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Nintendo's use of Epoxy-bonded ROMs
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Author:  Great Hierophant [ Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Nintendo's use of Epoxy-bonded ROMs

The Glop Top is a symbol of manufacturing cheapness. Cementing a ROM or other type of chip to a board looks not only aesthetically unpleasing but it can also make for more difficult routing and makes repairs impossible. It however saves on the plastic casing and the metal pins. Japan's manufacturers appreciated the cost savings of the good old epoxy blob. Famicom games from virtually every manufacturer used them at some point, HuCard games almost always encased their ROM in the obsidian. Pirate and unlicensed outfits often used EPROMs or epoxy blobs.

Nintendo was no different than its Japanese contemporaries when it came to the Famicom, it is quite common to see mapper-less games in glop top versions. But when they started using memory mapping hardware, most companies budgeted for encased chips. Namco was a notable holdout, it is easier to find most games Namco released in epoxy than in metal-pinned plastic. But when it came to bring the NES overseas, Nintendo manufactured virtually all the boards and chips. Nintendo insisted on using plastic-housed ROM (or EPROM in extremely rare cases) except for two categories of games. The first was when it used Famicom boards in some of the early NES games with official 60-72 pin converter. The second is for pack-in X-in 1 games for the NES. Some copies of Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track meet and all copies of Super Spike V'Ball/Nintendo World Cup and Super Mario Bros./Tetris/Nintendo World Cup use epoxy.

Outside the Famicom and NES, I can find only four instances when Nintendo used epoxy. It used epoxy in some of the DMG and Play-it-Loud Game Boys, in Game Boy Tetris (a pack-in game) and some copies of Star Fox for the SNES (which doesn't appear to be a pack-in-game) and seemingly all copies of Super Star Fox Weekend (a competition cartridge). Are there any other instances of epoxy used by the big N not mentioned here?

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