Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Muito obrigado!

Dennys Marques Ferreira wrote these two comments:
 "Não precisa se desculpar isso acontece comigo também muito obrigado mais e parabéns uma vez seu blog é muito legal e seus simuladores são incríveis"

Translation: "No need to apologize this happen to me also, thank you more and congratulations for your blog is really cool and your simulators are amazing."

"Tem previsão de data para os simuladores de Magnavox Odyssey 500, Magnavox Odyssey 400, Bandai TV-Jack 2500, Philips Tele-spiel ES 2201 e Interton VC 2000?"

Translation: "Is there s date forecast for simulators Magnavox Odyssey 500 Magnavox Odyssey 400, TV-Jack Bandai 2500, Philips Tele-spiel ES 2201 and Interton VC 2000?"

So here's my reply to Dennys (in Portuguese and English):

"uito obrigado Dennys, seus elogios são muito apreciados!

Eu tento fazer os simuladores mais fiel como eu posso fazer, é por isso que eles são simuladores de chamada em vez de emuladores. Quanto à sua pergunta, os cinco simuladores que você mencionou estão em andamento. Eu não sei quando estes será lançado como eu estou tentando terminar o OdySim pela primeira vez em meu tempo livre.

Mas não se esqueça que os outros simuladores será lançado em um futuro próximo. Então, obrigado novamente! =)"

And in English: "Thank you very much Dennys, your compliments are very appreciated!

I try to make the simulators the more faithful as i can do, that is why they are call simulators instead of emulators. As for your question, the five simulators you have mentioned are in progress. I do not know when these will be released as i am trying to finish the OdySim first in my spare time.

But be sure that the other simulators will be released in the near future. So thanks again! =)"


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Uploaded Again!

Looks like the two simulators "Epoch Electrotennis and the Entex gameroom Tele-Pong" had disappeared into oblivion as Dennys Marques Ferreira commented.

Sorry about this friend! So now you can download both the simulators as i have re-uploaded them until i have made a new version of them. =)


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The PTG-2600

Hi folks! Today i'm going to show you a very, very rare Atari 2600 clone called the "PTG-2600". This game console is almost as rare as unicorn poop (i wrote "almost"....grin) as it was released only in Europe as i got mine from Spain (more than 10 years ago) and recently one was auctioned in Italy.

I have recycled both antennas and the RF switch box (came originally with the game console) since i was never gonna used them since this console has A/V output. I don't remember how many games are built-in but i suspect approx. 127 or 128 as this clone is pretty much another NICS, Akor or SystemA TV-Boy and also Mega Boy, Wonder Boy or Master Boy (ooohhh..boy!).

Here's some pictures of the box:

And here's some pics of the game console:

A bit bigger than a TV-Boy but has an advantage over any TV-Boy's:A/V output!

But if you live in North America (i'm in QC, Canada) like me, than you are screwed if you don't have a multi-regional TV or PAL/NTSC monitor because this will happen since it outputs a PAL signal (and we in North America have NTSC):

As you can see, in these last three pictures, i'm using the RF output as i tried with the A/V output and only had a blank screen with garbage noise in the background (output broken ? Nope! See why later on). So when using a PAL or SECAM game console/system here in North America (and also Japan), the vertical keeps rolling and the color is gone.

BTW, if you ever use the RF output on this console, you will need to select channel 23. But let's go back to the A/V ouputs. On my first try, i had only a blank screen and garbage noise as sounds but i find out that both outputs were wrongly labeled, meaning that Audio on the PTG-2600 is Video and that Video is Audio! See here:

What kind of engineer made those outputs ?!?! SHEESH!!! Think he didn't had coffee that day (heh!). So A/V outputs works! But please try to remind to swap cables if you even get a PTG-2600. So now here's some pics of selected games:

Lock 'N' Chase


Tom Boy (aka Pitfall)

Video Pinball


Donkey Kong

Super-Ferrari (aka Enduro)

And i can't end this blog without showing the guts of this console!! Pictures time!!

Seems that a company called "Cheer" made these game console and that the PCB model is PB-S054.

Now this is interesting, if you check the TTL chips (logic decoding circuit) and the two main chips (the all-in-one chip 3289 and the game chip 12802P) have 1991 and 1992 years imprinted on them (example: on the 3289 chip, the print "9237AA" means 92 for 1992 and 37 for the 37th week) so this means that those were released at the end of 1992 or during 1993.

And this last picture tells something else. If you unscrew the upper plastic part, it reveals that the PTG-2600 comes from a plastic mold of a Famicom clone! A Famicom cartridge fits perfectly...talk about recycling! (or rather less costly production is more like it...HA!) If anyone has a Famicom clone which has the same casing, please do send me a picture!

And now before i type my end sentence (EOL = End Of Line - A Tron reference), here is the scan of the manual ...err...actually a manual sheet:

Abeedee..abeede...abeedee...EOL folks! =)

Friday, 12 August 2016

Tandy/Memorex VIS - 1st homebrewing attempt (and last ?)

