I have always been a big fan of native hardware. Sure, emulators to a certain extent would give you a "taste" of what the device can do. But as they say, nothing beats the real thing. It could be the grinding sound a floppy disk drive makes as the head tries to seek past track 0, or little things such as millisecond delay of a game controller compared to native hardware.
I have played a few of the Final Fantasy games. One day I decided I'd play through all of the games in the main series. Not on an emulator though. On the real thing.
For some reason some of the games in the series were only released in Japan. Since my grasp of the language is quite limited, I thought I would look for a fan translated version of the game.
In order to begin I set up my Family Computer (Japanese version of the NES). Found a copy of Final Fantasy II. First thing to do of course, was to make sure this cart is still working (it was). And after confirming that, it's time to take apart the cart. Famicom carts are held together by 4 plastic tabs, and it is very difficult to open up a cart and keep them intact. Super glue can restore broken off tabs.
Next we need to desolder the ROM chip(s). Final Fantasy II only uses 1 ROM chip. I carefully desoldered every pin and got the chip out. Next is to find some pinouts of the mask ROM, and how different it is from the EPROM I was planning to use (AM27C20). I found them here:
After modifying the board, this is how it looks:
And after burning the eprom and soldering it on:
Of course, I have to test it first before closing the case:
Moment of truth: (it works!)
The save files are still there too, and the names are now garbled: