When fully-3D video games started arriving in the early 90s, some companies were more prepared for the change than others. Indeed, it would take nearly a decade of experimentation before 3D virtual spaces felt natural. Even then, Konami seems to have shot themselves in the foot at the beginning of this era with their first foray into 3D arcade games. [Mog] shows us the ins-and-outs of these platforms while trying to bring them back to life via MAME.
These arcade machines were among the first available with fully-3D environments, but compared to offerings from other companies are curiously underpowered, even for the time. They include only a single digital signal processor which is tasked with calculating all of the scene geometry while competing machines would use multiple DSP chips to do the same job. As a result the resolution and frame rate are very low. Nonetheless, [Mog] set out to get it working in MAME.
To accomplish this task, [Mog] turned to a set of development tools provided to developers for Konami in the early 90s which would emulate the system on the PCs of the time. It surprisingly still worked on Windows 10 with minor tweaking, and with some other tools provided over the decades of others working on MAME these old Konami machines have some new life with this emulator support.
Not everything works perfectly, but [Mog] reports that most of the bugs and other issues were recently worked out or are being actively worked on by other experts in the field. If you remember these games from the arcade era of the 80s and early 90s, it might be time to grab an old CRT and fire this one up again.
Continue reading “Reverse-Engineering Forgotten Konami Arcade Hardware”
DRM has become a four-letter word of late, with even media companies themselves abandoning the practice because of how ineffective it was. DRM wasn’t invented in the early 2000s for music, though. It’s been a practice on virtually everything where software is involved, including arcade cabinets. This is a problem for people who restore arcade machines, and [mon] has taken a swing at unraveling the DRM for a specific type of Konami cabinet.
The game in question, Reflec Beat, is a rhythm-based game released in 2010, and the security is pretty modern. Since the game comes with a HDD, a replacement drive can be ordered with a security dongle which acts to decrypt some of the contents on the HDD, including the game file and some other information. It’s not over yet, though. [mon] still needs to fuss with Windows DLL files and a few levels of decryption and filename obfuscation before getting the cabinet functional again.
The writeup on this cabinet is very detailed, and if you’re used to restoring older games, it’s a bit of a different animal to deal with than the embedded hardware security that older cabinets typically have. If you’ve ever wanted to own one of these more modern games, or you’re interested in security, be sure to check out the documentation on the project page. If your tastes are more Capcom and less Konami, check out an article on their security system in general, or in de-suiciding boards with failing backup batteries.
In case you missed it back in June, the Palm Pre was rooted by extracting the Root ROM from a Palm tool used to reset a device with damaged software. A lot has been learned from examining the code inside that ROM but we’re most amused by one thing in particular. If you grew up in the 80’s there’s a pretty good chance you know the Konami Code by heart. So did the developers of WebOS, the firmware running on the Palm Pre. By inputting the familiar (UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRightBA) set of gestures the handset enters Developer mode for connection to the SDK which was leaked last summer but is now in open release.
[Joven] wrote in to show us his unique NES controller mod. He initially thought of just putting some flash storage in his controller like so many others. Then he got the idea to a security feature. You must first enter a code to access the memory. What code? Yes, that one. He chose the Konami code. As he notes, this may not be the wisest choice for security purposes, but it sure is cool. At least it isn’t controlling something that really would require security, like his door. You can see a video describing the project after the break.
Continue reading “Nes Controller Storage With Security”