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Open Sesame! vs. Apples and Dolls vs. I want my Mommy

Zimag Emag Vidco CCE

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#1 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:21 AM

Just for fun and maybe to find out a bit more about pirating history, I started having a closer look at this game. 

 

Currently six different ROMs of this game are known. I visually compared them and found some (slightly) interesting details which may allow to draw some conclusions.

Four versions (called Open Sesame) display an initial screen with some digitized voice. Here the screenshots of the three PAL versions are 100% identical, but the NTSC version by CCE shows a nice rainbow at the top. Where the PAL versions constantly store the same color value over and over again, the NTSC rainbow is created by some (simple) additional code. Due to the different color ordering, this simple code wouldn't work well with PAL. The bottom parts of all four versions show a rainbow (again). Here the CCE version simply uses a counter for the color value, while the PAL versions add a constant ($90) to the counter before storing the color. Without the constant added, the bottom two color blocks would both be grey.

 

So, what's more likely here? The NTSC developer realized that he could add a nice rainbow to the top too? Or the PAL developer fixed the code not working for PAL? I think the former is correct. The 3rd screenshot shows the NTSC version displayed in PAL colors. 

 

Now for the actual game screens.

 

At first glance, the three PAL versions of Open Sesame all look the same. But there are some small differences. 

  1. The boss at the top in one Goliath and the BitCorp version has doubled scan lines, in the other Goliath version it is displayed with single line resolution like all three NTSC versions.
  2. The bottom rows of all three PAL versions show doubled scan lines again. Those do not fit to the platform display above and especially to the player's character. Also notice the missing feet and the tearing!
  3. The score is displayed in yellow in all NTSC versions. In all PAL versions, the top score is grey (using $1C as color value, which is yellow in NTSC and identical to the NTSC versions). Two PAL versions color the bottom score.

For me this looks like NTSC was converted to PAL.

 

Now let's compare the three NTSC versions:

  1. Most obvious is the changed boss. And while the apple is animated the other boss is not (to gain space for the digitized voice?)
  2. There is an extra white line at the bottom platform in the apple versions
  3. Both apple versions play a little tune at the beginning
  4. The copyright disappears after the initial tune is over (this does not happen in the other four versions).

The two CCE versions also show some differences:

  • The platform colors differ slightly.
  • The bottom color differs too
  • The CCE apple version has the same colors as the ZiMAG version.

Now my (speculative!) conclusion summary:

  1. I want my Mommy from ZiMAG is probably the original version.
  2. Then CCE hacked this version into their NTSC apple version .
  3. Based either on the original source code or a disassembly, some other NTSC (CCE?) developer added the digitized voice (they removed e.g. animation, initial tune and white bottom line to gain space) and changed the boss.
    To be honest, I have no clue while some colors where changed between apple and digitized voice NTSC versions.
  4. The NTSC version from CCE is the most original digitized voice version, but maybe based on some yet unknown version.
  5. All PAL versions are based on the CCE code, they doubled some scan lines to fill the larger screen better.

Of course this is all just speculation, but the (often subtle) differences between the versions make this one most probably.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Open Sesame (1983) (Goliath) (PAL) a.png
  • Open, Sesame! (1983) (CCE).png
  • Open, Sesame! (1983) (CCE)_1.png
  • Open Sesame (1983) (Goliath) (PAL)_1.png
  • Open Sesame (4 Game in One Dark Green) (1983) (BitCorp) (PAL)_1.png
  • Open Sesame (1983) (Goliath) (PAL) a_1.png
  • Open, Sesame! (1983) (CCE)_2.png
  • Apples and Dolls (CCE).png
  • I Want My Mommy (1983) (ZiMAG).png


#2 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:36 AM

This is very interesting.

 

Thomas, if your theory is correct, then there's a good change that Cosmic Corridor, Dishaster and Tanks But No Tanks from ZiMAG are the original versions as well.

Would be interesting to find out.

 

One thing, though: the Puzzy versions all carry the 1982 copyright and the ZiMAG versions are from 1983...
 

8)


Edited by Rom Hunter, Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:43 AM.


#3 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:11 AM

OK, one more versions of the same game: Teddy Apple (Home Vision) (PAL)

 

Now this is interesting, because this is the only apple version in PAL, with doubled scan lines for the boss and the extra lives, but not the bottom platform row. Also notice the different colors and the larger feet, in the game and in the extra lives. And no tearing in the latter too. Also note that the platform gaps are slightly larger and the different score display and counting!

 

So this version is not directly related to the other PAL versions. Instead CloneSpy relates this closest to the ZiMAG version. So again ZiMAG seems to be the root of this game.

 

Still it is interesting that all PAL versions use same the double scan lines approach to fill the screen. But the code doing so is different.

