Applying a translation patch to an actual SFC cart, is it possible?

the_importer

New member
Hi there,

After using emulation for over 11 years, I recently went retro crazy and starting buying old game systems and carts on eBay. My only problem (besides my upcoming credit card bill) is the fact that the Japanese games that I bought won't have to nice translation patches that my ROMs had.

Now I'm no electronic expert, that's a fact, but is there any way to perhaps "Flash" a translation patch to a game cart? I know that in the computer world, it is possible to flash ROM certain hardware using FLASH updates, so I was wondering if, when using a proper device, that it would be possible for SFC carts.


Thank you
 

InVerse

New member
You can't simply flash a patch onto a cart.

I know with NES that you can use an EPROM burner to burn a ROM (patched or not) to a cart, and I would assume that it's possible to do the same thing with SNES. Theoretically, it would be easier to do with SNES because you don't have to worry about mappers (with NES, you can only burn a ROM to a cartidge that utilizes the same memory mapper as your ROM, of which there are over 100 if you count pirate carts.)

Of course, it would be a lot cheaper and easier to simply buy a flash cart for SNES. You can get one of those for under $100 (I'm assuming an EPROM burner is probably more than that) and then you don't have to destroy any carts in the process as you can overwrite the contents repeatedly, allowing you to play whatever games you want.

As far as I know, the only problem with SNES copiers was that if a game used a special chip (such as the Super-FX used by F-Zero) then you had to have a copy of a game with that chip in order to play it. (Ie. having a copy of F-Zero would allow you to play any games with the Super-FX chip.) Now, I'm pulling most of this out of my ass from conversations on this vary board over a decade ago, so I could be sketchy on the details but I'm confident the gist of it is right.

I'm not sure if copiers are against the boards rules, so PM me if you want more info about them. I actually came across a site selling SNES copiers a couple of weeks ago.
 

the_importer

New member
You can't simply flash a patch onto a cart.

I know with NES that you can use an EPROM burner to burn a ROM (patched or not) to a cart, and I would assume that it's possible to do the same thing with SNES. Theoretically, it would be easier to do with SNES because you don't have to worry about mappers (with NES, you can only burn a ROM to a cartidge that utilizes the same memory mapper as your ROM, of which there are over 100 if you count pirate carts.)

Of course, it would be a lot cheaper and easier to simply buy a flash cart for SNES. You can get one of those for under $100 (I'm assuming an EPROM burner is probably more than that) and then you don't have to destroy any carts in the process as you can overwrite the contents repeatedly, allowing you to play whatever games you want.

As far as I know, the only problem with SNES copiers was that if a game used a special chip (such as the Super-FX used by F-Zero) then you had to have a copy of a game with that chip in order to play it. (Ie. having a copy of F-Zero would allow you to play any games with the Super-FX chip.) Now, I'm pulling most of this out of my ass from conversations on this vary board over a decade ago, so I could be sketchy on the details but I'm confident the gist of it is right.

I'm not sure if copiers are against the boards rules, so PM me if you want more info about them. I actually came across a site selling SNES copiers a couple of weeks ago.

Ya, but using a flash cart would kind of defeat the purpose of playing with the real thing. I'm spending a truckload of cash buying these things and I want them to serve a purpose besides being collectibles.

Thanks anyway
 

InVerse

New member
Well, they only way you're going to be able to play them with English translations is to replace the existing chip with a new one, so the carts would be basically serving as (not so) pretty boxes for new chips. So, basically, it's impossible for them to serve any purpose.

Do you have your SNES modded to be able to play SFC games?
 

The 9th Sage

New member
As far as I know, the only problem with SNES copiers was that if a game used a special chip (such as the Super-FX used by F-Zero)

Just wanted to point out that F-Zero doesn't use the Super-FX chip. Starfox, Starfox 2, Doom, Stunt Race FX...(might be another I can't remember) all use it. Other than that, you are correct.

*edit*
Oh right, oops...technically Starfox 2 and Doom use the Super-FX 2. Also, Yoshi's Island was one I forgot.
 
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InVerse

New member
I almost looked that up, I'm certainly no expert on anything related to SNES. I guess I was thinking F-Zero because it was supposed to have been so technically impressive at the time. (Hell, F-Zero is credited as being the reason that Doom exists and Doom is basically the reason that FPSes exist, so F-Zero is the grandfather of Halo!)
 

The 9th Sage

New member
I almost looked that up, I'm certainly no expert on anything related to SNES. I guess I was thinking F-Zero because it was supposed to have been so technically impressive at the time. (Hell, F-Zero is credited as being the reason that Doom exists and Doom is basically the reason that FPSes exist, so F-Zero is the grandfather of Halo!)

