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Thread: Japanese SA-1 SFC games on US SNES?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickstilwell1 View Post
    People would go "forget these guys, this guy's idea is even better."


    Oh yeah, I'm looking over that site you linked, Wiggyx, thanks for that!

    Hm, a variety of pros and cons with the device. It might help increase the lifespan of console pins but if the connector material isn't the right type there's a possibility of corrosion if left against the wrong kind of metal (haven't been able to dig up the connector material type, but it could happen with some early PCs). It represents an ever-so-slight increase in distance of the cartridge (hence slower access) and slightly more resistance (more metal to travel through) but this will not cause any kind of practical or even measurable difference to gameplay and probably not to power usage either. And, of course, it costs more than removing the offensive tabs.

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    Welp, I cut the tabs out of both my mini and original SNES consoles. Though now that I have The original one all together again, I'm having a hard time getting the reset button to slide. I guess it's not really all that important, but still...

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    FWIW SA-1 games are playable on the SD2SNES now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coreykun667 View Post
    Welp, I cut the tabs out of both my mini and original SNES consoles. Though now that I have The original one all together again, I'm having a hard time getting the reset button to slide. I guess it's not really all that important, but still...
    That shouldn't happen...I would open it back up again and try putting it together again, sounds like something isn't fit right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    So, how about dem adapters? Aussie2B had one here for sale some years before the Wiggy era, and some Canadian bloke had one on eBay recently. I think all this really entails is just a straight PCB with traces straight through; it's a bit puzzling to me there aren't more out there because you can order a similar product for the Sega Master System, by default in a "more system-tab-friendly" variant, even.
    Funny you should bring that up considering the whole reason I sold that adapter was because it didn't support SA-1 chip games (actually, I've had two adapters pass through my hands, and neither supported those games). When I was first getting into Super Famicom games, I wanted to go with an adapter because I was worried how well I could pull off the modification and I didn't really want to do any damage to my system. But the first game I wanted to play through, Star Ocean, the reason I bought an adapter in the first place, uses the side tabs, and I assumed that an adapter would allow me to play all Super Famicom games. I spent months waiting to land good deals on an adapter (which set me back around $30 with a couple cheap freebie games that I didn't care about) and then Star Ocean itself (which was usually $60+ back then for a complete copy). After all my patience and the eager anticipation of finally getting to play, you can imagine my disappointment when all I got was scrambled graphics. Those stupid converters often have side slots so the tabs can fit in, but if you look closely, you can see that the slots are completely empty. I immediately said "To hell with this" and modified the system. I was amazed at how easy it was and how clean it looked. I didn't need a game bit or anything. With just a pair of needlenose pliers, I bent the relatively soft plastic back and forth until it all chipped away, leaving only a slight seam. I felt like a fool for ever wasting my time and money on those stupid adapters. I can respect that some people absolutely do not want to modify their systems in any shape or form, but SNES modification will always been my personal recommendation to any American gamer interested in Super Famicom games. Besides, I also have an unmodified SNES kicking around if I ever concerned myself with wanting to possess an untouched model (and I have a third SNES, the mini version, that is also modified).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    FWIW SA-1 games are playable on the SD2SNES now.
    Whoa, really? It seems like only yesterday that every source was saying "Not now, maybe never." That's great news, but now my Super EverDrive is looking nervous...

    BTW my understanding is that PAL games need either (a) certain models of Pro Action Replay, or (b) a console mod (snipping a leg on the lockout chip) to work -- but that the mod breaks compatibility with certain games unless you add a switch. Is there a third alternative, maybe modding the lockout chip on the cart itself?

    The only PAL games I can't play via flashcart are Dirt Racer (which I have and can't play) and Winter Gold (which I don't have yet). Both use the SuperFX, and I'm reluctant to mod my SNES or spend big bucks on a PAR just to play 2 games (one of which is allegedly crap).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Funny you should bring that up considering the whole reason I sold that adapter was because it didn't support SA-1 chip games (actually, I've had two adapters pass through my hands, and neither supported those games).
    Thanks for the info. I guess the buyer found that out the hard way, though. Caveat emptor?

