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So where can I get a prototype fixed?

prototype

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#1 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 5:55 PM

So years ago, a friend of mine gave me this thing:
Posted Image

It was a weird little 2600 game where you play as a tank and shoot swastikas. I brought the thing to CGE 2001, and it seemed to be agreed that it was a proto, but my dumb 15 year old ass had tossed the thing unprotected in my bag, and the corner broke off one of the chips there on the bottom right, and it wouldn't work. Someone there offered to try to fix it for me and gave me an address (which I've long since lost), but i put off sending it and eventually lost the thing. Luckily, my mother just recently found the thing in a closet again after all these years.

So is there anyone reputable around here who might be able to fix this thing?


And since I know you'll be asking about the game itself, here's what I remember (keep in mind that the last time I played this was 12 years ago): You control a tank that faces upwards and could move from side to side, and you can scroll the screen up by moving up. The background had lakes and I think trees and bridges, but running them over didn't seem to do anything. The enemies were swastikas that moved from side to side, and they'd shoot on A difficulty, but not on B. At the bottom of the screen roughly where Activision tended to put their name on their games was what looked like "Jim's Toy" or something like that (it was hard to read on my friend's rather blurry TV). My friend's mom said she once new someone who worked at Atari who gave her some stuff, which presumably included this. Whether he actually worked at Atari or she was misremembering him saying that he made Atari games somewhere else, I have no idea.

#2 Crimefighter OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 6:08 PM

Methinks the chips would have to be moved to another board. However, find it hard to believe someone made an Atari game with Nazi symbols in it.

Need a better picture of this board....

Edited by Crimefighter, Fri Jun 7, 2013 6:08 PM.


#3 atari181 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 6:24 PM

Send CPUWIZ here on AA a message. He is very reputable and I'm sure cab fix it for you.

#4 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 6:43 PM

Here's some better pics of both sides:
Posted Image
Posted Image

As for the swastika thing, the combination of that and the "Jim's Toy" thing make me wonder if this thing wasn't meant to be released to the public in this form.

I'll PM CPUWIZ about this now.

#5 atari181 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 6:57 PM

Good luck on getting this working. It could be very valuable if its an unknown Prototype

#6 Uzumaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 7:56 PM

It's probably a common 74 series chip used for bankswitching but I dunno since the EPROM is 32k bit or 4k byte, which 2600 can address directly without any bankswitching chip, only a single inverter gate needed for the enable. I think it's the chip directly above the EPROM.

Do have it dumped if possible and whoever takes up the task of replacing broken chip can reverse engineer it for schematic.

#7 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 8:50 PM

If the cause for why it is no longer working really was just that one of the ic's had a chipped edge, then the repair would be as simple as desoldering the damaged ic from the board, and soldering in a replacement. Almost anyone with even basic knowledge could do this for you; myself included. However, I don't think the damaged ic is the reason the game stopped working. The chipped area does not even look like "serious" damage. From the picture provided, it looks like the damage was minimal and did not break any of the criss cross contacts inside the chip. But of course, it is a possibility and so it should be replaced anyhow and would be the easiest and most logical place to start.

As for the game itself, I agree with the previous poster. I mean, it is clearly just a 4K game. So why the heck did it need all that extra bank-switching (presumably) logic on the board? And it cannot be a miss match. (scenario where the board itself was originally intended for a much larger game and at some point in the past was recycled or swapped out) Reason being the next size eprom would require more pins on the board in order to be supported. So therefore, I would conclude that the other ic's were added to create a "copy protection" of sorts. (similar to some unique form of bank switching perhaps, like Pink Panther?)

Lastly, the content itself does indeed raise several flags. Even if presumably they were the enemy, and you as the player were shooting them, etc. I find it extremely hard to believe that ANY official Atari game would have controversial content like that. Even the third parties, despite implementing religious, (Music Machine / Red Sea Crossing) pornographic, (X-man) and violence, (Halloween / Texas Chainsaw) themes, would never touch that theme with a ten foot pole.

So it was surely some homebrew or hack job made by some disturbed individual. (or a prank, but of course we are nowhere near April 1st so I doubt that)

#8 Rom Hunter ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 2:16 AM

Tutankham's mystery weapon was a swastika.

