The Fake YM2612 Mystery Game

I recently got a new batch of YM2612s. Fake as all get out, every last one of them.

Funnily enough, David Viens, AKA Plogue, dropped an EXCELLENT video explaining the matter in detail. Likewise, Natalie also published a great little guide on how to spot fake YM2612s as well.

All of this made me wonder: what chips did I actually get? Let’s have a little fun and figure out this mystery! I won’t be able to tell you what the exact IC is with 100% confidence, but we can at least find out what device it might have been.

(click on the images for their full resolution)

 

The Obvious Give-Aways

Let’s talk about how I know these are fake just by looking at them.

  1. The surface. It has a characteristic “sanded-and-ever-so-slightly-tacky-rubbery” feeling of black-topped chips.
  2. The chip package. Yamaha and all of the fabs they commissioned never produced YM2612s with this chip package style. Check out the notch on the left side, it should be all the way through.
  3. The font. Yeah, nice try guys, but that font is all wrong. Way too tall and skinny.
  4. Date code is invalid. That date code would read “Week 01 of year 2019.” Yamaha ain’t makin’ these chips in 2019, as much as I’d wish they did.
  5. On the back-side, it is stamped “KOREA.” Real YM2612’s are 100% pure-bred Japanese ICs.

Any other tells? Well, plug one of these fake chips in and they don’t make any sound at all. That’s kind of a dead give-away, duh. They also do not get warm like a real YM2612 does during normal operation.

Applying a bit of acetone to the IC gives similar results to David’s video linked above. Almost immediately, a slurry of inky-black cancer liquid wicks up onto my cotton swab. Interestingly, my chip markings are laser engraved quite deeply instead of simply being printed on. Sadly, though, the original chip details have been sanded away.

 

It’s at this point that I filed for an eBay refund and got a less-than-helpful response back from the seller.

Yeah okay man. Still waiting on that refund…

 

Anyways, let’s have some fun and find out what this IC really is.

Any Guesses?

At this point, I figured I’d have a little fun and turn this into an IC guessing game. What lying silicon could be inside this epoxy prison?

My bet was on some sort of RAM or EEPROM. My reasoning for this was that RAM/ROM from this era was frequently found in packages like this and Korea has been a RAM/ROM/NAND manufacturer for decades now, however, Natalie was quick to point out that most EEPROM comes in DIP28 packages, not DIP24. So my money was now on RAM, which, sure enough, was fairly common in DIP24 packages.

In fact, if you search for “DIP24 RAM” in Google images, you’ll eventually stumble upon these images…

Those look almost identical to these fake YM2612s. I think we have a lead. Let’s get the Dremel and find out :)

Dremeling ICs is a Bad Idea

Alright, I don’t have fuming nitric acid in my room, sorry. Brute force with a Dremel will be ugly, but it should let us see if there is a die inside or not. Lots of dust and scary noises later…

Hey there, look at that! I know that I shredded most of the IC, but look near the top and bottom, that’s totally RAM!! You can also see the little bond-wires and pads near the bottom. Super cool! They did rebadge RAM ICs!

 

Well, let’s give my guess a try then. The Hyundai HY6116. It could be any RAM IC manufacturer since they all have similar pinouts. I’ve seen Hitachi variants, Cypress variants, Hynix variants, the list goes on. I think this IC looks similar to the Hyundai packaging, so I decided to look up a datasheet. Here’s a link to it.

If you examine the pinout, you’ll see this.

Fairly standard really. I’ll give it a go. I’ll hook up 5V to VCC/GND, then I’ll pull CS and OE low to enable the chip. I’ll then hook up an LED to one of the outputs, and the ESD from my fingers should trigger a random RAM read, lighting the LED.

Drawing more-or-less what you’d expect from 5V RAM from this era…

And hey, would you look at that, it does pretty much exactly what I thought it would do!

There we go! RAM Confirmed! The exact size of which I couldn’t tell you. If I had to take any guess without busting out a whole bunch of crazy gear, it would be the Hyundai HY6116 2K Static RAM IC. Mystery solved! I am now the proud owner of 10 SRAM ICs badged as YM2612s! Great…

 

 

Fuck.

 

Thanks for reading!

Ikebukuro – Sunshine City

March 22, 2019

Okay, this is going to be a fast paced-post with not a ton of writing since we need to get out of here quickly this morning and move on towards our next hotel!

