Unexplained Glitch Found in Boxxle for Game Boy?

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
I feel like a crazy person describing this, but I've been working my way through the puzzles in Boxxle for the game boy, and puzzle 06-06 is impossible. It's missing one of the boxes. There are only 24 boxes present at the start of the puzzle but 25 dots making the puzzle impossible to solve.

At first I thought I was missing something, but no, it really is impossible. I'd been playing through on a genuine cart on my Analogue Pocket. When I checked online I found basically no one talking about this, so I assumed something must be wrong on my end. I checked the game out using a rom in an emulator and viola - the missing 25th box is present when playing that way! I tried taking my original cart and testing it on other hardware including a modded GBA and a 100% original Game Boy and the box was missing on all of the consoles I tried it on. I got the cart out and cleaned it again and tried it in each of the consoles again and got the same result.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on here?? Fortunately I can borrow a password for the level online and keep going, but the fact that this is happening (and seemingly only to me going from the lack of discourse online) is maddening. Maybe I will try going the extra mile and dumping the rom directly off my cart and see if THAT works in an emulator next...

For what it's worth, after a ton of searching I did ultimately find this thread on a forum from over a decade ago that seemed to be a similar person going through the same strange thing as I am. The level they are talking about and even the box they are saying is missing is exactly the same as mine (center box horizontally, on the top portion of the screen, empty spaces on three sides with a wall to the north of it), so at the very least I am not alone in this. Seemed like a mystery that some game boy enthusiasts might enjoy solving, so I thought I'd post about it here.

I posted about this on the r/Gameboy subreddit as well, in case anyone there knows anything.
 

zoogie

playing around in the dsiware
Developer
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
8,379
Trophies
2
XP
13,597
Country
Micronesia, Federated States of
Interesting. What region is this cart and is it possible you can dump the ROM and give us a hash of it? (not the rom itself as that's against the rules here).

It does appear there is multiple versions of this game floating about:
Edit: I'm going to screencap the no-intro pages to avoid the weird bandwidth lockdown the site is experiencing.

Rev0 I think
<See first attachment>

Rev1
<See second attachment>
 

Attachments

  • rev0.png
    rev0.png
    118.1 KB · Views: 25
  • rev1.png
    rev1.png
    102 KB · Views: 29
Last edited by zoogie,
  • Like
Reactions: tlilley and KiiWii

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
Interesting. What region is this cart and is it possible you can dump the ROM and give us a hash of it? (not the rom itself as that's against the rules here).

It does appear there is multiple versions of this game floating about:

Rev0 I think
https://datomatic.no-intro.org/index.php?page=show_record&s=46&n=1637

Rev1 (1 Good and 1 bad dump)
https://datomatic.no-intro.org/index.php?page=show_record&s=46&n=0166

The region is USA, according to the cart. I dumped the rom to see for myself and sure enough, opening the ROM in an emulator and going to level 06-06 shows the missing box, same as when I play it on the cartridge itself! So I think this is a legitimate, actual bug in this version of the game.

boxxle.png


I'm not sure how to hash the rom as you suggest - I will get back to you on that.

EDIT: Looks like I can generate hashes of a file using 7zip. Assuming that's what you're after this is what I got:

SHA1: 3E169F1DB16CC1C3FFBC8645AA7CE28194033D26
SHA256: 694607D5970C4D8B5C5F7C3689AB6054F1BBEA3FB38D7DF6C1CDF3036B1676CE
CRC32: 24843867
CRC64: 4256369463FE1B17
BLAKE2sp: 3594629F79ED9CEAF5191343BB5F36D4CB79457994539ED7D037FC0506290BBA

Seems to match the hashes on the first pages you linked too - Rev 0. I'm not 100% sure what that means for me, though.
 
Last edited by tlilley,
  • Like
Reactions: zoogie

zoogie

playing around in the dsiware
Developer
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
8,379
Trophies
2
XP
13,597
Country
Micronesia, Federated States of
The region is USA, according to the cart. I dumped the rom to see for myself and sure enough, opening the ROM in an emulator and going to level 06-06 shows the missing box, same as when I play it on the cartridge itself! So I think this is a legitimate, actual bug in this version of the game.