 

One more thing to add: The digitized versions have only one boss and always the same enemy on the platform. The apple versions show a 2nd set of enemies and boss after you beat the first level (see below).

 

EDIT: Now that I think about it, maybe this was the original version? :ponder:

Attached Thumbnails

  • Teddy Apple (1983) (Home Vision) (PAL)_1.png
  • I Want My Mommy (1983) (ZiMAG)_1.png

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:13 AM.


#4 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:45 AM

That does not surprise me.

It's one of the very few Home Vision titles that are marked as being a non-original version, whereas all the other Home Vision titles are oroginal versions

Well, in that case it would be interesting to know if Plate Mania, Tanks War and Cosmic War from Home Vision are the originals versions as well.

8)



#5 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:21 AM

Very interesting.  Keep up the good work.  The Zimag mystery always has bothered me.



#6 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:41 AM

The combination of apple and doll (IMO it sure looks much more like a doll than like a teddy) seems odd. But maybe that's a well known combination (myth?) in other countries?

 

Regarding Dishaster and Dancing Plates: While there exist multiple PAL ROMs, they all look and play the same. So one can only compare the NTSC version with one PAL version. IMO the PAL version has a nicer roof decoration and it plays a different tune. The space is extended by increasing some vertical gaps. But that's all. Hard to tell what came first. 

 

BTW #1: The Puzzy version has some (unused) Phantom Tank code inside.

BTW #2: How can I download a scan from Atarimania?


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:46 AM.


#7 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:03 AM

While we are at it, here is the rough translation of Apples and Dolls. OCR for free provided by this website.


KEY GAME RESET
 
To start playing, press the Game Reset key.
 
SPECIAL FEATURES
 
You get to play with a girl ready to play and three more reserve (indicated in the lower left side of the screen). When tightening the Game Reset key, you heard a song when she finished, it is time to play!
 
Try to finish the play making the smallest possible number of points. The score progresses evenly.
 
The screen is divided into levels. You will see two bright points in each level, these are the places where the girl should build stairs (by pressing the red button) to get the gifts.
 
A serum neutralizer is through all the levels. If you can handle it, run behind the boy wizard! And attention: the serum only neutralizes the little wizard of the corresponding level, and you can not catch it if you are on the ladder. While the serum is in their power, the girl becomes white. The neutralized witch is lying on her back, kicking, angry pissed because it can no longer pursue the girl.
 
After the girl get to the apple, it will be the time to pick up the doll. The witches are very angry, and will walk faster behind it, because they do not conform if she can get two gifts.
 
When you can pick up the doll, a song will play, indicating that the game is over and you won both gifts. Congratulations! How about starting new?


#8 lazzeri OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:10 AM

Is this from Portuguese?

If so, do you need checking?

#9 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:20 AM

Yes, it is from Portugese. You can check and fix if you like, the original instructions can be found at Atarimania.

 

Edit: Is the combination of apples and dolls something well know in Brazil? 


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:25 AM.


#10 lazzeri OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:57 PM

Yes, it is from Portugese. You can check and fix if you like, the original instructions can be found at Atarimania.


I'll give it a try later this week.

 

Edit: Is the combination of apples and dolls something well know in Brazil? 


I'm not sure I understood... Is real-life apples and real-life dolls together supposed to mean something?

#11 lazzeri OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:00 PM

Just googled and found this:

https://www.google.c...1?client=safari

Holy cow! 😳

No, we don't do this down here, If that's what you are asking. :D
  • jhd likes this

#12 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:54 PM

And there is no myth for children (or something like that) about apples and dolls?

 

Then I wonder why the developers choose this combination? Just something random?



#13 lazzeri OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:44 AM

And there is no myth for children (or something like that) about apples and dolls?
 
Then I wonder why the developers choose this combination? Just something random?


In Brazil? No, nothing that I am aware of.

#14 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:20 AM

Thomas,

 

The bad dream content as described in I Want My Mommy:
http://www.atarimani...s/cat124004.jpg

is also shown on the label of Teddy Apple (nightmare creatures following Teddy, evil eyes in the dark, the apple worm wrapping around Teddy's head):
http://www.atarimani...pple_cart_2.jpg

If this is the story of the game, then perhaps the Home Vision and ZiMAG versions (in that order) make the most sense to me.

Apples and Dolls as the original game title seems more far fetched to me.

8)


Edited by Rom Hunter, Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:23 AM.


#15 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:28 AM

Hm, to me nothing in the game looks like a teddy at all. And where is the doll in the story?



#16 enthusi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:55 AM

Teddy doesnt have to be a Teddy bear.

Didnt even Theodore Roosevelt coin the term 'Teddy Bear'?



#17 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:00 AM

Yup, the Teddy bear was named after Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.

 

I am not aware of a different meaning that might fit here.


