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We recently managed to finally buy one Bandai Gundam RX-78 game (Challenge Golf) and it's now dumped, unfortunately game is not working in both MAME or Takeda's emulator which makes me doubt if the dump is good or might be some emulation issue. Could someone please have a look and see if you can figure out why the game won't load?
This was dumped as a 27c128 which TE is confident is correct, but the game doesn't use a standard EPROM.

Dump available here:
http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=79609334795461234922

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It seems to boot once you invert A13 (so, swap the 2 rom halves).
The ROM is loaded in addresspace $2000-$5FFF. I think the dump is correct, and MAME is wrong.

Last edited by hap; 09/24/17 08:51 PM.
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Interesting thanks for looking, same exact behavior with Takeda's emulator so I wonder if his dumping process (he uses the actual machine to dump the carts) is creating the dumps with A13 inverted and this lead to the wrong implementation on the emulators?
The existing BASIC cart dump does work in both emulators, so if that's true that dump would need to be fixed I guess?

The video output in MAME has lots of issues btw, hopefully this can be fixed now that we have one dump available. The game is also incredibly sluggish, but I think that's just how bad it is smile

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Yeah, if you read $2000-$5FFF sequentially, it reads the 2nd half of the physical ROM first, and then the 1st half($2000-3FFF CPU A13=1, $4000-$5FFF CPU A13=0).

From a user point of view, sequential data file(easy to disasm) + emulator cross compatibility is nice. But if we're going to be purists, a 1:1 copy of the ROM chip is better.

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Link doesn't work. Firefox gives white screen, IE gives error 500.

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You can load it in MAME by appending this to the rx78.xml:

Code
<software name="chlgolf">
		<description>Challenge Golf</description>
		<year>1983</year>
		<publisher>Bandai</publisher>
		<part name="cart" interface="rx78_cart">
			<dataarea name="rom" size="16384">
				<rom name="ChallengeGolf.bin" size="0x2000" crc="e4edf5c3" sha1="25322dbf6b8f80604aebe87cc375e5a63b98b6d6" offset="0x2000" />
				<rom size="0x2000" offset="0x0000" loadflag="continue" />
			</dataarea>
		</part>
	</software>


Game can be started by pressing home key then end (1 player / level 2 settings), I have no hell of an idea about why.

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Originally Posted by TeamE
here are the files:


Thanks! smile

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[Linked Image]

Any reference screenshot would be great.
Also how to play wouldn't hurt as well, I suspect there are input bugs.

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Kale, how did you get those graphics? This is what I see in MAME:
https://imgur.com/a/f4IN4

A complete mess as you can see smile

The controls seem correct, thing is these games come with a controller overlay that you put on top of the keyboard the 1/2 player buttons just happen to end up on top of the Home and Del buttons of the RX-78 machine. This is such a great oddball machine, a pity that its preservation status is so poor.

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I am not up to date. How do you load the game called "Challenge Golf"?

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ssj Offline OP
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Add the game to the rx78 softlist just like Kale instructed and then load it in MAME using softlists and you'll be up and running. Graphics are broken for me though, unsure if Kale made applied any code fix to get it to run as in that screenshot. Works fine in Takeda's emu if you swap the ROM halves.

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Thanks ssj for your help. Please check my PM.

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Yes, I did some code changes fwiw.
Also need to check out Takeda's emu then.

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The colours aren't *that* terrible, but not that good either. The main thing is the sky should be blue not green, and the text/player/flag should be white not yellow.

The game is actually quite awful, and I defy anyone to score less than 30 on a hole. When you consider that the putter goes further than an iron, well...

The controls that I've figured out are: keys in the middle row, and ] select different clubs, or Ctrl to cycle through them. Z,X,C,V to rotate the player. Arrow keys to rotate the view. Alt or Space to make a shot. If you hold down Space for a fraction too long, he'll try to hit the ball toward you, nothing happens, and you've wasted a shot.

Player 1 or 2: Home = 1, Backspace = 2
Level 1 or 2: Backslash = 1, End = 2

Enter abandons the hole and goes to the next one.

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Originally Posted by Robbbert
The colours aren't *that* terrible, but not that good either. The main thing is the sky should be blue not green, and the text/player/flag should be white not yellow.

The game is actually quite awful, and I defy anyone to score less than 30 on a hole. When you consider that the putter goes further than an iron, well...

The controls that I've figured out are: keys in the middle row, and ] select different clubs, or Ctrl to cycle through them. Z,X,C,V to rotate the player. Arrow keys to rotate the view. Alt or Space to make a shot. If you hold down Space for a fraction too long, he'll try to hit the ball toward you, nothing happens, and you've wasted a shot.

