Article #241 Older >>

Rarest of the Rare

What, you may ask, could cause me to post something on my blog after being dormant for over 3 years?

The appearance of an extremely rare game is what. Last Survivor is a game that was mentioned once in a magazine article, was ported a couple of times, and did have an arcade release in Japan. But quite honestly, in the 14 years since I've been working on MAME, we have never, ever seen one come up for sale or auction.

That is, until a couple of weeks ago, when one appeared on a Japanese auction site.

Even more amazing, it was still working! Which is quite the shock since it runs on Sega's X-Board Hardware, and features the evil FD1094 CPU, which contains an encryption key in RAM that is kept alive by a battery. If that battery were to die, the contents of that RAM would be lost forever.

Now, I don't know if the battery is original from 1989 or if it has been since replaced, but either way, getting our hands on a working version of this game was seeming like a more and more remote possibility. But fortunately, someone took good care of this board and we were able to get a clean dump.

Here are some screenshots:

In addition, we also got a dump from the same person of the Japanese version of GP Rider, another X-Board game that still has a working FD1094, thankfully:

In anticipation of these changes, I've been doing some work to modernize the 16-bit Sega drivers, which have languished a bit since they were so unnecessarily intertwined. Hopefully these changes will all make it in for the next MAME release.