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Cat333pokemon

Pitfall II and Solaris graphic troubles

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Wow, this is my first post here in six years, back when I got the system. Hello again, everyone!

 

Anyway, I recently acquired a copy each of Pitfall II: Lost Caverns and Solaris, and I've been having a bit of trouble with them. Of my ~100 other cartridges, only one is broken (Home Run, which I don't care about), and the rest work fine. Judging by guides, I believe I have an NTSC heavy sixer unit (model CX-2600), but I cannot absolutely confirm that. I know there are some strange incompatibilities between different versions of the system, so I figured I'd make sure to tell you about my console.

 

With my games, here are the problems I have.

 

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns

This copy seems to display ladders all over the place, including in lieu of the blockades between areas. The last digit of the score is also garbled. All sprites appear normally. The game plays perfectly fine otherwise.

post-20528-0-14972500-1416124113_thumb.jpgpost-20528-0-33996800-1416124119_thumb.jpgpost-20528-0-34027400-1416124126_thumb.jpg

I have deep-cleaned the connectors and the inside of the cartridge to no avail. I have no idea if the cartridge or the system is faulty. And just for fun, while cleaning it, I found out you could distort the music by touching the reverse side of the board with an isopropyl alcohol-dipped Q-Tip while the game is running. Cool!

Breaking Pitfall II's sound.wav

 

Solaris

This game seems to have vertical sync difficulties:

WP_20141113_016.wmv

This baffles me because the game is the NTSC red label release, not a PAL release where I'd expect something like this on an NTSC set. At the moment, I can only test the system on two TVs. The other one handles the sync a little better but cannot cope well with the low signal strength from the system. Here's plain old Basic Math:

post-20528-0-27062300-1416124813_thumb.jpg

 

So my overall question is this: is there something wrong with either of these cartridges, is my system at fault, or is there a weird incompatibility involved?

Edited by Cat333pokemon
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Can't really give an answer regarding game specific problems. Do the rest of your 100 games run okay?

 

As for Pitfall making wierd noises, there is a tuned RC circuit inside the cart that controls the pitch of the audio. The RC circuit is sensitive enough that touching the circuit will distort the sound. I had some fun modding my Pitfall II cart with a 1M potentiometer in series with a 220k resistor.

 

Pointless but pretty fun:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/209682-pitfall-ii-tone-adjustment-pot-mod/

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Can't really give an answer regarding game specific problems. Do the rest of your 100 games run okay?

 

Indeed they do. I don't recall any strange oddities in any of the ones I've tested, but I haven't thoroughly tested about two-thirds of them.

 

To be frank, this past week is the first time using the system in a few years. After originally getting it in 2008, I thought it'd be cool to collect some of the relatively common titles just to see what gaming was like in an era long before I was born. At one point, I started needing to bring a list to local game shops so I'd know what I already had and what was new. Then, I lost the AC adaptor (a cheap universal one with a stupid end that came with the system on eBay, which I believe actually damaged the jack) around when I had 50 games, but I didn't stop collecting them until around 95 when I realized there wasn't much point buying games for a system I couldn't use or even remember what I owned.

 

Over this last summer, I've been paring down a LOT of gaming stuff (and a lot of knickknacks and miscellany I had stored away), across all the consoles I own. Any games I didn't like, enjoy, or feel right having in my collection would have to go out the door. Apart from the NES and 2600, everything went pretty smoothly. I picked up an AC adaptor last weekend for both systems so I could finally go through everything, particularly the 2600, where I barely knew any of the titles beyond the obvious (Adventure, Missile Command, Super Breakout, Yars' Revenge, and so on).

 

How the whole cleanup session went down was something like this. First, I checked if the game actually worked. If not, I swabbed it with rubbing alcohol. Once it worked, I tested out the game-play. Is it fun? Is it something I'd actually play if I pulled the system out? Would I play it with friends (multiplayer games)? Do I already own a superior version on another console? By those criteria, I got rid of (well, they're in the corner of the room) about 65 of them and kept the ones that I would play. Most of those weren't tested too thoroughly, but I'll admit I did have a game or two where I got addicted while testing. (And there are only about ten games overall with an AA rarity of 4, and one with 5, Time Pilot.)

