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Super Mario Kart (pirate cart)

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This is a pirated copy of Super Mario Kart, which is has a clone DSP1 chip.

Thanks to Lucas Leal for sending in the pictures of the pirate and dumping it.

By: Evan G
Last updated: July 31, 2022

This is a pirated version of Super Mario Kart, found in Brazil. Super Mario Kart is a game you would figure might be difficult to make a pirate of, since it uses the DSP1 chip. It seems that years before Near led a project to decap the chip (finding out it is a NEC µPD7720), the pirates succeeded in either figuring out it is a µPD7720, or successfully cloned it. Lucas Leal dumped the cart and found that the game was identical to the retail release.

The label on the cart is fairly well done, but differs from a legit one in a number of respects. The top right coloured bar and upside down triangle on the left for first party games is red, but in the pirate, it is purple (used in third party games). The bottom of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System logo is stretched out on the bottom. The font for the serial code is different from the legit release. The pirate label has the "licensed by" text, which was not used on first party carts. The "Super Mario Kart" text has been moved over to fit on the main graphics component. This probably indicates they copied the artwork from a PAL copy of the game. The positioning of all the elements are also different, making it appear that the pirates used a template for making the label. The pirated cart uses a newer style of cart shell, though this may not be diagnostic.

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Front of the pirate cart. Photo to show the top of the label
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Front of the pirate cart. Scan of the cart
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Front of the pirate cart. Closer scan of the label
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For comparison, this is a legit Super Mario Kart, scanned by Near.

The PCB for the pirated Super Mario Kart is a lot less complicated. The only normal chip on it is the HD74LS139P chip, which interfaces between the RAM and ROM. If I am reading correctly, the chip dates to late 1997.

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Front of the pirate PCB
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Back of the pirate PCB
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Front of a legit PCB, scanned by Near.

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