Off work with heinous dental issues I decided to use the time today productively. It turns a bit of Mega Drive modding was just the thing to distract from the pain.
My wire, switches etc that I mentioned in my last blog post arrived earlier this week, and deciding I could only afford one game before I next get paid, I plumped for the classic collection* pictured below. Flicky is one of my favourite “I’ll just have a bash” games, and Gunstar Heroes was on my list as something I absolutely need to put some time into. The other two games aren’t bad, but I’m not so fussed. (update: was clearly delirious when I originally wrote this, the other two games are awful. Altered beast especially)
I got myself sorted, cleared some space, and loaded up the guide I’d chosen to work from. It can be found here if you’re interested. On we go!
Minor dilemma. Once I exposed the mainboard and found the jumpers referenced by the guide, I discovered the layout was different than expected. Basically the jumpers were in order JP 1 – 4, where as the models referenced in this guide and most of the others I’d see go, 1 2 4 3. I wasn’t sure I could then rely on the pin diagram (and don’t own a multimeter). Fortunately I googled the version number of the board “bd m5 pal” and found this page. It’s for the two switch mod, and the guide isn’t so clear, but it did give me enough information to proceed with the first guide. (Look at me, adapting and everything).
Making the hole to fit the switch was the bit I was most worried about, but it went pretty smoothly. Some cautious drilling, followed by a bit of time filing. This is my first time doing any kind of mod with an externally visible part, so was relieved that it looked okay.
I couldn’t get my phone to focus on the switch to show the pins, but connecting to it was pretty straight forward. Simply a matter of pushing the cable through a hole, and holding it in place with a blob of solder. You’ll notice I haven’t included any close ups of my soldered joints. This is because my soldering is horrific, and will give you nightmares. From the second pic, you can see the main mistake that I made in the whole process. Vastly over-estimated the length of wire required. I went with it anyway, I play by my own rules.
I tested my switch while the machine was still in pieces, and happy it was working as required, I put the machine back together. Gotta say I am pleased with how it has turned out!
Full Screen Flicky makes me happy! Even if I continued to commit aspect ratio sins.
It’s not so present in Flicky, but Altered Beast and Gunstar Heroes have an odd border down the left when in 60hz. I suspect this is down to my TV. The games running at full speed is much more important though, and I’m very happy with the results.
Just in case you were curious, here’s Altered Beast running with the switch at Euro 50hz. Yikes.
Now to pick up some games! Must get a Japanese one soon, as the previous owner of the console had done some Mega Drive modding of their own and filed down the cartridge slot so they should fit in and I’m keen to test it. Also on the lookout for Bio-Hazard Battle, one of my favourite Mega Drive Shmups that may earn a blog post of its own.
*affiliate links, I’ll get a cut if you buy something.