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CREATION INFORMATION
CREATED JUN.16.2007
UPDATED JUN.16.2007
CREDITS
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY
MARTIN NIELSEN

A very special thanks fly out to Arto Hatanpää for his great work on this project even though it never quite made it :-)

THE NES FUNKY FLASH CARTRIDGE
OF FINLAND
We have just seen the release of the NESPowerPak, invented by Brian Parker of www.retrousb.com fame, but years earlier a finnish guy by the name of Arto Hatanpää had the very same idea of building a flash cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The result of his hard work became the NESFunkyFlash cart and while the idea basicly was the same as Parker's PowerPak, the FunkyFlash cart was quite different.

The cartridge was to feature 512mbit of PRG and CHR flash ram. A chip called Xilinx XC95100 was supposed to be used to hold the MMC (mapper) information and finally of course battery backup. The cartridge went through several initial revisions and I believe the final board was called Rev. B. Unlike the PowerPak, the FunkyFlash cart would require games to be uploaded to the cartridge using a USB hookup. But of course with only 512mbit of both PRG and CHR ram available, chances of multiple games were rather limited, maybe even impossible.

Along the way Arto managed to make MMC3 games running, the MMC3 was the most used mapper chip so this was a huge step in the right direction, but he also soon learned the limitations of his invention, and as such the more complex mappers like the MMC5 could not be supported. One of the few games using the MMC5 was Castlevanoa III: Dracula's Curse. But with the MMC1, MMC2 (PunchOut) and MMC3 mappers as well as some unlicensed mappers like the Color Dreams, the FunkyFlash cart was able to run a good share of the NES games available.

Eventhough the FunkyFlash cart feature a USB hookup, the upload time to the cart wasn't too impressive, 512kb would take around 10 minutes to upload, that fact could've lost a lot of potential buyers. But with that said, we are coming to the sad part of the story.

Most of the FunkyFlash cart development was made during the summer 2005 and when September came, Arto had to go back to school, meaning he had much less time to spend on his project, the fact that more or less killed the project, which has been on hold since August 11 2006, and I believe it's safe to say that it's dead.

It was never Arto's intention to sell completely manufactured board, it had to be purchased as a DIY project for those knowing how to operate a soldering iron as well basic knowledge about electronics. Back in September 2006 I managed to purchase a board from Arto eventhough only a handful were made for his own testing. I was then on my own to find all the chips needed and it turned out that the Xilinx CPLD he had used was no longer being manufactured... the result being that you'll most definately never see the FunkyFlash cartridge released in it's current form....

All documentation regarding the FunkyFlash is now available to the public and the files are available below.

  • Code RAR Archive
  • Drivers RAR Archive
  • Mappers RAR Archive
  • Pinout file used to develop mappers with the Xilinx ISE software
  • USB ept file
  • Schematics for the FunkyFlash board
  • FunkyFlash assembly guide

    Although most these files are probably unuseful to many as only 4 boards ever left Arto's place and into the hands of collectors or electronic nerds. My board is left unassembled because I, as mentioned, was unable to get my hands on the Xilinx chip needed. However one other board has been completely assembled, but the remaining most likely never made it.

    The picture above is used without permission as I don't know who made it, please let me know if you're the rightful owner and I'll of course credit you and/or remove it upon request.

  • ADITIONAL
    PICTURES