Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games
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Author:  Memblers [ Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

For my latest side-project, I've started making boards for the Nintendo Playchoice-10. This is the prototype of the first one. This one is simply NROM, just 32kB PRG and 8kB CHR ROM or RAM. Soon I'll make a GTROM/Cheapocabra for Playchoice, and possibly boards for other mappers that I'm working on.

I thought I was done using through-hole parts, but I figured this would be a good way to use up my old inventory of EPROMs.

In the past I experimented with replacing the security PROM with a CPLD, but this board doesn't need a PROM. This is possible thanks to the assembler and documentation made by nocash, which makes it possible to create your own instructions screens. No mods to the Playchoice system are needed.

What I'd like to do now is start find at least 10 games so I can create a set that I can distribute to owners who will take them to conventions, or other public places. If anyone is interested, let me know. If you want to, feel free to include ordering info for an NES cart version of your game. Though I supply NES boards and carts, it doesn't necessarily have to be anything that I'm involved with otherwise, I'd be happy to promote releases from other distributors/publishers. If anyone wants to go beyond that and release it in general to anyone, that's always an option too.

Playchoice is identical to NES. If you didn't already know, it's based entirely on a timer rather than a credit system. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • RGB PPU palette is slightly different from NES
  • PPU "emphasis" bits can not be used (screen becomes grey)
  • game must start by the start button. the system locks out the start and select buttons only, when there is no time/credits
  • in addition to the instructions, you need to specify the amount of time your game should run in attract mode. there are 2 attract modes, first one is when the Playchoice simply cycles through all the games. the second mode is if a (potential) player doesn't have any credits, but has used the game select button to select your game.
  • (edit)there is no start or select button for the 2nd player

Also, if anyone is interested in releasing for this, but doesn't want to build the instructions ROM themselves, you could supply it to me as text and I could help with whatever formatting is needed and build the ROM.

And no, it's a little amusing but I didn't write that "SAMPLE" on the connector. It's pulled off an old scrap board, one of the benefits of working at an electronics company.

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Author:  Drag [ Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Funny this comes up, I was actually reading into how the VS systems worked because my current project seems like it'd be a perfect fit as a legit arcade game. Depending on how well my game turns out, I'd be happy to build a PC10 version. :D

Author:  Memblers [ Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Clean-up Crew looks good so far, it does look like it would make a nice VS game too. You don't even need a board for VS unless the game is larger than 32kB PRG / 16kB CHR, just 6 EPROMs for that size (the board is wired for 8kB ROMs). VS games usually come with a marquee, if you go that route, I have access to a laser cutter if you need someone to cut plexiglass for you. Then you'd just need artwork printed on translite of the same size, to have a nice-looking kit. Since VS has all those different PPUs, you could consider doing what RBI Baseball does, and use the DIP switches so the user can select a palette to match their PPU. I have a VS board and control panel if you ever need someone to test, it swaps easily into the Playchoice cabinet. I only have the Playchoice PPU though, it also works on the VS and that's the one whose palette index matches the NES.

A Playchoice version of the game would be very welcome too.

I just got back from Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee, showed off the proto board there to some interested folks. At next years MGC I'm going to see if I can haul my Playchoice cabinet up there, or at least find someone local who has one, and load it up with homebrews.

Including Clean-Up Crew, there are 5 games in the line-up already.

Author:  NovaSquirrel [ Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

I can make a version of Double Action Blaster Guys that has an attract mode and that only allows starting the game via Start, if it would be an acceptable game for this too. It's supposed to be arcade-style too and it would be cool to see it actually running on an arcade cabinet.

Author:  Tele-Viper [ Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

I've always enjoyed Alter Ego.

That said, I know some local PC10 owners and would like to bring some of these to show off at conventions and auctions in East TN. Can haz?

Author:  Memblers [ Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

NovaSquirrel: Yeah that would be great, that game is like Contra meets Bubble Bobble, which I mean in a good way. I'm sure it will be played.

Tele-Viper: That's excellent, send me a PM with your email address and I'll let you know when the first batch is ready to ship.

Alter Ego would be good, we'll have to see what the developers say.

Author:  NovaSquirrel [ Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Is the attract mode just starting the NES game and letting it run a certain number of frames/seconds (with a longer amount if the game was manually chosen)? I assume that means the amount of time between the title screen and the start of the attract mode shouldn't be very long so the game can just get right onto the demo.

