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Author Topic: 412-in-1 Game Elf review  (Read 17403 times)

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Sarver Systems

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412-in-1 Game Elf review
« on: August 14, 2014, 03:32:44 pm »
I purchased this as part of a kit from [vendor name/link removed] that included a joystick, 3 buttons, and a power supply.

[kit link removed]

I opted to not use the included buttons or joystick, but I did use the power supply.

This review will focus on the Game Elf itself.

The very first thing I'd like to point out is that this DOES NOT use a standard jamma harness pinout.
What's different you ask? Button F is normally where a ground would go. So if you use a standard jamma harness, you ground out button F, essentially turning it into an always-on button. This prevents you from navigating any menus, or starting any games.

Once I figured out what the deal was, a quick read through the manual does state that button F should not be wired to ground, but it is all the way at the end of the manual, and not very clear as to the actual purpose of the warning.

I rewired the harness, and booted back up.

I was able to navigate through the menus and start some games.

I would say that about 20% of the games are unplayable, unless you have a large control panel that can support the following all at once FOR EACH PLAYER: 2 joysticks, 6 buttons, a trackball, and a spinner.

Some games require 2 joysticks per player (assault for example), some games require a trackball (millipede for example), and some games require a spinner (arkanoid for example).

The other 80% of the games, from what I've played, all seem to be pretty decent. Most of them are obvious ports or bootlegs of the originals. For example, the dots on ms.pac and variants are exactly the same as the originals. No big deal, the game still plays exactly the same.

Galaga (my favorite game) seems to be identical to the original, as does Dig Dug and Frogger.

When mounting the device to your enclosure, you'll only be able to use 3 of the 4 screws because the flash drive cover obscures the mounting tab. 3 screws is plenty, but for someone with OCD like me, it'll drive you insane.

The volume control knob is a really nice addition, but I would like to see it mounted on the end of a small harness so it could be extended to the exterior of the cabinet if needed. An option would be to just turn it up all the way and add a volume pot to the speaker line.

I have this device plugged into a 20" Dell LCD. All of the games look great, and I am hard pressed to tell it isn't being displayed on an original 19" tube monitor. The graphics all look great.

The system boots up really fast, and I am happy with the speed at which games load.

One thing that has bothered me with this device since day 1 is why they don't use the test and service buttons to enter the admin menus, instead of requiring us to hunt in the dark for the hard to find S1 button that sits flush to the edge on the device. Enabling the use of the admin buttons just makes so much more sense to me.

The admin menu system is very intuitive, and easy to navigate.

All in all, I would say I got a good deal for this, even though I have to disable a decent portion of the games.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 01:33:33 am by PL1 »

yotsuya

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 06:35:22 pm »
Quote
I would say that about 20% of the games are unplayable, unless you have a large control panel that can support the following all at once FOR EACH PLAYER: 2 joysticks, 6 buttons, a trackball, and a spinner.

Game on, brah!

***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

wp34

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 10:50:19 am »

The very first thing I'd like to point out is that this DOES NOT use a standard jamma harness pinout.
What's different you ask? Button F is normally where a ground would go. So if you use a standard jamma harness, you ground out button F, essentially turning it into an always-on button. This prevents you from navigating any menus, or starting any games.

Once I figured out what the deal was, a quick read through the manual does state that button F should not be wired to ground, but it is all the way at the end of the manual, and not very clear as to the actual purpose of the warning.


Thanks for the review and pointing out more clearly this wiring issue.  I've been considering getting one of these for my Q*Bert restore until JROK releases his Q*Bert multi.

redfireplace

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 10:32:28 pm »
Thank you for the information. I have a few questions.

What resolution is the monitor you used? Did you turn it vertically since these are all vertical games? I want to make sure a 1280x1024 monitor turned sideways will produce a good picture with these games.

Will Centipede and Millipede work with a joystick or do you really need a trackball to play them?

How do you connect speakers to this thing? Does it have a mini plug that I can plug computer speakers into?

Sarver Systems

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 08:52:11 am »
What resolution is the monitor you used?
I ran it at whatever resolution the VGA connector wanted.

Did you turn it vertically since these are all vertical games?
Yes

I want to make sure a 1280x1024 monitor turned sideways will produce a good picture with these games.
I don't see any issues. All of the games I've played look identical to the originals on a regular tube-type display.


Will Centipede and Millipede work with a joystick or do you really need a trackball to play them?
They'll play, but they'll play badly. In fact, you'll want to disable them in the control panel. Disable all the trackball games, Assault (requires 2 joyticks per player), Q-Bert (requires the joytick to be mounted at a 45 angle), all of the spinner games, and a few other games that require a joystick-mounted fire button.

How do you connect speakers to this thing? Does it have a mini plug that I can plug computer speakers into?
The Jamma harness has a speaker-out on it, which is what I used.
The circuit board also has a headphone jack on it that you can plug PC speakers into.
It also has a volume control, but I'm not sure if it controls the headphone jack or not.
[/quote]

redfireplace

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2014, 04:30:25 pm »
Thank you again. One last question. Forgive my ignorance, but I'm new to the arcade game scene. Did you connect the speakers directly to the board via the JAMMA connector? I heard game boards have built in amplifiers.

Also, could someone point me toward a resource for learning how to build arcade games?

yotsuya

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2014, 05:15:47 pm »
Also, could someone point me toward a resource for learning how to build arcade games?

Uhhhhhh.... you're AT one?  :dizzy:
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Sarver Systems

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2014, 11:33:20 pm »
The board has a built-in amp, which is what I used.

It also has a headphone jack, which would be a non-powered (pre-amp) audio signal.

maximebeauvais

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2014, 12:48:01 pm »
Hello,

I have built a mame in the past and really enjoy it but I had to sold it.
Now, I was looking for review on the 412-1 and you have done a great job. thanks

Questions:
1- could you add game with this board? Or I saw similar board with an SD slot......is it to add game via the SD card?
2- one of my favorite game is karate champ which is include in this board. is there an option to select the 2 joystick (like in a mame game were you select the player 1 joystick for left joystick and player 2 joystick for right joystick?

I will be waiting for your reply.

thanks !!!

Sarver Systems

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2014, 03:54:01 pm »
Hello,

I have built a mame in the past and really enjoy it but I had to sold it.
Now, I was looking for review on the 412-1 and you have done a great job. thanks

Questions:
1- could you add game with this board? Or I saw similar board with an SD slot......is it to add game via the SD card?
2- one of my favorite game is karate champ which is include in this board. is there an option to select the 2 joystick (like in a mame game were you select the player 1 joystick for left joystick and player 2 joystick for right joystick?

I will be waiting for your reply.

thanks !!!

1: The board does have an SD slot on it. Its covered with a plastic door. I have not removed it to see if there is a card in there or not. The manual makes no mention of the card slot. I assume the games are stored on the card, and the card is what determines how many games you have.

2: Karate Champs is on the games list. This game defaults to using 2 joysticks (just as the original did) but I can't confirm if it requires a 2nd joystick for each player, or if it uses player 2 joystick as the 2nd joystick.

I can tell you that quite a few of the games do not work due to controls configuration. For example, Q-Bert is unplayable becuase the joystick needs to be mounted at a 45 angle in the control. The tank game (name escapes me at the moment) require 2 joysticks (the same as Karate Champs), and all of the trackball/spinner games are unplayable.

Take all of the unplayable games out, and you're left with about 300-in-1.

maximebeauvais

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 09:02:44 am »
thanks a lot for your time !!!! really appreciated.

i have read a few review on that board as well as some review on youtube and i think that for for 150$ (for the kit) it still ok.

after looking at the list of game (412-1 list), their is over 100 games that i know for sure just by looking at the title. i`m sure it will be more when i see the screenplay.

building a mame was a very fun experience but a lot of time to setup everything using different frontend like mala, mamewah and hypersphin (too big for my small PC) and I don't think that I will go that route again.......a 412-1 vertical board will be perfect for my need.

my friend and i will be buying a kit very soon and I will also put my review here.

thanks


redfireplace

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2014, 12:32:57 am »
I have this game board. There is an SD card in the slot. That's where everything is stored: the games, all the software and the operating system. The designers did not intend anyone to add games to the device, so it would be difficult to do. I read about someone who figured out a way to do it on an earlier model, but I don't know if that method will work with this model.

I found that I am able to play most of the trackball and spinner games with a joystick. Some of them work better than others. Arkanoid, Kick, Centipede and Milipede are perfectly playable. Some others really need their original controls, though.

Haze

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2014, 02:00:26 pm »
building a mame was a very fun experience but a lot of time to setup everything using different frontend like mala, mamewah and hypersphin (too big for my small PC) and I don't think that I will go that route again.......a 412-1 vertical board will be perfect for my need.

these are just crappy underpowered linux based MAME boards afaik..

