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hwd45 last won the day on June 27

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About hwd45

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  • Birthday 12/11/1995

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    Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom

My Tamagotchis

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    V1 x 3
    V2 x 3
    V3 x 2
    V4 x 2
    Music Star x 2
    Eevee × Tamagotchi
    Tamagotchi On
  • Favorite Tamagotchi
    Version 3
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  1. Hi all, This is just going to be a brief update because naturally I don't really have any newly recovered files or anything like that to show just yet (working on it!) What I am attempting to do, however, is spread some awareness about how some of these files may be recovered. I think, potentially, there's a lot of people out there that could put their old PCs to use and recover some of the lost files, but I think every time I mention this it slips by most people with few attempting it themselves. Casting a wider net and informing more people of what is lost (and also that the site is lost at all, as many old users may not know this!) seemed like the best approach. I should probably state in advance that this is yet to have led to any new findings, and I don't think many people have really taken any of my spread awareness as an opportunity to try out any of the methods I proposed themselves, but maybe it's just a matter of time and continual raising awareness that will get us there. I've considered making a YouTube video on the topic too, which would hopefully spread awareness further, but that'll take longer to prepare. Anyway - I've taken two steps to help better document the history of Tamatown and give it some more attention, and I'll start with the latter: The Twitter thread When I first joined Twitter about 10 years ago, a tweet getting about 50 favourites was usually a fairly big deal. Nowadays you can tweet just about anything and within moments it'll be at 10 likes and 2 retweets - and if you tweet about something people actually care about - or better yet, a whole thread about something people care about - then you're bound to cause quite a wide range of people to see your content. A few days back, I wrote a long long loooong thread on Twitter about the current state of Tamatown with the hope that it would end up with the right people or motivate more people to check their old PC caches. As of yet, no luck, but the thread did get roughly 150 retweets before slowing down. As for how many people saw it, if the analytics are to be believed... Apparently, quite a few. I can never remember what the link policy is here, but if you want to read the thread and learn a bit of Tamatown history (and perhaps help spread awareness), I've embedded the thread below: At the end of the thread I announced something I've been working on for a month or so: MameMame Library The documentation surrounding what Tamatown files are lost has always been a little bit rubbish - I even made mistakes in my initial post in this thread. The spreadsheet I was maintaining is perhaps not the friendliest or easiest to access source of documentation, so I decided to make a website to keep up-to-date info about the preserved (and lost) Tamatown files, as well as what each file did: https://mamemamelibrary.crd.co/ There's still a lot to fill in (eventually I'll get around to those Music City files!), but as it is this really helps illustrate just how much is left to find. I've tried to spend time getting feedback from people to make sure it's as accessible as possible, and there's FAQ and help pages for anyone that wants to learn more about Tamatown or how we can attempt to recover some of the lost files. Looking forward to seeing what people think of the site, but the most important thing is that this will help keep a much more public-facing form of documentation for Tamatown's lost files! Until next time! --- Off topic: apparently I've been on this site 14 years now, that definitely doesn't make me feel old at all
  2. Another brief update - I've begun work on a site specifically dedicated to documenting all of what is currently archived of Tamatown. I've got an early version ready to view for those that want to see it, but I'll hold off from posting it publicly until it's a bit more fleshed out. I'm hoping that, by raising awareness on what's currently lost, we have a greater chance of recovering it!
  3. Really glad you like it! --- I've been taking a bit of a break from a lot of this stuff lately - though I was looking at Music Star passwords last summer, I started to hit some roadblocks and eventually my focus was switched to another large-scale project which involved most of my free time. This project is still continuing and when I'm not focusing on that I'm usually working through one of my other projects so Tamagotchi has been a bit sidelined as of late, though with the recent release of the Pix I've started to get back into the mood again. At the moment I'm taking a crack at the Pix QR codes and already confirmed some things about the Pix QR data, which is pretty cool. Unrelated and a bit off-topic, but the Pix also has this awesome test mode too with a curious new version number / revision display, which is really neat - the Pix we tested is apparently version 1.01 and revision 2372... this doesn't mean much right now, but in the future, I'm sure that'll come in handy.
