Bubble System

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A Konami Bubble System board with the Gradius Bubble Software cartridge connected.

The Bubble System is an arcade system board designed by Konami and used across many arcade games in 1985.

Konami announced coin-op arcade video games for the system on January 12, 1985.[1] The Bubble System introduced a unique new form of data storage for arcade-style video games. It used bubble memory cartridges, a sort of non-mechanical magnetic storage system. It was said to have a higher reliability than mechanical floppy disks or tape drives.

Konami used a modified version of their new G400 BIOS for this project. The main CPU was a Motorola 68000 at 10 MHz. There was a separate Zilog Z80 for sound control, which drove two AY-3-8910s, a custom Konami SCC (K005289), and a Sanyo VLM5030 speech synthesizer. It had a Scramble wiring harness.

Bubble Software can be identified by its booting sequence; it displays "WARMING UP NOW - PRESENTED BY KONAMI" on screen, accompanied with a countdown timer and a small musical tune (called the "Morning Music"). The reason this was implemented was because bubble memory must be heated to around 30–40 °C (86–104 °F) for it to work properly.

Unfortunately, the Bubble System became a commercial failure because it was considerably more expensive than ROM chip-based boards and extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields; which could easily render the game unplayable. Most games on this system were eventually ported to standard ROM chips, and it was discontinued.

Still, Konami has made homages to the Bubble System in several games; with the Morning Music being one of the playable tracks in Keyboardmania[1] and NOSTALGIA[2], and the intro of Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits featuring the song too.

Bubble System games[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Overseas Readers Column: Konami Industry Starts "Bubble System" Videos" (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 253. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 February 1985. p. 26.