To be honest, I really don’t have much to report. On the WonderSwan front, we are re-designing our circuit board. The current design seems completely functional, but now we are trying to reduce the board size to fit in a WonderSwan without sticking out.
The main reason I’m posting today is that we have 10 more NGPC USB cartridges in stock. I don’t really want my posts to be all about having carts soldered up and ready to sell. However, I know that people ask me about this lately, and my standard reply is that they should watch here to know when there are some ready. Until I come up with a better procedure, I guess I’ll have to post whenever we have some new units ready for people.
I’ll get the big news out of the way first. I’m going to see Star Wars a little later today. Wait, what? You wanted better news? Hmm. Well, I guess to compensate, I can offer some more NGPC USB Flash Masta carts for sale.
We only have 6 of these to offer today. I really wanted to get more before Christmas. Maybe we’ll get another batch ready before then. I soldered up 10 of these carts, but 4 of them have some issues that didn’t pass QA. That probably means we’ll have 4 more ready next week (when I find some small soldering error), but I can’t guarantee it.
Last month we announced that we were clearing out some of the “old” style cartridges, because some changes were coming. Today, we are finally announcing the new version. We have already sent out some early test versions to some specific people. The feedback has been good, which really means that there haven’t been any major problems reported.
The new “Neo Pocket Flash Masta USB” cartridge no longer requires a separate “Link Masta” USB device. The USB is now all built in, and it all fits inside of a standard NGPC cartridge. As of my posting this, there are only 6 cartridges available. These are still being assembled by hand and have cuts we do by hand, just like the previous cartridges were.
We are still developing some pieces of the software, but it’s functional. It’s also built to interface with the previous bundle with the separate Flash Masta cart and Link Masta USB device. If you already own any Neo Pocket Flash Masta kit, check out this new beta software, and leave some feedback in the comments below. http://www.flashmasta.com/software-downloads/#beta
The cartridge has a total of 32 Megabits and has a switch to choose between two 16 Megabit “slots” that contain games or apps that you upload to it. If the file you upload is over 16Mbit (2 megabyte), then it will take the entire cartridge (both slots). To upload a file to a slot, you plug in a micro USB cable into the side of the cartridge and use the software found here.
As you may have noticed above, the price is $79.95 for the cartridge, and the shipping cost is $3.99 (worldwide shipping and handling). This price is our best guess at the final release pricing once we’re ready to roll these out in a larger batch. To be clear, the actual release price may be cheaper, or it could be more expensive.
Have a happy Thanksgiving (or a happy Thursday for the rest of the world)!
It seems that we may have sold our last Neo Pocket Flash Masta + Link Masta Bundle. While working on the WonderSwan cart, I learned a bunch of new things, and we are going to push some of that knowledge to the Neo Geo Pocket cartridge.
What does that mean for you guys? Well, it means 2 things:
1) We don’t plan to sell the same bundle that’s been a labor of love over the past few years. We are testing some new ideas, and we hope to announce a replacement in the near future.
2) We sold our last Neo Pocket “Link Masta” USB device. It’s the one that we have been 3D printing red cases for. While it was a cool piece of hardware, it was a pain to build. The cartridge “socket” had to be hand cut. The case was 3D printed. I’m not complaining, but, truthfully, I did my share of complaining whenever I needed to build one up. The upside here is that we still have some 32Mbit Neo Flash Masta cartridges left. In the past, we normally only bundled these with the Link Masta. Now, we have about 16 of them ready to sell at a clearance price of $35 (plus $4 worldwide shipping). Take a look at the picture to see what you’ll get, but please keep in mind that this is only for people that already own a Link Masta USB device from here already. You will need to own the Link Masta to write data to this cartridge.
Tokyo and Hong Kong
I’m going to Hong Kong in November. I really enjoy going there. It’ll be my 4th time there. I’ve never been to Tokyo or any part of Japan before, so I decided to add a 2-night stopover in Tokyo on my way back from Hong Kong. Are any of you guys living in Tokyo by any chance? I’m really excited for this trip. Do you guys have any suggestions for me in either location?
Okay, so I’m very much reaching when I say that I share a birthday with the NGPC. I just wanted to feel special. The fact is that I had a birthday recently, and the Neo Geo Pocket Color was supposedly launched in North America on August 6, 1999. Now that I typed it out, it doesn’t seem all that special anymore.
