Happy 26th Anniversary!
The tradition goes, and entries to our 2023 Coding, Music and Hacks competitions have have been posted now! You can grab and play them now. Voting starts soon!
And now on to our traditional releases of new dumps!
Exactly one year ago we released the first emulated Korean xx-in-1 multicart. I have been chasing them for decades and sitting on a pile of undumped and unemulated ones, as other projects took priority. With Ben Sittler independently pushing in this direction, we made enormous progress and both of us went into a dumping frenzy which continued into this year. Ben in particular did a majority of the work reverse engineering the new mappers, figuring out how to dump his cartridges and adding emulation code to Meka. I followed on his footsteps, dumped many of mine (we still both have a few unsolved ones), occasionally helping and reviewing mapper code.
Today we have 5 new multicart releases, totaling 429 games(*) We have several more we'll release over time as we are still going through what we have and figuring out naming conventions. Those unlicensed multicarts are particularly tricky to label as there are frequent inconsistencies between packaging, cartridge and in-game menu. That's not even accounting for multiple releases (patches, SMS/MD/GG sharing a compatibility layer), multi-cart code altering menu layout based on data, multicart containing other multicarts, multicarts with physical switches etc. As we will naturally drift toward Game Gear multi-carts we may have LOTS to release and will need to come up with tricky naming schemes as many different cartridges may be sharing a similar or same name.
(*) IF you were to trust their advertised count, which you cannot :)
Most of those games are using new mappers/circuit board. As of today, they are emulated by MEKA 2023-03-27 (today's release) and Emulicious, and we hope that other emulators will follow suit. None of those release will work on traditional flash-carts, but individual games may be extracted.
Our first release is Pigu-Wang 7 Hap - Jaemiiss-neun Game Mo-eumjip (피구왕7합 - 재미있는 게임 모음집) for the Sega Master System / Samsung Gam*Boy. Exhibiting an almost timid "7 in 1", this is nonetheless one of the most interesting Korean compilation: it contains 2 Megabytes (16 Megabits) worth of original Master System games developed in Korea. Most of the polished SMS-era titles are in this compilation: Dallyeora Pigu-Wang (dodgeball), 94 Super World Cup Soccer, Agigongnyong Dooly and more... Among the seven titles is one we haven't seen before: Bugtris, a 1 and 2 players Tetris clone where cleared lines turns into bugs that you have to squash. We also added a nice quality scan of the game box in the Scans section.
Note we also extracted the exact same dump from a Megadrive copy of the compilation, where the cartridge is set to run in SMS mode. Both versions are identical.
Ascending to our next step, Super Game 45 (슈퍼게임４５) for the Sega Master System / Samsung Gam*Boy. With a joyful menu sporting My Hero's sporting, this compilation contains a few dozen Sega Mark III card games and MSX1 games modified for the SMS. Note quite 45 but still a nice amount. We have an index and translation of the menu in the link above (thanks to Ben Sittler for those).
Coming after is Super Game 52 Hap (슈퍼게임５２합) for the Sega Master System / Samsung Gam*Boy. As you may notice from the similar title screen, this immediate successor of Super Game 45 and was developed and published by the same people. While we have still uncovered new brands of pirate multicarts, there are some recurring "big brand" and this is one of them. We don't have a menu index for this one yet (if someone can make it in the same format!) but this is double the size of the Super Game 45 and contains more unique games.
Our next multicart is Super Multi Game - Super 125 in 1 for the Sega Master System / Samsung Gam*Boy. This is also a 2 Megabytes (16 Megabits) cartridge and contains a handful of modded MSX releases. It is notable because many of the MSX games have Korean logos.
Our fifth multicart is Game Chongjiphap 200 (게임 총집합 200) for the Sega Master System / Samsung Gam*Boy. By game count it is our largest multicart release so far, but it is only a 1 Megabyte (8 megabits) cartridge and contains less unique games than e.g. Super 125 in 1 above. The MSX games we could check in this compilation appears to have less modifications: copyright scrubbing but no translated titles.
Lastly, we have an alternate dump for last year's Game Mo-eumjip 188 Hap (게임모음집188합) . I personally dumped two copies of this cartridge and got the same version (released last year) but Ben's copy was very slightly different. He posted it to a development thread recently but for the sake of visibility we are mentioning it here too. Read details about this variation:
The byte differences are in a region occupied by MSX BIOS replacement and menu code+data, I believe. The different bytes are at ROM offsets 0x11c1, 0x11c7, 0x11cd, and 0x11d3.
The differences are in the "trainer" (RAM patching) data for four of the King's Valley game variants in menu entries 101, 102, 103, and 104.
For menu entry 101, at address 0xFFE0 it replaces 0x55 with 0x03 (Bock's copy) or 0x04 (my copy)
For menu entry 102, at address 0xFFE0 it replaces 0x55 with 0x06 (Bock's copy) or 0x08 (my copy)
For menu entry 103, at address 0xFFE0 it replaces 0x55 with 0x0A (Bock's copy) or 0x0B (my copy)
For menu entry 104, at address 0xFFE0 it replaces 0x55 with 0x0B (Bock's copy) or 0x0E (my copy)
So for some reason, the maker of this multicart eventually replaced the starting level in one of their game trainer between two batches of manufacturing this multicart.
Hope you enjoy this foray into the little uncharted lands of multicarts... We hope to share more soon. Thanks for Ben Sittler for his invaluable help getting this to happen and still ongoing.
- Site contributors: full index and details for those games would be good to add to the wiki.
- Emulator authors: support for those multicarts in more emulators would be nice. You can refer to MEKA sources on github for mappers details (or feel free to ask there).