The PC-FX Memory Manager

PX-FX front expansion port with FX-BMP

Because the internal storage space (32 kB) is limited sooner or later every PC-FX owner needs a FX-BMP memory backup module (128 kB).

PC-FX FX-BMP

The module is backed by two AAA batteries and has it’s own place behind an access door in the PC-FX front expansion port.

When the internal memory is full some games (e.g. Dragon Knight IV, about 12 kB free space required) refuse to start. Then it’s time to move things around until enough space is available for the game to create an initial save state.

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Datach Joint ROM System

The Bandai Datach Joint ROM System is an add-on for the Nintendo Famicom. It plugs right into the cartridge slot and comes with it’s own small cartridges. The games are enhanced with barcode cards, similar to the Mattel HyperScan.
The retail package with one include game, Dragon Ball Z: Gekitō Tenkaichi Budokai, is rather easy and cheap to obtain.

Datach retail package    Contents of the Datach retail package

Additional games are very rare and even rarer and pricier when the corresponding barcode cards are included. I’ve seen some bootlegs of those games on regular Famicom carts but never tried them so far.

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How to Play Super Real Mahjong P.V FX

Have you ever wondered how to play (and win!) one of those numerous Mahjong games that exist on almost every game console? I’m not talking about the in the west well known matching game but about the real Chinese or Japanese Mahjong, usually played by four players. If you are not familiar with the Japanese language or characters this is almost impossible because not many translated games exist.
I’ve found two games so far that taught me how to play (and win) in a couple of weeks:

  1. The Japanese Mahjong browser/flash game by GameDesign
  2. And FunTown Mahjong on XBLA by Microsoft Game Studios

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New Arrivals: Wizardry and Conveni Wars

These were in the mail today: two games that make use of some special peripherals. No, not the Power Glove, but the ASCII Turbo File and the Epoch BBII Interface. More about them later.

Wizardry II: Legacy of Llylgamyn - The Third Scenario
Wizardry II: Legacy of Llylgamyn – The Third Scenario
Conveni Wars Barcode Battler Senki: Super Senshi Shutsugeki Seyo!
Conveni Wars Barcode Battler Senki: Super Senshi Shutsugeki Seyo!

Connecting a Keyboard to a GameCube

ebest e-Keyboard Converter for PC/PS2/GC/XBOXLast year I was tempted to import an expensive and rare official ASCII / Sammy Keyboard Controller for the GameCube, but I’ve found a way cheaper alternative for now: the ebest e-Keyboard Converter for PC/PS2/GC/XBOX. It costs approximately 1-5 EUR and connects a standard PS/2 keyboard to a PC and PlayStation 2 (via USB), GameCube and Xbox (via proprietary connectors).
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Card Games – Mattel HyperScan

In 2006 the Mattel HyperScan was a short lived console with an interesting concept: Enhance a classic videogame with collectible RFID cards. A concept that was picked up in a similar form by the Skylanders games and maybe someday will be used in Nintendo’s new Wii U console.

Playing the games (and scanning cards) can be described as interesting but not as fun. The games seem unfinished and buggy. And then there are the long loading times, a problem already the NeoGeo CD suffered from back in the days.
There were even some first steps with homebrew programs here and here.

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Disassembling the Sharp Turbo Twin Famicom

In the 80s Sharp made some interesting devices powered by the Nintendo Famicom/NES technology. The less known devices are the Famicom Titler, a video subtitler, and the C1 NES TV/Sharp Nintendo Television, a television set. More common is the Twin Famicom, a console that plays Famicom cartridges and Famicom Disk System Disk Cards (and, with a 72-to-60-pin adaptor, NES cartridges too). This is the black Turbo version AN-505-BK:

Turbo Twin Famicom AN-505-BK
Turbo Twin Famicom AN-505-BK

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Playing Phantasy Star / GameCube Online

Day 3:

For connecting the GameCube to a PSO server I chose the game Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (US), two flavors were available, v1.01 and die Plus version, both have bugfixes or new features and are superior to the PAL version. In addition most NTSC games can be played in 480p progressive scan mode (hold B when booting the game). There is a High Definition Game Database that lists all video/audio/online features of most games of the last console generation.

Unfortunately US games hate it when PAL save states are on the memory card, you can’t start playing and get stuck in a loop in the settings menu. PSO has at least four save states that are protected and can neither be copied nor moved to another memory card. To play online with my Hunter character of the last decade, I decided to try it with the PAL PSO game. Sadly my character wasn’t there anymore, just a dummy that was used to connect to the disc server.
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Playing Phantasy Star / Dreamcast Online – Continued

Yesterday I erased my Dreamcast’s flash memory, hoping to get past the serial number prompt.

Day 2:

Today I dug my Dreamcast keyboard out of the basement to get things done faster. It’s an ugly grey PC style PAL-DE keyboard (HKT-7632) that reminds me every time I see it that a new, preferably JP HKT-4000, has to be bought soon…

Entering addresses with the keyboard
Continue reading Playing Phantasy Star / Dreamcast Online – Continued

Playing Phantasy Star / Dreamcast Online Today

While browsing the numerous bookmarks I’ve collected over the years I came across an interesting site about a still running private Phantasy Star Online server (SCHTHACK). The instructions seemed easy, so why not try to play that game with a Dreamcast or GameCube?

Back in the days I never played PSO online with my Dreamcast because the Broadband Adapter was impossible to obtain and the included modem was no use when connected via DSL. On the GameCube I played PSO offline a lot, but never obtained a Hunter’s License. Besides playing with it, PSO for the GameCube had an important bug that allowed loading and playing the first batch of pirated games via Ethernet, long before the first modchips surfaced, but that’s another Story…
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