Player 1 or 2: Home = 1, Backspace = 2
Level 1 or 2: Backslash = 1, End = 2

Enter abandons the hole and goes to the next one.


Thanks for the control key explanation. smile

"The main thing is the sky should be blue not green, and the text/player/flag should be white not yellow."

Not only, the colors for the mountains, some parts of the golf ground and so forth are wrong too.

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Well, I managed to get the ball in the cup in just 12 shots, and a scorecard screen appeared. All very nice - except the game stopped responding at that point.

[Linked Image]

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I tried finding more videos of RX-78 stuff, but Youtube could only give me pages and pages of stuff on some stupid toy.

Here's an advert for the machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRIrR7HVDyU

Kale found a few, here they are:

- Perfect Mah-Jongg https://youtu.be/h4jgPWOJ5sg
- Excite Baseball https://youtu.be/g2xeLdiIlqE
- Mobil Suit https://youtu.be/i-2HX8tIVAg (it says Mobile Suit on the box)

And Takeda's page has pictures of TheProwrestling and the 3 Dimension thingy. http://takeda-toshiya.my.coocan.jp/rx78/index.html

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I've dumped quite a few new RX-78 games and sent them to SSJ to get added to MAME but there's two I am unable to run as they are 32KB instead of 16KB. I am wondering if its because the emulator address space doesn't go that high when loading the ROM? I've put the ROMs here if somebody wants to try to mess with them. I only tried them on Takeda's emulator so far and not MAME. I believe they're both good dumps but I can try to redump them if someone thinks they are no good.

The motocross one is actually two 16KB chips on one board, only one like that. But you can see a pinout and a picture from a blog post someone did about it here - https://re-enthused.com/hardware/rx-78-cartridge-information/

Sekigahara I got to boot to the title screen by taking the first moving the first 8K of the ROM to the end of it but the logo of the game doesn't seem to load and i can't get it to do anything. According to the manual space bar should start the game, I think it also oddly uses the 2nd controller port instead of the 1st maybe.

You can get the two 32KB dumps here - https://www.gamingalexandria.com/rx78/

Also just added a tape dump to that folder. I haven't gotten it to work in Takeda's emulator yet though, maybe it will in MAME? You need to load the BASIC cart first then type -

MON
*L
FILE NAME:GRM

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I adjusted the driver to handle 32k carts, and then rearranged the rom a bit, and sekigahara loaded up and showed a screen. However there's keyboard issues that prevent it going any further.

The motocross lower rom has a problem, both halves are identical. Can you try dumping it again?

The tape could not be loaded, producing a CHECK SUM ERROR. It sounds rather wobbly, any chance of a redump?

Haven't heard from SSJ in a long time.

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Do you have the RX78 currently in your possession?
Glancing over the MAME driver, there is a lot of guesswork, caused by not knowing the hardware details. Simple things like the Z80 frequency and the amount of internal RAM.

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After poking about a bit with sekigahara, got this:

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

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I do have the RX78 in my possession and will be happy to assist however I can with improving the driver. The colors as have been noted before are wrong and are in Takeda's emulator as well.

I'm a bit confused with Motocross, upon looking at the chip numbers i see 64 in them so maybe it's a 2764 chip and not 27128. So I redumped both and put them in the folder, once as 128 and once as 64. Hopefully these may work, I just wonder if they're linked differently due to being the longer PCB than small one all the others were.

Tried another recording of the tape, this time at 22hz though for me that made no difference sadly.

That's promising on Sekigahara! I got a bit of translation from the manual on how to maybe play the game?

1) Press space
2) "Which number will Tokugawa Ieyasu be?" will be displayed on screen
3) Tilt joystick 2 in any direction from 1 through 4.
1 corresponds to unit 7; 2 to unit 8; 3 to unit 9; 4 to unit 10.

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Also just uploaded photos of the 3 PCB types I came across while dumping these. The first pick contains pcbs for Motocross (The long one) and sekigahara. The other one is the one i found in all the others.

I contacted the guy who's blog i linked to earlier with the pinout for the long cart and he said that was his pro wrestling cart. Which mine was the shorter PCB. So both types were used for the various games it seems. Glad that was the only long one I have run into so far.

I managed to find Excite Baseball and Space Enemy on some random Japanese shopping site and had a friend in Japan order them for me so will have those soon and get them done. We're getting there!