Huh, so F-Zero was in some way inspiration for Doom? Any quotes to back that up? That's pretty cool. :) I guess F-Zero was pretty impressive at the time...I know I'd never seen anything like it back then.
 

InVerse

New member
Not just quotes, an entire book: Masters of Doom by David Kushner. The book covers everything from Carmack and Romero's childhoods to their meeting at Softdisk and a bit past the implosion of id.

Carmack and Romero were huge fans of the original F-Zero and Carmack as screwing around, trying to figure out how to recreate the effects of F-Zero on a PC and those efforts ended up resulting in Doom. (Carmack was also apparently the first person to figure out how to do smooth scrolling on a PC and made an SMB3 clone. I believe they tried to get a licensing deal with Nintendo, but when that failed they ended up making Commander Keen.)

The book is actually well written and a fun read and can be purchased for less than $5 shipped according to BookFinder (which I *highly* *highly* recommend when buying books, they don't sell anything, just link you to places that do, so even if you use Amazon (which they include) you'll be able to see how much you're paying compared to other places. (Also, BF displays cost + shipping by default, which I appreciate, though you can exclude shipping if you want.)) I highly recommend it as a good non-fiction read.
 

The 9th Sage

New member
Not just quotes, an entire book: Masters of Doom by David Kushner. The book covers everything from Carmack and Romero's childhoods to their meeting at Softdisk and a bit past the implosion of id.

Ah, nice. I'll have to check it out. I had never heard of the F-Zero thing, but I had heard about SMB 3 for the PC giving way to Commander Keen. That kind of thing is fascinating to me.
 

the_importer

New member
Well, they only way you're going to be able to play them with English translations is to replace the existing chip with a new one, so the carts would be basically serving as (not so) pretty boxes for new chips. So, basically, it's impossible for them to serve any purpose.

Do you have your SNES modded to be able to play SFC games?

No, I actually have a Super Famicom.
 

Isildur

New member
I almost looked that up, I'm certainly no expert on anything related to SNES. I guess I was thinking F-Zero because it was supposed to have been so technically impressive at the time. (Hell, F-Zero is credited as being the reason that Doom exists and Doom is basically the reason that FPSes exist, so F-Zero is the grandfather of Halo!)

What about Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny, which preceeded Doom?
 

Reaper man

Member
What about Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny, which preceeded Doom?

The graphics engine for those games rendered the floor and ceiing as a solid color, where as F-Zero had a "floor texture." It was probably the mode 7 rendering that inspired Carmack to figure out how to render textures on the ceiling/floor. That's my guess though, as I have yet to read the book.
 

InVerse

New member
What about Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny, which preceeded Doom?

While Wolfenstein achieved a certain degree of popularity, I don't think they FPS genre would have taken off like it did without Doom. Reaperman's guess is pretty close, here are a quote from the book. (Incidentally, I have a copy of the book in txt format, if anybody wants it, but it would be a massive pain in the ass to read, I imagine.)

The opportunity to experiment came during the development of Spear of Destiny, the commercial spin-off of Wolfenstein that id was now making for FormGen. The game was named for the mythical spear used to kill Christ, an object later sought by Hitler for its supposed supernatural powers. In the game, Hitler steals the spear and B.J. must fight to win it back. FormGen’s original concerns over violence had faded with Wolfenstein’s success, so id was free to continue on its gory path.

Because Spear of Destiny was built using the original Wolfenstein engine, Carmack could work on new technology while the rest of the guys completed the game. At first, he fiddled with countless little experiments, using art resources from the existing games. He played around with making a racing game like F-Zero, the hovercraft title he played now and then with Romero. Carmack covered the floor of his computer screen with an angular blue matrix of lines. Then he started laying down images that together would make up roads. The only digital images around were big banners of Hitler from Wolfenstein, so he put those down back to back, making a highway of Hitlers surrounded by a sprawling web. Carmack could lose himself in the abstract mathematical imagery of this world, working on the acceleration of movement, the sense of speed, velocity, decline.
 

Isildur

New member
You see this ":p" in my post, this means that I was meant to be funny.

Welcome to the Internet BTW :p

":p" usually either means something like a resigned "sheesh" or a Charlie Brown-ish "Good grief", or marks a self-deprecating admission of a fault. While it's true that it may be used to indicate that an unfortunate situation has a humorus aspect, a wink smiley is a surer way to indicate that an entire statement is meant only humorously.
 
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