For my birthday, we did a little reenactment of the classic Office Space scene where they went all gangsta on a printer. I really wish that this had been shot in landscape, as all videos should be recorded, but it’s still a little entertaining. My hit caused part of the printer to fly over and hit one of the vehicles.
In real news, we have been working on the WonderSwan flash cartridge quite a bit lately. I hope to have something new to show after we get a batch of new PCBs in. I am also hoping that these new ones won’t need modifications like the latest one did. Basically, I hope this next run of circuit boards will be just like what I’m showing here, except that it won’t have all the little extra wires all over.
I would also like to announce that we have used some of the techniques learned while working on the WonderSwan to resurrect the Atari Lynx Flash Masta cartridge project.
This summer has been a bit less productive than expected, but isn’t that always the case here? The good news is that there has been progress on the WonderSwan project. The crazy rat’s nest prototype can accept multiple ROMs and switch between them. The interface isn’t pretty, but the concept is proven.
Now that we know it works, we have been designing a new circuit board. The idea is to make this another prototype, but one that we can use to develop more code for. I have been talking to some people that may help out with coding, so they may get some prototype hardware to develop on.
It’s important for us to get this prototype as close to the final as we can (even though it may have some extra optional stuff for now), so that anything we develop for it now can work on the final version.
As for Neo Geo Pocket stuff, we continue to produce and sell that hardware. It’s always interesting that people seem to want them in spurts, so please tell your friends or post about it on forums, Twitter, FB, etc. I think that’s the type of thing that creates a spike in interest, and we need to keep up interest in NGPC and this site to make this whole endeavor worth continuing. Thanks!!!
THIS IS NOT MY SALE. I just want to be clear that I just ran across this eBay listing. I have nothing to do with the seller or benefit in any way from the sale. I do, however, know that people keep asking me about front-lit NGPCs, so I thought you guys might want to know about this opportunity to get a lit Neo Geo Pocket Color.
In other news, I have been working hard on the WonderSwan project lately. It is finally shaping up the way I’ve been envisioning it. My current prototype looks like a crazy Frankenstein mess. I’m hoping to get all the proof-of-concept work done on this in the next few days, so I can have a new all-in-one circuit board created. Then, maybe, I’ll finally have something for you early-adopters to play with.
A lot of things are in the works, now. It’s difficult to keep juggling all the balls, but today I am finally announcing a cool new initiative to bring you a higher quality case for the Neo Pocket LinkMasta.
Thanks to a partnership with 7400 Circuits, we are now able to have a box made exactly for the Neo Geo Pocket USB LinkMasta. Isn’t it pretty? We are quite proud of it.
All new orders will now include this new 3D printed case enclosing the LinkMasta USB device. If you are an existing owner of a Neo Pocket Flash Masta kit, and you want these new clothes for your LinkMasta, you can purchase one at the 7400 Circuits Shop (http://www.7400circuits.com/shop/). There were a few 3D printed cases that were sent out before we landed on this exact design. If you received one of those, you should know who you are, and, if you want a new red case as shown here, please get ahold of me. You should have my email address from your order, or use the contact form.
To provide a little more information to anyone that’s curious, 7400 Circuits is a new company that I am a partner of. The case was designed there (with my input). I don’t know what the future holds, but we may see 7400 Circuits helping out more with the flash cart stuff that I do here. I don’t expect that this will change anything from your standpoint, but I thought that you might be interested since it’s the first time that “7400” name has been mentioned here.
As far as WonderSwan goes, I know that progress has been slow. Things move forward, but the pace is like a snail sometimes. Currently, I can flash games to the cart and boot them on a WonderSwan. The problem is that it’s not very user friendly. I have come up with a solution for that, but I need to prototype it (with crazy messes of wires running everywhere) and then do a new prototype PCB run once that’s working.
Richard Garfield, Game Designer (Magic: The Gathering, King Of Tokyo) says,
“It is terrific to be able to play Trouble With Robots again – it is overdue for iOS. It surprised me that it still feels unlike anything else I have played, I would have expected some other game developers to use this obviously good game formula to make a bunch of exciting new games. I hope that it gets the success and attention it deserves – and inspires the new games which >I< deserve!"
You could describe the game as “Magic: The Gathering” meets “Plants Vs. Zombies,” because it’s a mix of CCG and real-time strategy action.
I put together a little video of me describing some of the cards in the game and playing a more advanced level.