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Originally Posted by Hubz
I
Tried another recording of the tape, this time at 22hz though for me that made no difference sadly.

are these standard audio tapes?

remember volume can be important (you typically want as high as possible *without* clipping)

Sample at whatever the highest setting your input device has, if you're using something with fancy equalizer settings, make sure they're all turned off etc. as bass enhancements and fake spatial effects aren't going to do us any good here as they're more likely to corrupt the data ;-)

try a different cassette deck etc.

most cassette media, unless it was well stored, is gong to be in a bad state at this point unfortunately.

sometimes with these old games, the game was recorded on the b-side as well, so if one copy becomes corrupt the other might not be (no idea if Japan did this too)

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I'm not sure if these are standard tapes but I am assuming so. Yeah I recorded at a high volume while avoiding clipping, i will try on a higher rate again just to see. No equalizer settings or anything either.

This is a deck I recently picked up that successfully dumped quite a few Fujitsu FM-7 tapes I had previously had issues with on two other decks with so I think it should be okay hopefully. Tapes are for sure are a difficult media to preserve though in my experience.

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Originally Posted by Robbbert
Haven't heard from SSJ in a long time.
I've been around here smile

This progress is promising, finally we are managing to make some decent progress preserving this incredibly rare (and expensive!) system.

Would be nice and some others interested on this would let us know so we can coordinate on buying some of the rarer games if/when they show up, we've seen some going for up to $2k a pop.

@hap, Hubz has the system already asked him to check the colors which are very wrong. Would be great to have that fixed while the system is still on his possession.

@Hubz, 2 more games that's pretty cool! Seems bringing some attention to the system is paying off. I hope the tape is good, if ranger_lennier was around he might be able to help cleaning up the audio, but he seems to be MIA unfortunately.

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I've scanned all the stuff now so I can upload whatever you need for that as well. I've uploaded the Sekigahara manual to that previously posted link if you'd like to view to maybe help play the game.

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hap, i scanned the system manual as well which may have some of the information you're looking for. It's uploaded here - https://archive.org/details/bandai-rx-78-gundam-manual-scans

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Thanks, it says the Z80 runs at 4.1MHz which makes the strange /7 frequency divider plausible.
30KB RAM total (15 SRAM chips of 2KB each)

Is this video yours?

You can indeed see the 15 SRAM chips, the chip next to the Z80 is probably the BIOS ROM. The 3 QFP are mentioned in the manual as "ATC"(?), I/O, and VRAM controller.

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That's not my video but he is the one I asked about his Pro Wrestling cart.

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What would be helpful in regards to getting the colors corrected?

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Screenshots or video of running games would be the biggest help.

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Gotcha I can do that.

Robbbert it looks like you got Sekigahara working correct? Did you get a chance to mess with the 8K dumps of Motocross yet to see if they work as well? No rush just mainly asking as in order to get gameplay video/pics to help with the emulation I'll need to reseat and resolder the chips and would like to make sure those dumps look good before I do that.

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Sekigahara is now working after adjusting the keyboard reader. The earlier snap has been updated.

Additionally, I've got the colours working much better. Challenge Golf finally gets a blue sky.

I've now got Super Motocross running.

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

I'll add Sekigahara and Super Motocross to the software list.

Is there anything else you have for us?

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if you invert the polarity on the tape files, it detects the header, and loads a bunch of data into RAM, but seems to stop loading when it reaches another area, before the end of the tape. lots of strings in RAM, so it's definitely loading *something* valid off the tape, but not sure how much of it is valid, or why it needs the polarity inverting.

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ah, you have to invert the polarity, then run it with the BASIC cart inserted, I was trying to get it to verify, before even trying it with the BASIC.

[Linked Image from mamedev.emulab.it] [Linked Image from mamedev.emulab.it]
[Linked Image from mamedev.emulab.it] [Linked Image from mamedev.emulab.it]

it still seems to stop loading before the end, but maybe it's meant to..

also if I do 'V' (verify) instead of 'L' it says checksum error immediately after trying to load the header still (which is weird because at that point it really doesn't have much to checksum)

it's some kind of graphing program, written in basic, I have no idea if it works properly.

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Interesting. Verify would most likely be comparing the tape against the existing program in RAM (which isn't there), rather than just checking the checksums.

Since this is the first real tape we've ever had for this system, it's quite possible that the signal needs inverting in emulation. I'll assume that is so, and make the change.

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in that case verify gives a checksum error near the point where it stops loading but the data continues.

if I do a list, there's clearly a complete basic program in there, so I guess the part being loaded at the time are variables stored with the basic program, which means maybe it isn't loading the very last part? but I'm not sure there's room in RAM to load anything more anyway.

but yeah if there are no other tapes to compare against, assume it needs inverting in the emulation .

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After inverting in emulation, both copies of the tape loaded and ran. I also checked the 4 test tapes I'd made over the years, and they worked too. So, looks like the idea is correct.

I just need to clean up and commit.



@Hubz: who should get the credit for the supply of these dumps? And in what name?

