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.