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How Capcom's clever CPS2 Arcade Game Copy Protection stopped bootleg games | MVG

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Arcade Game bootlegging was rampant in 80s and 90s with many arcade manufacturers including Capcom in the firing line with their CPS1 arcade hardware. But Capcom learned from their mistakes and the CPS2 hardware from 1993 to 2007 – long past its end of life – became impossible to crack.

This is the story of how Capcom kept bootleggers away from the CPS2 arcade hardware for over 15 years and how different individuals eventually lead to the ultimate defeat of the encryption.

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Credits/Links of People and sources used to make this episode:

► Charles MacDonald – https://web.archive.org/web/20141008192502/http://cgfm2.emuviews.com:80/old2005.php
► Nicola Salmoria – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicola_Salmoria
► Razoola/CPS2Shock – http://cps2shock.emu-france.info/
► Ange Albertini – https://fahrplan.events.ccc.de/congress/2014/Fahrplan/system/attachments/2564/original/Preserving_Arcade_Games_-_31c3_LORES.pdf
► Arcade Games Preservation via Hacking – https://github.com/corkami/docs/blob/master/talks.md#arcade-games-preservation-via-hacking
► Pau Oliva Fora – https://docplayer.net/49145225-Hacking-street-fighter-cps-2-encryption-in-radare2-pau-oliva-fora.html
► Eduardo Cruz – http://arcadehacker.blogspot.com/2016/09/capcom-cps2-security-programming-guide.html
► Andreas Naive – http://andreasnaive.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html
► Ian Court – http://cps2.avalaunch.net/
► Artemio Urbina – http://junkerhq.net/about.html

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► The Real MVP Podcast : https://player.fm/series/the-real-mvp

#Capcom #CPS2 #CopyProtection

37 thoughts on “How Capcom's clever CPS2 Arcade Game Copy Protection stopped bootleg games | MVG

  1. Game preservation? Oh, you mean the practice soon to become just a footnote in the history books once consoles go all digital distribution?

    Personally, if I was an arcade owner and I paid hundreds for an arcade game only to have it intentionally self-destruct a few years later, I'd demand a full refund from the company for selling me an intentionally defective product.

  2. This is reason why I don't buy software any more. Companies putting a life span on the software, I believe once bought it should be yours for life, not limited to a battery or anything else. It takes piss having to renew your keys what u exspect and pay for a life time.

  3. Why didn't Capcom use the CPS1 suicide battery on SFII CE or SFII Turbo?
    They seem to have used it on all the CPS1 games from mid-1991 on apart from their two biggest.

    [Oh never mind, I just realised these games were converted from the original SFII which had no battery to begin with]

  4. That battery method (along with the original developers/publishers not bothering to keep code or even any completed versions) is apparently why the Raiden arcade game collections in recent years never seem to include Raiden 2.

    There just doesn't seem to be a good Rom Dump of the game that isn't flawed in some way.
    (or maybe there is, but the legitimate publishers clearly don't seem to think so…)

  5. i got 6 cps2 dead boards. Is there any kind of guide to revive them? Even one of them suffered from battery leakage 🙁

  6. Back in the day, I always wondered why there were more Neo Geo games on any arcade local that I visited and why CPS cabinets were almost non-existent. Well, my question has finally been answered. But this begs another question: how many sales did Capcom loose to SNK due to this convoluted bootleg copy protection? Because the way I see it, there were about 10-15 SNK cabinets for every single CPS cabinet in every arcade local that I frequented when I was younger. Well, just curious about the end result for Capcom in terms of sales, because in terms of fighting piracy, it proved effective, perhaps way more effective than what Capcom was waiting for. As for sales? I'm not really sure that was the case. Great video as usual, MVG. Thanks!

  7. Capcom were impressive on that feat and really showed up pc protections like secure rom nintendo have sort of copied it now they are using ram based protection in the likes of the pokeball plus by wiping the dlc data once you have copied it to a game. Maybe capcom's protection will be one to remember for years to come

  8. Saying that it uses a Feistal cypher is not saying much. That is not a specific cypher, but a general architecture. All (?) modern block cyphers a structured this way.

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