LCD Games

Discussion in 'Other Handhelds' started by SkylarTheNerd, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. SkylarTheNerd
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    SkylarTheNerd Member

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    I'm wondering how it's possible to emulate an LCD game, considering there are no files to dump, and the graphics are just lights. My goal is to emulate the Nelsonic game watches and Nintendo mini classics (the ones that came out in keychains). For the time being, I bought a little X-Men game from a $1 store, and I want to use it as a "test mouse" so to speak so I can emulate it, but I don't know if it's even possible.
     
  2. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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    my dad works for nintendo.
    The game and watch series are available in game boy releases
    and i do believe they also were released again as DSIware or 3ds ware.. i recall something about it
     
    Last edited by migles, Jul 25, 2017
  3. TheVinAnator

    TheVinAnator GBATemp's Greatest Vin

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    Well, this is interesting, I never actually knew it worked like that. Although, if this is true, then of course it's not just magic. There would be code telling the system to light up in certain areas in real time, I'd assume.
     
  4. SkylarTheNerd
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    SkylarTheNerd Member

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    I mean, I'd assume so too, right? I guess the #1 thing to do is to understand exactly how how they work, and build a working model of one, to see how similar it would match up. Then at that point, run a program to copy the controls on to a CPU.

    Understanding how to extract the sound effects and timing them exactly alludes me, since you would need the port to be accurate.

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    That's not what I'm looking for. I know of those. I'm talking about the Nelsonic watches that played LCD games. They were similar to Game & Watch, but the platforming was different. There's Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Super Mario 3, two versions of Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda, etc
     
  5. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I recall some discussion of the game and watch in a ROM hacking board once. The things aren't actually Turing complete and the "processors" aren't, and in some cases might almost be a stateful input + logic (possibly + clock in some/most cases) rather than actual processing. This makes emulation, from a pure technical sense, not necessarily the correct word and instead some favour simulation.

    Ripping sounds depends on what you have to do. If you have a headphone port then that is easy, if not then it is still easy but you get to tap the signal as it goes to the speakers (or maybe DAC if you are really bored and want the very best). If it is a sound generator of some form you could emulate that chip (be it some kind of signals replication like conventional higher end sound emulation or actual transistor level emulation -- if anybody is doing FPGA builds of LCD games then see what they have done as that is a good chunk of the way there).

    Graphics wise you have two main choices.
    1) Simulate segments, either using some kind of stateful progression like the game itself or an actual emulation like you were writing it as a modern programming exercise.
    2) Whole screen. There are a finite and actually rather small number of segments, create bitmaps for each possible combination and call them as necessary.
    For 2) you would likely still do a bit of 1) and making every image for every life counter and again for every possible score would be silly.

    I am curious about the copyright and trademark implications of these as well. My GB screen is a grid or so many pixels I can program to be any share of grey within a scale, no judge would copyright that. LCD games have artist created backgrounds and the "sprites" themselves are a creative product.

    You can also simulate blanking and flicker if you like (I would enjoy reading the equivalent of http://bogost.com/games/a_television_simulator/ for a LCD game one day).
     
  6. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N I have graced this thread with my presence.

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    So, by that logic, are Game & Watch "ROMS" for Game & Watch "emulators" nothing more than simple instructions for how to behave, not necessarily "ripped" from the devices like with other systems?
     
  7. SkylarTheNerd
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    SkylarTheNerd Member

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    Thanks for the help. I'm going to get busy collecting all the LCD's now, then start work on "simulating." Do you think it would be possible to load the final products to a flash cart, or would it be strictly for play on a computer?
     
  8. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Depends what it is. Some of these are straight up programs loaded into memory and ran by processors, just with a limited "pixel" count (though rather than a grid of squares you inside light, or block as the case may be, a single quite custom pixel and the next numbered pixel need not be adjacent or the next line) and can be treated as any other system. At least some of the game and watch things are however not computing in some senses and as such yes it could be a simple logic tree/flow chart.

    You could decap a chip (or whatever it is called when it is wire bonded like most things like this) and process the lot.
    I don't know about game and watch but people have gone there in things like
    http://www.visual6502.org/

    and you also get things like
    https://trixter.oldskool.org/2015/04/07/8088-mph-we-break-all-your-emulators/

    Going further FPGAs (my bet for the future of emulation) do much the same thing and quite literally recreate things from the transistors on up
    https://github.com/trun/fpgaboy

    Lists of instructions are not that unusual in these circles either. A lot of game recreations of closed source games do some measure of this rather than playing with the disassembler and memory viewer. Or if you prefer consider fighting games and how people will know frame counts, input windows, hitboxes and such and with that you can basically recreate the game. Pokemon types do something similar with the battle simulators too but I am less familiar with those.

    There are some LCD games with expanded carts if memory serves, no idea if they were onboard DLC type affairs with simple unlocks or actual new games (probably find both out there in the world).
    If you mean can you write such a program such that you could run it on a DS or something. I can't imagine it is going to be a programming exercise that will tax anything we typically use flash carts on.
     
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  9. dsionr4

    dsionr4 Gbatemp's Shonen Character

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    i have some sonic the hedgehog crash bandicoot and spyro lcd games from mcdonalds. Also a dbz lcd game(actually part from board game)
    im gonna research this simulathing thing. its very interesting indeed
     
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  10. SkylarTheNerd
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    SkylarTheNerd Member

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    Right on, then. Looks like I have some homework :ha:

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    Please let me know how it goes, and what worked for you
     
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  11. SkylarTheNerd
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    SkylarTheNerd Member

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    Here's another problem, each watch on eBay is about $100 when it's all said and done. And there are eleven games that are on my "wishlist." And I'm a college student...
     
  12. dsionr4

    dsionr4 Gbatemp's Shonen Character

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    Last edited by dsionr4, Jul 28, 2017
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  13. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo WiiUaboo

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    Most Popstations with fixed-graphics have indeed the programming in the console, with the screens/games just being wired so that the console can detect a game number (and due to poor connections and manufacturing, failures aren't uncommon)

    A very egregious model (with pixel graphics, though) has "game cards" made of 100% plastic, painted on one side for the background, and with plastic dots on the other to press the game-select buttons inside the console!!
     
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  14. SkylarTheNerd
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    SkylarTheNerd Member

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    This might help. Personally, I'm trying to dump Nelsonic game watches. They're similar to Game and Watch, but they're actually wrist watches. I can't imagine the process being much different, however
     
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