lørdag den 17. september 2022

Super NES Score Master @ SNES Classic Mini MOD

After spending some time with the SNES Classic Mini, and all the good SNES games that now can be saved at will, I was in the mood for some modding. I had already softmodded the SNES Classic Mini with hakchi2, and added a ton of the best SNES titles, but now I wanted to mod some hardware.

Since i don't have the urge to have the complete SNES library on the console, I didn't make sense for me to upgrade the storage. I had already performed an Internal OTG mod on my PlayStation Classic, and I assume that the exact same mod would be possible on this little machine. Sine I had already done that mod, and since the internal storage is more than enough for my requirements, I decided to mod an accessory instead.

I do like to play SHMUPS from time to time, and therefor I decided that it could be a great idea to have an arcade stick for the system. There are some 3rd party arcade sticks for the Classic Mini, but because I wanted to use my solder iron again, I instead bought an official SNES Score Master, and a cheap ORB Classic Mini controller. From here on the mission was to merge these two units together, so that I can use the buttons / stick from the original SNES Score Master in combination with the ORB controller, so that it translates my input to the SNES Classic Mini interface.

The nice thing about the Orb controller is that it is cheap and has all the same Turbo-options as the original Score Master arcade stick. Besides that, it also has the "home menu" option (DOWN + SELECT), that different 3rd party controllers have.

At this point i did not connect all the turbo buttons, but maybe I will connect these sometime in the future, if I decide to spend some more time with this stick. The thing is that the Score Master uses a membrane pressure plate approach instead of microswitches. This leaves the Score Master in the very low end, when it comes to precision and playability. The stick works, but is very unresponsive, and therefor I would probably use a standard SNES controller instead, or an arcade stick with Sanwa / Seimitsu parts.

I'm somewhat ambivalent about this mod. On one side it was fun to do some hardware modding again, but on the other side the stick performs so bad that I wouldn't use it in practice. I do like the overall build quality and the fact that it's an official stick, though. The whole history and nostalgia of the stick has some value to me, that in some ways counter the negative fact that the stick performs bad in practice.

If someone knows a good way to make a membrane stick usable, please post a comment.

mandag den 8. august 2022

PlayStation Vita - Physical PAL list


Last updated: 8/8-2022

☢ Games I consider rare.
❤ Games I consider "must haves".
✔ Games I own in my collection.

