More Sega Channel prototypes dumped.

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Kiddo Cabbusses, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It's going to blow somebody's mind that there's (probably completely unique) art for Gimmick - the game already has a reputation for being rare and expensive and one of the last hurrahs for the Famicom. Now it's mentioned on an obscure Mega Drive service.

    This all needs copy-editing somewhere on Sega Retro.
     
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  3. Asagoth

    Asagoth

    Behold! The mighty, the flawless, salted cod eater Member
    Akane is one of our most valuable ''wiki warriors '' ... I always thought I would never have the chance to see these "delicious Japanese mags" ever in my life... you guys know how rare they are ... If you're seeing this... Thank You very much Akane... :)/>
     
  4. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

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    Some good Game Toshokan prototype screenshots there, although not the different title screen shown in EGM or some other US mag.

    They also show BBS screenshots with the Mega Modem. I wondered why there wasn't any Mega Modem software for accessing BBSs, but it looks like it might have been planned at some point. And the floppy disk drive featured in a Sorcerian article? That needs translating, I don't think I've ever seen any mention of compatible software before.

    And yeah, these scans are a goldmine, especially the early ones. Good CES coverage too.
     
  5. rganders

    rganders

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    All this stuff you've found is really cool! Been trying to learn a lot about the service as I'm working on a museum display here at the National Videogame Museum in TX, and this place has been an awesome resource. I've also been working a lot with a former Sega Channel employee who's been giving some good information as well. It appears the end all reason for the 2 different versions of adapter had to do with making the service compatible with the two most common types of cable access architecture at the time. Each unit had to be tested with both versions of the Genesis at the time as well as all major revision versions to make sure there were no timing issues. They actually got the X-Band modem to work pretty well with the Sega Channel but it wouldn't play nice with all revisions of the Genesis, so it was scrapped.

    I've also found this...which is some sort of prototype device built by Interactive Network. They had a brief working relationship with Sega and Sega Channel. The idea was to build a way to send scores back to a central hub for contests. They did something similar with people competing while watching game shows and such at home but in limited markets. It obviously didn't make it very far, but have been trying to fill in the gaps on info on the unit. I actually will be taking it to a friend this month or so who will dump it to see what code is there on the ROM chip.

    Prototype

    Also of interest. It looks like he is able to select a game from the menu and it calls from an SD card. You have to go down a few lines of text to select the game again from that short menu....but it's kind of working again.


    Sega Channel Demo
     
  6. Overlord

    Overlord

    ...did we just switch realities? Moderator
    Absolutely fascinating stuff, looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Great to see a museum keeping this stuff alive!
     
  7. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    He just got the Sega Channel mockup ROM to somehow boot to the Mega Everdrive's file browser when it resets after the fake loading sequence (note how he doesn't load any games whenever he's browsing the real SEGA Channel ROMs). All the stuff you see afterwards is folders and files with fancy names.
     
  8. Kiddo Cabbusses

    Kiddo Cabbusses

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    This might be farfetched, but this guy wouldn't happen to know the whereabouts of The Great Earthworm Jim Race, the Mortal Kombat III contest, the "Limited Edition" Super Street Fighter II versions or Garfield: the Lost Levels, would he?
     
  9. rganders

    rganders

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    I think it's maybe the closest we could get to actually recreating the service. The original adapters received the monthly information in a data carousel in something close to DSM CC format but with some proprietary tweaks depending on if the gear changing the img file sent to the Sega Channel was the SA or GI gear. Information received was in interleaved packets once the adapter tuned itself and was able to receive the encrypted information. Something like recreating that would be a herculean feat unless the adapter was tricked somehow into reading a feed from a computer or server as that signal. I saw he only got the one game to boot, but I'm curious if there has to be some sort of manual coding to each menu ROM to get this to work. Not a programmer, so best I can offer is a shrug on how it actually works.

    I had the same question. He does have some old DDS2 tapes from the server that backed up the img file they received from the studio (I believe Foley Hi-Tech). They are from March and April '95 and October '96. The first two may have test drive versions of some games and I think a Sega Channel version of a PICO game. The October '96 tape doesn't have a list online that I could find...so there's an outside shot that a lost game such as Lost Levels is there. I would just need to acquire them or borrow for the display and get them read (and cross my everything they still work).
     
