Rebonding an IC to Save Tatakae! Big Fighter

Preserving old arcade games is a niche pastime that can involve some pretty serious hacking skills. If the story here were just that someone pulled the chip from a game, took it apart, and figured out the ROM contents, that’d be pretty good. But the real story is way stranger than that.

Apparently, a bunch of devices were sent to a lab to be reverse engineered and were somehow lost. Nearly ten years later, the devices reappeared, and another group has taken the initiative to recover their contents. The chip in question was part of a 1989 arcade game called Tatakae! Big Fighter, and it had been hacked. Literally hacked. Like with an ax or something worse.

You can read the story of how the contents were recovered. You shouldn’t try this at home without a vent hood and other safety gear. However, they did rebond wires to the device using a clever trick and no exotic equipment (assuming you have some fairly good optical microscopes and a microprobe on a lens positioner).

We’ve looked at another decapsulation recently, but that was on a ceramic device that had not been put through the wringer. That one also didn’t require anything exotic like using UV light to erase security fuses. We’ve seen more clever ROM dumps, but probably none at this technical level of sophistication.

Thanks to [TheMogMiner] for the tip!

10 thoughts on “Rebonding an IC to Save Tatakae! Big Fighter

  1. Cold-soldering* direct to silicon to recover a badly mistreated IC for data recovery, now that is something I didn’t expect.

    *Cold-soldering is in reference to the conductive epoxy stuff they used… (To those who write out at me as Bull-S**-ing: See their page as linked in the article before making such claims! Thanks (-; )

  2. That whole blog is fascinating. He started posting a month ago, there’s only a handful of entries, but they’re all pretty interesting.

    Amongst the interesting tidbits, you can use hot sodium hydroxide in a stainless steel container to dissolve glass coatings on things. (I’ll have to try that some time!)

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