Category Archives: NGPC General

SNK Neo Geo Pocket Keychains & Flash Carts In Stock

IMG_9032We have a new batch of Neo Pocket Flash Masta USB cartridges back in stock today. To go along with them, we also have some new (semi-experimental) NGPC keychains.

Check them out here:

Comment here to let us know what you think of the keychains. When I first had the idea to make them, I tried to save the cartridge stickers. You can see in the product photos that some keychains have an original sticker on the back. Once we actually did the rubberizing process, many stickers curled up. I think the ones without stickers may look the best, but we have also tried Flash Masta stickers on some. Which is your favorite?

P.S. I was really pleased with the response we got to the WonderSwan early adopter survey. We are now waiting for some PCBs to arrive, and then I expect to be contacting people in a few rounds of emails (based on the responses we received) to start the preorder process for WS Flash Masta.

Neo Geo Pocket With Front Light (on eBay)

eBay Front-Lit NGPCTHIS 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.

Front-Lit NGPC for auction on eBay
http://www.ebay.com/itm/331545431959
(ends May 10th)

WonderSwan Flash Masta PrototypeIn 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.

Stickers Shipping / WonderSwan News

WonderSwan Flash Cart Development First of all, thanks for helping to make our survey a success.  We are no longer taking survey submissions, because it’s a maintenance issue to keep up with new responses.  If you still want your voice heard, please leave a comment on this post or use the contact form to send direct email messages.

The Neo Geo Pocket scene is going great, actually. We are still shipping Neo Pocket Flash Masta kits all over the world. In fact, it seems like these are ramping up lately. We just shipped out two yesterday. You’re keeping us busy! We appreciate that.

Speaking of keeping busy, let’s talk about WonderSwan a bit. Yeah, it’s not moving along at lightning speed, but it is moving along. We’re testing new prototype and test boards that we just got in. We ran into a big problem with the previous version, and it was very hard to test to see what the problem was. Thanks to Andrew (my partner in this), the new boards are a lot easier to do incremental tests on and debug.

We have a incremental plan laid out, and increment #1 seems to be a go. I’d say that we have a few more hurdles to leap before we’re ready to worry about resizing the PCB and coming up with solution for end users. Things are looking much better now, though. Stay tuned.

Stickers: I know that some of you are patiently waiting for your stickers. I know that I advertised stickers for people that previously purchased a Neo Pocket flash cart, and I have your information from the survey. I had hoped to get these out in stages, but it will be much easier now that the survey is closed. I can just do them all at once. Expect these to ship soon.

That’s the update from our end. Leave a comment and tell us what retro games you been playing lately.

Neo Geo Pocket Color Light Install (Frontlight Mod)

IMG_4701

Top=Light Bottom=Original

This past weekend, I took some time to complete modifying one of my Neo Geo Pocket Colors with a new front light for the screen. The install did not go as easily as I had hoped. There were plenty of snags along the way, but I think it worked out okay in the end. There are some tweaks I have in mind (either to redo this one or for my next attempt). Below is a video of the results.

In other news, I still have two of those GBA Linker + Cart bundles left. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s written up in my previous article. http://www.flashmasta.com/2014/02/21/gba-flash-cart-linker-flash-advance-xtreme-linker-128m-carts/ Two of the bundles sold within the first day. I recently sold a third, and that leaves 2.

Okay, here is the NGPC front-light mod video:
 

Neo Geo Pocket Color in 2013 / Thanks For a Great 2012!

Neo Geo Pocket Flash Masta & Linkmasta in France

We’ve made it to the new year once again. The Neo Geo Pocket scene just won’t die, and I want to thank you guys for keeping it alive after so long. Laurent is the latest guy to receive a NGPC Linkmasta & Flash Masta bundle, and he sent me the picture you see to the right. It seems that there is a strong Neo Geo scene in France, and it looks like Laurent is pretty proud of his new hardware. Thanks for sending that to me, Laurent!

