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Classic Games (Games) Hardware Hacking Networking The Internet Twitter Games Build

Bringing Old Arcade Machines Into the Internet Age 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-old-is-new dept.
An anonymous reader writes "To celebrate the opening of their hackerspace, Sprite_tm of SpritesMods hacked an old 1943 arcade machine to record its high scores, as well as post them on Twitter, via a newly added TCP/IP stack. The bus-tapping module he added to the machine lets him read the full contents of the Z80 logic board's memory, allowing him to store high scores for posterity as well as add an Ethernet interface. The device should work on any Z80-based machine, which makes it easy to add these same capabilities to any old arcade cabinet."
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Bringing Old Arcade Machines Into the Internet Age

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  • Please (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @01:17PM (#36299030) Homepage

    Post more stories like this. This is what I read slashdot for.

    • by Syncerus (213609)

      /agree

    • Stuff like this only matters for geeks and nerds.
      If there was only a site that had the slogan "News for nerds stuff that matters." That would cover things like interesting hacks and new improvements to technology, and also showing ways to reuse old technology in new ways.

    • This is what I read Hackaday [hackaday.com] for. I read Slashdot for...something to do while I'm on the toilet, I guess?
      • Aren't you, you know, already DOING something while on the toilet? Or do you just like the feeling of numbness you get after sitting on it for awhile?

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      If you have subscription, you'll see the upcoming story about how the classic Apple (TM) game Marathon was legally modded using an Apple (TM) iMac so it can run on an Apple (TM) iPhone (TM) (R) (C) 4G, with patented Apple (TM) (R) (C) (CCCP) technologies that let it run the game multiplayer at near broadband speeds - the Apple (TM) way.

    • I have to agree with this. Back in the day this was the kind of thing that I came to /. for along with pointing out the cool techy news from the edge of the mainstream. But now all I am left with are the same stories that broke on CNN earlier in the day. It is CNN for goodness sake. They shouldn't be scooping a specialty news site on their own topic.

      Anyway screw news as it is going to be bad anyway and the summary will be wrong and just go with cool stuff. Dude Hacked his toaster to talk with the coffe

    • ^
      |
      What he said

  • by Hatta (162192)

    You can't even do this in MAME anymore. They dropped high score support because it was an ugly hack. This is still an ugly hack, but still a lot cooler than doing it in software.

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      This is still an ugly hack, but still a lot cooler than doing it in software.

      What they did wasn't a hack, it was an elegant way to utlize the exisiting bus based infrastructure. Plug in the new bus master and read your data off without changing the game. Plus the technique is probably adaptable to any number of games from the same era.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      MAME still does high scores. Just make sure you have an NVRAM folder set up and add -autosave to the command line options (or in an options dialog).
  • WMS ones had a dial up modem in a pinball game for testing / reporting it uploaded to a hidden ftp directory.

  • A remote-controlled pinball machine would be quite a feat--especially if you could play it online. Just give the online user access to the flaps and ball release. Maybe use air-pressure to release the ball instead of a spring (seems less likely to break over-time). Give the machine a web-cam and ask for donations to keep the project running...
    • It would actually be pretty easy - there are regular commercial pinball machines which use a simply button with an automatically pulled spring to launch the ball.

    • by grahamwest (30174)

      You could do that, but there'd be too much latency for really good players. Flipper buttons are digital but modern games (anything newer than 'Funhouse') scan them every 2ms and react. You can flip them 'lightly' as a result. Also remember that the flipper itself takes a small but non-zero amount of time to rise and fall and that matters (eg. when flipper-passing the ball).

      One of my first jobs on pinball was writing life-testing code for a test fixture. Springs and solenoids last for a really long time. I'm

  • by Noren (605012) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @01:29PM (#36299240)
    The arcade game referred to came out in 1987, it's also known as 1943: The Battle of Midway [wikipedia.org].
    • by dmomo (256005)

      Midway? So wouldn't that make it a pinball machine?

      • Nope, they mean Midway as in Midway Island. In which you fly your P-38 (a plane that actually never operated from carriers and didn't participate in the Battle of Midway) off a carrier to sink the Japanese air and naval forces single-handed. Of course, the Battle of Midway actually took place in June of 194*2*... Still, a really great arcade game. I own several ports of it for various home consoles. It was originally released in Japan by Capcom, and was very popular there too. Rather odd considering t

        • by idontgno (624372)
          I bet if you switched the engines off, a P-38 would make a nice "WHOOSH" sound as it glided over your head. On its way to a dead-stick landing at Midway Airport in Chicago.
        • 1943 was probably my favorite NES game. I wasted many an hour and shirked many a homework assignment for that game. But even in elementary school I could pick out the glaring historical inaccuracies. Still a fantastic game, better than 1942. I saw some copies of 1944 floating around, but never got a chance to load em up.

        • Of course, the Battle of Midway actually took place in June of 194*2*... .

          from memory "1943" was the 2 Player sequel to the successful "1942" which kind of explains the change in year for the Battle of Midway

          I would look it up, but I will leave that for someone who cares about this more than me.

