Project i-mode / EZweb, to preserve the dying unpreservable

Discussion in 'Rare and Obscure Gaming' started by Gemini, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. Agahnim

    Agahnim Member

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    guys... think about final fantasy vii before crisis and the dirge of cerberus lost mission who was translated into english and you could be able to play even if you live in usa. there must be a way to dump them...somehow
     
  2. sheepytina

    sheepytina Member

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    I was playing around tonight, and while this doesn't get us any closer to preserving the actual games, I'd like to point out that running compiled apps in the i-appli development environment, the only i-appli emulator I'm aware of, is very much possible.

    Here it is running the sample application it comes with. It even has audio support, and the buttons are mapped to the keyboard too.
    [​IMG]

    While it's not a particularly user-friendly solution, you can run your own apps in it with this three-step process.
    1. Create a new project with the same name as the app. Untick the checkbox, as we don't need to create a source file.
      [​IMG]
    2. Copy your .jam and .jar files into the project's bin folder.
      [​IMG]
    3. Press "Run", and the game should run!
      [​IMG]
    Of course, your mileage may vary. As you can see, the app I tested has a visual bug with the environment rendering. I've also had trouble getting another app to run at all. The program is also just really not meant for gaming, so it's not an elegant solution by any means, but it does work.

    As far as free apps go, it's slim pickings. You can find some, including SFCave, at http://gnu-mode.sourceforge.net/ (with URL manipulation), or you can try http://helderman.hobby.nl/i/iappli.htm, which has a large directory but a lot of dead links.

    Still, it's more than the amount of commercial apps I've been able to find (still zero, I'm afraid), but I hope this information on emulation can be of some use.


    On a side note, I did manage to find an APK of the Android port of Walküre no Eiko (The Glory of Valkyrie). From what I can tell, it's a port rather than an emulation, but it's still nice to be able to play it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
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  3. SwibbleTips

    SwibbleTips Hello

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    I found this thread after trying to find information on From Software's mobile titles. Unfortunately I don't have any way of actually helping with this problem, but I do feel strongly that these games should be preserved, and the sooner the better. It seems very unlikely that such a thing is even possible, but I would be interested in assisting anyone that tries.
     
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  4. contrafan

    contrafan Peppy Member

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    I know there are a few official Contra games released through the i-mode service (or at least Konami Net DX); Contra, Super Contra and Contra: Evolution. So I'm also hoping that this gains ground in the future.
     
  5. dclover56

    dclover56 Rising Member

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    Yeah. I don't know exactly how these phones tick, but a dump of the flash chip should give us the game data in some form or another.
     
  6. sheepytina

    sheepytina Member

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    Honestly, even just voicing your interests helps this cause, in my opinion. It's good to know I'm not the only one alone about wanting these games preserved.

    So far it's sounding like a very complicated process, since not only do we need to get into contact with people who have Japanese phones with games on them, but it sounds like getting the game files off them isn't exactly straightforward either. We might indeed need to dump the flash memory on some handsets, which is no easy task.

    But I remain optimistic that it can be done. We just need to spread the world and hope we find people willing to help out, because I'm sure there's demand in japan for these games to be preserved too. I know I'm not the only one who's tried to track down the Athena games.

    The other solution is, of course, to email the publishers and ask them to release the games again, but who knows if they'd actually respond to that.

    By the way, what's the deal with PlayStation Mobile? Does anyone have those Appli Archives games lying around? Because poking around in those seems like it might be a good place to start for the few games that were lucky enough to be preserved that way. (though PSM also being dead is a whole new can of worms right there)
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  7. dr.slump

    dr.slump Rapidly Rising Member

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    Specific games, yeah, but getting hold of a load of dead phones with random games on would actually be pretty easy/cheap.

    What worries me is that although at the moment a lot of these games can still be downloaded, it's only a matter of time before smartphones take over completely and iMode, etc, is all gone completely...
     
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  8. sheepytina

    sheepytina Member

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    Y'know, that never occurred to me. I assumed that i-mode would be completely obsolete by now. Do you know which publishers still have their games available to download?
     
