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Tatio F3 FAQ by CMullins

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 06/17/99

Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 22:50:34 EDT

                          \--------------------------------------------------/
                           \         TAITO F3 System and Games FAQ          /
                            >       by Chris Mullins, copyright 1999       <
                           /     VERSION 1.0  e-mail:CMull11217@aol.com     \
                          / -------------------------------------------------\

  
                          Want to see my other FAQs I made? If so, then go here:
                           http://members.aol.com/CMull11217/private/index.htm
 
                This faq is made by Chris Mullins for reading to anyone 
who wants to know about the Taito F3 System, by Taito. Happy
reading!

   15 QUESTIONS INDEXED

Contents  
                                                                                                         
   Frequently Asked Questions
    
   Game List
   
   Market Prices
   Phone Numbers
   Past Updates
   Coming Soon To My FAQ!



Frequently Asked Questions

----What is the Taito F3 system, and what are the specs for it?
       The TAITO F3 System(Taito CYBERCORE in America) is Taito's venerable hardware system, 
which produced LOTS of hit puzzle games(hot earning puzzle games) on it.  Many incarnations 
of Puzzle Bobble, as well as remakes of Space Invaders and Elevator Action are on it as well.
        The board itself, is about as big as a CPS3 or CPS2 full kit board(exposed motherboard)
, and the RED-ENCASED games plug in like a CPS2 system setup. No matter the area or region
specified for the game, they're ALL RED.  And, they play in that region's game, not
the motherboard(unlike Neo-Geo, where motherboard region determines language).
        There aren't any medium-resolution games to speak of, so they should play fine 
on your Super Gun, no worries.
        I NEED THE SPECIFICATIONS for this system.  If anyone has the specs for this
system, please let me know.  I'll credit you to the fullest.
 

----What does the TAITO F3 system set look like?
         Well, imagine any of the Sega Model 3 boardsets, or imagine the CPS3 without any
casing.  The carts plug into the system like the CPS2 system by Capcom, and it is straight
JAMMA as well.  The carts are about the size of a Neo-Geo cartridge.

 
----How much does a TAITO F3 cost?
       Since the F3 has been out of date for a while, the prices have tumbled downward as
well.  In fact, you can get many Japanese or European games for around $20-80, including
newer ones such as Puzzle Bobble 4.  The motherboard with Puzzle Bobble 4, for example,
is around $220.          


----Is the TAITO F3 JAMMA-compatible?
       Yes, it is indeed JAMMA, and EVERY game is playable on a Super Gun. One game,
Arkanoid Returns, can utilize a paddle controller, BUT it is not necessary to play
the game.  This is the perfect setup for a Super Gun owner.


----How do I play JAPANESE games on my AMERICAN motherboard?
       Well, where the cartridges plug in, there is a keyed slot on the motherboard.
Each game's region has a different key, for that region's motherboard.  Well, file
out the key on it, and you can play ANY region's games on your motherboard.  The same
goes for Sega's ST-V system.


----Are there any Third Party Game Manufacturers for the TAITO F3?
       There are no third party companies making games for the TAITO F3 anymore,
and third party support for the system was minimal, if existant.  Taito did
practically ALL of the games for the system.


----How do I design a game for the TAITO F3?
       Whoa, whoa, settle down! Remember, this is a topic, which has a
lot more to it than the space I've devoted here on it. I'll give you the
rundown on the sequence of events, in order to program a game for the
Neo:
     1. Get a developers' kit from Taito, so you have the exact programs and 
tools that Taito uses themselves to make games for the Taito(This
step can be sidestepped, but making a game compatible with the F3 later
can be quite a hassle). Make sure you have an EXTREMELY powerful computer,
or even trying to program a F3 game will be futile.
     2. Now, get some developers' programs, load your computer up with RAM,
and get a very good graphics card. Also, start learning to program in C
(ANSI C, or Objective C), because you'll have to program the game this way(maybe
Assembly code?).
     3. Get an EPROM burner, which programs the ROMs needed for a F3 cart.
You'll have to use a better, more finished ROM for the finished product, 
and construct a cartridge.
     4. Playtesting. You have to playtest this game for bugs, and to test
certain spots in a game, a LOT! But, if you need to test something that's
far in the game, that's what codes are for, to get there in a flash(they are
programmed in the game). Afterwards, you're almost done, but you may need to
do a couple more steps.
     5. Design the artwork for the game. Make sure that it looks professional.
This is very important, as good artwork complements a good game, but bad
artwork will make a good game look bad.
     6. The final step, is to either send the EPROM to Taito, and they may buy
the rights to the game(for some good money), or you can pay the licensing
fee, and make F3 Carts as a company. But, the licensing fee will
run, on an average, over $500,000, so for most people, that is not a feasible
option anymore.
     Hope this helps, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me,
I know some more about the subject, and I can share that with you, if you're
interested. Actually, some of the F3 games have been made by PEOPLE outside of
Taito or any other third party company.