I don't think it will save you much time, somebody has just bolted on a generic frontend without even really bothering to check the games they've included work 100% with the build they've included, as demonstrated by the sheer number that aren't playable with regular controls; last I checked they even included some games that were considered non-working in the MAME version they based their kit on.  The difference is here you can't configure things how you want them very easily and won't be able to upgrade anything if you do find problems with the included emulator.



scaulfield

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2014, 10:51:29 pm »
I just installed this board into my cabinet and I have 1 issue with the joysticks.  My cabinet is set up with 2 complete sets of joystick and buttons (1 for player 1 and 1 for player 2).  I cannot figure out how to get player 2 to use the player 2 set of buttons during the standard upright game play.  When it is player 2's turn, it must be played from the player 1 buttons, leaving my player 2 set completely unused.  In the setup of the game I am able to test all the buttons and it does recognize the second set as player 2.  Also if I change the settings to cocktail cabinet instead of upright it will utilize the second set of buttons for player 2, but of course flip the screen on this turn.  Anyone have any advice??

yotsuya

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2014, 02:16:47 am »
I just installed this board into my cabinet and I have 1 issue with the joysticks.  My cabinet is set up with 2 complete sets of joystick and buttons (1 for player 1 and 1 for player 2).  I cannot figure out how to get player 2 to use the player 2 set of buttons during the standard upright game play.  When it is player 2's turn, it must be played from the player 1 buttons, leaving my player 2 set completely unused.  In the setup of the game I am able to test all the buttons and it does recognize the second set as player 2.  Also if I change the settings to cocktail cabinet instead of upright it will utilize the second set of buttons for player 2, but of course flip the screen on this turn.  Anyone have any advice??

Most classic games are coded to use one set of controls on an upright, so P1 & P2 just alternate. It's not doing anything it shouldn't be doing.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

sufferinghusband

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2015, 11:55:47 pm »
Hi, I am hoping you guys are still watching this post. I am new to the JAMMA world, and have been playing with a Sega Astro City Cabinet with a Taito F3 System. Works great but hard to get games. I picked up a 412 in 1 Elf. Plugged it in and no go. Read your piece on pin 28 being removed from ground. I went to the manual and it says pin 27 should not have a ground. As both pin 27 and 28 are grounded, will I incurr the wrath of god if I just disconnect both grounds from 27 and 28? Hoping to hear back from someone, have been struggling with this for months and months, and this forum is the first one I have found with any info on this actual problem. Cheers

behrmr

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2015, 12:27:06 am »
Hi, I am hoping you guys are still watching this post. I am new to the JAMMA world, and have been playing with a Sega Astro City Cabinet with a Taito F3 System. Works great but hard to get games. I picked up a 412 in 1 Elf. Plugged it in and no go. Read your piece on pin 28 being removed from ground. I went to the manual and it says pin 27 should not have a ground. As both pin 27 and 28 are grounded, will I incurr the wrath of god if I just disconnect both grounds from 27 and 28? Hoping to hear back from someone, have been struggling with this for months and months, and this forum is the first one I have found with any info on this actual problem. Cheers

I am pretty sure you need ground on pins 28 and f.

talkgeek

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2015, 02:18:16 am »
Hi, I am hoping you guys are still watching this post. I am new to the JAMMA world, and have been playing with a Sega Astro City Cabinet with a Taito F3 System. Works great but hard to get games. I picked up a 412 in 1 Elf. Plugged it in and no go. Read your piece on pin 28 being removed from ground. I went to the manual and it says pin 27 should not have a ground. As both pin 27 and 28 are grounded, will I incurr the wrath of god if I just disconnect both grounds from 27 and 28? Hoping to hear back from someone, have been struggling with this for months and months, and this forum is the first one I have found with any info on this actual problem. Cheers

I am pretty sure you need ground on pins 28 and f.

I've got a 412-n-1 in my Taito cabaret, on my harness pins 27 and e are cut (but I don't remember doing this ?), pin f has a switch on it, and it's currently off from what I can tell (e.g. = cut), I don't have a multimedia here to test it at moment, sorry
pin 28 is still connected (note: I'm only using 3 buttons, on a single player CP - haven't tried it in a cocktail, cab sorry) it's working fine.
 
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 02:41:45 am by talkgeek »
Currently building http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,137777.0.html Mass-Replicate
Built "n0tsq3" cocktail cab http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,133913.0/all.html
..and restoring a Sega MegaLo 410 Candy Cab & Moon Patrol Cab

Mr_Numbers

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2015, 11:06:38 pm »
I've got a question about these PCB's and the VGA out. 

I've never setup a new PCB using VGA and am tempted to get a Elf 500 in 1 horizontal for an upcoming project.

I'm a little confused on if you would still need to connect the video harnesses of the Jamma or does the PCB just automatically send the signal VGA?  I'm imaging you still leave them as is and the board itself just sends via VGA but figured asking would clear up my confusion.


Sarver Systems

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2015, 08:03:56 am »
Use the VGA-out on the board to connect to a VGA LCD.

Use the RGB-out on the Jamma harness to connect to a standard CRT monitor.

behrmr

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2015, 02:03:17 pm »
There is a dip switch to select CGA/VGA

Sarver Systems

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2015, 03:14:41 pm »
Ah yes, thats right. Forgot about that.

Ritalin

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2015, 12:15:11 am »
First, thank you very much for your review!

Has anyone ever hooked up a spinner to the 412-in-1 Game Elf? Namely, to play both Tempest and Arkanoid.

I have a Jamma vertical 60-in-1 that I am thinking of upgrading to this 412-in-1 Game Elf, primarily for Tempest, but I would need to add a spinner to my setup and I just wanted to know if this is possible and how to do it. I've searched the web and haven't really found any information.

Would a USB spinner be plug-and-play ready since this board has a USB port?

Any spinner info for this board would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

Mr_Numbers

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2015, 08:18:51 pm »
Thanks for the answer guys, dip switched makes sense.

behrmr

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2015, 11:50:28 am »
First, thank you very much for your review!

Has anyone ever hooked up a spinner to the 412-in-1 Game Elf? Namely, to play both Tempest and Arkanoid.

I have a Jamma vertical 60-in-1 that I am thinking of upgrading to this 412-in-1 Game Elf, primarily for Tempest, but I would need to add a spinner to my setup and I just wanted to know if this is possible and how to do it. I've searched the web and haven't really found any information.

Would a USB spinner be plug-and-play ready since this board has a USB port?

Any spinner info for this board would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

Isn't a spinner basically one axis of a trackball?  If so then the question really is does Arkanoid work on this board with a trackball?  It *probably* does.  I think that your better option would be to see if you could wire the +/- directions of the spinner to the L and R inputs of the ELF board.  The J5 is for a game controller so I would not expect it to work with a USB spinner/mouse.

EarlFuzzy

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2016, 05:25:32 pm »
Hope that someone is still watching this!  I installed this board in my cocktail style Ms. Pac-Man cabinet.  Everything is working perfectly, except when I hold down the Player 1 button for 3 seconds to exit a game, nothing happens.  I also tried the Player 1 D button, nothing.  Both buttons work fine for all other purposes... Any ideas? :hissy:

behrmr

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2016, 07:41:50 pm »
It sounds like maybe you have a stuck button?

First, obviously make sure that your wiring is all correct.  Specifically that you don't have a stuck button or a button wired NC when it should be NO.  I don't recall if these have a way to test inputs or not but if they do start there.

Hold down S1 on boot and go in to config menu.  Do a factory reset.  Then go back in and configure for cocktail

If that doesn't work then make sure that your JAMMA harness matches the pinout for the Elf board and specifically that pin 27 on solder and parts side is NOT wired to ground.

If that doesn't work, get another board.

Good luck.

TNHANK

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2016, 07:47:40 pm »
In regards to button not working.  Make sure the button is hooked up correctly. I messed up my player1 switch when doing some rewire and ran into this problem.
On the switch There are 3 prongs, the ground is at the top. Make sure you have the positive connected to
The prong closest to grd.  The other switch it will still work but have a different effect.  Connecting to the wrong prong the circuit remains always closed. When you press the button it opens the circuit, when you release it, it gives you a credit.  However the 3 second feature won't work.  This seems obvious but I ran accoss several people who made this same mistake.

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2016, 11:51:51 pm »
In regards to button not working.  Make sure the button is hooked up correctly. I messed up my player1 switch when doing some rewire and ran into this problem.
On the switch There are 3 prongs, the ground is at the top. Make sure you have the positive connected to
The prong closest to grd.  The other switch it will still work but have a different effect.  Connecting to the wrong prong the circuit remains always closed. When you press the button it opens the circuit, when you release it, it gives you a credit.  However the 3 second feature won't work.  This seems obvious but I ran accoss several people who made this same mistake.
You cant always tell by the position of the tabs -- check the markings on the switch.

Use the NO (Normally Open) and COM (Common) tabs, not the NC. (Normally Closed)

If you get a switch that isn't clearly marked, use a multimeter to check for continuity between COM and NO when the switch is pushed and an open when it isn't pushed.   ;D


Scott

Ksmitty

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2016, 09:21:19 pm »
Hello all, I am new to the forum and hope someone can help me out with a question. I bought a 60 in 1 multicade upright machine. I am thinking about upgrading to the 412 in 1 and was wondering if anyone knows if Tempest will work with a trackball. My unit has a trackball and 1 and 2 player joysticks and buttons. Also does anyone know how Qbert plays? Is it worth it to upgrade for 2 games? Thanks everyone.

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2016, 04:38:37 am »
If you are only interested in them 2 games I wouldn't consider the cost worth it tbh.

lilshawn

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Re: 412-in-1 Game Elf review
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2016, 11:30:17 am »
just to add (we have bought and used a bunch of these units)...

the unit comes by default set to 15k... but it upscales the video to output VGA out of the DB15 connector. so even though your monitor says it's running at 640x480, it's upscaled.

be sure to flip the dip switch #1 to switch the output from 15k upscaled to VGA to ACTUAL VGA.


  
 

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