Digital archaeology, game disassemblies and more

The Taito Code

Around 1988, Taito began implementing a standard level select code into many of their arcade games. The code was not available to normal players, as it requires the use of the Service button, inside the cabinet. Considering the timing required to press Start and Service in quick succession, it may not have been for cabinet owners either, but instead for the developers who had direct access to the hardware and who may have had those special buttons mapped to something more accessible for testing.

Indeed, some games have more than just level selects, including basic map or object editors and viewers. Some menus allow you to select level numbers well beyond what actually exist in the game, loading non-existant game data when selected. Some menus are very plain, while others obviously had some work put into them. Besides the obvious bonus of easily exploring the game levels without so much work, the menus themselves are sometimes a fascinating look at the developer's side of the game.

Level Select in Riding Fight

Well, that's enough mahjong for now... Let's try something a little more exciting! Like the title screen implies, Riding Fight is a FRONT VIEW SPEED ACTION GAME featuring a couple of rad dudes who punch everything in their path while riding hoverboards in the future. And it has a level select screen!

Hidden Options in Niyanpai and Musoubana

More Mahjong Menus! Next up we have Nyanpai and Musoubana, two games that run on the same Nichibutsu hardware and share most of the same artwork. They also share a hidden option test.

Hidden Developer Credits in two Mahjong games

Still hacking around with MAME games, and I'm lovin' it! This time I opened up Ojanko Yakata (roughly translated as Jong Girl Mansion), one of the many, many adult mahjong games to come from Japan. I spotted some ASCII in the memory dump that looked like a hidden developer credits screen...

Pocket Gal Deluxe - Debug Menu and more

There's a request on mamecheat for Pocket Gal Deluxe, and I figured I'd give it a go. I played around for a bit, then discovered a nice, juicy string table with some intriguing bits of text. After a few hours of working backwards through the disassembly, I've discovered a number of interesting bits in the game!

Unused ending in Momoko 120%

The MAME hacking continues! Momoko 120% is a run-n-jump platform shooter with an interesting history. I've always enjoyed it, and I've begun doing a full disassembly of the code, partially to learn Z80 assembly and also, as always, to look for any bits of leftovers or unused data. And find something I did!