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Handheld Game ROM Dumping and Emulation
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Rik
Site Admin


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 1849
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those that were following this, there's been a lot of fun developments. I sent a batch of games to Kevin, and most of them have been dumped, the screens vectored, and the emulation is complete in MESS. A couple don't work correctly (or at all), but most are fully functional. With the few games I sent, and the ones they were already working on, there's about 68 handhelds running so far.

For those that are new to MESS (a multi-system emulator that supports almost every home game console, computer and eventually handheld games. Mostly of the 'vintage' category.), I've made a small download so you can experience the handheld games in emulation.

This is a special compile that only has the handheld games in it (keeps it small), and the .ZIP file contains all the ROMs and artwork to play them (at least, the ones that work).

It's compiled for Windows 64-bit, so it will only work on a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or 8. You can always download the official builds for Windows 32, Mac, Linux, etc and grab this file just for the ROMs and artwork...

Grab it here:
http://www.handheldmuseum.com/Z_Imgs/MESS/MESS.zip

Unzip it, and either run mess64.exe in a command prompt followed by the game you want to play, or just run it/click on it and it will prompt you with a menu of a random sampling of the available games. Once the game is running, usually pressing 1 or the Left-CTRL key will start the game if it's not a game that starts instantly. Pressing F3 will reset the game (basically turn it off and back on), ESC gets you out of it completely. Some games, like the Coleco arcades, start by moving the joystick (arrow keys) to the right (other directions provide different types of games).

(If you are familiar with MESS, if you run it with Cheats enabled, you can select infinite lives on Gakken Crazy Kong... Smile )

Here's what is currently supported (although a few don't work, they will tell you when you try to run them...) The first 'word' is 8-character (or less) code that represents the game. So, for Bambino Safari, you'd type in the command prompt:
mess64 bmsafari
and it would start that game.

mathmagi (APF- Mathemagician)
bambball (Bambino- Dribble Away Basketball)
bmboxing (Bambino- Knock-Em Out Boxing)
bmsafari (Bambino- Safari)
bmsoccer (Bambino- Kick The Goal Soccer)
splasfgt (Bambino- Space Laser Fight)
ssfball (Bambino- Superstar Football)
ufombs (Bambino- UFO Master-Blaster Station)
bcclimbr (Bandai- Crazy Climber)
bdoramon (Bandai- Dokodemo Dorayaki Doraemon)
bfriskyt (Bandai- Frisky Tom)
machiman (Bandai- Machine Man)
packmon (Bandai- Packri Monster)
zackman (Bandai- Zackman)
alnattck (Coleco- Alien Attack)
amaztron (Coleco- Amaze-A-Tron)
cdkong (Coleco- Donkey Kong)
cgalaxn (Coleco- Galaxian)
cmspacmn (Coleco- Ms. Pac-Man)
cpacman (Coleco- Pac-Man (Rev. 29 ))
cpacmanr1 (Coleco- Pac-Man (Rev. 28 ))
h2hbaseb (Coleco- Head to Head Baseball)
h2hfootb (Coleco- Head to Head Football)
tc4 (Coleco- Total Control 4)
advision (Entex- Adventure Vision)
ebball (Entex- Electronic Baseball)
ebball2 (Entex- Electronic Baseball 2)
ebball3 (Entex- Electronic Baseball 3)
egalaxn2 (Entex- Galaxian 2)
einvader (Entex- Space Invader (TMS1100))
epacman2 (Entex- Pac Man 2)
raisedvl (Entex- Raise The Devil)
edracula (Epoch- Dracula)
efball (Epoch- Electronic Football)
astrocmd (Epoch- Astro Command)
galaxy2 (Epoch- Galaxy II)
invspace (Epoch- Invader From Space)
gckong (Gakken- Crazy Kong)
gdigdug (Gakken- Dig Dug)
ghalien (Gakken- Heiankyo Alien)
gjackpot (Gakken- Jackpot: Gin Rummy & Black Jack)
gpoker (Gakken- Poker (1979 version))
maniac (Ideal- Maniac)
starwbc (Kenner- Star Wars - Electronic Battle Command)
starwbcp (Kenner- Star Wars - Electronic Battle Command (prototype))
msthawk (Mattel- Star Hawk)
mwcbaseb (Mattel- World Championship Baseball)
mvbfree (Mego- Mini-Vid Break Free)
comp4 (Milton Bradley- Comp IV)
microvsn (Milton Bradley- MicroVision)
simon (Milton Bradley- Simon (Rev. A))
ssimon (Milton Bradley- Super Simon)
bankshot (Parker Bros- Bank Shot - Electronic Pool)
merlin (Parker Bros- Merlin - The Electronic Wizard)
mmerlin (Parker Bros- Master Merlin)
pbqbert (Parker Bros- Q*Bert)
splitsec (Parker Bros- Split Second)
wildfire (Parker Bros- Wildfire (prototype))
alnchase (Tandy- Alien Chase)
kingman (Tandy- Kingman)
tandy12 (Tandy- Tandy-12: Computerized Arcade)
tcaveman (Tomy- Caveman)
tccombat (Tomy- Cosmic Combat)
tmpacman (Tomy- Pac Man)
tmscramb (Tomy- Scramble)
tmtennis (Tomy- Tennis)
tmtron (Tomy- Tron)
vinvader (V-Tech- Invaders)
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MADrigal
Gakken Dig Dug


Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Last Visit: 20 Jan 2017
Posts: 184
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tried a few of them. GORGEOUS!!!!!! Very Happy
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Singer
Coleco Pac Man


Joined: 06 May 2014
Last Visit: 12 Dec 2016
Posts: 35
Location: Medford, Oregon, USA

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's amazing! But it makes me a little sad. Part of the fun of this collecting hobby is being to track down games, many of them mediocre, until you find the gems. Now any old Joe will be able to play these and probably have the weaker games filtered out (since no one will bother to emulate them) leaving them the best stuff. I guess the same is true for emulating old consoles too.
Oh well, until someone starts emulating the mechanical handhelds and pinball based handhelds I guess I still have somthing to collect!

Seriously though, great job.
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Rik
Site Admin


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 1849
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but with handhelds part of the nostalgia is having the little game, seeing the VFD display, etc... And some of these are just emulating the circuitry (like Maniac, it just emulates the little display. You still need 4 giant buttons to play it 'properly' Smile ). To me, owning the real thing is still the goal, but now I can at least play ones that might be buried in storage or something. Arcade games are a little different as most people didn't have all the arcade games in their homes. We grew up owning these little versions, so I think emulation is more of a bonus... This can also be compiled for iOS (and other mobile) too, so we can make our phones play these things!

And hopefully there will be a good sampling of all of the games, especially the VFDs... Over time, I'll probably be sending my entire collection (a few games at a time) to be dumped and emulated...

Things like Bandai Machine Man and Dokodemo Dorayaki Doraemon would probably never be in it otherwise. Cool They want to emulate _everything_, so if it's a common game, it will be in there. For the rare stuff, someone will have to be willing to loan their games. They aren't easily dumped like arcade games, so it's a slower process, but it's cool to see it happening.

I'm still just impressed that someone has figured out how to actually dump the ROM contents from the chips in the game... I've been wanting to figure that out for 15 years, just didn't really think it was possible.

The harder stuff are the newer (and smaller) LCD games... They don't have normal chip packages in them, but a chip that's part of the circuit board with a glob of black plastic covering it... Much hard to get to those and see what they are without potentially destroying the game...
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blanka
Atari Cosmos


Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Last Visit: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 515
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suck me Sideways!
Echt niet meer normaal, niet te geleuuuuuuuuuven.
Great job.

Only thing missing, best handheld ever.... Astro Thunder 7
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Rik
Site Admin


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 1849
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, far from the _only_ thing missing... But I definitely have a couple of them, so I'll make it a point to get one sent out. Cool
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blanka
Atari Cosmos


Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Last Visit: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 515
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Problem with AT7 is the microcontroller. Guess Kevtris has one himself but was unable to break into it.

Crazy Kong looks great, but the game hangs all the time. The cheat option does not help much yet.
Also it comes with the CGL super kong overlay where the name is Crazy Kong. The overlay should be the Lansay version then it says Crazy Kong on the bezel,
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Rik
Site Admin


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 28 Mar 2017
Posts: 1849
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, didn't realize Kevin had one.. Yeah, that can be a problem... Coleco Frogger isn't in there yet for the same reason. He can dump the ROM, but the CPU isn't supported yet.

Crazy Kong is known to lock up a lot, not sure why... It didn't work at all at first. I just put the cheat in for the hell of it... I was trying to find a way to make you invincible, but couldn't easily figure it out. There so little RAM in these things that I think they stored stuff on a bit level, which makes it really hard to figure out when watching for changes in the memory space... Does the game lock up more with the cheat enabled, or could you tell? It's possible the cheat will mess something else up... But I managed to get to level 4 with it in enabled before it locked up once...

I only had the CGL one handy to make the overlay as you need it to play the game (well, it helps as the ladders are printed on it). I just hacked that into the artwork quickly before I uploaded the set for the forum (so far, the 'official' artwork doesn't even have the overlay). I think the artwork is still going to be revamped before it's officially final, so there will be some changes to it. I'm not sure how you can easily change the overlays (or make the Pac-Mans red in the Entex game, stuff like that). There's obviously a lot of variations on some of these. I think I have the Gakken Crazy Kong somewhere, I can scan that one when I find it...

That one and Bandai Packri-Monster I put overlays in the artwork for... I don't fully understand the .LAY files of MESS, so I just fiddled with it until it looked good... There's probably a better way. Mr. Green
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