Tennokoe 2 RGB Output

2018 will be a great year for the PC Engine. Terraonion, the maker of the NEOSD cartridge, has announced the Super SD System 3 add-on.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to use it with my Duo-RX and GT, and the SuperGrafx is too bulky and ugly to take it out for gaming. I ordered a cheap CoreGrafx from Yahoo! Japan Auctions which came with a Tennokoe 2 backup memory device attached to the expansion connector.
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Neo Geo MV2FS at Home

Neo Geo games and hardware have been a part of my life for many years. As I was looking at store displays during the early 90s, I was amazed at how huge these game carts were in comparison with other consoles, such as the Nintendo GameBoy.

In the late 90s, the emulators NeoRAGE and NeoRAGEx introduced me to the world of Neo Geo and arcade emulation. At that time, MAME didn’t yet have the capacity to emulate those games properly and at a decent speed. Later on, when MAME finally became a useable Neo Geo emulator, it became quite easy to add new released games and dumps to the source code, and play them as well.
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Sega Dreamcast Karaoke

The Dreamcast Karaoke is probably the most useless Sega add-on. It serves no other purpose than to accompany the Sega Kara software, which is useless as well.

Back in the days you were able to download and sing thousands of songs, then in 2006 the servers were shut down for good.
Without the servers there are no songs – you can still connect microphones to the Dreamcast and listen to your voice with Sega Kara, change the volume and add effects, but that’s about it.

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NEC PC-9821 BIOS Translation

Changing settings in the BIOS of a japanese computer can be dangerous if you don’t have any knowledge of the japanese language or don’t what you’re doing. I don’t have that much knowledge of the language either and tried to translate the BIOS.

This is how I did it: I connected my PC-9821Xe10 with a sync combiner to the Framemeister and grabbed a video of the selection of each and every BIOS menu item. Then I converted the frames of the video to image files. The images were then cropped and converted into grayscale negatives to be processed by an OCR engine. Most of the output was gibberish and every single line of text needed manual processing. The japanese text was then fed into the Bing and Google translators and some common sense added to the output.
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The 7th Guest CD-i DVC Compatibility / Cake Puzzle Bug

The 7th Guest is a great game for Phillips CD-i. Unfortunately there is an annoying bug that crashes the game when trying to solve the cake puzzle:

The 7th Guest Cake Puzzle Bug
The 7th Guest Cake Puzzle Bug

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GameCube with GCVideo, Qoob Pro and IcedCube Case

This is a GameCube that I acquired recently. It has a true HDMI output and blue controller ports.

HDMI GameCube
HDMI GameCube

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Sega Dreamcast GDEMU SD Card Tray

Last year I replaced the broken GD-ROM of my Sega Dreamcast with a GDEMU. While it works great and does everything as it is supposed to do, there is a large open space where SD cards tend to get lost:

Sega Dreamcast GDEMU 06
Sega Dreamcast GDEMU 06

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Switchless NESRGB for AV Famicom

This modification adds a NESRGB and a NESRGB-IGR (in game routines/in-game reset) daughter board to a Nintendo AV Famicom.

First look of the open AV Famicom and the NESRGB kit. There is a lot of assembling to be done.

NESRGB for AV Famicom
NESRGB for AV Famicom

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NEC PC-9821 and the Framemeister

The NEC PC-9821 computers output a very unusual resolution that most western monitors struggle with: 640 x 400 @ 24 kHz. I tried at least half a dozen monitors of all types and ages and none of them was able to display a picture at all (except an “out of range” message). Video scalers like the DVDO iScan VP50 Pro don’t recognize the signal either. Some sources claim that the cheap GBS-8220 converter is able to convert the signal – that is only partially true. You can see a stuttering picture that eventually becomes clear when you start the Windows 98 Desktop, but that doesn’t work in DOS.

Of course you can buy a special converter like the Micomsoft XPC-4, that will cost you 300-400€ though. There are other solutions:
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FM TOWNS II Fresh・E Battery Replacement

When my FM TOWNS II Fresh・E suddenly refused to boot from HDD and Towns OS (from CD) didn’t show the HDD anymore, my first thoughts were that the HDD has finally given up. It sounded like an airplane engine lately (and still does). Then I noticed that date/time settings were lost too, so it was probably related to the BIOS battery. To access or replace the battery (3V CR2450) the whole unit needs to be disassembled.


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