  9. MrTimscampi

    MrTimscampi Member

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    If there are any games still available to download, trying to find how to communicate with the server that hosts them would be a solution.

    I don't know much about i-mode aside from seeing a few commercials for it in France a long time ago (It died quickly there, I believe), but if any server is still online, it has to be accessible somehow.
    Could anyone with an active i-mode phone try to sniff packets while trying to download a game or access the gateway ? (You would need some equipment that is probably expensive and difficult to find to do that, though, most likely. Unless you can connect to the i-mode gateway via wi-fi, then you can sniff packets the usual way)
    If we can sniff the packets, we can understand how i-mode works and how the phone downloads the games. Then we can either dump the packets and reconstruct the game from their data, or make software that downloads the games directly.

    The other solution if buying lots of old phones on Yahoo Auctions and hoping games are still on there, then cracking the device's protections and dumping the games.
     
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  10. sheepytina

    sheepytina Member

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    The sad thing is I actually do have an i-mode phone lying around (from Australia, locked to the Telstra network) but I can't get it to turn on for more than a few seconds, even after charging it overnight. Maybe it needs a new battery, but i'd be hard pressed to find one now.

    It never actually occurred to me that some publishers' game services might still be available. Do you know of any that are? Though, I get the feeling that we'd need to be on the DoCoMo network to download most Japanese games anyway. Of course, I don't actually know that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  11. MrTimscampi

    MrTimscampi Member

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    I unfortunately couldn't tell you what gateways and download sites are still online :/
    There doesn't seem to be any announcement about service being stopped, but the last info on number of subscribers I can find is from 2008, so not very accurate.
    I'll guess that quite a few Japanese still have i-mode phones, though, even if smartphones are dominating the market.

    I'm actually wondering if the gateway would be web-facing or not. I assume, from what I read, that i-mode uses a lot of regular Internet standards, but makes every web page go through a gateway for conversion to the i-mode standard.
    One would assume, if it has to access regular websites, that at least some part of it is web-facing.

    But that's a lot of assumptions and I really should look into the technology more, to see how it works...

    We should contact the Game Preservation Society in Japan, to see if they have something going on, maybe ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
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  12. dr.slump

    dr.slump Rapidly Rising Member

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    A relatively large amount of people in Japan still have feature phones, especially old people - which there are a lot of. I doubt it costs much to keep running, either. I checked Square, Capcom, Konami, and Namco, and only Capcom have stopped the service.

    There are wifi-compatible feature phones available here, but they won't let you connect to i-mode/ezweb/etc via wifi, only to regular websites, which are viewed through a separate browser.

    A quick google search says you can use something called User Agent Switcher to access i-mode websites, among other methods, but as you have to pay to download these games (they're charged to your phone bill) I think you'll have a hard time tricking it into letting you download them.

    Perhaps there's a particular model or models of phone that allow you to dump the games more easily? More recent feature phones take regular sim cards and don't brick up like the old ones.


    http://game.snkplaymore.co.jp/mobile/game/search.php?search&g=2
    Seems to still be available.
     
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  13. MrTimscampi

    MrTimscampi Member

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    That's what I thought for the wi-fi...

    We could get a recent phone with a sim card, then make a fake cell tower for the phone to connect to (A common way to intercept phone data)
    From memory, based on the little I know of the subject, you need a femtocell from the operator you phone connects to. (A mini cell tower)
    If you root it, you can do all sort of fun stuff with it, but that would mean reverse engineering some i-mode protocols, probably. It's doable, but hard and probably a bit expensive.

    Another solution is to manage to root a recent i-mode phone with sim and get access to the file system, then pull the files directly off of that. This might be a lot easier and faster than intercepting the games.

    The first option is impossible to do for people outside of Japan, which severely limits how quickly it can be done. And the person doing it has to have pretty good knowledge about cell interception.

    The second can be done by pretty much anyone with the right knowledge, anywhere in the world. We can either get a phone and a pre-paid card using a proxy buyer in Japan or buy the phone, unlock it if possible, then use a local sim, I guess.
    When we have full access to the phone and its file system, we send it back to Japan, download a few games and dump them.