  4. The Sound Test is also present on a number of the Nano devices
  5. Ahh, that would make sense! Though I’m not sure why 2 was seemingly skipped, unless they were reserving a spot for a localisation in a language they’d not done before, or something.
  6. Ah apologies, my mistake. The numbers I put in for Ver 1 and 3 should’ve been switched
  7. Good question so far none of the American devices I’ve seen have any way to enable the feature unfortunately. I’m trying to make a catalogue of Tamagotchi boards though, and I have noticed that some devices do have some extra spots on the board which aren’t shorted which could potentially do some interesting things. Perhaps more European devices would be good for testing this stuff? There’s also some potential in the Spanish language releases. The Spanish V2 has a free spot on the board that is usually used to perform the region change. I wonder if doing this region change procedure on a Spanish V2 would unlock another unseen ROM version?
  8. This one time it came up as “H00 B01” and my brain was absolutely convinced it was saying “HOO, BOY”
  9. Indeed this is the ROM test mode on the rerelease P1/2 models as I recall, the versions are as follows: Ver 0 - P1, Japan Ver 1 - P2, Japan Ver 3 - P1, International Ver 5 - P2, International The frequency is, I think, likely related to the frequency the Crystal oscillator is oscillating at, though don’t quote me on that. As for the other thing that appeared, that seems to be a checksum of some sort - this is the “ROM test” bit of the test mode; it’s checking the data on the ROM matches an expected checksum
  10. I’ll send over the details in a DM looking forward to seeing any progress you might make with the V3 ROM stuff!
  11. Hello So, one of the discoveries I'm about to talk about is - and I don't think I'm exaggerating here - one of the most bizarre and significant discoveries that I think we've made in years. Not only does it present new features we've never seen before, but it throws a lot of what we already know into question. And, by some sort of cosmic coincidence, just a few weeks later one of the features of the discovery was found elsewhere using a completely independent method. While the discovery itself was made in the field of battery glitches, it also uncovered some interesting quirks unrelated to glitches, and entirely related to the Tamagotchi hardware. So, let's talk about a couple of features of the early Connection models you've probably never heard of before: "Hybrid Mode" and the Care Miss Counter. == Part 1 - A review of Tamagotchi's debug features == There are three fairly well-known debugging features on the Connection series devices - debug mode, ROM testing and region changing. Debug Mode Perhaps the most well-known debug feature is the aptly named debug mode. American devices - particularly versions 1-3 - have a "JP3 DEBUG" jumper on their boards, allowing the feature to be accessed. It's often said that European devices don't contain the same functionality, but we'll assess this claim shortly. The feature enables hyperspeed mode and a character select. It also disables the ability to enter the ROM test mode, for some reason. ROM Testing The test mode is a feature available on pretty much every Tamagotchi device, and what you can do in the test mode differs from version to version. It's often called the ROM test, but this is really only one part of the test. On the Connection devices, the feature includes the ability to check the screen is working, identify the ROM version number of the device, test the ROM and also check the infrared is working as intended. Region Changing A slightly more obscure and frankly somewhat bizarre feature, by shorting either the "JP1" or "JP2" jumpers on a US board, the version of the device will switch to a comparable European version. On later versions this mostly means changing the date format, but for the V1, the changes are more widespread. Even stranger is that region changing a V1 VER 4.2 turns it into VER 3.0 00001, an unreleased European Deka version. == Part 2 - What does Region Changing do? == The region change feature does pose an interesting question about how Tamagotchis work. In particular, why would two versions be included on the same device? What's the point? What would that even be used for in testing? And why is one of them a Deka version?! There's two possible explanations for what the region change does - I call them the "Single ROM" and "Double ROM" hypotheses. The Double ROM Hypothesis This hypothesis states that there are two separate "ROMs" contained within the Tamagotchi's ROM. That is, there are two separate sets of data, and which one is used depends on whether the region change is enabled or not. The main piece of evidence supporting this is the V1 versions - each of the region changed versions seem so different to the base version (especially the unused Deka version?) which would suggest that it's more than just switching a couple lines of code or a single sprite. But then again, perhaps the V1 does it differently to other devices. The Single ROM Hypothesis This hypothesis essentially state that a region changed version is fundamentally the same version as the base version, and that the only thing that changes is that a few lines of code or a few sprites are switched out. You can sort of think about