----How do I play the TAITO F3 setup on my TV?
          You need a machine called the Super NOVA(Super Gun), which is an RGB->NTSC
converter, and JAMMA harness all in one!  You get 2 heavy duty joysticks with it as well!
It comes with also the extra button wiring(if you don't have one, ask stevee@microsoft.com
for one, he has many of them).
           How do you get one of these?  Well, for $295, you can get one from MAS Systems
(the innovator of the Super Gun), at (714)831-5760.  And sorry, you can't get a cheaper
model in the U.S.A. :(  I'd advise you to get an S-Video capable TV, otherwise your arcade 
games will look like shit(yes, making it composite will make it look like pure dog poop.  
Trust me on that one.


----Why can't I find my favorite TAITO F3 kit?
       Most arcade vendors still don't want to take a chance on getting a F3 kit,
but there are some places that do have them in stock.  Look below for places, or ask
on the newsgroups throughout the internet, and try to make good contacts. They will
most likely get the items you need.
       Getting cartridges is harder, rather because distributors want to sell kits,
to get rid of motherboards, and selling just the carts do not sell motherboards. ;(
       The Japanese and Europeans love the F3 system, so it'll be a lot easier trying 
to get Asian, European, or Japanese F3 games, than US versions of those games.


----How come my TAITO F3 games don't work?
        Well, you have to clean the games! I can speak from experience, and
carts can get very dirty, and cleaning them shows you how much dirt
there is on them.  You take a solution of Isopropyl Alcohol and
water, and clean the contacts with a Q-Tip.  Also, if you just yank out
the games instead of taking them out carefully, contacts, over time, 
will partly come off.  So treat your carts well, and they will last a long time!
         Or, you could have pushed the cartridge too far in, which
will make games screw up. Put the carts in ALMOST all the way, and push 
them back up a LITTLE bit to make them work. Always put the cartridge in, game logo in
front, or else you may mess up the system contacts.
        Also, maybe the monitor you're using is not set for the right resolution, either
15 KHz, or 24 KHz....where applicable, of course...:)
        And, always check your power supply, and other connections. If that
doesn't work, return to your arcade distributor or Taito for repair.


----What's the current status of the TAITO F3?
        The current status of the F3 that it is a dead platform.  However,
the games for it continue to be bought by many arcade operators, as they are
sufficient for great profits(in Japan and Europe, at least).  But, in America,
very few came out for the F3(Cybercore). In America, it NEVER really took off.


----I want to get a TAITO F3 system(Arcade machine or Super Gun->F3 board),
but where, or how do I go about finding one?
        That's a tough call.  First, decide if you have enough money
($3000 or so for a new TAITO F3 with a 50" monitor), and the space
to hold a big arcade machine.  If not, you can purchase a Super Gun
system from MAS Systems, and attach a F3 board to it, in order to play
F3 carts on your TV(costs $1500+ for the package).
        If you want the Super Gun package, you can find it pretty
easily.  You call up MAS Systems, order the Super Gun, then you buy an
F3 board and cartridges from the places listed below. But, if you want
an arcade machine for F3 games, that's another matter......
        Call up all the "Amusement Machines" dealers in the phone book
in your area, and ask them these questions:
    1. Ask if there are any arcade auctions in the area.
    2. See if there are any machines for sale at the dealer.
    3. Ask if any other dealers in your area might have what you're
looking for.
        Then, you can check out the dealers(including the ones I listed
below, and across the internet), and see if buying used, or buying
one new makes sense. 
        But, shipping is the most important deal, when it comes to
purchasing an arcade machine. And, it's not cheap, not at all.
Even if you buy one locally, you need to find a way to pick it up, and deliver
it safely to your destination. If you buy one from a dealer that's more than 100 or 
so miles away, the most(seemingly)effective way of shipping is by freight truck. 
Well, that adds about 2 weeks to your delivery time, and costs about $250 or so to
ship. It costs money to actually get the machine, you know. 
        So, you can make the most cost-effective decision that way, by knowing
about your choices, and making the right one.  But, please remember, that
a video game is JUST a video game.....


----Aw come on!  I want cheap Japanese boards in my arcades!  It'll save me money....
         I'm sure it will save you money too.  But, the reason why it is comprehended as
copyright infringement, is that it's taking away from Taito of America's sales,
and giving some to the Japanese, which is something that Taito doesn't like.  Also, who
wants to see Japanese kanji in an American arcade, when 95% of the population has no
Japanese learning experience whatsoever?  
         Some places it is allowed, when Japanese majority is over 75% of a certain place.
But when you get Japanese boards, Taito of America REFUSES to service them, so
there's another reason to get U.S.A. boards. If you're a collector, then Japanese or Asian
boards are right for you.  But, U.S.A. boards are worth the extra money, as they are easily 
serviceable, don't depreciate as much, and are more lucrative as a whole.  Perfect for the
arcade, and for distinguished collectors. Sure, Japanese and Asian boards work on the 
motherboards(or US games on Japanese boards, I think), but get US stuff, if you can.


----I'm tired of my TAITO F3 cart. Where do I sell it?
         Well, I'm assuming that you don't know anyone else with 
the TAITO G-NET system. What you do, is follow this
checklist below:
     1. Make sure that you WANT to sell the game(s) in question.
     2. Try to determine a good market value for your game, by 
checking out the various newsgroups associated with this(rec.games-
.video.marketplace comes to mind), and go from there.
     3. Put Ads over the internet, telling how good of condition
it is in, the price, does it come w/ box or instructions, and other
general info that the people may need to make a judgment on the
game.
     4. Contact me! Depending on the game, I'll pay a good price 
for the TAITO F3 game. Just ask!
     
        That should be enough to get you on your way to selling
games over the internet.


----Can I Contact TAITO?
         Of course you can, below are the respective addresses for inquiry to
TAITO's PCBs and inquiries to other Taito-made products.

  TAITO OF AMERICA
  390 Holbrook Drive
  Wheeling, IL 60090


 Game List
     This is a list of all the TAITO F3 games out now, or are coming out soon. 
Beside them, are ratings for the games...all names in JAPANESE.


21 Separate Games Indexed
                                             Rating(1 worst-10 best)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arkanoid Returns                                        6 (okay rendition of Arkanoid) 
Attkan Beda                                             6 (okay rendition of Space Invaders)
Bubble Memories                                         7 (good Bubble Bobble game)
Bubble Symphony                                         8 (well done Puzzle Bobble)
Cleopatra's Fortune                                     8 (very good puzzle game)
Darius Gaiden                                           9 (GREAT shooting game, horizontal)
Elevator Action Returns                                 8 (very good rendition of Elevator Action)
Gekirindan                                              6 (good vertical shooter)
Hat Trick Hero '95                                      4 (okay soccer game)
Hiroko Moriguchi's Quiz Woo! Hoo!                       5 (outdated Quiz game)
Kaiser Knuckle                                          3 (very poor fighting game)
Kirameki Star Road                                      8 (Visco's foray into the F3, GREAT puzzler)
Kyukyoku Tiger 2                                        8 (very good vertical shooter)
Landmaker                                               9 (combination of Populous and Puzzle Bobble!)
Pop N' Pop                                             10 (wonderful puzzle game)
Puchi Carat                                             7 (okay puzzle game, poor man's Pop N' Pop)
Puzzle Bobble 2                                         8 (good Puzzle Bobble game)
Puzzle Bobble 2X                                        5 (rehash of above)
Puzzle Bobble 3                                         9 (excellent Puzzle Bobble game)
Puzzle Bobble 4                                        10 (climax of a wonderful series)
Quiz Theater: 3 Stories                                 5 (another mundane Puzzle game)
Twin Qix                                                8 (PROTOTYPE Qix rendition)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Japanese-American Name Translations: following, are translations to American,
if they had an American name(OTHERWISE, they are japanese only):

Attkan Beda=Space Invaders DX
Kaiser Knuckle=Global Champion
Kyukyoku Tigher 2=Twin Cobra 2
Puzzle Bobble 2=Bust-a-Move Again
Puzzle Bobble 2X=Bust-a-Move Again
Puzzle Bobble 3=Bust-a-Move 2:Arcade Edition
Puzzle Bobble 4=Same name in American

----------
Market Prices

 This is an accurate listing of what TAITO F3 Hardware and software run, pricewise I mean.