    There is probably a way to unlock the blocked phones, too. Most likely, the carrier checks if the phone is still good when it connects to a tower, then tells the phone to shut down if it's not active. If we have a femtocell, we can see what it does and how to keep it powered up, then we can work on dumping them (Useful to get Capcom games off of phones bought on Yahoo Auction, for example)
     
  14. sheepytina

    sheepytina Member

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    Dr. Slump, you're awesome. I feel like we can get somewhere with this.

    Aww. Some of those Rockman games looked pretty neat. Good news about Square though.

    Yeah, I found that page on the day I started searching, but I'm not sure how to download it without a working i-mode phone. All that I've been able to try is using an i-mode browser emulator, but that QR code (which I think is supposed to be a shortcut to SNK's game service) leads to a dead link for me. Will it only work on an actual DoCoMo phone?
     
  15. dr.slump

    dr.slump Rapidly Rising Member

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    Went and got myself an i-mode phone :rolleyes:
    I can move apps (or at least some apps) to an SD card, where they are stored as .sb1 files. Google says this extension is given when the files are moved to an sd card, and they can only be run from the phone they were moved from. Most hits are just people complaining they can't play videos recorded on their phone on their PC...

    sheepytina: The link is indeed dead, sorry. Can't find any SNK games through the i-mode menu, either.
    If you can view this, I think it shows all the available games: http://docomo.ne.jp/imt/my/menu/03page3003_900.htm
    The "game packs" at the top are subscription services, so there are more games available than it seems at first glance.
     
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  16. TeridaxXD001

    TeridaxXD001 Newly Registered

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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  17. Desert Bandit

    Desert Bandit Active Member

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    I can't dig around in the files but they seem to be emulated.
     
  18. Fahrenheit

    Fahrenheit Newly Registered

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    I don't know how kosher bumping a thread that's over 2 months dead is around these parts but I didn't feel good about creating a new thread for something this obscure when there's a perfectly good one under the pile. In an effort to play the i-mode-exclusive Rockman and King's Field games I've delved into the deepest reaches of the internet only to find... not much at all. Well, a few seemingly interesting things have popped up so I figured I'd post them here.

    Firstly, no mention of "i-Tools", the only (scarcely)available i-mode phone browser emulator?
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~tz2s-nsmr/soft/itool/im74g51.htm
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~tz2s-nsmr/soft/itool/i-tool.htm
    Can only browse the web afaik. I can't find any qr codes that still function but judging by the script error and crash when trying to download from http://gnu-mode.sourceforge.net/, I can only assume i-Tools doesn't support the downloading of files. ...?
    -

    Something that could/have possibly support/ed the downloading of files...
    https://web.archive.org/web/2012111...com/store/apps/details?id=jp.jaris.andoromeda
    Andromeda browser is a high performance browser that adds the function for Japanese i-mode and iPhone.
    ・User agent switcher (smart phone and i-mode・iPhone)
    Streaming and download of movie(wmv,mp4,3gp, etc.)
    ・Support of Open i area

    I could not for the life of me find the .apk for this app and it has long since gone off the play store. The author's blog (unused for years) is at http://ramieru0719.blog133.fc2.com/, but there are no contact details afaik.

    -

    There's this... whatever it is... https://sourceforge.net/projects/soapmode/
    -

    And lastly... by the looks of it there exists a PS1/2 to DoCoMo phone adapter. News to me. Something like http://www.ebay.com/itm/DOCOMO-I-MO...615991?hash=item4ad3d64977:g:ZlcAAOxyUylTT-Xl

    From ABC article:
    “The initial new service will enable i-mode users to play games with mobile phones outside and also play the same game with PlayStation at home,” said the DoCoMo spokesman.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  19. Siskan

    Siskan Newly Registered

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    Are you sure that this article is related to the PlayStation adapter? I think it just allowed for online play through the phone's network much like ananother adapter for GBA.
     
  20. SwibbleTips

    SwibbleTips Hello

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    Thank you for your effort. I'm glad there are still people interested in something as frustrating and mostly futile as this.
     

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