the code and the data being one big pool, and ordinarily only a section of that pool is used - when the region change is enabled, like the other debugging features, it would just change which part of the pool is being used. Logistically, this hypothesis makes the most sense, as they'd only need to produce one ROM version, which would universally be used on all devices - then which version is used would just require a minor hardware change. This would also explain why US boards have the region change feature at all - it may be present on European devices but already enabled by default, e.g. with soldering. This latter hypothesis also has some interesting consequences. Could Spanish-language versions also contain additional ROM versions? Might there be other ROM versions that aren't available to us via modifying the hardware that our devices have? Could every European device contain an unused US version which never gets seen as a result of the hardware? Would that mean that versions for which only the European counterpart has been observed also contain information on unseen US versions? == Part 3 - A New Discovery == In the Tamagotchi Collectors Discord, I was talking with Razerek about battery glitches, and they decided to give them a go. Quite quickly they encountered something very unique: The European V1 food menu... but on an American V2. It's not the first time that menus from one version have been discovered on a later version via the glitches. In fact, the V2 games menu has been accessed using battery glitches on a V3 - and the slot game works perfectly. But this was different - it wasn't a random fluke that put us into an unused menu, it was consistently showing this menu instead of the V2 one. The glitch quickly went away, but after some more experimentation we got it to re-appear, and this time it stuck for much longer. Experimentation with the menu revealed that it worked identically to how it does on the V2, even down to there being an invisible "TREAT" option beneath the two options that were shown. Other menus were affected too. The status menu used some of the weird quirks that European V1s had, and on top of this the discipline, friends and sound menus all use their V1 connexion variants. (The generation number is pretty glitchy weird-looking here, but this is just a result of the battery glitches!) Even weirder, the Tamagotchi cannot be paused in this mode, and the angel sprite retains the little halo it had on the Connexion V1. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the other Connexion quirks were present too, like the weird connection gifts. On top of all that, the shop permanently features four balls and nothing else, as though the shop feature just stops working entirely! It started to look as though this was the result of region changing the V2 but using the slightly more extreme region changing measures that the V1s used. As a result, we decided to name it "Hybrid Mode", being a sort of hybrid of the V1 and the V2. Perhaps this functionality isn't even intended, but a weird leftover of sorts. Could this mode have a new ROM version? Well, unfortunately, the effect disappears upon resetting the device, so there's no hope for finding out that information just yet, unless there's a more permanent way to enable it. There's actually one more feature of this glitch being enabled that I've not mentioned just yet. Whether this is something fundamental to hybrid mode or just something incidental that popped up at the same time, perhaps due to the chaotic way the mode is enabled, is unclear at this point in time. The points screen contains two counters at the bottom, one labelled as "H" and the other as "B". At first it seemed like perhaps it was an odd graphical glitch, since that's not an uncommon trait of the battery glitches. However, the counters would always be present when the hybrid mode is activated, meaning it was potentially some previously unseen debugging functionality. But what could these counters even mean? Notably, they were a little bit different each time the hybrid mode was activated. I pointed out that they could represent the Tamagotchi's care misses, since the V1 patent document described the two levels of care miss that are apparently present on the device - though I wasn't sure what "H" and "B" were supposed to stand for. If this were the case it would become potentially extremely useful in determining the way the growth works on the V2. == Part 4 - Investigation == The inconsistency of the glitch was the number one thing holding back research into this phenomenon, but after some experimentation Razerek discovered that slipping the battery in and out at the same time as the "DOWNLOAD" option is pressed seemed to relatively consistently trigger the glitches (though I never managed to figure it out, personally). Since the prevailing hypothesis was that the points screen was showing a care miss counter, the next thing to do was to confirm it. We turned on hyperspeed mode and watched the counter tick up in line with the care misses - just as we expected, the care misses aligned with what was written in the patent document - supposedly, H for "heart", and B for "body". Further research confirmed that winning a round of Jump or Bump also decreases the B or H counters by one, respectively. The need to activate the glitch via a very