>>>Physical PlayStation Vita PAL releases
  1. 7'sCarlet
  2. 99Vidas
  3. A Rose In The Twilight ☢
  4. Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault ✔
  5. Akiba's Beat
  6. Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed ✔
  7. Angry Birds: Star Wars
  8. Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!!
  9. Army Corps of Hell ✔
  10. Asphalt: Injection ✔
  11. Assassin's Creed III: Liberation ✔
  12. Assassin's Creed: Chronicles
  13. Atelier Shallie Plus
  14. Axiom Verge
  15. Bad Apple Wars
  16. Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate ✔
  17. Ben 10: Galactic Racing ✔
  18. Best of Arcade Games
  19. Bit Dungeon Plus
  20. BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend
  21. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend ✔
  22. Borderlands 2 ✔
  23. Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils
  24. Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified ✔
  25. Chaos;Child
  26. Child of Light: Complete Edition
  27. Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~
  28. Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~
  29. Collar X Malice
  30. Corpse Party: Blood Drive ✔
  31. Criminal Girls Invite Only
  32. Criminal Girls 2 Party Favors
  33. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  34. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
  35. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
  36. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
  37. Darkest Dungeon
  38. Dead or Alive 5 Plus
  39. Death Mark
  40. Deception IV: Blood Ties
  41. Demetrios
  42. Demon Gaze
  43. Demon Gaze 2
  44. Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention ✔
  45. Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited
  46. Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes ✔
  47. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
  48. Dragon's Crown ✔
  49. Drive Girls
  50. Dungeon Hunter: Alliance ✔
  51. Dungeon Travelers 2
  52. Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legend
  53. Dynasty Warriors: Next ✔
  54. Earth Defense Force 2
  55. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two ✔
  56. Everybody's Golf ✔
  57. F1 2011 ✔
  58. Farming Simulator 14 ✔
  59. Farming Simulator 16
  60. Farming Simulator 18
  61. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star
  62. FIFA 13 ✔
  63. FIFA 14
  64. FIFA 15 ✔
  65. FIFA Football ✔
  66. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster ✔
  67. Football Manager Classic 2014 ✔
  68. Freedom Wars ✔
  69. Gal*Gun: Double Peace ✔
  70. God Eater 2: Rage Burst
  71. God of War Collection ✔
  72. God Wars: Future Past
  73. Grand Kingdom
  74. Gravity Rush ✔
  75. Gundemoniums
  76. Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms
  77. Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
  78. Handball 16
  79. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd
  80. History: Legends of War
  81. Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart
  82. Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection
  83. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation
  84. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation
  85. Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed
  86. Ice Cream Surfer
  87. Injustice: Gods Among Us
  88. Invizimals: The Alliance ✔
  89. Invizimals: The Resistance ✔
  90. Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge
  91. J-Stars Victory VS Plus
  92. Killzone: Mercenary ✔
  93. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes ✔
  94. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham ✔
  95. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 ✔
  96. LEGO Jurassic World ✔
  97. LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval's Journey ✔
  98. LEGO Marvel Avengers ✔
  99. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes ✔
  100. LEGO Ninjago: Shadow Of Ronin ✔
  101. LEGO Ninjago: Nindroids ✔
  102. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  103. LEGO The Hobbit
  104. LEGO The Lego Movie Videogame ✔
  105. LEGO The Lord of the Rings ✔
  106. Little Deviants ✔
  107. LittleBigPlanet PSVita ✔
  108. LittleBigPlanet PSVita Marvel Edition ✔
  109. Looney Tunes Galactic Sports
  110. Lost Dimension
  111. Lumines: Electronic Symphony ✔
  112. Lumo
  113. Mary Skelter: Nightmares
  114. MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies
  115. MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
  116. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection ✔
  117. Michael Jackson: The Experience HD ✔
  118. Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition
  119. ModNation Racers: Road Trip ✔
  120. Mortal Kombat ✔
  121. MotoGP 13 ✔
  122. MotoGP 14 ✔
  123. MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship
  124. Muv-Luv
  125. Muv-Luv: Alternative
  126. MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame
  127. Natural Doctrine ✔
  128. Necrosphere: Deluxe
  129. Need For Speed: Most Wanted ✔
  130. New Little King's Story ✔
  131. Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus ✔
  132. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus ✔
  133. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir
  134. One Piece: Burning Blood
  135. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 ✔
  136. One Piece: Unlimited World Red ✔
  137. Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy
  138. Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy
  139. Period: Cube: Shackles Of Amadeus
  140. Persona 4: Dancing All Night
  141. Persona 4: Golden ✔
  142. Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz
  143. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale ✔
  144. PlayStation Vita Pets ✔
  145. Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk
  146. Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly
  147. Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness
  148. Punch Line
  149. Putty Squad
  150. Rayman Legends ✔
  151. Rayman Origins ✔
  152. Reality Fighters ✔
  153. Resistance: Burning Skies ✔
  154. Riddled Corpses EX
  155. Ridge Racer ✔
  156. Root Letter
  157. Rugby 15
  158. Rugby World Cup 2015
  159. Sayonara UmiharaKawase++
  160. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus ✔
  161. Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen ✔
  162. Silent Hill: Book of Memories ✔
  163. Slain Back From Hell
  164. Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time ✔
  165. Smart As... ✔
  166. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed ✔
  167. Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God
  168. Soul Sacrifice ✔
  169. Space Hulk ✔
  170. SpongeBob HeroPants
  171. Spy Hunter ✔
  172. Steins;Gate ✔
  173. Steins;Gate 0
  174. Stranger of Sword City
  175. Street Fighter X Tekken ✔
  176. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz ✔
  177. Superbeat: Xonic
  178. Superdimension Neptune VS SEGA Hard Girls
  179. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
  180. Sword Art Online: Lost Song ✔
  181. Tadeo Jones
  182. Tadeo Jones Y El Manuscrito Perdido
  183. Tales of Hearts R
  184. Tearaway ✔
  185. Terraria
  186. Teslagrad ✔
  187. Tetris Ultimate ✔
  188. The Amazing Spider-Man
  189. The Bard's Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled
  190. The Count Lucanor
  191. The Deer God
  192. The Jak and Daxter Trilogy
  193. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
  194. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
  195. The Longest Five Minutes
  196. The Long Reach
  197. The Muppets: Movie Adventures ✔
  198. The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy
  199. The Sly Trilogy
  200. Tokyo Tattoo Girls
  201. Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters
  202. Tokyo Xanadu
  203. Top Trumps Turbo
  204. Touch My Katamari
  205. Toukiden: Kiwami
  206. Toukiden: The Age of Demons ✔
  207. Toukiden 2
  208. Trillion God of Destruction
  209. Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 ✔
  210. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ✔
  211. Unit 13 ✔
  212. Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni
  213. Vasara Collection
  214. Vegas Party
  215. Velocity 2X: Critical Mass Edition
  216. Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition ✔
  217. WipEout 2048 ✔
  218. World of Final Fantasy
  219. WRC 3: FIA World Rally Championship ✔
  220. WRC 4: FIA World Rally Championship ✔
  221. WRC 5
  222. Xblaze: Code: Embryo
  223. Yomawari: Midnight Shadows
  224. Yomawari: Night Alone
  225. Ys: Memories of Celceta
  226. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
  227. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games
  228. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward ✔

>>>Physical PAL releases (Game = Download Code):

Motorstorm: RC

Resistance: Retribution

fredag den 10. juni 2022

Sega Master System II A/V mod + 50/60 Hz mod

Recently I bought a Sega Master System II from a retro game store. I bought it because I thought that it could be fun to do some soldering again, and to perform an A/V and 50/60 Hz mod. Without knowing it, the console that I received had already been modded, but since the mod work looked terrible, I decided to clean it up instead.

There was several problems with the mod. First, almost all the soldering points were "cold soldering" and had to be reworked. Next, there had been used a lot of hot glue, that I had to clean up. Then there was a defect switch that I had to replace, that required some case work. Last but not least, the mod itself missed some components to clean up the image quality on the composite signal.

I did not have the right component at the time of the modding, therefore I still need to open up the console some day and add a capacitor and a resister in series with the composite line. That's no big deal, and I will probably do it some day in the future. But for now I'm happy with the result of my cleanup work.

A couple of days later, I got a hold of another Sega Master system II. this time around, the unit had not previously been modded, which meant that I now had the opportunity to perform the mod from scratch. After cleaning the unit, I did the similar mod to the first Sega Master System II, that I had been worked on some days before.

This unit was another revision then the unit I cleaned up. It has the game Alex Kidd build in, instead of Sonic, and the RGB encoder chip, from where I tap the composite signal, is a different one. Minor changes, but in general the mod is performed in the same way.

This time around, I had found a useful capacitor that I added to the composite signal. This has a great impact on the image quality, compared to the other unit. I still need to add a resistor to fine tune the black/white balance. Here I'm considering using a variable resistor, that I don't have at the moment, and need to acquire first.

When it comes to the 50/60Hz switch on this unit, I decided to find some other connection points for the GND and +5V. I connected both of these to the transistor on the left side of the PCB.

I'm happy with the result, and it is nice to have the option to run the games in 60Hz!

Next up, I will probably buy the right component, to improve the image quality further, and remove the RF unit and instead install a DIN connector for some RGB video out. That should be a simple task, since the RGB Encoder offers all the connections needed for this signal.

torsdag den 9. juni 2022

PlayStation 4 Pro Airflow mod

Some days ago, I was helping my friend to get his PS4 Pro up and running. He had bought the console preowned and the USB ports were busted, but I managed to get the system running. After testing it with some games, the system started to make a lot of noise, almost like a jet engine. I know that some PS4 Pro revisions has some noise issues with the system fan, so I removed the topcover, and the noise level got back to normal.

There are 3 revisions of the PS4 Pro: The CUH-7000 which is the Launch model. The CUH-7100 revision that came later, and the CUH-7200 revision, that was the final one. All models look basically the same, besides minor details externally, and some more changes inside the unit. Some bigger improvements, with the later revisions, has to do with the heat and noise level.

I have previously seen people cut holes in the topcover of the PS4 Pro, to enable another source of fresh air to the system fan. From what I can tell, the people who have done these similar airflow mods, has experiences lover temperatures, and lover noise levels. I assume that the lower noise level is the result of more efficient cooling, that makes the fan spin at a lover speed, making less noise.

That said, I also read on a forum, that a user was arguing that it is a bad idea to perform this mod, because it could mess up the airflow that the engineers at Sony had originally designed, meaning that some other parts of the console that requires cooling, now potentially could get hotter.
After I saw the positive result removing the topcover on my friend's PS4 Pro, I decided it was time to perform the airflow mod on my system, which is the CUH-7100 revision - CUH-7116B to be precise.

Before I removed the topcover, I put on some tape as reference lines. The shape of the PS4 Pro, can make it difficult to transform the precise center point of the fan, to the topcover. With these reference lines, it was a simple task, and the result it somewhat easy to remember. Measured from the top edges of the console, the center of the fan is located 7 cm from the front and 6 cm from the side.

