27 January 2019

Pandora's Box 6 Community Collection

Those of you who own a Pandora's Box 6 know that it's great being able to add your own games to the box, however it's always a bit of a crapshoot. Will this game work or will it not? Do I have the right ROM or not? What version of MAME do I need to search for again? Yeah, it's a bit of a pain in the ass to deal with, especially if you are relatively new to emulation and don't understand some of the complexities. I have a potential solution for that.

What is the PB6 Community Collection?

To put it simply, this is intended on being a community-vetted collection of ROMs for the Pandora's Box 6 that you can throw on your USB stick and know that everything should be correct and functional. What exactly does "everything" mean here in this context?

  • Cut down MAME v0.106 ROM set with video previews
  • Cut down FBA set with video previews
  • PlayStation set with video previews
  • Replacement video previews for default 1300 PB6 games
  • A new community collection set of background images for the PB6 gamelist

The idea here is that we want to have a clean set of games that are all known good, known playable for everyone to enjoy and also to fix up some of the problems with the original set too.

What is the criteria for games being included in the collection?

Here are the general guidelines that we are following to this point.

Arcade Guidelines (MAME, Final Burn Alpha)

  • Must be playable regardless of language. If a game only exists in Japanese but not knowing the language doesn't interfere with playing the game, it can be included.
  • Always default to English language versions.
  • No duplicates/multiple clones, only one version of each game unless there are major variations between them.
  • All games playable at full speed (or at least close to it for certain exceptions).
  • All games rotated properly to be playable on horizontal screens.
  • Games must be fully controlable with the PB6. Games that require analog are allowed as long as the PB6 still allows you to play. (Yes, this makes Arkanoid difficult but at least it's playable at all.)
  • Games with no sound emulation are allowed. Games with horrible sound emulation (as in deafening static) are not.
  • No duplicates from the original PB6 1300 game set unless there is some improvement over the original version in some form. (Jackie Chan is an example.)
  • Always use 2 player versions instead of 4 player versions when possible to allow players to select their character (TMNT/Sunset Riders/Simpsons, etc...).
  • If a multiplayer game only functions with a single player and we have no clones that have the other players working properly, it can still be included. (Gauntlet is an example, as much as being forced to play single player sucks.)
  • No Mahjong games (the gin poker style game, tile matching games are okay), no fruit machines, no video poker/casino games, no Japanese quiz games.

PlayStation Guidelines

  • All Arcade Guidelines also apply to PlayStation games.
  • No games that require disc swapping as the emulator doesn't support it. In multiple disc games where each disc is independent (Street Fighter Collection, Rival Schools), each disc should be separated into its own *.pbp file.
  • No games which have rumble/vibration before the player has the ability to disable rumble support, causing the game to crash. (Crash Bandicoot 3 is an example.)
  • No duplicates of the arcade games unless there is a significant difference or reason for doing so. (PS1 arcade collections where all the games already work perfectly on the PB6, for instance). Remakes are okay. Arcade emulation of games that otherwise wouldn't work on PB6 (Joust, other Williams games) are okay.

Current Progress

I launched this project kind of in stealth mode so we aren't entirely starting from scratch here. Let's talk about where we are currently at.

  • Final Burn Alpha ROM set: 100% complete, 107 ROMs collected.
  • Final Burn Alpha preview videos: not started, 0/107 video previews collected.
  • MAME 0.106 ROM set: # thru B are completed, 122 ROMs collected.
  • MAME 0.106 preview videos: Created but not organized and collected yet.
  • PB6 replacement preview videos: Created but not organized and collected yet.
  • PlayStation ROM set: 5% complete, 30 games collected.
  • PlayStation preview videos: not started.
  • PB6 Community Collection main menu backgrounds: Just a proof of concept complete.

Is this available yet?

No, it won't be available until it is completed. If you email asking for ROMs from me, you will be ignored.

How can I help out?

Please come join us in the #community-collection channel on our Discord server. The more people helping out, the faster the work gets done and there is still plenty of it.

Let's get it done.