I can’t believe that it’s already been almost two months since my last post here. I really like to keep you guys informed of what I’m working on, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been working on “real life” a lot more lately. Yeah, as you can see from the picture, I’ve still been getting bundles built and sent out. I’ll definitely keep doing that. I’m also still working on the WonderSwan hardware. Mainly, though, I’ve been working on some life changes that I’m not quite ready to discuss publicly. (Well, that and things like Christmas, New Years, and vacation stuff, of course.) While I think that this “real life” stuff has taken time away from my projects, I think that it may open up more opportunity for this sort of thing in the not too distant future.

I want to say a big “HAPPY 2013!” to all of you and also thank each of you for an awesome 2012! Even if you’re not already an owner of a Neo Geo Pocket Flash Masta, you are still here and interested in NGPC. We’re all thankful for that!

I’m excited to see what the new year brings, and I hope that the potential upcoming changes in my life will help me to produce more new and fun things for all of you retro gamers out there!

NeoGeo Pocket SaveGame Backups

Today a new owner of the NGPC Flash Masta & Linkmasta bundle emailed me with a question about backing up Neo Geo Pocket savegame data. In particular, he was asking why the software won’t backup only the save-game data when you are using a flash cartridge. If you’ve never tried it, the Linkmasta software will allow you to backup the savegame data from an official cartridge, but it won’t do it when it detects a flash cartridge. To backup the savegame data on a NGPC flash cart, you need to backup the entire (usually 32mbit) cartridge.

To understand this, first of all, it’s important to understand that the NGPC does not have separate savegame “SRAM” and game data “ROM” memory. This is a common misconception, because many systems had this architecture. What the NGPC has is flash memory that is used to store both game and savegame data.

In official games, the game data is protected so the NGPC can not write over the actual game ROM. However, you can write to every official NGPC cartridge. To do it, you’d have to write to an unprotected area of the cartridge memory, and this is typically where the savegame data would live.

What happens when you want to backup the savegame data from an official cartridge is that the Linkmasta uses some low-level routines to talk directly to the flash memory chip and ask about the protection status of each block. Whenever it encounters an unprotected block, it assumes that is where savegame data lives (or could possibly live) and backs it up. It saves this in the NeoPop savegame format which is the closest thing we have to a standard for this.

The problem arises when you try to employ this technique on a flash cart. The flash cart is 100% unprotected. The Linkmasta has no way to know which blocks contain savegame data and which ones contain game code/data. It could make guesses, but they would not be 100% accurate. The only way to be sure that you backup all of the savegame data is to backup ALL of the data on the cart (savegame plus game data).

I have thought about this before, and there is another way that the Linkmasta could (most likely) determine what data is savegame related. There could be another function to backup changes in the cart. This would probably be slightly different than the NeoPop savegame format. What you would do is to write a ROM file to the Neo Geo Pocket Flash Masta cart. Then, you would play it and save your progress. If you wanted to backup changes, you would (in theory) hit the “save changes” button. The software would then ask you to supply the ROM file used to create the cartridge. Then, it would compare, byte by byte, the contents of the file against the contents of the cartridge. Whenever it encountered a mismatch, it would save this to a savegame backup file. It would be like using the verify feature and saving a “diff”.

So, now that I’ve laid this out, I wonder if anyone is interested in implementing it. I am spending most of my time lately working on building bundles and researching and designing a WonderSwan cartridge. In the past, I have talked about making the NeoLinkmasta software open-source. I would be interested in hearing from anyone that would want to work on adding features like this. Do you have other ideas? If so, contact me. I just haven’t gotten around to “opening” the source, but I’m definitely interested in discussing this with coders.

Neo Geo Pocket T-Shirt

So, I might be getting some shirts made for a completely non-related project. If I do, I could maybe tack on an order for some NGPC shirts. I toyed with the idea of what it might look like. See below for some options.

Would you be interested in a shirt like this?

Do you like any of these designs the best?

Are you a graphic artist that would want to make this better (in like less than a day)?

Leave some comments ASAP. I may not have have much time for this.