Today, we were going to checkout one of the many premier shopping districts in Tokyo, Ikebukuro. In the center of Ikebukuro lies a MASSIVE shopping complex known as “Sunshine City.” Think of it as not just a “super-mall,” but a hyper-mega-supreme mall. The “City” in Sunshine City is not just for a colorful name.

Though, the name is literally colorful.

We set out to Tokyo station, this time a bit later in the morning in search of a meal. It was about 7:30AM this time, so surely more things had to be open. Yes, more shops were indeed open, but it almost seemed like overnight, each restaurant we were interested in moved their opening hours up ever so slightly – like they were messing with us or something. Oh well, let’s check Ikebukuro for something to eat when we get there.

A short trip on the Yamanote line later and we arrived. Ikebukuro is a very upscale, rich shopping district. If you’ve ever wanted to move beyond the cityscape hubworld in the video game Splatoon, this is probably what you’d see.

Do you think they know anything about Mahjong?

After walking around the train tracks (and noticing that the first few buds of the cherry trees were blossoming!), and a little bit of strolling around town, we arrived at Sunshine City. This massive complex houses hundreds of shops and restaurants. There’s even hotels, an aquarium, a planetarium, VR experiences, a MASSIVE display and water-feature, and most importantly, the Pokemon Mega Center.

This place is HUGE.

But before we dive into the shops, we were starving and needed to eat something. Last time I was here, I visited a KILLER sushi joint. Let’s find that!

Incredible

Abbie ordered the sashimi bowl while I got the same sushi assortment as I did last time.

Criminally Delicious

There simply is no use in comparing Japanese sushi to American Sushi. They are not even in the same universe. You’ve never tasted anything more tender and delicious. Especially the Salmon and the Eel – to die for.

On to the super fun stuff:

This place makes me happy

Abbie hangs out with her boi

*Side-B’s* “nothin personnel, kid”

Abbie look out you’re about to get hit by an Aura Sphere oh god she has airpods in oh god she can’t hear us.

Outside of the mall is a little rooftop relaxation area with a beautiful little miniature town display.

We even found a Toys R Us. Think of what a Japanese Toys R Us would be like: Yep, you’re exactly right.

Toys R Us actually still exists here.

Cityscape

コーヒーとココア! A wonderful Latte and iced cocoa desert for our break.

Abbie was in shopping heaven, so I let her shop around a little while I rested my feet. She ended up buying a cute, Japanese-style dress, but she had a different goal in mind. See, in Japan, English is often used as a stylistic choice. It’s seen as fashionable and trendy, and much like tacky foreign language tattoos you see in the states, their translations are often nonsensical. Abbie wanted to find an article of clothing with the best English nonsense that she could find. We found many examples of this, but this shirt was one of our favorites.

Assertive, yet philosophical

Okay, that was a TON of walking. Let’s head back to the hotel. Off we go on the Yamanote line back to our temporary home.

We were finally beginning to adjust to the jet lag, so we decided to stay up for dinner this time and head to the fancy Yakitori restaurant right down the road from us. This place was fun. Order raw meat and grill it yourself!

Devastatingly good. Look at that marbling.

Marinated shrimp

This kind of place was totally upscale and expensive, but since it was our first proper dinner, I think it was worth it. It’s the kind of place that “doesn’t have pictures on the menu,” so I was handed the Gajin-baby card with a limited amount of “safe” menu items and a couple photos to point towards. While I did use this menu to start off with (since a couple things did look pretty tasty on it), I was interested in the massive menu of interesting mystery meats. I knew how to read all of the characters on the menu, but I didn’t know what each menu item actually meant. A little bit of researching between orders, and wow. Thank goodness I knew how to read those characters. The quality of meat went from “really, really good” to “HOLY SHIT THIS IS INCREDIBLE.” Do your homework, kids. It’s worth it for the meat!

…After that wonderful dinner, we went back to our hotel and prepared to do a load of laundry. The washing machines work fine, but the dryers here actually suck so hard it’s not even funny. They run both the washer and dryer on a shared 100V circuit, and even with an HOUR dry time, my clothes were still soggy. Ughk. Guess I’ll just hang an outfit out to dry and pack away the rest for later.

You can’t not get a frog-ninja.