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View topic - Unreleased Sega Graphic Board v2.0 !

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Unreleased Sega Graphic Board v2.0 !
Post Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:50 pm
Last edited by Bock on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:33 am; edited 5 times in total
A few years ago someone in Canada showed up with evidence of a prototype of the rumored Sega Graphic Board, developed by Sega Japan, that was mentioned in early magazine publications circa 1987. The hardware that appeared apparently passed hand to hands in a typical impossible-to-verify cross-country flea market story. Eventually the owner decided to sell it and the tablet was recently auctioned on eBay. I am happy to announce that I got hold of the hardware and software :)



Sega Graphic Board v2.0 Prototype for Master System, now available! The hardware prototype appears to be dated May 1987, the software prototype Ausugt 1987, that is, 27 years old. The tablet plug into regular controller port, has 3 buttons and an input resolution of about the Master System 256x192 resolution. According to a signature left in the ROM data, the software was created by Kazuo Wakihara also responsible for handful of early Sega classics including later hit Columns.

The Sega Graphic Board may have been apparently planned to be supporting hardware for the Megadrive, as pictured in early prototype pamphlet showcasing the Megadrive along with an unreleased floppy disk drive and the graphic board:



The software attempts to reproduce a fully editable 16 colors bitmap using the Master System character-based video mode. The drawing area is restricted to 176x144 pixels which is close to the maximum unique drawing surface given the Kilobytes of video memory. The software offers variety of drawing tools, including useful "copy" and "magnify" tool. Unfortunately no "line" or "undo".







More pictures of the hardware,



Picture from the original owner (the board is upside down!)


As of today the hardware is emulated by Meka Wip 2014-10-04 and will be shortly be supported by MESS and Emulicious among other emulators. The reverse engineering thread provides enough information if you want to implement support for the Sega Graphic Board in your emulator.

Thanks to kusfo, hang-on, Maraakate and SF for their donation toward acquiring the lot! Thanks to Maxim and jdg for help reverse engineering the hardware. Enjoy!
Md_proto_tablet.jpg (126.92 KB)
Md_proto_tablet.jpg

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Temporary Transitional Attachment Fairy
Post Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:52 pm
This message will auto destruct itself someday.

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:07 pm
Thanks a lot for the quick turn around on reverse engineering and releasing the ROM!
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:43 pm
Thanks for news & sharing...
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:45 am
It was an honor to contibute to this! :-D

PD: My nick is kusfo, not kuskos :-P
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:34 am
kusfo wrote
It was an honor to contibute to this! :-P

Arghh, typing when so tired.. fixed, sorry :)
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:27 pm
Amazing, now we just need to find that Mega Drive's FDD.
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:34 am
I'm a bit surprised they even announced that. By that point, FDD's were "old" and not cutting edge like CD was... and by that point they probably saw how much Ni****do got hit by piracy on theirs.
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:15 am
But you could save to a floppy, and they were cheap. The capacity was definitely more of an 8-bit era thing, though.
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:13 am
Bock wrote
The hardware that appeared apparently passed hand to hands in a typical impossible-to-verify cross-country flea market story.

Amazing find Bock!

But tell the story if you know it! I love that kind of stuff!
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:41 pm
Interesting information, though it's not related to this nice discovery: according to this tweet, Ken Sugimori has recently confirmed that he made the comic strip included in the Terebi Oekaki Japanese manual.
B2kZgCGCQAAWL6-.jpg (35.26 KB)
B2kZgCGCQAAWL6-.jpg
B2kZgEqCQAEgKm7.jpg (35.59 KB)
B2kZgEqCQAEgKm7.jpg

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:42 pm
Cyberquake wrote
Bock wrote
The hardware that appeared apparently passed hand to hands in a typical impossible-to-verify cross-country flea market story.

Amazing find Bock!

But tell the story if you know it! I love that kind of stuff!

On the flea market reference. Here's what the previous owner (from Chicoutimi, Canada) said. Not very useful, take it with a jar of salt Etc. but posting for the records.

"Got it from a contact in the USA who was collecting action figures (to whom I traded a huge lot of toys for it, I won't say how much ;) ) that got the item from a flea market. The guy was from NY state but I know he didn't get it there, I don't remember where though ... I think it was Minessotta? Apparently the flea market guy told him he got a few items from a guy working at Sega (was it a "flea market" story or something real, we'll never know)."
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:13 pm
Can't say I've heard of a flea market in Minnesota, but maybe there is.
The most logical connection for it to end up there being Tonka.
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