inconsistent method was still an issue, of course. There could be a lot more we can learn about hybrid mode and the care miss counter which we just can't access due to the difficulty and inherently temporary nature of the approach we took to activate. We needed something more reliable. A few days later, SA311 brought to our attention an unusual V2 he had. He'd bought it fresh from an unopened box, so it couldn't have been tampered - it was 100% legitimate, but unlike anything we'd ever seen before. A European Tamagotchi V2 using an American firmware version, "A.2". The hardware looked like a European board, too, and certainly not a US board - so how did this even happen? Was there some freak accident that caused a bunch of devices to be given the wrong version? While looking at the board, SA311 noticed that the front of the board had a bunch of unused jumpers. There's not really any documentation on these jumpers. What happens if they're used? Say, for example, J8. What happens if we short that jumper? The miss counter is enabled. Permanently. Or, at least, for as long as the jumper is shorted for. Only the miss counter though - hybrid mode was not enabled by the jumper. So, this entire time, European V2s have had this feature readily available to us, in a fashion almost identical to the way the debug mode works, but apparently nobody ever noticed! Speaking of which, the debug mode can't be accessed on European devices, right? Well, as it turns out, the CSWD jumper enables it here, too. Not sure if it only works because the device is running an American version, though. Oh, also, the region? That can be changed too - J1 is the region change jumper. If we compare with a standard European V2 board... On a standard board, the J1 jumper is already shorted! I feel like the only explanation is that every European device also contains the US firmware, just like is the case for the American devices - the J1 jumper is supposed to be shorted to change the region, but evidently this particular device somehow got released without having its region changed, resulting in the American version being used! This also feels like strong evidence in favour of the "Single ROM Hypothesis", too, if you ask me. Funnily enough, this actually isn't the first time that a device has popped up with a strange configuration of firmware and hardware. In 2019, rjalda100 found a US V1 with a US shell running the US version VER 4.1 - but the hardware was inexplicably different to all other US devices we'd seen up until that point. In fact, it used the same board and screen icons as the European V2s used. We've hypothesised that it could be an early South American device from before the Spanish-language localisation (since these versions also use similar hardware to the European devices, and have a very small difference in the printing of the logo on the shell, too, which we observed on this shell as well). It does pose the question of what the other jumpers would do on the V1, though, doesn't it? == Part 5 - What's next? == If this experimentation highlights anything at all, it's that there's still so many things to learn about the Connection-era Tamagotchis, and a lot of their interesting and unique quirks may be hiding in plain sight. For one, the care miss counter jumper was apparently present the entire time on the majority of Connexion V2 boards, and we've confirmed that it really does activate the care miss counter consistently on other devices: Evidently, there's still a long way to go in terms of understanding Tamagotchi hardware. As a result I've decided to finally begin documenting all of the different circuit boards used by Tamagotchis, in an effort to identify the full potential that might be hiding in these boards. Who knows, maybe even the hybrid mode can be activated with consistency and permanence using a hardware method. If any of you would like to help out (and you're experienced with taking apart Tamagotchis already!!) then it'd really help me if you could take good quality photos of a device's board - both sides, ideally - along with some details about the device: The region of the device, e.g. US / Europe / Australia etc, and ideally the country of origin too in case some countries received some slightly different hardware, Which shell design it uses, The ROM version of the device, The manufacture code of the device (the number printed on the battery door), And if relevant, any other details? (You won't need to take the entire board out like in the images above though, of course - you can just take a photo of the board whilst it's still in the shell). I'm focusing on the connection-era devices at the moment, and probably only pre-V7 stuff - though I'll include the Japanese devices in that, too. Any help would be appreciated, though I'd really recommend only doing this stuff if you've taken apart Tamagotchis before, e.g. for activating the debug mode or performing hardware maintenance. == Part 6 - Any other glitch updates? == Oh, just a brief additional update - my V2 decided to give me a glitch jackpot and I received about 50 glitch items. I'm going through each one individually and logging their effects, which I may make an update on soon - it also provided helpful in identifying the IDs of a few more of the V2 items. Battery glitches continue to teach us more obscure Tamagotchi knowledge!
