Ninja Copimaru Kun the rare cartridge

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By Takamichi

Champion (382)

Takamichi의 아바타

23-09-2020, 10:31

Ninja Copimaru Kun is an extremely rare MSX cartridge. Googling "ninja Kopimaru kun" tells what it is. Only one online reference exists and refers to it as a copying utility. Findings so far...
- Software details; 16 kb normal rom. Still works if halved to 8 kb.
- Requirement; 16 kb+ RAM MSX1/2/2+/turboR
- Startup;
If only this cartridge is in a slot or if it's in slot 1 and other cart is in 2, three title screens appear then MSX reboots.
Push SELECT at first title to open menu 1.
Push SPACE to quit to BASIC if no other cart is inserted, or start the other cart. At the BASIC screen, execute _CPM or _COPIMARU to boot menu 2 if FDD is present or 3 otherwise.
All menus are either English or bilingual with Japanese. Expansion is always spelled expanTion.
- Menu 1;
RAM **K EXPANTION MEMORY: The **K figure differs by MSX's RAM size. 48 if RAM = 16 kb, 64 otherwise. Push SPACE and MSX reboots. What does it affect is unknown.
LOAD ROM TRANSFER DATA: Prompts MAIN BASE SLOT. Expantion memory slot is sometimes asked, sometimes not depending on the MAIN BASE choice. So far all combination resulted in a dump that was Copimaru itself and not of other cart.
Other menus; save to tape, verify tape, save to disk.
- Menu 2, 3; Seem to load, copy and execute dump but nothing worked so far. When asked "PROGRAM START?", pushing Y might result different from the other keys.
- Dump format; A dump has .cpm extension and has a 256 byte header added prior to the sucked rom. The header contains a character string about copyright.
- Extended BASIC; Enabled after pushing SPACE at title. _CPM _COPIMARU start menu 2/3, _CPMDEMO starts "demo", _JIS _AIU _WARMON _WARMOFF are unknown.
- Case artwork; One vertical text says "adds memory", other says "takes photo", implying RAM increase and screenshot.
- Manufacture year; 1986 which precludes anything that were released later.
The above strongly suggests the cart has SRAM beside ROM. Can any bright spark analyze further and possibly get it working on emulator?

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By _ThEcRoW

Expert (89)

_ThEcRoW의 아바타

23-09-2020, 20:15

Do you have an image of the software?. Seems interesting and i like to fiddle with copiers froom the era and stuff.

By tfh

Prophet (2409)

tfh의 아바타

23-09-2020, 20:20

_ThEcRoW wrote:

Do you have an image of the software?. Seems interesting and i like to fiddle with copiers froom the era and stuff.

You can find the .rom file (Microvox - Ninja Kopimaru Kun (1986) (MSX Tool Soft).zip) in the programs section in the download section of file-hunter.com.

By enribar

Paragon (1073)

enribar의 아바타

23-09-2020, 22:15

You can find the first 64K image into msxit org.

By Manuel

Ascended (16966)

Manuel의 아바타

23-09-2020, 22:48

But it's only an 8kB ROM, isn't it?

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1366)

OeiOeiVogeltje의 아바타

23-09-2020, 23:27

size (in this case) doesnt matter

By Takamichi

Champion (382)

Takamichi의 아바타

24-09-2020, 01:54

This cartridge had been previously discussed in another thread and I forgot to link it. 8 kb rom runs fine though there might be a reason Copimaru's self-dump is 16 kb.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5698)

mars2000you의 아바타

24-09-2020, 12:35

_WARMON and _WARMOFF are probably related to the warning text added at the begining of a dumped rom. I guess the dump is without this warning when _WARMOFF is used.

By _ThEcRoW

Expert (89)

_ThEcRoW의 아바타

24-09-2020, 21:51

@tfh
Thanks a lot!. Will be trying it when i arrive home.

By Takamichi

Champion (382)

Takamichi의 아바타

25-09-2020, 15:59

I pushed SPACE, executed _WARMOFF then _CPM, chose LOAD then SAVEd the loaded file but the saved file still had the header. I repeated the same procedure except _WARMOFF -> WARMON but the result was same, so they might do something different.
One more control; after LOADing a dump, when prompted PROGRAM START?, pushing Y boots the dump (well, Copimaru...). Anything else reverts to the menu.

This (will disappear in a week) is the header of .cpm file. You can make a fake "dumped file" by adding the header to an existing rom. So far it works better than the dump of Copimaru itself.
@enribar: can you dump some cart to a cassette, record the cassette and upload the .wav? Since the rom lacks the (s)ram there is nothing I can do with emulator/gr8net/megaram/... anymore.

By enribar

Paragon (1073)

enribar의 아바타

26-09-2020, 01:04

For sure I'll try to dump on tape one of the most obscure and with a complex mapper game, that all combinations of saverom utility failed to dump: Shiseido's GEAR! ;-)
But please, tell here the detailed sequence of operations you want to test, since there are many ways Copimaru can dump.

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