  10. Asagoth

    Asagoth

    Behold! The mighty, the flawless, salted cod eater Member
    Or maybe The Flintstones (Ocean) ... Foley Hi-Tech developed it... www.fht.com (archived) ; www.fht.com/games/ (archived)
     
  11. rganders

    rganders

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    Asagoth, could be as well. Will have no idea unless I secure the tapes and can wrangle the data off of them. Only way to know is with the tapes or if anyone happens to have a list of the October 1996 lineup. Either way, cross our fingers all and hope I can acquire these suckers.

    Also, as far as I know on my prototype, the ROM likely has bitstream code that would feed to whatever chip would be mounted in the center...which is long since lost as the prototype came as is from an electronics recycler. Whatever code it is, once I have a local buddy dump it I will post it for you guys to mess with and for archive purposes.
     
  12. rganders

    rganders

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    Hey All,

    Update on this with a bit of potentially bad news. My contact had advised me after some digging that the tape contains a backup of the entire studio server and not just the monthly imgs. This means it has admin and financial information as well. Although a lot of that is older information, you can imagine the unease of giving up that data. He said he would need to go through and inspect and delete information and doesn't have easy access to the appropriate drive or the time for an intensive project.

    My knowledge of how these old tapes store backups is limited. I'm not sure if they are stored as a recovery file or just essentially a copy and paste of all data set to back up...akin to copying something to an external drive. I did ask if it were possible that if I sent him a drive if he could then just pull the img files and wipe the tape. That way, I could get the artifact of the tape for the collection and display plus the img files to mine for anything of interest. I haven't heard back yet. Also, if the tape stores one instance of the server files and overwrites each time it backs up...then the earlier months are likely lost. But, at least the month where the game list isn't available SHOULD be the month that is on there.

    Let's cross our everything.
     
  13. Kiddo Cabbusses

    Kiddo Cabbusses

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    All that makes me nervous, but I'll take anything over nothing. (insert Mighty No. 9 joke here)

    I'm guessing this may damper my hope for anything from 1994-1995 though...?
     
  14. rganders

    rganders

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    Makes me nervous as well. Far as I'm aware, if it has multiple imgs...it would only be the March and April '95 and October '96 imgs on there based on the markings on the tape. I will keep nudging to see what he thinks and building rapport. I've been touting the excitement about archival and preservation...as well I imagine his pride in that something he worked on being featured in a museum. Although I also hope that last part doesn't make him feel old.

    I've also been loosely in touch with the company behind a lot of the promo merchandise. They've been a help identifying the origin of some merch and even verifying the existence of items I wasn't even aware of. My personal favorite is a can of gummy worms containing "The friends and family of Earthworm Jim."

    If this launches in late March(ish) as expected...anyone around the Dallas, TX area should definitely come check the display out.
     
  15. biggestsonicfan

    biggestsonicfan

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    Did you buy it from this guy?
     
  16. rganders

    rganders

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    Looking at the photos, it's the same prototype down to the lower hinge on that large chip seating being busted.. I initially stumbled on it in the Assembler Forums and worked out a purchase. What info I found on it came from the old Director of Technology for Sega Channel. Once the ROM is dumped, I will share it with you all bot for informational and archival purposes.


    For those interested, I will be bringing my stuff out to the National Videogame Museum here in the DFW area on the 25th to get the display set up. Those who haven't been should make a point to visit if they are in the area. Lots of cool rarities such as a "mini" and color versions of the Vectrex
     
  17. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Who is helping you dump the ROMs and the tapes?
     
  18. rganders

    rganders

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    The ROMs are being dumped by a local fellow collector who specializes in game and console repairs and modifications. He comes highly recommended here in the DFW area.

    I'm still gently nudging every now and again about the tapes from the owner, but bc admin and financial info exists on them....it may be a while.
     
  19. rganders

    rganders

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    So here is the link to the .bin of the chip that was dumped. It doesn't do much and obviously won't actually load. It looks like there is a chip such as perhaps a BIOs, as well as a CPU and other components missing.

    Raw Dump: http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=61035712587583450906

    With ByteSwap: http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=93571807841560828608

    Feel free to have at it and see if there's any info to be had. I doubt the prototype ever really becomes working again, but worth it to archive the code.

    I was also unaware until today that on those menus, you can access and play with the parental code settings by holding Start+A while Sonic runs across the screen.
     
  20. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Thanks for sharing it! I've forwarded this to the MAME crew just in case that they can do something with it.

    EDIT: