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Posted By: Vas Crabb MAME 0.236 - 09/29/21 03:30 AM
MAME 0.236

The big event of the day is here! MAME 0.236 is ready for your enjoyment! Sadly, this month marked the passing of Sir Clive Sinclair, who it could be argued did more to put computers into the hands of everyday people than anyone. There’s a small update to MAME’s ZX Spectrum software list in this release.

The effort to dump and preserve protection microcontrollers is still going well. This month’s additions include Juuouki and Wonder Planet. Protection simulation has been removed for Wonder Planet and Space Harrier. Remember, this is a worthy cause that provides multiple benefits: it improves accuracy by taking guesses out of emulation, helps people maintain and repair ageing arcade boards, and simplifies MAME’s code.

MAME’s NEC PC-8001 now supports floppy disks. The PC-8001 and PC-8801 software lists have been reorganised to match, and a big batch of items from the Neo Kobe collection have been added. MAME continues to improve its NES/Famicom cartridge coverage. There are a whole lot of games you can play now, including Chinese RPGs, fighting game bootlegs, and pirate multi-game cartridges. Experience a parallel universe of software of such inconsistent quality that you can’t stop going down the rabbit hole! Saturn emulation has seen a few improvements, with several games that didn’t boot previously reaching playable status this month.

As you might expect, the FM Towns, PC-98 and V.Smile software lists have been updated as usual. A couple of recently dumped prototypes have been added to the SNES and Game Boy software lists. The SpongeBob SquarePants Jellyfish Dodge game has been dumped and emulated, and a Korean version of Sotsugyo Shousho known as Jor-eop Jeungmyeongseo has been found. More pleasant surprises include working emulation for the IDE protection dongle included in Killer Instinct 2 upgrade kit, and some fixes for Atari 8-bit home computers using the ANTIC video chip.

For people with more exotic tastes, MAME has added its oldest working software list additions: Munching Squares and Punchy for the MIT TX-0. There’s also a new disassembler for the DEC VAX architecture. In more mundane news, you can now reduce the proliferation of duplicate ROM sets for families of similar keyboards and other devices.

Of course, there’s lots more going on, and you can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.
Posted By: Vas Crabb Re: MAME 0.236 - 09/29/21 04:51 AM
Not mentioned in the executive summary, Ville Linde has made some big improvements to the driver for Rolling Extreme, a street luge game from Gaelco. He’s got more coming for 0.237, too.

Somewhat trivially, I managed to optimise code generation for some frequently-used components, slightly reducing the size of MAME and giving a small performance improvement.
Posted By: Stiletto Re: MAME 0.236 - 09/29/21 05:35 PM
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Posted By: =CO=Windler Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/01/21 07:11 PM
Why is the new "Pucman" referred as a gambling game? Did it payout tickets or such? It feels just like a typical homecomputer Pacman clone (nothing chance based). Sprite collision seems to be a bit unreliable and no highscore saving (score disappears during game over into nirvana?), but otherwise nice.

"Danger Express" is typical 1990th eh "photo-realistic" pixelated sprite madness. I thought Pit Fighter was worst Atari here, but this ridiculosity feels like "Machete" B-movie. If there were a SchleFaz category for games (a German TV show about the worst movies of all times), it would definitely fit.

"Head on Channel"... The 90th must have been crazy about TV themed game storylines. "Smash TV", "Must Shoot TV" and now another one.
Posted By: Just Desserts Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/01/21 07:25 PM
The game, like a notable number of other gambling titles, boots into an innocuous-looking game, but can be switched over to its actual gambling-related mode using a switch. The idea is that if an "arcade" owner in the relevant region ends up getting raided, the owner can simply cut power to the games and restart them, at which point they'll be in a perfectly legal-looking game.

The other typical scenario for such a game is that it will have a button combination to quickly put it into a non-gambling mode, in the event that someone is standing in front of the machine at the time that the parlor is raided. This isn't practically different from various MS-DOS games which had a "boss key", in order to fake the idea of looking like productivity software (or a plain command prompt) in order to not result in any reprisals.

As usual, you seem to be completely convinced that you're right about everything, and rather than approaching it from the standpoint of asking the reasonable question of "I don't seem to see anything gambling-related in Pucman, is this correct?" you brashly assert that the MAME developers are a bunch of fuckwits who have somehow YOLO'd their way into emulating thousands of machines despite apparently being so stupid in your view that they would eat their own shit if given half the chance. Maybe you should pause, take a step back, re-evaluate your life choices, and then fuck off to some other community that's willing to put up with your paranoiac bullshit.
Posted By: =CO=Windler Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/02/21 04:08 AM
I am only not on fakebook or whatever you consider your only true official communication channel. I do not consider anybody an idiot but only expected a sorting mistake. (In a list with thousands of games this can happen easily. I am not into slotmachines; how should I know every single arcade game type on Earth?) I think I found the page now.


New working clones
Pucman [Nnap]
unknown 'Pac-Man' gambling game (set 2) [Nnap] 

That the game had a secret mode switch for nations where import or operation of gambling equipment was illegal is interesting. I expected that the default dipshit eh switch setting of MAME would make it boot into that gambling game when marked so. Or does one by design need to hold down a button during each boot to reveal the gambling mode, so the arcade owner could at any time pull the main fuse of the room in case that cops came and so every machine booted itself into the innocent game?

Or has this not a hidden second game at all but includes mixed game rules like this "Pac-Man Battle Casino"?

Here in Germany skill games with money payout are illegal. So arcade machines can be either gambling (chance games like traditional casino games - those with high amounts per play are only alowed in casinos, "recreational" versions also in arcades and bars) or videogames/pinball (skill games, no money payout, found in arcades). I am not sure about the ticket dispenser things, but AFAIK in Germany a cash prize in skill games is only possible as part of a gaming competition. Our most disputed mixed game type are "Free2Play" online games where virtual items cost real money and often have "loot box" chance game features where the player can win such items (those would be expensive if bought for real cash) and sometimes can be sold for real cash outside the game, despite most online game companies "officially" ban this in their terms of use to prevent legal trouble.
Posted By: R. Belmont Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/02/21 11:48 AM
A fair number of these games were made in or for whatever markets don't allow even gambling *themed* games. I think Italy is the primary one, which is also why MAME used to ban gambling themed games.
Posted By: Haze Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/02/21 01:55 PM
Plus just because something is illegal doesn't mean it didn't exist. I had somebody asking me about a German romset for "Route 88" a Nazi hack of Hang-On that was apparently in the back room of some underground Nazi bar / members club over in Germany that got shut down some years ago. Probably long gone though as by the sounds of it the hacked roms were created specifically for that place. (It's a strange thing to be asked about I know)
Posted By: MrBogi Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/02/21 06:37 PM
"... default dipshit eh switch setting of MAME ..."

Is it just me that is offended by that statement?
Posted By: =CO=Windler Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/03/21 04:40 AM
Originally Posted by MrBogi
"... default dipshit eh switch setting of MAME ..."

Is it just me that is offended by that statement?
You are strange people. This is a VERY common pun about DIP switch mess. E.g. DIPshit is the name of a known synth mod to manually change the preset sounds of FM keyboards by inserting a DIP switch block between CPU and FM soundchip data lines.

I think I have found now the hidden mode in "Pucman", which seems to work somewhat like video poker; but I haven't fully figured out how to play. Using coin slot button 6 or 7 (instead of the regular 4 and 5) fill credits in (displayed at PUCMAN) and start gambling mode. Pressing now start will bet money (each a credit, makes POINTS increase by 1 and number below HIT by 500). Pushing joystick up makes pacman encircle the cage (eating 5 ghosts) and 5 numbers appear in the ghost cage, those can be selected with left/right and entered with up. Rarely now another number appears in the upper right (when player has won?) that adds to the EXTRA display (kind of jackpot or won credits?) and in the cage you can select "small/big" (betting on something?). With numbers in the cage, pressing start removes some and instead displays ghosts to be eaten, which may be like selecting cards in videopoker. If the credit counter reached zero, setting further money will withdraw it from EXTRA (the won money). If this is gambling, I don't know if the EXTRA contents can do payout through the coin return chute or if in illegal arcades the player would call the operator to give the money. I am not familiar with that kind of hybrid games.