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    Huh? I said exactly what it was, brand and all (and who knows what extra info/pictures I may have shared privately), and I don't remember the buyer being anything but happy. If somebody is looking specifically for one of the rare adapters that does support SA-1 chip games, it's their job to do the research to find out which brands and models have that feature and to ask sellers questions if necessary. It's not a seller's job to guess at what the buyer knows or doesn't know or wants or doesn't want (in fact, I don't think I even knew at the time that adapters that do support them existed). I don't at all blame the seller who sold the adapter to me. I wasn't promised that I could play every single Super Famicom game in existence with it. I got exactly what I paid for, a working SFC to SNES adapter. It was my mistake for not knowing that most SNES adapters don't support SA-1 games. I mean, what, was I required to say that it won't play PAL games too? Or that it won't play NES games? If I sell a Genesis 3, am I required to point out that it can't connect to a Sega CD? If I sell a toploading NES, am I required to point out that it doesn't output composite? When somebody sells something, all you have to do is explain what it is, if it works, and point out any damage. Suggesting that it's necessary to point out what it DOESN'T do, when it was never made to do that in the first place, is just absurd. You make it sound as if I sold something that was broken and conned somebody, and I don't appreciate that at all.

    Christ, to think I'm being called out for how I sold something NINE years ago when I never once heard a complaint from the buyer, not immediately after nor later on. Ridiculous.

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    With the cost of adapters I don't see why more people don't just import Super Famicom systems. I mean if you do that you can usually get those cool looking Super Famicom controllers with it as well as a game lot.
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    Hot damn, an apology is in order for that. I didn't intend to mean you were deliberately misleading anyone and will say no more on that but I am sorry to have given you that distress. At the same time, I certainly didn't (and it has unfortunately proven not to be) "funny" that I mentioned the sale; it hasn't been easy to find good information about converters, and (for entirely innocent reasons) it's not really reasonable to expect a person to even know about the SA-1 before they go playing imports, let alone figure out that converters don't act as a simple cartridge expansion. And if they do try to cut through all the "cut the tabs" responses, they're likely to find some information like that sales thread, which as you say isn't exhaustive.

    For what it's worth, the quest continues: I read elsewhere that the Xband modem has a passthrough mode "which connects all the pins," so hopefully that will work. But at this stage, who knows. I thought a simple passthrough couldn't be too hard to produce, but then they got super fancy on me...and screwed it up, unfortunately. I'd love to see the inside of one of these converters so I could put my mind at rest about what's going on; they can't have saved any money leaving out a few (essential) traces on the PCB extension.

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    That's probably exactly why "cut the tabs" responses are so prevalent. The adapters out there are cheap unlicensed devices mostly made in Taiwan and what have you. I don't think information on them is ever going to be that great. For many players of Super Famicom games, it doesn't really matter to them what kind of adapter they get, though, since there aren't a huge number of games with enhancement chips:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ancement_chips

    And not all of those on the list use the extra pins. Going through that list, quite a few got US release, and of the Japanese exclusives, it's mostly stuff like sports and shogi, which most gamers don't care about, or RPGs and other text-heavy stuff, which a lot of importers avoid (although I don't, so it's important to me to be able to play stuff like Star Ocean, Marvelous, and Tengai Makyo Zero).

    So if you really want to spend the time and money to get one of those dumb adapters, they can get the job done for the most part. But if you care about Super Famicom games with enhancement chips, it makes a lot more sense to modify and it's a good solution for anybody looking to play Super Famicom games.

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    I found another possible choice - the Naki Tek (or maybe Nakitek, it's not clear Naki Tek and Nakitek are the same company) Game Saver. A couple on Amazon for $17 or so, and a couple on eBay for $18 + 6 S&H (but with best offer). I'm going to try to get one, but not for more than $15. I'm actually not sure I need one of these; the Game Shark super cheap passthrough method does work with quite a few titles and I don't know if I even have any SA-1 games besides a few domestics.

    However all this stuff seems dodgy to me and I have to admit cutting the tabs can't possibly fry your cartridge or system. But I'd like to see if the Naki Tek device is useful, too.

    Speaking of dumb Nintendo design decisions, it's the same situation on the N64. However I don't think there's a region lockout there, either, and certainly the situation is much better than a lockout chip and missing / displaced pins would have been (as on the NES).