 

After all that, I started researching the best games on the console (this thread being one I looked at a lot) and noticed a few titles I had played before that weren't in my collection that I had enjoyed. All but two (Tunnel Runner, H.E.R.O.) of the titles of interest are in my collection now thanks to local shops and eBay, but now I have no idea if I need to replace Pitfall II.

 

 

And that video is silly but really funny. ;) Nice hack.

 

 

I might as well mention that I did spot a Swordquest: WaterWorld at a local shop, but they wanted $200 for it!

post-20528-0-55657600-1416135441_thumb.jpg

 

And speaking of crazy prices, I feel sorry for the suckers who paid $34.95 for Pac-Man in the early '80s.

post-20528-0-74148000-1416135554_thumb.jpg

 

(Yeah, off-topic, but I might as well mention those now.)

Edited by Cat333pokemon

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Seriously??? People and their price stickers...

 

"Let's see I have a game here worth $200... I'm not gonna put it in a sleeve or any kind of protective covering, AND I'm gonna put a sticker right on the label itself... that's SURE to preserve it's value!"

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Activision carts tend to need more cleaning than others as mentioned in this thread. I've had a problem one time with another Atari cart that wouldn't work right with the newer flat TV's so I tried an older analog set. It also could be an issue with the RF box if you have one connected to the TV. A nice replacement is one of these: eBay Auction -- Item Number: 1115141422821?ff3=2&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&item=111514142282&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]

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"Let's see I have a game here worth $200... I'm not gonna put it in a sleeve or any kind of protective covering, AND I'm gonna put a sticker right on the label itself... that's SURE to preserve it's value!"

90% of the time, the label comes off without permanent damage, but I'd be sweating bullets removing it knowing I'd paid $200.

 

But if it's an all out roach poop $300 game but I only paid $5 for it, that's another story...

http://www.nintendoage.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=10&threadid=100979

39B7A1DD-0A5B-490B-469D3DDFE58E0A78.png

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I swabbed the contacts four times with isopropyl alcohol, each time with the swab getting a little lighter. No changes in graphics. Then I did the hairdryer trick to get the label off to swab the insides. It was quite clean in there, but swabbing did not improve it. I just tried jiggling the cartridge, inserting it partway, and leaving it running for a few minutes, and I could not elicit an improvement.

 

It also could be an issue with the RF box if you have one connected to the TV. A nice replacement is one of these: eBay Auction -- Item Number: 1115141422821?ff3=2&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&item=111514142282&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]

That is exactly what I have in use.

Edited by Cat333pokemon

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Have you also tried cleaning the cartridge slot on the Atari with a can of compressed air? There could be little deposits of dirt inside.

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I swabbed the contacts four times with isopropyl alcohol, each time with the swab getting a little lighter. No changes in graphics. Then I did the hairdryer trick to get the label off to swab the insides. It was quite clean in there, but swabbing did not improve it. I just tried jiggling the cartridge, inserting it partway, and leaving it running for a few minutes, and I could not elicit an improvement.

If it makes you feel better, I have a dead Yars Revenge. I started with Q-tips + 91% alcohol. Then I unscrewed the cart (yes this pokes a hole in the label, but soetimes it's necessary to open them). and used my mom's silver polish cloth. Practically turned it black. At tis point, the game was giving a garbled screen with repeating patterns of garbage every few scanlines and horrible screeching/growling noise. I polished the contacts some morw, no change. Then I pulled out the 1200 grit sandpaper. Gold contacts went to silver. Garbled mess. Silver turned to copper. Same Garbled mess. At that point, I just assume the cartridge was shot or bit-rotted, and let it go.

 

Picked up another Yars for $2 at the local game shop. Worked flawless. Soetimes you just find a bad ROM. No other game cart I've ever had failed to work after the silver polish cloth on the contacts. One exception was the roached Panic Restaurant I mentioned earlier. I finally gave up and transplanted the ROMs on a Home Alone 2 PCB with identical board revision and it worked flawless. The efforts paid off but that game was worth a lot of money...

Edited by stardust4ever
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I think my best bet would be to buy another copy of Pitfall II. If the same thing happens, it's my system. If it works fine, the chip has experienced bit rot or other degradation.

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