Author Topic: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge  (Read 1516 times)

Offline calohtar

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Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« on: 14/Oct/2016 10:27:03 PM »
Hello friends!

I discovered this device today because I was wondering about the possibility of legally playing the old Fire Emblem games. Specifically, I want to play two games from the SNES - Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (FE4), and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 (FE5). If you're not aware, these games were released exclusively in Japan. In order to play these without using a pirated ROM, I was hoping to import an original copy of the Super Famicom cartridge from Japan and then apply a translation patch.

I don't believe that FE4 will be a problem, but finding a copy of FE5 has proven difficult. This game was originally released as an exclusive for the Nintendo Power Cartridge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Power_(cartridge), and then a few months later was released as a standard SF ROM cartridge. As a brief explanation, the Nintendo Power service was basically where you buy a blank cartridge with 8 divisions, and then you go to your local game store, stick in the cartridge in a machine, and download the game of your choice to the RAM in the cartridge (which will take up one or more of the memory divisions).

I haven't been able to find a copy of the FE5 ROM cartridge for anything less than three figures, but I've found a few somewhat-reasonably priced Nintendo Power Cartridges with the game loaded onto them. My question to the community is, how to you think the Retrode will handle the Nintendo Power Cartridge? It's certainly not a traditional SF cartridge, but I figure the game file has to be sitting on there somewhere. Has anyone tried this before? Thanks for any help!

TLDR; Will the Retrode be able to get a game file off of a Super Famicom Nintendo Power Cartridge?

Offline Wannado

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #1 on: 16/Oct/2016 05:10:26 PM »
Nocash's fullsnes.htm apparently contains a lot of details about how the Nintendo Power cartridge works.

After taking a quick look at that document, I guess the following:
  • If there is more than one game on the cartridge, the Retrode will only be able to read the game selection menu program.
  • If there is just a single game on the cartridge, but the cartridge isn't full, the Retrode might be able to read that game. Or again only the menu program. I don't know.
  • If a single game fills the whole cartridge (4 MiB / 32 Megabits), this greatly increases the chance that Retrode can read it.

I repeat, this is just a guess. The Retrode might as well fail to read anything. So far, the Retrode firmware provides no special support for this type of cartridge.

Another guess: The Retrode will probably not erase the cartridge by accident. (Accessing the cartridge's special functions, and in particular, programming the flash, seems to require writing quite a long stream of setup commands to the cartridge. As far as I can see, the Retrode only ever writes to an SNES cartridge when writing savegame data (the *.srm file).)

Offline Pickle

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #2 on: 17/Oct/2016 02:35:25 PM »
I would take a look at this device:

https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?PHPSESSID=am586fjq5ofs9crhgctkn4gih2&topic=158974.0

Ive built one to cover things that the retrode cant do. For me specifically it was star ocean (SDD1). And SA-1 when i need it. I also got it in mind for Nintendo power carts if I get one.

Edit: Just to clarify the arduino cart reader dumps the rom to sdcard.
« Last Edit: 17/Oct/2016 04:13:53 PM by Pickle »

Offline calohtar

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #3 on: 17/Oct/2016 04:22:16 PM »
@Wannado - yes, that is what I was afraid of, but thank you for taking a look and giving a more educated opinion!

@Pickle - I've never taken on an arduino project before, or any electrical engineering project for that matter... but maybe this would be the perfect chance to do so! It's especially tempting because I have no idea if/when the GBx and N64 adapters for the Retrode will come back in stock at DragonBox... as an aside, does anyone else know where to get your hands on one of those?

Offline androda

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #4 on: 18/Oct/2016 12:16:37 AM »
@calohtar

I am able to make GBx adapters for the retrode. See the end of this thread:
http://forum.retrode.org/index.php/topic,304.0.html

The adapters I sell have a space for an n64 slot - I just don't have any n64 slots at the moment.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #5 on: 18/Oct/2016 04:51:05 PM »
@calohtar
The work is mostly getting the parts and soldering them together. Then loading the application code the arduino board.
Im selling my extra pcb boards (had to order 10). The hardest part to find was the snes connector.
In that thread I posted there is a user that is going to sell a kit (I dont recall if its preassembled)

Offline KingMike

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #6 on: 02/Jan/2017 06:37:39 PM »
  • If a single game fills the whole cartridge (4 MiB / 32 Megabits), this greatly increases the chance that Retrode can read it.
FE5 is a 32 megabit game.

After finding my Nintendo Power cart of the same game and trying to dump it... fail. :(
« Last Edit: 02/Jan/2017 07:15:36 PM by KingMike »

Offline Wannado

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #7 on: 04/Jan/2017 04:44:11 PM »
@KingMike: Thank you for trying. What did the Retrode show for that cartridge? A smaller .sfc file? Or just "GenericRomInSnesSlot.dat"?

Offline KingMike

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #8 on: 05/Jan/2017 06:22:46 AM »
It seems to default to detecting it as a 2600 game. :P

Offline Wannado

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Re: Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 on Nintendo Power Cartridge
« Reply #9 on: 05/Jan/2017 06:15:25 PM »
You might try it again with "[forceSystem] SNES" in RETRODE.CFG. Don't forget to revert the setting to "auto" before using (since v0.19 beta: the same slot of) the Retrode with games from other systems.

The auto-detection for SNES games looks for the game name stored in the ROM at a known address. In this case, it failed to recognize the data as a valid name, maybe because it's in Japanese.

The false positive for A2600 is not the reason that SNES was skipped; SNES is tried before A2600.