With the cover removed, and the center point marked on some tape, I borrowed my daughter's pencil, ruler and compass, and draw a circle, that matched the diameter of the fan. The fan has a diameter of 80 mm. After I drew that, I used the same compass setting (40 mm) to make some points on the circle. This resulted in a total of 6 points, that I connected. I connected these points to the center point, and made markings for every cm of the outer ring, and on the lines connected to the center. I drew some more inner circles connecting these new points, and drew more markings in these circles, still with the 1 cm spacing.

After I had all the markings drawn onto the tape, I used my drill tool and made all the holes. I decided to make the holes rather small (~1.5 mm), so I don't have to worry about using dust filters.

lørdag den 19. marts 2022

EverSD review

After I messed a bit around with an Evercade SD adaptor, I reached out to the guys from EverSD, and asked for a review copy of their product. They were kind enough to send me a free review copy if I covered the shipping cost.

I have spent some time playing with the product so in this review I will share my thought about it and in the end conclude if it's any good and if it's worth the money. 

First, let me describe what the EverSD is, and what its purpose is. The EverSD is a cartridge for the Evercade / Evercade VS system, that makes it possible to copy software directly to a micro SD card and then insert the micro SD card into the EverSD cartridge. After that, you just insert the EverSD into your console, and it runs the software on your system. This way you are not limited to the software that Blaze has released on the official cartridges. Instead you have the option to run anything you want on the Evercade systems. Or at least that's the theory.

Solutions like this exists on a lot of different consoles. It always seems to split the crowd into two groups. One group argues that these solutions glorify pirating games and as a result causes a drop in sales of the games for the system. The other group however focuses on the whole homebrew aspect instead.

When it comes to the EverSD, I don't think that this solution opposes the sales of original Evercade games in any way. The main reason for that is that the entire Evercade concept doesn't attract people who just want to play pirate games in the first place. Instead collectors who enjoy the full cartridge / manual / box collecting thing. People who don't care about collecting would probably just have chosen a Raspberry Pie solution or similar, right away. In those cases the entire EverSD aspect would be irrelevant and you would simply be able to insert the micro SD card directly into the system. I cannot imagine anyone buying the Evercade only to use it with an EverSD to play pirated games. The reasoning behind that argument is that there are so many better options out there, if that's your thing.

For the purpose of this review, I tested the EverSD with some ROMs for different systems, and the result was as expected. Some games worked fine, other games would not start up at all. A couple of games had issues with the controls ingame whilst other games froze or switched to black screen while loading. However this is not the EverSD not working, but instead compatibility issues with some games that are not optimized for the Evercade system in the first place. I tested the same games with the micro SD adaptor that I build, and I had the exact same issues. Without having opened up the EverSD unit, I assume that the internal PCB is just a micro SD adaptor, with a similar layout to the one that I built myself, just in a more sleek way where the micro SD slot is soldered directly to the cartridge PCB.

With that in mind, the hardware part of the EverSD does the job when it comes to providing the right connections between the micro SD card and the Evercade unit. I would assume that it is possible to mess around with RetroArch and different cores for a lot of different systems, and in that way achieve better compatibility results.

Up until this point, the EverSD does the job regarding the goal of letting the player have full control of what software is about to run on the Evercade. That said, there are some trouble when it comes to the patching of the firmware, that effects the use of the EverSD. The reason for this is, that the EverSD in theory uses the same technology as an official game cart. The official game cards use an SD chip that is soldered directly onto the PCB instead of using a micro SD cart that is removable. The big issue here is that the official SD chips has a lot less storage space (<512 MB), which is used as part of the copy protection provided in the official firmware, to deny the use of SD cards that are larger in capacity. That means that the official firmware has to be patched, to let the system unlock the ability to use larger micro SD cards, ignoring the capacity cap check. 

In practice, it does mean that the user dependents on the EverSD software. Since Blaze is updating the official firmware from time to time, countering the EverSD patching software in the process, the user has to be sure that there is an updated patch available on the EverSD download page, before updating the official firmware. At the time of this review, the official firmware is at 2.0.4, and the EverSD patch only supports up until firmware 2.0.1. If the user therefore updates the firmware to the latest version, the EverSD won't work, until EverSD releases a new patch. Since my Evercade VS has the latest firmware installed, I haven't had the opportunity to test the EverSD on my VS. All the testing has therefore been done on my Evercade handheld.

When it comes to the software, EverSD offers some user-friendly programs to patch the firmware and to transfer games to the micro SD card. Overall, EverSD does a fine job on the software front. That said, I would still encourage EverSD to prioritize releasing up-to-date patches regarding newer firmware versions.