Could your proto be this game:
http://www.atarimani...gy-x_11809.html

Also, when you brought it to CGE in 2001, was there nobody who recognized this game as a released game?

8)

Edited by Rom Hunter, Sat Jun 8, 2013 2:27 AM.


#9 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 8:19 AM

Tutankham's mystery weapon was a swastika.

Could your proto be this game:
http://www.atarimani...gy-x_11809.html

Also, when you brought it to CGE in 2001, was there nobody who recognized this game as a released game?

8)


I wish I had a better recollection of exactly how the game screen looked. It was definitely similar to that, but I'm rather sure you could only face up, and the enemies moved. It's possible that this was some weird early version of that that was never meant to get out of the office, like that bloody version of Freeway.

As for people recognizing it as CGE, I never got the game running there, so no one saw it. I believe I described it some people there roughly like I did in my opening post, but they didn't seem to recognize it from that.

And as for the damage, CPUWIZ thinks that the problem might have been that it was exposed to too much light, since they didn't cover the EPROM well. I guess I'll have to find someone who can try dumping it to see if there's anything left.

#10 Rom Hunter ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 9:29 AM

This one perhaps?
http://www.atarimani...ound_s7218.html

Or this one?
http://www.atarimani...ank_s10564.html

Click on the Atari symbol next to the screenshots to scroll the screenshots.

8)

#11 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 9:39 AM

This one perhaps?
http://www.atarimani...ound_s7218.html

Or this one?
http://www.atarimani...ank_s10564.html

Click on the Atari symbol next to the screenshots to scroll the screenshots.

8)


Definitely neither of those. It was definitely something a lot like Strategy X if it wasn't an early version or hack of that.

#12 Rom Hunter ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 9:48 AM

Ok.

Well, let's hope this one can be saved, because it sure sounds like something unknown.

8)

#13 Rom Hunter ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 9:50 AM

Another one pops up in my mind:
http://www.atarimani...war-i_7911.html

8)

#14 Uzumaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 11:59 AM

yeah get it dumped ASAP. The data may have become damaged and the longer you wait, the harder it'd be for expert programmer to repair and salvage it.

#15 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 1:21 PM

yeah get it dumped ASAP. The data may have become damaged and the longer you wait, the harder it'd be for expert programmer to repair and salvage it.


Yeah, I plan on doing that. So who's reliable and has the ability to dump this? I asked CPUWIZ, but he hasn't responded yet.

And it was definitely something with nature in the background, so it's not Worm War I. Parts of Strategy X looked familiar, so I'm really wondering if it's some bizarre version of that. Does anyone know if Konami internally develop their 2600 games or had an American company do it? Or did they have an American branch back then?

#16 atari181 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 1:27 PM

If CPU is willing to do it, I would have him do it. If anyone can save it, it would be him.

#17 Rom Hunter ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 1:53 PM

Yeah, I plan on doing that. So who's reliable and has the ability to dump this? I asked CPUWIZ, but he hasn't responded yet.

And it was definitely something with nature in the background, so it's not Worm War I. Parts of Strategy X looked familiar, so I'm really wondering if it's some bizarre version of that. Does anyone know if Konami internally develop their 2600 games or had an American company do it? Or did they have an American branch back then?


Combat Two has a similar background:
http://www.atarimani...-two_11853.html

But I find it hard to believe that's the one on your proto.

8)

Edited by Rom Hunter, Sat Jun 8, 2013 1:54 PM.


#18 Uzumaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 2:42 PM

Yeah, I plan on doing that. So who's reliable and has the ability to dump this? I asked CPUWIZ, but he hasn't responded yet.

And it was definitely something with nature in the background, so it's not Worm War I. Parts of Strategy X looked familiar, so I'm really wondering if it's some bizarre version of that. Does anyone know if Konami internally develop their 2600 games or had an American company do it? Or did they have an American branch back then?