After dumping the BIOS for the Tandy/Memorex VIS MD-2500, i was thinking if it was easy (or not) to rip or mod an existing game or even to port a DOS game. Well there is a good little shooter called "Spacenuts" on the Title Sampler (OK not that good but compared to anything for this system, it is good!) which i have tried to rip and make it self-bootable.

Only to say that my first three attempt have failed (can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs) but on my forth attempt..."Oh yeah Tabarnak!" (or Eureka!). It worked! And just to spice it a little, i have modded a word in the exec file (you need to watch the following video to know which word) and i also modded the spaceship sprite to look exactly like the spaceship in Vanguard.

The game is less than 1 megs, which is such a waste of space to burn on a CD-R, especially that these cost more than DVD's. But for a ISO to play on an emulator, this is a perfect file to try out (when it will be emulated in MAME of course).

After this, i tried to mod the game even more like almost change all the BMP files and WAV files so that it would have a better feeling of my all-time favorite arcade game Vanguard, which i called this new mod/rip: VISguard.

Well i was too eager to see he final results and after the boot screen...BANG! "Not enough memory to load wav files"...ahhh SCRAP!! Made a boo-boo! I didn't check the specs of the wavs to see it they were 11KHz or 22KHz, PCM, mono or stereo, etc...My bad! (like Cisco in The Flash series).

Here<s a few things i've discovered about the VIS: The BIOS has both Windows 3.1 and DOS (version ?) and the system is very, very close to a PC. So much that is is semi-compatible with the Tandy Sensation computers on the software level as some software needs drivers to be compatible and on the hardware, many parts like modem or video card are compatible (Sensation to VIS of course).

Software boots either in Windows mode or DOS mode by the help of a CONTROL.TAT (which is in fact an AUTOEXEC.BAT). When the software needs to boot in DOS, it has "a:\nameofexec.exe" before the MAKETAT text and if it needs to boot in Windows then it has "minwin a:" before the MAKETAT.

Videos are generally in AVI at 320x200 and files with the extension ".FUV" are in fact ".FLI" of ".FLC" (FLIC files, kind of a GIF animated file which are also at 320x200). In the "Title Sampler" CD, there is a SYSTEM.INI file which looks like it's been ripped from a PC:





So...as you can see, it is more a PC than a edutainment system. And this idea has been copied over time like the RCA Studio II which is based on the RCA Cosmac VIP or the Atari XEGS, which is a 800XE computer disguised, just to name a few.

So i can't wait to see one day the Tandy/Memorex VIS emulated as i will pass the torch to anyone who wants to try to DEV this system since i have promised my VIS to a fellow game collector. I'm just have some fun with it before it leaves my hands forever.

Maybe i'll hang on to it a bit longer just to see what i can do with this thing, but that's  another story
and mystery !?!! =)

Monday, 8 August 2016

Now i know why Q*Bert says @!#?@!

Ever wondered why the heck Q*Bert says "@!#?@! " ? Well usually it's because when he get caught, he swears or says "damn!" in Qbertian (i think...). Well, if you ever check out the magazine "Electronic Games" of June 1983 (page 41) and the July 1983 (also page 41), you'll see these adverts of Q*Bert:

Notice how Q*Bert is drawn in June 1983 ?? Good Grief!! (like Charlie Brown would say), looks like Q*Bert has swallowed a huge sour gumball and that he's on a few Redbull booster drinks! What the heck happened ?!?!

All i can say is thanks the Video Games Gods that the June 1983 version of Q*Bert was never officially adopted!! So now you know the story behind the "@!#?@!" to why Q*Bert says this....heck! I would too say @!#?@! if i looked like that (the June 83 look).

Would be cool to know the story behind of what happened at Parker Brothers back then...

Tandy/Memorex VIS MD-2500

Usually, i just put here game consoles or systems that are usually not emulated from the first generation of video games, but this time it is a game system from the 4th generation (well...game system is pretty stretching it) called the Tandy/Memorex VIS (Video Information System) MD-2500.

To make a story short, this "wanna-be" educational system is now rare to find and sought after even if i would classify it as "Worst Game System EVER!!" but this is still part of the video game history and is also a great part about computer history since it has a "Modular Windows" for an operating system. Actually, it has a Windows 3.1 modified inside two EPROMS.

The BIOS of this system has two EPROMS labeled P513BK0B and P513BK1B which are 16-BIT (512K each in size) 27C240, and now these two EPROMS are now dumped but still need to be verified to see if both are good dumps. And if they are good then we need to wait that someone makes a driver for the MAME (MESS) to be finally preserved (Hey, even if i think it's the worst game system ever, it's still need to be preserved for historical purpose).

Here's a few pictures (and guts):

And pictures of the controller:

And here's a few screen shots of he BIOS in HEX (binary file) code:

And here's the link to the BIOS dump of the Tandy/Memorex VIS MD-2500

I will post soon scans of the VIS manual and Compton manual, until then take care folks! =)