TAB-Austria, as the name indicate was an Austrian company that created a series of arcade games in the late 90’s.
What is important for us is not the arcade game… It is the fact the games were developed under CD-i format.
These games first appeared on MAME version 0.139 (July 30 2010), as you know MAME is a multiplatform system emulator and the people behind it are jointing all games into one single place.
Quizard 1 (version 1.7), Quizard 2 (version 2.2), Quizard 3 (version 3.2) and Quizard Rainbaw 4 (version 4.1) are some of them, but they are not included into the official CD-i catalogue.
Quizard series are Quiz games up to 2 players, with a limited time to answer different questions categories, on each wrong answer, you will lose 1 live, until you lost the game. The objective is to get the most points as possible.
Quizard 1 and 2 worked almost perfectly on MAME and CD-i Emulator thanks to Harmony, but Quizard 3 and 4 wasn’t working at all.
That is when Team Europe entered in action, a dedicated group of people to decap MCU’s from original games integrated chips, they got originals Quizard MCU’s.
What is a MCU?
It is a chip which has inside a CPU + EPROM. This chip can get protected with a FUSE-BIT. When this bit is set, you can’t read the EPROM part from it. This chips were pretty expensive back in the days and the only way to read the EPROM part, is to decap it. (Open the Chip, cover the EPROM area with UV-opaque and put it under UV-eraser, which will then “delete” the FUSE-BIT. After that you can read the EPROM part, like it was never protected.
What is an EPROM?
It is a chip with data on it, it can not get protected and is pretty easy to read with any programmer.
Decapping MCU’s is the way you are able to get into the middle of it and reach the Eprom to unlock it with UV light, then copy to a brand new MCU. You need to place an UV protection on the Eprom to avoid any damage when erasing the lock
Easy right? No… Not at all… This is a very sensitive mission and I do not recommend any of you to try it at home!!!
So back in 2016, Team Europe received Quizard 1 and Quizard 4. They did what they know best… decapping the MCU to erase the unlock and be able to read it in a Eprommer reader, then copy it to a new Eprom.
Then back in 2017, Team Europe received Quizard 3 MCU and did the same.
In the following pictures you can read on the original MCU “DE132D3”, this means:
Language: German (DE)
Version: 1.32 (132)
Revision: D3 (D3)
In 2018, Team Europe received another version of Quizard 3, the “DE132A1” and did the same again!
Remember, there is a least 8 versions of Quizard 1 and many others from Quizard 2, Quizard 3 and Quizard 4!
Now, let’s talk about the 2dn part of the work:
Turn you CD-i player into an working Arcade Machine…
Team Europe didn’t just managed to unlock and copy new Eproms, they also designed a MCU board that connects to your CD-i player (Input 2) that will inform your system it is allowed to play the game.
The reason of decapping MCU is because the new MCU copies will be placed into the board.
This way, if you want to play Quizard 1.xx, you will need to place MCU Quizard 1 on the board, the same thing for Quizard 2.xx, Quizard 3.xx and Quizard 4.xx.
Retrostuff received a complete MCU board from Team Europe ready to be mounted. He did the work and test it for us!
Check it out!
I am waiting to receive one, I will also do my tests, but no needs to post anything unless there is some news.
With people like that… The future of CD-i is promising!
Congratulations to all!