In Germany we have "Geldspielgeräte" (recreational gambling machines) those often used to have spinning discs (e.g. "Rotamint", "Merkur-Disc") and gameplay resembles casino slotmachine but is slower and eats way less money per hour (and is legally required to payback a certain percentage per hour). Until 2006 each machine could only be legally used commecially for 4 years and then was doomed to become e-waste (unless ending in hands of collectors or party rooms). Nowadays successors have LCD screens and may use the same games like online gambling (but tweaked to German legal requirements) and typically can be only rented by operators. Possibly even the hardware is some kind of generic Android online device running a specialized app.

some (german language) info:

On Youtube I saw a casino car racing machine that looks like a regular 3D arcade videogame cockpit but withdraws a credit into the integrated slotmachine every time you overroll certain symbols... - What a money eater! By legally limited licenses and often changing laws, gambling games are likely even more shortlived than videogames and worth to preserve. Perhaps in 100 years mankind will be mentally or genetically upgraded to loose susceptibility to gambling and Las Vegas became history. Existence of gambling says much about what an illogical species we still are; future people may shake their head about us when studying such games.

I tried also the other secret gambling games mentioned on the page:

The Space Invaders (unksig.zip) is quite fast but at least I reach level 3 (feels like freakish Commodore VC20 stuff - I like that). Like Pucman, unfortunately it clears score too fast and keeps no highscore. The gamble mode seems to be a simple video poker variant with numbers instead of cards. (Shoot the objects = cards you don't hold.)

The Tetris mode of "Cherry Master" feels like a very sad Atari bootleg (monophonic melody, bricks only green, no animations, initially too slow etc.) - possibly intentionally boring by design to deter people from playing the non-gambling mode too long, because it didn't bring much money to the operator.

The game "X-Plan" (although marked defective) does seem to work, but (I don't know if this was again intended) looks like a very boring war plane shooter from a wannawii (SunPlus based chinaware) console. The gambling game again seems the same kind of primitive videopoker variant like in the Invaders (mark the planes = cards you want to hold). To toggle between both games you apparently need to hold 2 of the 3 buttons simultaneously; the one with title screen is the gambling. I hope this wasn't too off-topic.
Posted By: Olivier Galibert Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/03/21 10:12 AM

Posted By: =CO=Windler Re: MAME 0.236 - 10/03/21 11:58 PM

The PCB here was marked as a 'Gum' machine and is from a gambling machine that instead of paying out money would dispense chewing gum as prizes
Other games with 'Gum' in the title also exist, see 'Chewing Gum' and 'Royal Gum' in other drivers for example, these were likely used with similar chewing gum dispensers.

Weren't the first slotmachines generally camouflaged as chewing gum vending machines with additional game to circumvent anti-gambling laws? AFAIK that's why fruit symbols (illustrating available chewing gum flavours) found their way into slotmachines (and from there eventually into the Mr.Do! videogame series).

The "Pucman" and "Invaders" on "4 En Raya" hardware seem to be the only such fascade videogames those are IMO actually fun to play (beside too fast clearing score counter and small glitches). In opposite e.g. "Pacman"/"Super Pacman" (both the same game) on "Cherry Master" hardware are simply boring (likely not even made intentionally bad). Graphics and sound are just uninspiring work-to-rule programming. E.g. the single coloured ghosts don't flash when the pill timer runs out, which makes it hard to play.

If I remember well, bartop arcade machines with small CRT existed (seen in a used goods dealer TV show and likely a game machine catalogue), those had a dozen or so selectable games with simple graphics including skill, quiz and chance (card etc.) games. I am not sure if the latter count as gambling or if payout was possible (likely only won credits for continue play). These were not one facade videogame to hide a "main" gambling feature but simply meant as multigame machines, hence all games had similar (often low) quality.
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