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Elektronika in the Soviet Union created a series of handheld games in the 80s (Электроника ИМ) similar to the Nintendo's Game & Watch. How were the electronics in these games designed, especially Электроника ИМ 19 Биатлон/biathalon which is not a 100% clone of Nintendo? Given the hardcoded nature of the original Nintendo games, how would the cloned copies add different functionality?

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    I think this is on the broad side. Are you referring to circuit (electronics) design, to game design (what to do and when), to design of the in-game graphics and other elements, or what? – a CVn Oct 18 '17 at 14:16
  • @MichaelKjörling good call, I'm interested in the electronics part. – Michael Shopsin Oct 18 '17 at 14:17
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    Perhaps narrow it down a bit by offering one or more theories which people here can confirm or debunk? – snips-n-snails Oct 18 '17 at 15:17
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    This question has been put on hold as too broad. Editing the question will automatically put it in the re-open queue - if it is deemed to be narrow enough to be answerable it will be reopened. – wizzwizz4 Oct 18 '17 at 15:52
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    I do not think they where clones as for such simple games reversing functionality was much more easier and less expensive then clone ICs. Also If I remember correctly they did not have any CPU in socket but the epoxid enclosed hybrid thing directly glued to PCB (like on watches and calculators at that time) which suggest it was some kind custom made SLA (sequence logic automat). But I am no expert in the matter ... – Spektre Oct 19 '17 at 7:29
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Given that the clock part in the Электроника ИМ series, according to the wiki page, was not modified to support the customary in the USSR 24-hour mode, it is likely that there was no electronic design whatsoever, and the only thing that was designed anew were the new game scenarios and the new LCD panels that could be supported by the existing underlying game mechanisms.

Small differences in the displayed picture could be handled by a few additional discrete logic elements. For example, the target in the Biathlon game corresponds to the last (lowest) position of an egg, but when it is displayed, the figure of a biathlonist should not disappear. Therefore the signal to display it would be a logical OR of the signal "egg in the lowest position" and the signal "egg in the next to lowest position".

  • Thanks for explaining how a copied piece of electronics could be extended or modified without changing the underlying design. – Michael Shopsin Oct 31 '17 at 15:18

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