Now I would like to talk about some things that I don't like about the EverSD, and that is the finish of the product itself. When you look at the pictures on the EverSD website, the unit looks sharp, clean and beautiful. I am aware that the pictures are screenshots from the 3D software, that EverSD has used to draw the unit, but to me, they appear misleading compared to the actual product. The problem is that the real unit itself looks and feels like a cheap piece of SLS print, which immediately results in a big disappointment as soon as you unpack it. The different in the overall finish, compared to the product you saw on the website, is simply huge. Especially if you have just bought the EverSD for the full price, I would assume that the disappointment would be big. In my opinion, EverSD should upload some real photos of their product, to avoid this disappointment for future customers.

Another issue that I have to talk about is that fact that the EverSD cartridge seems to use slightly different measurements, than the official cartridges, which leads to trouble inserting and removing the EverSD in the Evercade handheld and VS units. I had to use a good amount of force when using the EverSD, which seems like something that could damage the system (and EverSD) in the long run. I don't understand why this is even an issue in the first place, since it should be straight forward to take some precise measurements and copy these numbers. A product that don't fit or only fits badly, is a serious problem in my book, and I would recommend that EverSD steps up there game, when it comes to quality control.

Now to the conclusion. Is the EverSD worth your money? At the time of this review, EverSD is asking €40 + shipping for the EverSD card. Depending on your understanding regarding what the EverSD actually is, and your skill set to make a micro SD adaptor yourself, it may be an okay option, if money is no issue.

At this point, I think that EverSD is a mixed bag and all over the place. It is a great concept and a very useful product, but with an awful finish regarding the surface of the product and the inaccurate dimensions. The software is easy to understand and user-friendly, but there are major problems with patches that are out of date and need updates. The website is beautiful and offers great info on the product, but misleads at the same time the costumer when it comes to what to expect of the hardware itself.

If EverSD takes care of these issues in the future, I think they could have a strong product well worth the €40. As for now, I think the issues are too serious to ignore, and therefore I don't think that the EverSD is worth the €40.

Lastly, I would like to share some thought about the EverSD and how I think the product could improve. After fixing the existing issues mentioned above, it would be awesome if the EverSD would be packed in a box and with a manual similar to the official Evercade games, instead of just an simple antistatic bag. The box could be the exact same as the ones used for games and the cover could be something in a different color, with the mentioning of homebrew or development kit, or something like that.

The manual could include some introduction to some easy and user-friendly development software, that the user could dive into with the purpose of developing homebrew games for the system. It could even be some cooperation with companies who makes development tools for retrogames. A small guide book with some tips & tricks regarding entering the homebrew scene.

Here at the end, I would like to make a shout-out to the guys from EverSD, and to thank them for providing me a review sample. I hope you guys will improve the EverSD in the future!

Update 25. april 2022:

I just noticed that there has been released a new EverPatcherVS (version 1.3) on the EverSD website. Back when I wrote the review, one of my complaints was the missing support for the Evercade VS, once it had been updated with newer firmware. With the release of the EverPatcherVS 1.3 I decided to see if it would work. I had the newest official firmware installed (2.1.0), when I attempted to install the custom EverSD firmware with EverPatcherVS 1.3. Once the firmware was installed, it was time to test the system again!

The system booted up just fine, showing a small EverSD logo in the top corner of the dashboard, and removing the newly implemented "game of the month" option in the process. I can't tell what official firmware the newest EverSD firmware uses as base, but that said, I had to test the EverSD unit with some games!

And here were are again... The mixed results. The firmware - the software - itself works! I can confirm this with my microSD adapter cartridge, that I build myself. The problem is, that I don't see any games when I'm using the EverSD unit. Since the EverSD is most likely the exact same build as the microSD adapter cartridge, I would assume that there is a hardware problem with the unit. Therefor, I tested the EverSD unit in my Evercade Handheld, with the new lineup of games that I copied to the micro SD card. On the handheld, the games show up, and the EverSD seems to work fine.

Since I know for a fact that the new custom firmware on the VS is compatible with the software on the microSD, and the EverSD work on the handheld but not the VS, I would assume that there is a hardware issue between the EverSD and the VS unit. As described in the review, I noticed that the EverSD fits very poorly in the VS unit, which make it possible that the connection between the EverSD and the VS has some issues. I can't say for sure, but I would not be surprised, if the problem has something to do with the poor measurements on the EverSD unit, that makes the unit fit extremely tight and imprecise in the Evercade VS unit.

With that said, my new conclusion would be that EverSD offers some great software, but as long as the hardware seems to offer imprecise measurements and poor build quality, I can't recommend spending €40 on this product, unless you really want to gamble and hope for the best. I hope EverSD will improve the hardware in the future!