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    I have a Nakitek Game Saver and just confirmed that I could load Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius with it. It was listed at http://www.mobygames.com/attribute/s...ributeId,1162/ as having the SA-1 coprocessor.
    I also tried a Super 8, Honey Bee Adapter, and Game Genie without success.

    Cutting the tabs seems the most reasonable solution and works perfectly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    Speaking of dumb Nintendo design decisions, it's the same situation on the N64. However I don't think there's a region lockout there, either, and certainly the situation is much better than a lockout chip and missing / displaced pins would have been (as on the NES).
    Playing imports on a US N64 isn't too hard, but I'd say it's slightly more of a pain in the butt than with the SNES. The tabs are in the corners of the slot so you can't get a grip around them, and the plastic seems harder as well. You need some more serious tools to pull off a modification than merely a pair of pliers and a little elbow grease. Most methods require opening the system up to either remove the entire plastic piece with the tabs or to cut them out, so you'd need a game bit for those approaches. I personally melted the tabs down with a soldering iron, which didn't require opening the system, but it's not nearly as pretty as my SNES modifications (and I got a couple tiny melt marks on the flaps).

    And I also have heard that some N64 games won't work with some of the passthrough devices out there, so the adapter route isn't perfect either.

    However, one advantage the N64 has is that, besides the different notches for the tabs, the plastic front and back pieces of N64 carts are the same for both Japan and the US, unlikely the entirely different cart designs of SFC and SNES games. You can just as well open up an N64 import you want to play, open up some random US cart, swap the back pieces, and close them up. Then your Japanese game will fit in the system just as well as any US cart. Then just swap the shells again when you're done. Of course, this all requires a game bit too.

    Even though it sucks that imports can't be immediately played on a US SNES or N64, I'm not going to complain or suggest that Nintendo was dumb. I'm very glad they made it as easy as it is. Most home consoles have regional lockout, and the fact that the SNES and N64 merely have a physical lockout that's easy to get around is great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    That's probably exactly why "cut the tabs" responses are so prevalent. The adapters out there are cheap unlicensed devices mostly made in Taiwan and what have you. I don't think information on them is ever going to be that great. For many players of Super Famicom games, it doesn't really matter to them what kind of adapter they get, though, since there aren't a huge number of games with enhancement chips:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ancement_chips

    And not all of those on the list use the extra pins. Going through that list, quite a few got US release, and of the Japanese exclusives, it's mostly stuff like sports and shogi, which most gamers don't care about, or RPGs and other text-heavy stuff, which a lot of importers avoid (although I don't, so it's important to me to be able to play stuff like Star Ocean, Marvelous, and Tengai Makyo Zero).

    So if you really want to spend the time and money to get one of those dumb adapters, they can get the job done for the most part. But if you care about Super Famicom games with enhancement chips, it makes a lot more sense to modify and it's a good solution for anybody looking to play Super Famicom games.
    Indeed dumb is literally correct in this case, NTSC import adapters are passive.
    Either the sides are connected or not. They contain no functional purpose of their own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    Even though it sucks that imports can't be immediately played on a US SNES or N64, I'm not going to complain or suggest that Nintendo was dumb.
    Well, if you're going to have regional lockout, a small mechanical barrier is as elegant a solution as you can get - it's just "dumb" in the sense it's a hoop to jump through.

    This simplicity is why I have trouble understanding the design problems of the converters...doesn't make sense to me but I've said that before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    FWIW SA-1 games are playable on the SD2SNES now.
    If you can find an SN2SNES

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    Well, if you're going to have regional lockout, a small mechanical barrier is as elegant a solution as you can get - it's just "dumb" in the sense it's a hoop to jump through.

    This simplicity is why I have trouble understanding the design problems of the converters...doesn't make sense to me but I've said that before.
    Fuck yeah, I'll take mechanical lockout over a chip ANY day! Nothing like being able to mod a system for free.