Edit: Also, keep sound on during the attract? Or no sound? Or does the Playchoice take care of muting the NES during attract mode anyway?

Author:  tepples [ Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  If I snooze, do I lose?

Is this a limited time offer, or do you plan to keep it open for the foreseeable future? I won't be able to add the proper attract mode to any of my games in the next few months due to my work load, but I might be able to do so afterward.

Author:  Memblers [ Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

I wouldn't be overly worried about every game having an attract mode, though it does make the game more attractive, heheh and might be fun to add. Actually I should mention there is a major flaw with Playchoice freeplay mode, it doesn't run attract mode when the machine is in freeplay. Only in coin-op mode, and when there are no credits/time. But this doesn't have to be a permanent problem, I've been thinking about hacking the BIOS ROM to improve freeplay mode. And attract mode sound, would be nice too if there was an in-between option to enable attract sound for a game every few minutes, instead of all-or-nothing. But I'm a total Z80 newb so I can't exactly dive right into it. It's always possible to wire up an external coin button too, though that's kind of ugly and the time-based credit system itself is annoying.

If you guys are interested in how attract mode looks with normal Playchoice games, I could take a video of it running.

One other fun thing that can be done with conventions or public locations, would be to check the Playchoice's bookkeeping feature. It only tracks how many times each game has been accessed, and it's memory backed up by a capacitor instead of a battery, so I wouldn't expect to get data over long a long period of time or anything. Plus, without a real attract mode, this is sort of a "which game has the best-sounding name", unless the selection is being done by someone who is already familiar with the games. Even so, it would be kinda neat to see which games get played the most.

NovaSquirrel: Yep, that sums up attract mode. Leave the sound on if you want, because one of the DIP switches on the mainboard is used for an attract mode sound disable.

tepples: I do want to keep it going beyond 10 carts, at this rate I might have some hard decisions ahead if I can only show 10 at the next MGC (wouldn't be until April 2017).

Tele-Viper: Can you get me the date(s) of when the possible showing(s) will be? Also, do you know what specific Playchoice models they have? So far it's been tested on the dedicated single-monitor (what I have), and the "red tent" VS conversion. That leaves the dual-monitor Punchout conversion and countertop versions remaining to be tested. Though I don't expect any problems, it'd be good to be certain that it works everywhere. The Playchoice BIOS ROM has some unknown variations, at least one because I dumped mine and it's not in the MAME set, so I'm curious to see if there are more out there.

Author:  Joe [ Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Memblers wrote:
I dumped mine and it's not in the MAME set

Did you send it to the MAME developers?

Author:  NovaSquirrel [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

DABG - PlayChoice-10 version

  • Simple attract mode using an AI
  • "Pause" text while game is paused
  • No longer possible to crash the game using the level editor
  • Player 2 is now orange so they're easier to tell apart
  • One level is changed to make instakill spikes easier to see

Instructions screen:
  Shoot enemies and collect   
 their dog tags while avoiding
   spikes, bullets and other 
deadly hazards. Bring a friend
 along to help you, or compete
     with them for score.     
      D-Pad:      Walk       
      A:          Jump       
      B:         Shoot       
      A+B:     Join in       
      Free download at:            

Short attract: 19 seconds
Long attract: 90 seconds

dabg.nes [32.02 KiB]
Downloaded 211 times

Author:  Drag [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Hang on, do PC10 games typically have pausing? Vs. games (most notably Vs SMB) have the pause feature removed. It seems a little pointless to have a pause feature on an arcade game, especially one where gameplay is metered. :P

Author:  NovaSquirrel [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Drag wrote:
Hang on, do PC10 games typically have pausing?

Might as well leave it in if it's already there, especially if these games are likely going to be played under free play mode the majority of the time. If it's not on free-play mode I wanted it to be more obvious that the game is paused so they'll go hit the start button again if they do it by accident.

Author:  tepples [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

Besides, a lot of NES games put a menu on the pause screen, such as all Mega Man games and The Legend of Zelda.

Author:  Drag [ Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Playchoice 10 Game PCBs - looking for new games

That's different though, that's hitting a button to bring up a menu, where the menu is actually part of the game, like an inventory screen. Hitting a button just to pause the game and do nothing else seems unusual for an arcade game, but it doesn't hurt anything to leave it in.

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