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Thread: Capcom Three Wonders Repair Log

  1. #1
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  2. #2
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    Nice repair - I think you are on the wrong track with this theory tho..

    Well, by the end of the Golden Age (mid 70's to mid 80's), the arcade manufacturers discovered, that if they made the games so durable that they lasted too long, the arcade owners would not buy new games. They then came up the idea to install a mechanism into the games, that would render them useless after some time. And even unrepairable by 3rd party arcade reppers. This is what is known as a suicide mechanism, but in fact the name is a bit miss leading, as it implies an active action; in fact it's kind of like the opposite:

    Arcade games had a very short earning period when they were released, new games were coming out all the time and, aside from a very few classics, games got stale pretty quickly. The suicide system batteries lasted for years, decades in many cases, I have a Sega E-Swat with its original FD1094 that is still working, so it can't have been a mechanism to kill off games to make Ops buy new ones, for that to be true it would have to had to kill the board within months, not decades.

    The sole purpose was to slow down the bootleggers, not to totally defeat them, but slow them down enough so that during the games peak earning period (around 6 months) the only games out there harvesting the coins were official titles. After that the game was old news and its earning potential rapidly declined.

    Almost all hardware on arcade PCBs is off the shelf commodity parts, even large custom chips are actually just miniaturised sections of normal TTL (which is why bootleg boards often have daughterboards that contain standard parts hovering over where a custom was on the original board). The suicide systems were included on small, cheap to produce, custom parts. Being battery backed software the price was close to zero, they were just a booby trap to hopefully kill the custom part that someone was trying to reverse engineer. The cost of the original boards when new was very high, I have heard prices over $10,000 by the early 1990s for a premium title. So if it took 2-3 boards before the bootleggers could crack the protection then it is going to make it a much less attractive target, and all they need to do was to slow them down until the game was about 6 months old. At that point the incentive to bootleg a board started to fall off to as the game was no longer selling in large numbers.
    Sic transit gloria Atari!

  3. #3
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    Thnx for the enlightening. I've added a link to this thread from my blog post };-P

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