: Thinking about those little portable consoles, I’ve got an AT Games one (almost same form factor as the Lexibook ones) with 25 included games and no flash slot. I don’t know if they are “hardware” clones or “emulator” systems, but are they going to be emulated?

Thanks.

> text about plug and plays…

Neither the PJ Masks ‘300 in 1 console’ or the ‘150 game handheld’ are dumped (several other similar Lexibook units are, although they use a more advanced VT chip so emulation work is still needed to get them running)

The 220-in-1 is not dumped.

The 200-in-1 looks like a rebrand of a common unit, 2 versions are dumped mc_tv200 / unkra200 with the latter using slightly newer hardware and the menu code glitching in the emulation (protection against it being used on an older hardware type maybe) Chances are the ROM will match one of those (we’ve already seen MGT units and one other that do)

> they were conversions of Spectrum tape games to disk format (and, in some cases, patched so they could run). Although I’m glad about being thanked in MAME project, I guess they are out of MAME scope (they are hacked/pirated games).

It’s important for MAME to document the current scene as well as the older one. I’d say they were eligible, although might need marking clearly to say what they are. For other platforms MAME has ‘clean crack’ lists for example, which are often modern cracks to improve software accessibility (run without the copy protection causing issues for example) The computer scene is a bit different to the arcade scene in the sense that it was always just as much about what people were doing at home, so new software, cracks, conversions etc. are still part of that to this day. It can be a bit of a minefield tho, with people putting things behind registration walls, or sites such as itch.io and the like (which I fear risks causing older versions of the software to be lost, as it doesn’t get catalogued or archived anywhere)

.> AT Games one

Mostly depends on the generation, but I think the majority of AT Games units are ‘enhanced hardware clones’ rather than emulation. There’s not been a huge focus on studying them at the moment. The Reactor MD ‘Firecore’ thing is definitely a hardware clone (with the menu running in a custom mode, and a SunPlus bolted on for half the games) Some of the most recent AT Games ones look to be emulation. Battery Life can be a good indicator, with emulation based products typically having much shorter battery life.

So where can I send those devices so they are properly dumped/preserved?

If you’re located in Europe then I’d recommend Team Europe in Austria ( https://team-europe.blogspot.com/ ) they’re capable of handling pretty much all Lexibook and Dreamgear stuff.

I dropped you a mail to the address you filled in here with the same reply, did you get it? I can provide details of where to send things via email if you reply there.

Is it possible to reach you about aspects of Konami emulation? There are references in some MAME code eg k054156_k054157_k056832.cpp to pages of a manual (presumably internal Konami SDK doc) which I don’t know where to find.

I don’t have that document, and I think, from memory, that it might have been in Japanese based on what others said at the time.

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