Rare MSX hardware from Brazil found

by Tabajara-Labs on 01-08-2007, 13:04
Topic: Hardware

In 1998, the company "Forte II Games" made a very small MSX board for arcade machines, using a modified bios/game. It was assumed lost until today when Alexandre Souza of Tabajara Labs found a working piece. The ROM code was extracted and made to work in BlueMSX. This is quite possibly the rarest MSX hardware ever made in Brazil!

Relevant link: Tabajara-Labs (the page is in Portuguese)

Comments (17)

By konamiman

Paragon (1198)

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01-08-2007, 18:07

I saw something similar here in Spain. A small car-like cabinet (for small children) had an MSX inside (or something compatible with MSX) running Hyper Rally. It even had steering wheel. Smile

By Latok

msx guru (3938)

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01-08-2007, 18:56

Darn, a pre historic 1chipMSX Tongue

By Manuel

Ascended (19468)

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01-08-2007, 22:58

Heh, it's a heavily modified Knightmare game...
It seems the adaption is not blueMSX specific.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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01-08-2007, 23:16

Any idea how many cabinets with this game were produced?

By hap

Paragon (2042)

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02-08-2007, 00:32

It seems the adaption is not blueMSX specific.Yeah, after reading the newspost, I expected a customized blueMSX machine layout (BIOS ROMs/RAM/IO and such), but it's just a ROM game that works with any MSX emulator Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (10109)

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02-08-2007, 00:56

The bluemsx detail was in the original submitted text..

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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02-08-2007, 01:25

Actually it does require a custom machine. It is indeed playable in any emu but then it won't use the custom bios. It is however easy to make a machine for openMSX as well. Just remove all system roms from an MSX1 machine and put this rom in slot 0.

Now, it may not be that exciting to run it as a custom machine because the coin hardware is not emulated and you'll only get an error saying coin jam.

By Tabajara-Labs

Expert (95)

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02-08-2007, 04:14

Latok: I can remember there was a 1-chip version with the Yamaha (toshiba?) one used in the Expert Plus / DD Plus made by Gradiente. Of course, it was just a MSX1.

Manuel: It isn't heavily modified. Only the konami logo was stripped, and the Knightmare tittle was changed to "pesadelo" (Nightmare in portuguese)

Divk: I doubt more than 300 or 400 were produced, but who knows?

About the custom machine: The bit which is checked for the coin slot is the cassete one (!!!), Danjovic disassembled the special BIOS and found the code that checks the coin, called by the keyboard interrupt:

1fc0 f5 push af
1fc1 3e0e ld a,0eh ; Seleciona Registro 14 do VDP
1fc3 d3a0 out (0a0h),a
1fc5 dba2 in a,(0a2h) ; Lê registro 14
1fc7 e680 and 80h ; checa nível sinal do bit 7
1fc9 fe80 cp 80h ; (entrada de Cassete!)
1fcb 20ed jr nz,1fbah ; NZ=Ficha presente (no contato)
1fcd f1 pop af
1fce c33c0c jp 0c3ch ; Segue com processamento da int 38

2062 3e0e ld a,0eh ;
2064 d3a0 out (0a0h),a ; Seleciona registro 14 do VDP
2066 dba2 in a,(0a2h) ;
2068 e680 and 80h
206a fe80 cp 80h ; Checa estado do bit 7 (cassete input)
206c 200b jr nz,2079h ; Ficha no contato = NZ Smile

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1395)

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02-08-2007, 07:22

Konamiman: are you refering to this? :P. Anyway, nice and rare find, Tabajara-Labs!

By Haohmaru

Paladin (774)

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02-08-2007, 10:23

Is it just me, or have the MRC policies changed overnight?

By Manuel

Ascended (19468)

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02-08-2007, 11:26

It seems more modified that that, as it started in stage 1 which didn't look like stage 1 at all, red background, different enemies, etc.

Why don't you get the coin-error stuff when running in a normal machine, btw?

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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02-08-2007, 18:20

The coin stuff is in the bios. This dump is not ment to run in a normal MSX machine. It is a patched game made for arcade cabinets.
The cabinet has for example no keyboard so the developers didn't bother to remove the keyboard input from the game. But if you use joystick 1, the bios will disable the joystick until you insert a coin. joystick 2 is also not present so that one can be used to run the game in a normal MSX.

So this dump is really two parts.
1. the knightmare game somewhat modified
2. Modified bios that does coin and joystick handling

And as I said, in order to run the game as intended, it requires a special machine with no keyboard and the coin hardware connected to the cassette input of the PSG.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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03-08-2007, 00:01

Tabajara-Labs: Did you also find a cabinet or is the only thing remaining of the arcade the board? Would be interesting to see how/if the cabinet was painted and how the controls looked like.

By Tabajara-Labs

Expert (95)

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03-08-2007, 03:20

Dvik, this was a standalone board sold by "Forte II games" company. There wasn't a special cabinet/sticker/whatever. Little info: MAYBE (who knows?) I was the first one to connect a MSX to an arcade cabinet. I did that in 1988 (this board is from 1989) running nemesis, zanac and knightmare. Of course, I cannot prove that nor I'll look for that. So bad I was so young and I have no photos of the arcade machine.

Now I gotta find the other games for this arcade board. I truly remember there were THREE games. I'll ask the same arcade operator who gave me this board if he has the old ROMs there.

By Tabajara-Labs

Expert (95)

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06-08-2007, 05:48

Thanks to dvik, the "Forte II Games" board is already emulated on BlueMSX. The special Beta can be downloaded in http://www.tabajara-labs.com.br. Remember it is a Beta version!

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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06-08-2007, 18:59

To run the emulated Forte II machine, you need to select a joystick in joystick port A. The machine doesn't have a keyboard so joystick A is the only way to control the game. To insert a coin, you'll need to press the 'c' key.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (6486)

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19-07-2014, 00:57

It looks like that such arcade machine has also existed in Korea for MSX, but with multiple games and an additionnal instruction in BASIC : CALL GAME