It having been rather tropical at the lab lately, I decided to experiment with Tamagotchi figures at home. It turns out that you can unlock two extra characters in each figure using labels and a paper clip.
Recently, the following comment was left on my blog (thanks to whoever left it by the way):
There are two types of character figures. Type 1: those that are bundled with the Tama-Go, and Type 2: those that are purchased separately. Type 1 does not contain a ROM. The content that’s unlocked by attaching them is actually already in the Tama-Go’s ROM. A Type 1 PCB contains only a few jumpers to inform the Tama-Go which content to unlock. Type 2 contain a ROM and a few jumpers. Each type 2 ROM contains 3 data areas which allows it to be shared across three Type 2 character figures. Some jumpers on the Type 2 PCB inform the Tama-Go which data area to read from.
What I think this means is that to save money on PCBs, Bandai puts three characters’ data on one board and produces it en mass, and only changes the outer plastic for each character.
So after making an emergency trip to Zellers to get some Type 2 figures, I wanted to try to unlock the extra functionality in the figure.
To start, I opened up a figure to look for visible jumpers, but unfortunately there weren’t any.
So I thought I would try covering individual contacts on the figure. This will break the connection between jumpers if they are joined. I did this by sticking a sticker on the contact.
Note: The steps that follow should be fairly easy to try at home, but be forwarned that that this may damage your Tamago. I am not responsible for any damaged Tamagotchis or Tamagotchi-hacking obsessions that may result.
There is a ROM test mode on the Tamago (to access, hold down all keys at once for a few seconds) this has a mode where it will detect figures. It provides different numbers for each figure.
The numbers for the figues I have are:
Type 1 Figure: CST000-01
Memetchi Figure: CST004-10
Violetchi Figure: CST007-10
I noticed that sometimes when a contact was covered, the number changed to CST001-10. This unlocked a game called “coin catch” when the Tamago was in normal mode.
Googling, I found out that this game had already been discovered. A post on TamaTalk by Binary explains how to jumper to get this game, as well as “cradles”, which is the game Type 1 figures contain.
To paraphrase, to unlock cradles, you need to jumper as follows:
(i.e. face the Tamago towards you, so that you can see the contacts, then turn the red IR portion to the top. Then connect the two pins indicated by the letter x.)
To unlock coin catch, jumper as follows:
I noticed that the casette number for coin catch was CST001-10, and the casette number for the Memetchi figure was CST004-10, so I wondered if 10 corresponded to the coin catch jumper configuration. To switch jumper configurations, I covered the lower right contact with a sticker, and put a tiny jumper between the top left and right contacts, so that I could still slide the figure on.
Putting the figure on and resetting (it doesn’t seem to detect changes done in this fashion real time), the casette number changed to CST003-01. I have no idea what the 003 is for . Booting up in normal mode, this provides the functionality of the Mametchi figure instead of the Memetchi figure, success!
Removing the sticker, which should theoretically cause connection like this:
The number is now CST05-11 (I’m guessing that the first part of the CST number just increments at this point). Booting up in regular mode, I get the Kuchipatchi functionality! It includes a Chinese restaurant, which is really cool, and also very different from the functionality of other figures, which means that figuring out the figure interface would probably unlock a lot of functionality.
Trying this out with Violetchi (my favorite Tamagotchi character I get CST008-11 with both jumpers. This unlocks Ringotchi! With the sticker and the jumper, I guest CST006-01, which unlocks Chamametchi(the figure I destroyed above).
So that seems to be how jumpering works, and the commenter’s advice was good! Also, now I know what three pins do, five more to go!