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:01 AM.


#18 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:43 PM

Thomas,

I've played Apples and Dolls (CCE) and I Want My Mommy (ZiMAG) and I'm certain these are not the original versions.

The scoring system doesn't make sense to me.

It just keeps adding up, there's countdown timer and the game ends after level 2 (?!).

8)



#19 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:28 PM

So what do you think is the original?



#20 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:19 PM

Here's some freaky apple-doll stuff... :lol:

http://mesha-olivier...pple-dolls.html

An apple doll is a North American cultural phenomenon where the doll's head is made from dried apples. The apple is peeled, then carved with the facial features of the doll. Next the apple is left to dry for several days or weeks. When completely dry, the apple is positioned on the top of a wire frame which is shaped into the rest of the doll's body. The rest of the wire frame is covered up by the doll's clothing, which is usually sewn by hand. In modern times, apple dolls are mostly used as decorations or to display craftsmanship, rather than as children's toys. Because of the different effects drying produces, no two dolls are alike.

#21 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:54 PM

So what do you think is the original?

 

It's confusing to say the least, Thomas.

In fact: it's driving me nuts.

Forget my last statement.

I'm contradicting myself now, but I examined and played all ZiMAG ROMS today and compared them with all other (often PAL) versions, and I have to admit... that the ZiMAG versions now look like the original versions to me.

I'm not looking at the copyright dates on the carts, only at the games and the gameplay.

The colors and graphics of the ZiMAG versions look the best by far.

I Want My Mommy: it just doesn't make sense that this bizarre kid-go-to-mom theme, the second level and the animated bosses were made after Open Sesame! To me it seems more logical that it's the other way around: removing the second level, replacing the animated bosses and putting in some static screen with 'speech'.

Tanks But No Tanks: the colors of the ZiMAG version look the best compared to the other versions. Also, the Home Vision ROM has extremely long lasting explosion sounds that IMO don't belong there. And the Puzzy version has some weird rapid fire without shooting bullets going on.

Dishaster: again, the colors look the most genuine of all Dancing Plate versions. The circus tent graphics seem more fitting to the spinning plates theme, as does the music. The grapics, colors and sound of the PAL versions just don't fit in.

Cosmic Corridor: looks like the most genuine version to me colorwise.

 

I hate to say it, but I'm now more and more confinced that the ZiMAG titles are the true originals.

But I need more code examinations that can underline this theory.

 

8)


Edited by Rom Hunter, Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:06 PM.


#22 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:16 AM

Also forgot to mention: the Puzzy and Bit Corp versions of Cosmic Corridor don't have explosion sounds like the ZiMAG version, but a weird sound effect when your ship explodes.

And the horrible 'tune' at the beginning doesn't feel like it belongs there originally.

In short: the only thing that holds me back from the ZiMAG versions being the originals is the 1982 copyright on the Puzzy cart front labels. (The ZiMAG versions have a 1983 copyright in the manual. Then again: these four ZiMAG games are also displayed in a late 1982 ZiMAG catalog and ZiMAG was founded in september 1982).

 

8)



#23 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:13 AM

What about Pizza Chef,  Immies and Aggies, Spinning Fireball, and A Mysterious Thief?   If Zimag was the original creator of all these games then where does Vidco fit in?  What about Emag?



#24 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:32 AM

What about Pizza Chef,  Immies and Aggies, Spinning Fireball, and A Mysterious Thief?   If Zimag was the original creator of all these games then where does Vidco fit in?  What about Emag?

 

ZiMAG, Emag and Vidco are all connected (like Dimax and Sinmax) and all their games are from Taiwan.

However Emag and Vidco were founded in 1983 and ZiMAG was founded in 1982.
 

ZiMAG:

707-111 Tanks But No Tanks
708-111 Cosmic Corridor
709-111 ?
710-111 I Want My Mommy (KidStuff series)
711-111 Dishaster
712-111 ?
713-111 Pizza Chef
714-111 ?
715-111 Immies & Aggies
 
Emag:
GN-010 I Want My Mommy
GN-020 Dishaster
GN-030 Tanks But No Tanks
GN-040 Cosmic Corridor
GN-050 Pizza Chef
GN-060 Immies & Aggies
GN-070 A Mysterious Thief
GN-080 Fire Spinner
 
Vidco:
Pizza Time
Immies and Aggies
A Mysterious Thief
Fireball Spinner
 

f Thomas can check the color values of the (Puzzy, Bit Corp and Home Vision) PAL (con)versions of these games, then I it wouldn't surprise me that they are conected to the values of the ZiMAG versions.

 

8)


Edited by Rom Hunter, Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:30 AM.


#25 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:35 AM

So are we thinking that some of those missing Zimag part numbers might go to Mysterious Thief and Fire Spinner?







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