I've had a little luck taking pics of an LCD through my microscope like a chip die, but for many of them, I can't get enough contrast to be useful, even with polarizing filters.

I bought some PIC microcontrollers with LCD outputs, but haven't had a lot of luck driving panels with them. For the TI Little Professor with an LCD panel, I used a signal generator to create a 100Hz or so sine wave and varied the amplitude around 2V until I got good contrast. Then I applied that signal to the different inputs to map them, and then connected it to all the inputs to get a picture of all the segments.

I need to work on a better way to get pictures. The panels have conductive traces instead of wires, and it's tough to connect to them. Usually there's a little rubber piece that has conductive material in it that is sandwiched between the LCD panel and the PCB, but it has to be squeezed pretty hard to get all the connections to conduct. So the best bet would be to modify the existing game case to get access to the connectors. I didn't have that option with Little Professor because there is no PCB- it uses a sheet of plastic with traces on it, which is difficult to solder to because the plastic melts. So I built a little jig to connect a PCB to the panel, but it's not flat on the front to fit on my scanner, which means I had to take pics, and it was hard to get straight-on shots without glare.

And even the simple Little Professor panel has 72 segments, which is a lot to map out. It has 7 7-segment digits, and those formed a logic pattern, which helped. A game like Top Gun has over 100 segments- see patent US5137277. It would be very time-consuming to describe each segment, so it seems like the best bet would be to take one picture per segment. That means an automated system would be helpful.

I'll finish mapping Top Gun's LCD segments so Hap can work on the driver some more.

If no one else responds about the Nu Pogodi you can ship it to me. I can try a different polarizer to see if that helps the blob issue. I'll be working on dumping Sharp SM5xx MCUs again in a week or so, so I might be able to dump it electronically. Worst case, I could decap it and read the ROM visually, but that would destroy the MCU.