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    Wait, I made a boo boo. SA-1 don't work, CX4 works, sorry had them confused. Chip enhancement has kind of slowed to a crawl on the sd2snes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie2B View Post
    You need some more serious tools to pull off a modification than merely a pair of pliers and a little elbow grease. Most methods require opening the system up to either remove the entire plastic piece with the tabs or to cut them out, so you'd need a game bit for those approaches. I personally melted the tabs down with a soldering iron, which didn't require opening the system, but it's not nearly as pretty as my SNES modifications (and I got a couple tiny melt marks on the flaps).
    I used a gamebit to open the console to pull out the plastic piece around the cart slot, and a pack of cardboard nail files. (could substitute sandpaper, I suppose. But nail filers were available more conveniently.)
    I think it took me like a half hour to an hour or rubbing down those corners. I did this mod to a spare pre-owned black console, though. Decided it was better to leave my original, green Funtastic console stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Oscuro View Post
    This simplicity is why I have trouble understanding the design problems of the converters...doesn't make sense to me but I've said that before.
    I started wondering about that as well. If the SNES has no region protection other than a physical barrier, why wouldn't any of my pass thru devices allow an SA-1 cart to play?

    In looking closely at the Game Genie and the Honey Bee convertor I had, I noticed that both made the physical allowance for the insertion of a cartridge containing the side 'wings' found on SA-1 cart. However, there were no actual electrical contacts in the wing area of the connector. Just room for them to enter freely, but making contact with nothing. On the console insertion side of both, there was no continuance of the 'wings' area to enter the console and even provide the possibility of a pass thru feature.

    I also have a Datel Action Replay Pro and it allows an SA-1 cart to be inserted, but has no connectors on either side of the convertor to make contact with the 'wings' portion of the cart and so has absolutely no chance of acting as a pass thru device.

    I then took a closer look at the Super 8 convertor made by Innovation. On top, it's cartridge connector has all the necessary electrical contacts to accept carts with SA-1 'wings'. On the console insertion side, there are 'wings' that would be inserted into the console that are identical to the 'wings' on the SA-1 cart. In theory, this is a perfect pass thru device, so why didn't it work when I tried using an SA-1 chipped game?

    I have no answer for that. Mine might even be defective, because it looks like a perfect pass thru device and should have worked.

    I started to wonder why the Super 8 even included an SNES cartridge port at all, since it's being used in an SNES console. Why even bother replacing what's already there? So I tried a few other Super Famicom games and they all played just fine. I guess because none of those had any special chips. I realized the Super 8 will act as a region bypass convertor, of sorts then.

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    I'm guessing that whatever tiny cost they could save by not including the necessary materials to support side pins is what made them leave it out. Considering that most games wouldn't need it, they probably figured they could get away with it. The real mystery to me is why many adapters have empty slots to accommodate the side pins, rather than just making it impossible to insert those carts. Why bother when the games won't work? You'd think leaving out that plastic or simplifying the design would cut costs too. Maybe they were trying to scam customers, tricking them into thinking the adapters would work with games that have the extra tabs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    In looking closely at the Game Genie and the Honey Bee convertor I had, I noticed that both made the physical allowance for the insertion of a cartridge containing the side 'wings' found on SA-1 cart. However, there were no actual electrical contacts in the wing area of the connector. Just room for them to enter freely, but making contact with nothing.
    Yeah, this is what I expected from most of the units.
    I then took a closer look at the Super 8 convertor made by Innovation. On top, it's cartridge connector has all the necessary electrical contacts to accept carts with SA-1 'wings'. On the console insertion side, there are 'wings' that would be inserted into the console that are identical to the 'wings' on the SA-1 cart. In theory, this is a perfect pass thru device, so why didn't it work when I tried using an SA-1 chipped game?
    Aside from traces that don't actually connect, I think it is more likely that the Super 8 uses some pins of the connector for its own purposes, like apparently the Xband modem does (although that one reportedly can be switched to passthrough mode).

    I started to wonder why the Super 8 even included an SNES cartridge port at all, since it's being used in an SNES console. Why even bother replacing what's already there? So I tried a few other Super Famicom games and they all played just fine. I guess because none of those had any special chips. I realized the Super 8 will act as a region bypass convertor, of sorts then.
    They may have included the port as an advertising bullet point. Sure it costs a bit more to include the SNES connector, but it also is a bit more convenient not to have to remove the Super 8 when you want to play a regular SNES game.

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