WonderSwan bootrom dumped 20 years after release

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by RattletraPM, Aug 21, 2019.


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    WonderSwan.

    On the 4th of March 1999, Bandai released the WonderSwan in Japan. It had been developed and supervised by Gunpei Yokoi up until his tragic death in 1997, and was set to compete with the other console that he designed earlier while working at Nintendo, the Game Boy. Sadly, the WonderSwan turned to be a commercial failure, only managing to obtain a small portion of the Japanese handheld market before being completely crushed by the Game Boy Advance later on, without ever seeing an official release overseas. However, its memory still lives on in many enthusiast's hearts, whether it is in appreciation of the legendary game designer's legacy or due to its niche yet quality games.

    20 years after release, a breakthrough has been made by furrtek in an effort aimed towards game preservation and better emulation: the WonnderSwan's bootrom has finally been dumped. This has been possible thanks to a hardware-based attack which glitches the CPU to trick the console into booting up without clearing the memory region containing the bootrom; a method very similar to the one used years earlier with the Game Boy Color. Still, the journey wasn't an easy one, as it was filled with many non-trivial platform-specific hurdles: for example, the original approach overclocks the CPU repeatedly and in short bursts to make it skip the memory clearing instruction, however, the WonderSwan's CPU has a much higher frequency tolerance than the Game Boy's. Nevertheless, thanks to an FPGA, custom code, experience and a lot of patience, furrtek has managed to dump both the original model and the WonderSwan Color's bootroms, and everything has been documented in a post linked in the sources below! (in French)

    Now, you may be asking yourself: "This is cool and all, but what does this mean for me as a retrogamer aside from seeing a fancy boot screen?". byuu, the creator of bsnes and higan, has stepped forward to answer the question: the WonderSwan's bootrom also contains a settings menu which lets a player store his/her own personal info such as the name, birthday, gender and blood type. This data can later be used by games to do all sorts of things, like triggering easter eggs or automatically filling a character's name with your own. Now that the bootrom has been dumped, this feature can finally be configured and emulated properly!

    Starting from version 106.197, Higan has implemented support for the newly dumped bootroms. You can see a video of it in action below:


    If you want to try it yourself, you can download Higan's latest nightly builds here. WonderSwan bootrom dumps contain copyrighted content and cannot be linked to on GBAtemp, so you will need to obtain one yourself (hashes for verification can be found here).

    :arrow: Source 1 (furrtek's post)
    :arrow: Source 2 (byuu's blog)
     
    Nutez, NoNAND, Darksabre72 and 34 others like this.
    Discussion (48 replies)
  1. IncredulousP

    IncredulousP GBAtemp Fan

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    Neat, I'll have to stream this sometime.
     
  2. Mark McDonut

    Mark McDonut GBATemp's Resident Ghostbuster

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    Oct 8, 2008
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    This is awesome! I've been getting into wonderswan recently after I bought a bittboy and dropped some roms in, it's a shame this system didn't get much love.
     
    raxadian and phonz like this.
  3. chrisrlink

    chrisrlink Intel Pentium III Hamster inside

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    Aug 27, 2009
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    inside your crappy old PC
    shame how the WS got crushed there was a digimon game exclusive to it iirc if the WS had a western release wonder if we would've seen a official localization
     
    raxadian and lordelan like this.
  4. Daggot

    Daggot GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    There was also an exclusive Megaman Battle Network game(it was a platformer interestingly enough).
     
  5. GuyInDogSuit

    GuyInDogSuit Your friendly neighborhood guy in a dog suit.

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    I only know of the Wonderswan systems because of the Final Fantasy IV port.
     
  6. raxadian

    raxadian GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Now if only all those Digimon Wondeswan games were translated rto English...
     
  7. sirrokr

    sirrokr Member

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    If you can get your hands on a copy, Klonoa was a wonderful game on WS.
     
    raxadian likes this.
  8. Voyambar

    Voyambar Advanced Member

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    Jul 30, 2019
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    Well this is surprising news. GG Higan
     
  9. AlterL

    AlterL Member

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    Aug 12, 2019
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    does anybody knows how to play games from this console with a 3ds? or how to make dualswan work? maybe a cia from nomadswan
     
  10. GuyInDogSuit

    GuyInDogSuit Your friendly neighborhood guy in a dog suit.

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    You might get a response if you post this question in the 3DS section.
     
  11. Dani Dandelion

    Dani Dandelion Advanced Member

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    I've been using the Mednafen WS core through the HB Launcher to play Chocobo Mystery Dungeon lately.
     
  12. AlterL

    AlterL Member

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    Aug 12, 2019
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    do you know how to properly set it up, I tried playing pocket fighter and it only got like 23-27 fps
     
  13. VitaType

    VitaType GBAtemp Maniac

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    Never used the system, but the button placement on this thing looks really wierd.
     
  14. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    Dec 23, 2009
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    Belgium
    Of course! Why didn't I think of this? :)


    ...

    probably because I don't have a clue what that actually means.
     
  15. SexySpai

    SexySpai xdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

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    your mom lol
    The only reason I know this exists is because of the obscure Mega Man & Bass sequel.
     
    Last edited by SexySpai, Aug 21, 2019
  16. linuxares

    linuxares I'm not a generous god!

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    Neat, never heard about it before.
     
    JavaScribe likes this.
  17. phonz

    phonz GBAtemp Regular

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    I loved playing Wonderswan games on emu back in the day.
    I was quite fond of the Digimon and Cardcaptor Sakura games.
     
    Kazalber and raxadian like this.
  18. wormdood

    wormdood pirate booty inspector

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    Jan 3, 2014
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    behind a parental advisory sticker
    that's because some games used the same button layout as the original gameboy (d-pad a b start and select) and they were played on the console horizontally and there were also some other games that used the d-pad and four face buttons and they played vertically
     
    JavaScribe, GuyInDogSuit and VitaType like this.
  19. Kubas_inko

    Kubas_inko "Something funny goes here."

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    Feb 3, 2017
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    I gues on earth.
    What is this?
     
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