View attachment 293312

I'm not sure how to hash the rom as you suggest - I will get back to you on that.

EDIT: Looks like I can generate hashes of a file using 7zip. Assuming that's what you're after this is what I got:

SHA1: 3E169F1DB16CC1C3FFBC8645AA7CE28194033D26
SHA256: 694607D5970C4D8B5C5F7C3689AB6054F1BBEA3FB38D7DF6C1CDF3036B1676CE
CRC32: 24843867
CRC64: 4256369463FE1B17
BLAKE2sp: 3594629F79ED9CEAF5191343BB5F36D4CB79457994539ED7D037FC0506290BBA

Seems to match the hashes on the first pages you linked too - Rev 0. I'm not 100% sure what that means for me, though.
10 year old mystery solved then :)

What this means is that your cart is the rev0 of this game, which is likely very rare, and exclusively has this bug.
I would guess the progression flaw was caught very early in Boxxle's production, given that only you and that other Atariage guy have mentioned it on the internet (from what I've googled). Also, rev0 was only recently added to nointro's database in 2018, further alluding to its rarity. Hold on to that game, it could be a collector's item someday.
 

zoogie

playing around in the dsiware
Developer
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
8,379
Trophies
2
XP
13,597
Country
Micronesia, Federated States of
great find!
but the dat-o-matic page is locked down :(
What the heck? Why would anyone lock that page on purpose, lol
I guess the Gbatemp traffic from those links makes them think they're under attack.

Edit: I've attached mgba captured screenshots showing both versions side-by-side on the problem level.
You can clearly see the missing box marked with "?" in rev0.

boxxle_bug.png
 
Last edited by zoogie,
  • Like
Reactions: KiiWii

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
10 year old mystery solved then :)

What this means is that your cart is the rev0 of this game, which is likely very rare, and exclusively has this bug.

Woah, that's neat! Is there any way to figure out how rare? It's surprising to me that such a game-ending bug (you literally can't finish this level and proceed unless you look up a password that bypasses it) seems to just not be talked about at all anywhere online... I suppose that's part of why you're saying it might be quite rare.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JuanBaNaNa

FAST6191

Techromancer
Editorial Team
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
34,913
Trophies
2
Website
trastindustries.com
XP
24,321
Country
United Kingdom
Woah, that's neat! Is there any way to figure out how rare? It's surprising to me that such a game-ending bug (you literally can't finish this level and proceed unless you look up a password that bypasses it) seems to just not be talked about at all anywhere online... I suppose that's part of why you're saying it might be quite rare.
Not really. I don't think GB stuff was limited in chip allocations like you might find for NES stuff (though even that is dubious).

To that end you will probably have to find business records for the dev/publisher of the game, if it was a store exclusive (or exclusive run) then minor possibility there, ask someone in the company that might know something (what I imagine are the porting devs kicking around until 2002 https://www.mobygames.com/company/atelier-double-co-ltd https://www.mobygames.com/game/boxxle ), hope something there was said by one of those in an interview, noting anything in an old press release (dev/pub/retailer) asking for a recall or saying "we only made ? thousand copies before the bug was caught, input this password to get past it or contact us for an exchange".
In some fields "population reports" might be had by auction houses but those are more for quality of things that passed through their examination benches, and nobody is likely to be paying attention to slightly bugged versions of push the box/sokoban puzzle game clone #58 on the GB (even more so if there is no outward manifestation of differences like a different serial on the label). Fujisankei Communications Group and their American arm still exist, and the devs of the game had basically their copyrights transferred to a new company according to a quick search, though good luck getting any info out of them as I can't imagine this is less than a serious research trip to paper archives (which will possibly also be in Japanese, a problem you might also face finding developers).