 First price is BUY price, second is SELL USED price, third is SELL NEW price. 
NAMES ARE IN AMERICAN, IF THERE IS AN AMERICAN NAME.....

 TAITO F3 Motherboard     100   150   209  

 Arkanoid Returns          20    60    75
 Bubble Memories           20    60    75
 Bubble Symphony           20    60    75
 Bust-a-Move Again          5    15    25
 Bust-a-Move 2:Arcade Edition 15   30   55
 Cleopatra's Fortune       20    60    90
 Darius Gaiden             15    40    60
 Elevator Action Returns   15    40    60
 Gekirindan                20    45    70
 Global Champion            5    15    25
 Hat Trick Hero '95        10    25    40
 Hiroko Moriguchi's Quiz Woo! Hoo! 35   60   90
 Kirameki Star Road        45    80   100
 Landmaker                 45    80   110
 Pop N' Pop                30    65    90
 Puchi Carat               20    40    70
 Puzzle Bobble 4           30    65   100
 Quiz Theater: 3 Stories   15    30    50
 Space Invaders DX         15    30    50
 Twin Cobra 2              10    25    40
 
------------
Phone Numbers


       These are all retailers that should carry the TAITO F3 system, or has at 
one time carried it. Please enjoy!
       You can ask TAITO of a list of arcade distributors that carry TAITO F3 products,
which is recommended.

50th State Coin-op:(800)424-5050 (doesn't have a good selection at all)"www.gamegod.com"
Automaticos Valls:(34)96-291-7026 (this place in Spain has got the goods)"www.automaticosvalls.com"
Bondeal: no phone # (a great source for arcade stuff)"www.bondeal.com.hk"
Bumper:(61)3-9696-9690 (Australia's best Source)"www.bumper.com.au"
Coinop International:(612)321-9632 (very good source of stuff, great to deal with)"www.coinopintl.com"
Cosmic Amusements: (852)2388-2101 (lackluster source)"home.netvigator.com/~cosmicco"
Creideas: no phone # (great foreign source for equipment)"www.vnet.es/creideas"
Fuuki: no phone # (excellent Japanese Source)"www.mediawars.or.jp/~fuukico/"
Game City:(626)573-3832 (has boards and other video games)"www.gamescity.com"
Great Western Trading:(541)726-1813 (has some boards)"www.gwtrading.com"
Hugo Neumann:(800)998-4846 (good, but high priced carts sometimes)
Kimble:(353)42-36574 (Ireland's finest supplier of arcade equipment)"www.kimble.ie"
MAS Systems:(714)831-5760 (accessories, and the Super NOVA dealer!)"www.massystems.com"
Midwest Amusements:(847)364-7722 (has some carts, a couple rare ones)"www.midwestamusement.com"
MHP Ent. Ltd.:(44)125-45-6029 (another source in the UK, call for info)"www.mhpuk.mcmail.com"
Mondial Group:(914)738-7411 (is a little high in the price department)"www.mondialgroup.com"
Outer Limits Amusements:(800)474-2637 (has some decent stuff, nothing special)"www.outerlimitsgames.com"
Rent-A-Game:(416)650-3718 (Canadian supplier of units)"www.rent-a-game.com"
Sage Electronik AG:(41)61-691-1555 (Swiss dealer)"www.sage-ag.ch"
State Sales and Coin:(410)646-4100 (boards, complete machines)"www.sscoin.com"
Tuning:(49)89-311073 (Germany's source of good boards, quality, and sometimes high priced)"www.tuning.com/english"
Video Connection:(800)444-6854 (everything, board prices are high)"www.videoconnect.com"


Past Updates

 v.1.0: This is the first iteration of my TAITO F3 FAQ! (6/17/99)

 Coming Soon to my FAQ!

 v.1.1: More questions added as I get the system!

 THIS FAQ IS NOT ENDORSED OR MADE BY TAITO!!

I would wish to thank MAS Systems, Steve Eisner, Jeff Ferrier, and Chris Ray. 
Any comments or questions about this FAQ and the TAITO F3?  E-mail me at 
Cmull11217@aol.com.  Happy gaming!

 |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
 <Copyrighted 1997, 1998, 1999 by Chris Mullins, all rights reserved. Any republication of>
 <this material, without written consent from myself(Chris Mullins), and credit to myself,> 
 <will be subject to fines and/or sentencing due to plagiarism.                           >
 |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

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< | Chris Mullins's TAITO F3 System FAQ 1.0 END     | > 
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