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Topic: Paperboy Demo mode?

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Thatluizkid

Hey all!

I recently sold a Paperboy NES game on eBay. The buyer just contacted me saying that the game was “not coming off demo mode”. Is this a thing? I’ve never heard of it and it worked fine on our retro NES. Any help or info is greatly appreciated!

Thatluizkid

WoomyNNYes

@Thatluizkid I guess they mean it they can't start the game, and it only cycles the title screen and the gameplay demo, and keeps repeating. That is what happens if you boot up the game and don't hit a button to start a game. What's not normal is, they can't start the game. If the game worked for you in the past, I think it may be something about their console, or button input isn't working, like a button failed, or controller cable, plug. Old consoles & controllers can die/fail. (my gamecube died a couple years ago). Or it's just a random glitch? But I'm assuming they've rebooted, reinserted the game and the problem still exists.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert, but those are the possibilities that come to mind. I think it's most likely controller/cable/plug failure, somewhere in there.

I'd ask if other games can be played ok, make sure all buttons work reliably, trying to rule out the console & controller.

Edited on by WoomyNNYes

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Thatluizkid

@WoomyNNYes Yeah we played the game fully very recently so I’ll suggest changing the hardware around and see if that works. I Iyar never heard of a “demo mode” on a NES cartridge..

Thatluizkid

Atariboy

Thatluizkid wrote:

@WoomyNNYes Yeah we played the game fully very recently so I’ll suggest changing the hardware around and see if that works. I Iyar never heard of a “demo mode” on a NES cartridge..

Like most classic games, NES games typically have an attract mode that plays if you boot up the game and don't press a button. In many cases it incorporates gameplay demonstrations.

Edited on by Atariboy

Atariboy

KingMike

It would be very unusual for the game itself to be at fault for the controllers to not work.

It is likely a controller/hardware issue.
I have seen it myself once when playing Final Fantasy III (a Famicom cart through an adapter on a real NES) where most of the buttons stopped responding, except for the A button which acted as if all buttons were pressed (which is not surprising if you have an idea how the NES controller port mechanically functions).

KingMike

Oldschool14

I'm having this same issue. I bought Paperboy online to use with my RetroDuo console and I cannot get it out of demo mode. I have been looking forward to playing this for awhile. My console is also brand new and plays all my other NES and SNES games fine. It's just an issue with this one

Oldschool14

KingMike

Okay, I had a random thought and so I checked.
Paperboy's compatibility with clone consoles might be because the game is poorly programmed.
If it is not the exact game I remember reading about in some technical documentation to emulator authors, it still has the same technical oddity.
TECHNICAL DETAILS: When an NES game wants to read the controller ports, the response the game gets is a byte with some useful bits but most of the bits are garbage. Most game programmers will filter out the garbage bits to get what usually results in a 0 or 1 value to indicate a button IS NOT or IS pressed.
But Paperboy does not, expecting to find the controller port to return 40 or 41 as the result. Emulators smart enough to handle the garbage for compatibility will support the game, but clones that are not aware of this will not (a clone is absolutely an emulator, especially for this point of discussion)
(the "40" result is what is known as "open bus" returned as the last byte of the instruction used to read the controller port. Commonly "LDA $4016" or AD 16 40 in hex.)

At least that is the case with the USA version. Apparently the Japanese version was fixed to read the controller ports more normally (maybe because Japanese games tended to have their controller code written a bit differently to support the external controller port on original Famicoms), though that version of the game seems to be a rare game so you probably won't get it.

I don't know if Game Genie works on clone consoles but it might be able to fix the problem bytes.
According to the emulator I used to check the code, the GG code would be PXNELEOK PENEGAAG (changing address $80FB from C9 40 to 29 01 to change the instruction from CMP #$40 to AND #$01, which should have the affect of button input becoming a normal 0 or 1 result). At least in theory.

Edited on by KingMike

KingMike

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