Your chances of getting something like this at even vaguely plausible numbers for something as intensely scrutinised as pokemon or mario or zelda ( https://www.zeldadungeon.net/wiki/Ocarina_of_Time_Versions https://zeldaspeedruns.fandom.com/wiki/Version_Differences ) or some other flagship title are slim so I rate this as lower still, give or take you finding one of people in the mobygames links above (or similar) on social meeja and them saying "oh yeah I remember that, we were all sweating bullets as ????? copies had already been pressed and shipped when we caught that".
 
  • Like
Reactions: zoogie

zoogie

playing around in the dsiware
Developer
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
8,379
Trophies
2
XP
13,597
Country
Micronesia, Federated States of
Woah, that's neat! Is there any way to figure out how rare? It's surprising to me that such a game-ending bug (you literally can't finish this level and proceed unless you look up a password that bypasses it) seems to just not be talked about at all anywhere online... I suppose that's part of why you're saying it might be quite rare.
I'd love to tell you how rare it is but I'm just going off of speculation to begin with. I was just thinking today that the possible (lack of) popularity of the game and the pre-internet release date could be factors in the lack of this bug's public knowledge as well.

btw - is it possible you could upload a pic of the outside of the cart itself (front)? While the internal chip is marked clearly as different (DMG-AAA - 02, DMG-AAA -03 for each version respectively [from no-intro]), the sticker's product code could still just be reflecting the country it was sold in (DMG-S0-USA vs. DMG-S0-UKV respectively). It'd be nice to clear that up maybe.
 

Attachments

  • rev0.jpg
    rev0.jpg
    42.1 KB · Views: 22
  • rev1.jpg
    rev1.jpg
    64.9 KB · Views: 23
  • Like
Reactions: KiiWii

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
btw - is it possible you could upload a pic of the outside of the cart itself (front)?

Sure thing! See attached.
nobody is likely to be paying attention to slightly bugged versions of push the box/sokoban puzzle game clone #58 on the GB
I appreciate your input - and I am not here to try and make the case that Boxxle is a popular or well known video game or anything - I just wanted to point out that Boxxle IS sokoban. Boxxle is just the localized name for it. It's the original real deal, just ported to the Game Boy and given new/different levels, which elevates its status slightly. At the very least it's not a clone!

Slight update: Here's a 3rd mention of the boxxle bug, this one being the earliest in 2005.

https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/...559c118a0d8ed0&p=731756&viewfull=1#post731756
Nice find! I didn't even come across this in my original googling when I was trying to figure out what was going on.
 

Attachments

  • 20220114_161345_HDR(1).jpg
    20220114_161345_HDR(1).jpg
    327.4 KB · Views: 27
Last edited by tlilley,
  • Like
Reactions: zoogie

zoogie

playing around in the dsiware
Developer
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
8,379
Trophies
2
XP
13,597
Country
Micronesia, Federated States of
Sure thing! See attached.

I appreciate your input - and I am not here to try and make a case for why Boxxle matters or anything - just wanted to point out that Boxxle IS sokoban. Boxxle is just the localized name for it. It's the original real deal, just ported to the Game Boy and given new/different levels, which elevates its status slightly. At the very least it's not a clone!


Nice find! I didn't even come across this in my original googling when I was trying to figure out what was going on.
Thanks a lot for the image! I can't see any difference whatsoever to rev1 except maybe for one little thing that almost escaped my eyes:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/154784669067?epid=56238068&hash=item2409e29d8b:g:r2EAAOSwIchh2Fj4
See the imprint on the bottom-right of that sticker (made visible by glare), does your cart have that?
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlilley

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
See the imprint on the bottom-right of that sticker (made visible by glare), does your cart have that?

It does - my cart has 22 imprinted on it.... but just 22, and not 22A like in the linked picture! Maybe that's a way to identify the revisions?
 

Attachments

  • 20220115_160056_HDR(1).jpg
    20220115_160056_HDR(1).jpg
    218.9 KB · Views: 12

zoogie

playing around in the dsiware
Developer
Joined
Nov 30, 2014
Messages
8,379
Trophies
2
XP
13,597
Country
Micronesia, Federated States of
It does - my cart has 22 imprinted on it.... but just 22, and not 22A like in the linked picture! Maybe that's a way to identify the revisions?
Oooh neat. Maybe that is the way. The download archives I've seen use "Rev A" sometimes.
(this is probably old news to GB collectors, lol)
 
  • Like
Reactions: tlilley

Hiccup

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Messages
982
Trophies
0
XP
1,532
Country
What the heck? Why would anyone lock that page on purpose, lol
I guess the Gbatemp traffic from those links makes them think they're under attack.