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Great to hear this is mostly working now!

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This is fantastic news! You can just give credit to Gaming Alexandria and SSJ.

I am going to be getting a hold of a composite to USB recording device soon and i'll record gameplay to help with the colors and sound and post them.

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It's fantastic to finally see some real progress towards preserving this rare system. It will be pretty damn hard to get ahold of the remaining games (especially the tape software as usual), but this was some huge progress in just a couple of weeks.

@Hubz: did you send all dumps to Robbert? I was going to submit them through DU as usual, but if you didn't you might as well zip them all up and send them to him and he can add them tovthe softlist and also test them to see if some more driver tweaks are necessary.

The colors still need improvements so those videos will definitely help a lot.

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I just DM'd him about it. Yeah I can hopefully get those done this weekend smile

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Those 6 new games have been added. Thanks very much to the dedication of those who expended vast sums of money to secure these.

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

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And the last one, Ultraman. This game seems impossible to win, and the keyboard overlay would seem to be essential.

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

We really should try to get scans of all the keyboard overlays, manuals and boxes, if at all possible.

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Originally Posted by Robbbert
We really should try to get scans of all the keyboard overlays, manuals and boxes, if at all possible.
Hubz will surely take care of that part wink

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Already on it smile They'll be ready very soon.

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Originally Posted by Hubz
I managed to find Excite Baseball and Space Enemy on some random Japanese shopping site and had a friend in Japan order them for me so will have those soon and get them done. We're getting there!


Any news with these?

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I have a friend in Japan that ordered them and has them in his possession. Having him grab some more stuff before shipping it over and then I'll get em dumped.

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Okay videos are recorded and up, unfortunately I could not get the sync to work well between the console and the capture for some reason so they are jumpy. I hope these are still useful. I could also record with my phone camera on a TV if that helps.

https://www.gamingalexandria.com/rx78/rx78videos.zip

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Thanks, I'll take a look over the next few days.

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The videos revealed that Prowrestling, Tekigahara, and Championship Racing have colour problems.

At this time I can't see any generic solution, so I've added specific code to handle Prowrestling and Tekigahara without breaking anything else. Since freeze time is upon us, I'll commit this, and it can be revisited later.

Championship Racing however is problematic. Not only do the colour overlays and priorities not make much sense, but the game itself runs differently to what is in the video. When you start the race, a traffic-light is supposed to show on the right, with lights indicating a countdown, while your car is stationary. When the countdown finishes you may start moving. In MAME, the race starts immediately you hit Space, without bothering to wait for the traffic lights. This causes a corrupted display on the right for a short while. Also, the video shows the roadside poles and the hills as orange, but there's no orange in the palette, being replaced by pink.

So, for now this game will be set to "partial" support in the hash file.

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Maybe Hubz could check if he gets the same behaviour on the real machine? Ie can start the race without waiting for the traffic lights by pressing space? Who knows might be an actual game bug...

Great to see most of the color issues sorted out, nice work on this.

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I can confirm on the actual hardware the race can't start until the lights go by even when pressing space.

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Just a heads up I noticed the title screen music on Gundam is messed up too.

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The controls in MAME of Sekigahara seem to not be working as well. I kinda got the hang of it on the console with the joysticks and they do work in MAME as well but when I get to a battle the controls seem to stop working and I'm not sure why. On the console you simply move your joystick around and you can select units to move and attack. But on MAME i can't get either player's cursors to move once in battle.

In MAME to get the game to start in joystick mode hit S then G. Otherwise it starts in keyboard mode and that is a royal pain to use.

Last edited by Hubz; 02/07/21 09:52 PM.
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I have no idea how to play Sekigahara. I've noted the pressing of S in the usage.

In the driver I've added a section for noticeable problems. Sekigahara and Mobile Gundam have been added there.

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Coming new stuff...

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

[Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com] [Linked Image from messui.1emulation.com]

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The colours should be correct now, without needing any hacks. There's still other minor issues of course.

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Fixed the cracer traffic lights, and the chopped-up music in gundam's opening screen. Both issues had the same basic cause.

There's really only one bug left (it's in Space Enemy), and it has no effect on playability.

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That's pretty cool, nice work! Some really cool progress on obscure systems lately, I like it smile

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The Space Enemy bug has been fixed. As far as I can tell, out of the 3 known RX-78 emulators, MAME is the only one to work correctly with all known software.

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Time to find more software then grin

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Just added 2 more dumps, those being Excite Tennis, and ABC Word Game. They appear to be working correctly, although I haven't put any effort into figuring out the controls.

ABC Word Game is almost entirely in Japanese, so I have no idea what it's telling me.

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I'll get the overlays and manuals scanned soon and upload them.

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