  • When I read the headline I was expecting this would be a hack for PacMan, Donkey Kong, or some other classic game that I don't give a rip about.

    Then I saw it was 1943. That game devoured so many of my quarters back in the 80s ... This is a story I'm actually happy to see on the slashdot front page. My only question is why the hell is it showing up as just a headline; this should be voted up at least well enough to see the full summary so you know that the hacker at least chose a worthwhile game.
  • I've been working on a project with Brian Dominy that allows us to produce ground up rewrites of software for 90's pinball tables, the main website is here: http://www.oddchange.com/freewpc/ [oddchange.com] This is BY FAR the coolest project I've worked on, if anyone is interesting in helping out/testing then drop me a line.
    • by antdude (79039)

      How is this different from PinMAME and Viusal Pinball?

      • Visual Pinball and PinMAME are both emulators, which come in very handy when developing FreeWPC (as you don't need a table to develop), but if you wanted to use this to develop your own custom software, you would require a PC in the cabinet + some kind of interface board to hook up to your table. FreeWPC is a Pinball operating system for tables based on Williams WPC hardware and as such is a drop in replacement ROM, no extra hardware is necessary. In effect it's almost the same process the original game d
        • I actually explained the difference really badly, it's essentially this: Visual Pinball + PinMAME are emulators and need software to run, which are normally the official pinball ROM releases FreeWPC allows you to write software that WPC/PinMAME can run. It's important to point out that this is a groundup rewrite, not a ROM hack.
    • I don't know what in the hell you guys are doing and I lost my coding skills years ago, but that, my friend, is a bookmark I'll be following for as long as you guys work on it. Thanks.

  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @02:11PM (#36299772) Homepage

    The bus-tapping module he added to the machine lets him read the full contents of the Z80 logic board's memory, allowing him to store high scores for posterity as well as add an Ethernet interface. The device should work on any Z80-based machine...

    You mean I can get my old Sinclair ZX81 (which used a Z80 logic board, IIRC) on-line?!?! Sweet!

    • That was my immediate thought. It's a lot faster to save off programs using that than reading them out into a cassette player!

    • by adolf (21054)

      You mean I can get my old Sinclair ZX81 (which used a Z80 logic board, IIRC) on-line?!?! Sweet!

      You mean like a ZX81 webserver, perhaps?

      Oh, look. There's one! [endoftheinternet.org]

      (Warning: The aforelinked page is allegedly actually hosted on a ZX81, which allegedly can grok HTTP all by itself. It will probably halt and catch fire soon.)

    • by Alioth (221270)

      You can certainly get a Sinclair Spectrum online (but not with this board), with the Spectranet, which is an ethernet board designed for it. You'll even be able to buy a Spectranet soon.

      The Spectranet provides the Speccy with a BSD-like socket library, and a host of ROM-based modules (it has 128K of NOR flash that gets mapped into the lower 16K), such as filesystem modules, modules that snapshot memory over the network etc. (as well as the more mundane stuff like the DHCP client).

      A couple of quick demos:
      Str

  • by Anonymous Coward

    True story: We used to have an old PC dedicated to the game "PC-man" in our student house. It too lacked a high score mechanism. Even if it had had one, it wouldn't have served a 20-person student house very well. I hacked the existing game to include a hi-score list which listed each player exactly once. To set a new high score, you needed to at least break your own personal record. This was *the same* student house Sprite lived in a few years later. I don't know if Jeroen got inspired by that old PC-man h

    • Re:Well done (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sprite_tm (1094071) * on Tuesday May 31, 2011 @02:42PM (#36300124)

      Sixpack for the win :) Nope, I didn't see the pacman machine, though I have heard about it. When I obtained an Atari from somewhere, I was inspired by the story and put it in the hallway with a copy of Xenon 2 permanently plugged in. Good times were had, until the machine broke. A bit later we got a PC next to the living room TV to watch all the creative-commons-licensed movies shared around the campus on (*cough*) and we played Puzzle Bobble completely to death. So yeah, the game , if anything, was an inspiration for more gaming :)

      The PC connected to the TV still runs a menu on top of X that's written by me. I also automated the beer-list to a LCD+touchscreen thing, and while it's made out of bad soldering joints and gaffer tape, somehow that contraption still manages to survive.

  • I wished legal Kaillera [kaillera.com] would update again so I can game online with these old 1980/80s arcade games. There is a new one, but very new [blogspot.com] and has support to multiple platforms (Linux too!).

  • Sure, I have mame, but I'd love it if there were a website that had all these great games up for playing as flash/whatever.

  • I so miss those arcade machines. Seems the only place they really still have a life is in Japan (go fig).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I so miss those arcade machines. Seems the only place they really still have a life is in Japan (go fig).

      They went into peoples' basements. I have 28 of them in mine, all coin-ops from 1980 to 1986 primarily. Awesome hobby.

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