Edit: I've attached mgba captured screenshots showing both versions side-by-side on the problem level.
You can clearly see the missing box marked with "?" in rev0.

View attachment 293499
I got a notification for this post? Did you ping me then edit it out for some reason? ;)

About the locking thing - that means someone has locked that section (Game Boy) while they are editing entries in it to prevent conflicting edits. Unfortunately atm that prevents people viewing it too. xuom2 plans to fix this problem, but dat-o-matic is quite old software at this point so its not straightforward.

@tlilley
Nice find. I can add this to DAT-o-MATIC and so it can be marked as "verified". Although, if you don't mind, there is some "paperwork" that's sort-of required. If you could humour me, do you mind providing:
* Dump tool (with hardware/firmware/software version)
* Photos of the back of the cart and back and front of the PCB
* Size in bytes of the ROM
 
  • Like
Reactions: zoogie

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
Nice find. I can add this to DAT-o-MATIC and so it can be marked as "verified". Although, if you don't mind, there is some "paperwork" that's sort-of required. If you could humour me, do you mind providing:
* Dump tool (with hardware/firmware/software version)
* Photos of the back of the cart and back and front of the PCB
* Size in bytes of the ROM

Sure thing! I attached a bunch of pictures, hopefully they cover all the bases of what's being asked for.
The size of the ROM is 32.0 KB, and it was dumped using the Submodule GB01 cartridge reader running firmware version 12 and software version 1.3.13.
 

Attachments

  • 20220117_153330_HDR.jpg
    20220117_153330_HDR.jpg
    289.8 KB · Views: 11
  • 20220117_153338_HDR.jpg
    20220117_153338_HDR.jpg
    606.9 KB · Views: 9
  • 20220117_153355_HDR.jpg
    20220117_153355_HDR.jpg
    584.9 KB · Views: 13
  • 20220117_154536_HDR.jpg
    20220117_154536_HDR.jpg
    859.8 KB · Views: 14
  • 20220117_154545_HDR.jpg
    20220117_154545_HDR.jpg
    766.2 KB · Views: 16
  • 20220117_154626_HDR.jpg
    20220117_154626_HDR.jpg
    804.7 KB · Views: 11
  • 20220117_154631_HDR.jpg
    20220117_154631_HDR.jpg
    791.8 KB · Views: 12
  • Like
Reactions: Hiccup

tlilley

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
19
Trophies
0
Age
28
XP
93
Country
United States
Woah, I ran into another unbeatable level further into Boxxle! This one is near the end, level 10-07. This time, when I ran into it I immediately hopped on to my PC to check against both versions of the rom, and sure enough, it's broken in revision 0 (my version) and fixed in revision 1/A. This one is broken in a different way though! Instead of missing a box, this level is missing the player character completely. Even more egregious, if you ask me!

I was kind of waiting for this to happen ever since zoogie unearthed that old digitpress post that mentioned a players mom having trouble with a few levels - levels, plural. He even detailed that: "my mom (like I would ever have the patience for this game) got to a level that started you outside the maze, or had more dots than boxes". The detail about the player character starting you outside the maze now makes sense.

Here is a comparison:

boxxle_10_07_rev_0.png
vs.
boxxle_10_07_rev_1.png


I spent some time messing around and it appears the player character does exist, but is spawned way to the left off the viewable side of the screen. After walking around enough, I got him to walk back onto the screen in the one tile ABOVE the playable area, and he entered from the left side (the same row that the level No. 10-07 text is displayed on).

I figured I might as well document this difference here for posterity as well, since we already had the thread going for it and everything.
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
    Dark_Phoras @ Dark_Phoras: There once was a ship that put to sea, The name of the ship was Billy o' Tea