We can figure it out when it gets dumped and can compare the good bits with known games that were similar like Strategy X. Some programmer may even leave hint such as name or initial in unused portion of the ROM

#19 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 2:53 PM

That's a really interesting PCB, never seen one quite like it before. It's not intended for more than 4K of ROM because the EPROM socket is 24 pins, and the maximum sized EPROM for a 24 pin package is 4K. Perhaps the extra chips have extra RAM? It's anyone's guess. If the game program is still semi intact, we should be able to get an idea of that the extra hardware is for (assuming that a chip failure is the issue).

So it stopped working after you dropped it? What does it do if you try to play it now?

Awesome find, keep us updated!

Edited by Wickeycolumbus, Sun Jun 9, 2013 2:57 PM.


#20 Greg2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 3:21 PM

How did your friend come across it? That could provide answers.

#21 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 6:26 PM

That's a really interesting PCB, never seen one quite like it before. It's not intended for more than 4K of ROM because the EPROM socket is 24 pins, and the maximum sized EPROM for a 24 pin package is 4K. Perhaps the extra chips have extra RAM? It's anyone's guess. If the game program is still semi intact, we should be able to get an idea of that the extra hardware is for (assuming that a chip failure is the issue).

So it stopped working after you dropped it? What does it do if you try to play it now?

Awesome find, keep us updated!

What happened was that it was working at home, I brought it to CGE, and we couldn't get it working there. Someone looked at it, and suggested that the broken chip I pointed out might be the problem. I had plopped it into a bag with some other stuff that I was carrying around, but there wasn't one particular incident of me dropping it.

Edit: Oh, and I haven't actually tried it since it first stopped working (I'm not as into the pre-NES games as I used to be, and I'm having trouble finding where I put any RF switchboxes), but if I recall correctly, it would just display a solid color when you tried to use it, though I'm not 100% sure on this.

How did your friend come across it? That could provide answers.

Well at the time I found the thing in 2000 or 2001, I was in middle school. I was spending some time at that friend's house, and we ended up busting out the 2600 Jr that his family had, and this thing was with the games. He apparently never thought much about it. I asked his mother if she knew anything about it, and if I recall correctly, she said she knew a guy who worked at Atari who gave her a few games. Given how this seems to be a very unusual looking board by how you guys are reacting to it and the strange subject matter, I'm not sure she was correct about this. It's possible that the guy worked for some other other company and told her something like "I make games for the Atari" or something like that, and she misinterpreted what he meant or something. Sadly, I don't really know any further detail, and I haven't talked to anyone in that family in a few years.

Since other stuff on this board is apparently rather odd, is it also strange that extra thing between the eprom and the board?
Posted Image

Edited by Gao, Sun Jun 9, 2013 6:46 PM.


#22 Uzumaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 6:33 PM

Do you have decent quality flat bed scanner? Maybe you could scan in both side of the PCB at higher res (say around 300?) then we can start working on what chip are what and how they connected to EPROM. Cheap scanner may get out of focus image if the object isn't flat on glass, and getting clear scan of PCB with chips on it will be tricky with cheap scanner.

#23 Uzumaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 6:38 PM

Since other stuff on this board is apparently rather odd, is it also strange that extra thing between the eprom and the board?
Posted Image


Looks like extra socket. Could mean custom wiring between the board and EPROM itself? Or maybe the pin got damaged and someone added socket to EPROM so it can still be removed and reinstalled. I'd leave it alone for whoever takes up the repair and dumping job to check out.

#24 Gao OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 6:40 PM

Do you have decent quality flat bed scanner? Maybe you could scan in both side of the PCB at higher res (say around 300?) then we can start working on what chip are what and how they connected to EPROM. Cheap scanner may get out of focus image if the object isn't flat on glass, and getting clear scan of PCB with chips on it will be tricky with cheap scanner.


Unfortunately no. However, I am sending this thing out to CPUWIZ on Tuesday to see if this can be dumped, so hopefully he'll be able to give us some more information on this thing.

#25 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 9, 2013 9:09 PM

Since other stuff on this board is apparently rather odd, is it also strange that extra thing between the eprom and the board?


Quite strange, and this definitely is a point of likely breakage especially if it got tossed around in luggage. Like Uzumaki said, they could have used the second socket to reroute some pins, say to put a 2532 EPROM (which is what this game uses) in a 2732 socket.





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