Wrong address/phone information will cause Parcel Lose.

I've written before about how much I enjoy good ol' NHL 98 on the Sega Genesis. My friend Victor organizes approximately three tournaments a year where we get together and play this game. Two of the three involve modern NHL rosters. This becomes more of a problem which each passing year, as more and more of the players retire, or get traded, and new players enter the league, and the NHL 98 rosters become increasingly inaccurate. A few custom players can be entered in the battery-backed-up cartridge, and players can be moved around from team to team. This is quite a procedure - Victor makes a many-paged recipe list of what needs to be done, step by step, and then he (sometimes with my assistance) goes through this one, maybe two hour procedure for each cartridge. In bigger tournaments, this needs to be done 3 times! And then there's the risk of the cartridge getting accidentally reset.

I've long dreamed of being able to directly modify the NHL 98 cartridge with new rosters. Some years ago I discovered more-or-less how the players and teams were encoded in the cartridge with a hex editor program (incidentally, I actually used a hex editor at work today, legitimately!) but didn't know how to take it to the next step of actually using the edited binary file on a real Sega.

I've always been fascinated with anything programmable - starting with the PET, Timex-Sinclair 1000 and C64s of my youth, and then into calculators and game consoles. Game consoles in particular are usually closed systems - no keyboard or disks or operating system to allow you to enter your own programs, besides pre-packaged cartridges, or more recently, CDs. Enterprising individuals (mostly located in Hong Kong) have created "flash carts" - cartridges containing flash memory which can be changed. Hook one of these devices up to a recent PC through the parallel or USB port, and the cartridge is flashed with whatever binary image you choose. These devices have become extremely popular on the various Gameboy incarnations, and are used 99% of the time to play pirated games. Of course, they're sold as "game development kits" :)

So, while searching online for a flash cart for my Gameboy Advance (for game development, of course!) I found a flash cart for the Sega Genesis! This is exactly what I need to go further with Project Genesis: NHL 2005 (or 2006). If all goes well, I hope to write a program that would allow Victor to change player names and stats easily in a text editor, then interpret those changes and put it in the binary file, which is then burned on the cart.

So, I ordered one of these flash carts today - maybe Victor will buy one too, if my experiments go well. The title above was the message I received when my order was completed. Yes, I trust these people with my money :)

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