  12. Following on from this, there's been a few more findings since my last post, and right now I'm testing out a huge swathe of glitch items to show their effects. Turns out I managed to get lucky enough to give myself about 50 or so glitch items, and it's revealed some interesting information. May be a little while before I show these off in a post though. Thanks for the continued interest of anyone reading this
  13. I'm laughing quite a lot about how off I was in some respects, yet how close I was in others. If it were a Japanese release it probably would have been a much earlier release, but I did have a sneaking suspicion that we'd need to wait a bit longer if it turned out to be an international release: Exactly a month before the "announcement", it would seem! A leak detailing this release from a few months ago actually mentions a May announcement and August release. Given how far off May is I'd be surprised if we were waiting that long for an announcement, but I still guess we're not going to see any official word on what this release is for quite a while.
  14. This is an extremely brief update to say that I’ve been getting back into battery glitches again lately, and there’s been some really interesting findings so far. One other user managed to find some really interesting unused functionality using battery glitches, so once a bit more research is done on it I’ll be doing a bit of a write-up about it here.
  15. Yeah, so, this is a new trademark that's just emerged: https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/008272074-0001 I want to begin by making it quite clear that this has not been confirmed for a European market. The website that listed it is a European Union property office, but this does not indicate that the device will be releasing in Europe. In fact, some digging reveals that they've also listed several other versions that were all for the Japanese market. As such, I don't believe this will be an international release just yet. It's also been noted that Italian is listed as a language in the trademark - this is also true for the Japanese versions; it's only indicative of the fact that the trademark representative (Studio Torta) is an Italian company. I did some investigation into this to see what I could find and I ended up finding some interesting things, including more Tamagotchi trademarks from the same source. Firstly, I noticed that although this trademark only recently emerged, the trademark was first claimed in late August. This is also unique in the sense that it's the only one of these trademarks that lists the design trademark being trademarked before the device's release. The others all claimed the trademark before release but filed the design afterwards. We'll come back to this in a bit. Here's some more trademarks also listed by Bandai: Tamagotchi 4U https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/002590554-0001 Filing date: 26/06/2014, though hints in anime as early as 03/04/2014 Announcement: 02/07/2014 Release: 27/09/2014 Tamagotchi M!x https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/003404193-0001 Filing date: 05/04/2016 Announcement: 14/05/2016 Release: 16/07/2016 Tamagotchi Meets https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/005887239-0001 Filing date: 27/06/2018 Announcement: 10/10/2018 (leaked on 08/08/2018) Release: 23/11/2018 Additional info: Also filed by Wiz Co Ltd Tamagotchi (2021 release) https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/008272074-0001 Filing date: 27/08/2020 (Note though that this seems to be for the patent claim and not the document filing) Announcement: ??/??/202? Release: ??/??/2021 Additional info: Not filed by Wiz Co Ltd There's been some speculation that this one could be another Meets / On release - the lack of Wiz Co suggests to me that it's definitely a new version. Taking these dates into account, and considering that the new release was first filed several months ago, I'm predicting an announcement in the next few weeks - either later this month or early-mid January. Then we're probably set for a March release date, which coincides with the 17th anniversary of the Connection. So I guess I'll call it now and say I think it'll release March 20th 2021. Some further digging for design trademarks reveals that there are more Bandai trademarks listed under a different organisation name: Entama https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/000455548-0001 https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/000455548-0002 Filing date: 15/09/2005 Release: 23/11/2005 Two months between trademark and release Uratama https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/000622576-0001 Filing date: 17/05/2006 Release: 22/07/2006 Two months between trademark and release Tamasuku https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/000660626-0001 Filing date: 03/08/2006 Release: 23/11/2006 Nearly four months between trademark and release TMGC+C https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/001071831-0001 Filing date: 23/07/2008 Release: 22/11/2008 Four months between trademark and release Tama-Go https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/designs/001196851-0001 Filing date: 30/09/2009 (trademark claimed) / 18/02/2010 (design filed) Announcement: 22/03/2010 Release: ??/08/2010 They really strung this one out for some reason, but again the time between filing and announcement actually roughly matches the time between the announcement and the release Here's something curious - the only international model here was one with a particularly long cycle, and another case of the design patent being out before the release or the announcement, unlike the Japanese models. It's been nearly four months since the new version first had its trademark claimed, so about 3-4 months until release makes sense, but I'll note that this is much more in line with the Tama-Go than with any of the Japanese versions. Maybe a hint at an international release after all? But we'll see. Either way it looks like it's still around a month before an announcement and probably three months before release.