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If you listened to our “Week In Review” podcast last night, you heard of the breaking news that hackers were in the process of breaking into the Neo Geo X Gold handheld, in hopes of getting games that were not included with the system to run. A complete thread on the Neo Geo Forums has been devoted to coming up with various hacks for the new system, and it looks like progress is slowly but surely coming along. So much so, that a new video has been uploaded onto Youtube, showing the system playing “Andro Dunos”, which is a title that was not made available for the system as of yet. (Writer’s Note: The video has since been removed from Youtube.) All of the details and images have been provided by the various folks that wrote on the thread, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them all for their hard work. If anyone from the thread requests that some data be removed, I will certainly honor that request. Let’s take a look.

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Before I go any further, all I can tell you is what I have seen and read. I personally am not the type that is used to opening up systems and seeing how they can be hacked or modified. So I can only relay what the boards say, and since by the time this gets published, the data here will probably already be obsolete with new details found, it would be much easier for those that are interested in modification to go to the actual forums for the latest developments. However, here is what we know:

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Aside from the SD slot on the side of the system for using officially released games, it appears that the 20 built in games are actually stored on an internal MicroSD card, that has been severely glued into the slot, making it very difficult to remove and modify. It’s also been determined that the system will not boot up at all if there is no MicroSD card present, so it’s probably similar to a SIM card that cell phones use. It also appears to be running a version of the Linux operating system on the built-in card. This 2GB card actually has 4 partitions: A 500MB with the ROMs stored on it, a 250MB one with all of the menu files present, a 20MB partition which is too small for most applications, as well as a 1GB area which is actually empty.

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It appears that the contents of the MicroSD card contain information about games that are not included with the purchase. It is currently unknown if they are placeholders for future development, or exactly what the purpose is. The size of the files indicate that they very well could be the actual ROMs themselves that need to be modified to work with the machine, but that has not been confirmed yet.

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There is a video that is showing a modified system, in which the ROM image for “Andro Dunos” had replaced the ROM placeholder for the title “Metal Slug”, in which when the latter is selected, the former will run. So it does in fact show that it is somehow possible to play other games on the system, it’s just a matter of exactly how it is done. (Writer’s Note: The video has since been removed from Youtube.) The data that is found on the MicroSD card as well as the Ninja Masters game card that is available as a separate purchase have already been dumped. (Due to possible legal reasons, we will not post the links here.)

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Like I said, I am not an engineer or a hacker myself, so I can only go by what is written at the forums. But it seems that the community is working very hard in discovering the secret in making the system more worthy that how it is being sold as is. Many people were not very happy when it was announced that the system was very incompatible with previous Neo Geo equipment, but it seems that if these hacks take off, it very well could become a reality that the new device would work quite well not only as a Neo Geo emulator, but other arcade style emulators such as MAME. If this type of story is of interest to you, I’d highly recommend browsing through the thread that we got our information on, since it will be the most up to date. Just show a lot of respect, that’s all I request. If any major developments show up in upcoming days, I will be sure to keep you informed.

Neo Geo X Hacking And Mods Forum:
http://www.neo-geo.com/forums/showthread.php?239578-NeoGeoX-Hacking-and-Mods

(Writer’s Note: The video has since been removed from Youtube.)