Francis Stokes Demonstrates Tips on how to Dump Sport Boy ROMs From the Sport Boy Itself

Developer Francis Stokes has begun dumping the read-only reminiscence (ROM) photographs from previous Nintendo Sport Boy cartridges, however he is taking a unique strategy to most — utilizing the Sport Boy {hardware} itself to repeat the cartridge contents and ship it out over the hyperlink port.

“The standard strategy is that you’d someway discover a approach to open up the cartridge,” Stokes explains of the standard ROM-dumping course of, “so possibly you even have the proprietary screwdriver that interfaces with the screw that Nintendo determined they might use on these cartridges, and inside you will discover a circuit board and that circuit board could include quite a few chips — however at the very least one in every of them can be a ROM chip.”

A Sport Boy seems to be a useful approach to learn Sport Boy cartridges — and dump them to a pc. (📹: Low Byte Productions)

“What you do is you desolder that ROM chip along with your hot-air rework station,” Stokes continues, “and you are taking the chip, and also you rigorously place it in your EPROM reader/author, and also you dump the information over some historic cable to your pc. After which you’ve got the information that’s what makes up the sport, and that is what masses instantly into an emulator.”

Stokes, fairly rightly, factors out a couple of drawbacks to this strategy — reminiscent of not everybody gaining access to a hot-air rework station or the talents to make use of it with out everlasting injury to the cartridge and the necessity for doubtlessly costly EPROM reader. His answer, then, is to make use of a bit of {hardware} already designed to learn the contents of Sport Boy cartridges: a Sport Boy.

“We do not want any specialised gear aside from the Sport Boy itself,” Stokes explains. In what Stokes calls a “heist,” the mission sees the Sport Boy satisfied to run customized code, which reads within the contents of the cartridge at present put in in its slot then sends it out over the hyperlink port — a function frequent to most Sport Boy handhelds that permits two or extra consoles to be linked collectively for multi-player gaming however which, in Stokes’ mission, serves the aim of offering an output for the cartridge knowledge.

Utilizing a Saleae logic analyzer to take indicators from the hyperlink port, Stokes’ customized “sport’ runs from the Sport Boy’s inner reminiscence — permitting the cartridge holding the software program to be swapped out for the cartridge to be dumped — and sends the information to a number machine for storage as a comma separated worth (CSV) file, which may then be transformed right into a format acceptable to emulators.

Full mission particulars can be found on Stokes’ YouTube channel, whereas the supply code for the ROM-dumping “sport” has been included within the repository for Stoke’s TypeScript Embedded Sport Boy Macro Assembler (TEGA) on GitHub beneath the permissive MIT license.

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