msxnet > Konami MSX Games > Game Master 1 and 2

The Game Master 1 Cover
The Game Master 2 Cover

The Game Masters

The Game Master is a special cheat cartridge that operates only with Konami games. You can start at different stages, more lifes, save the game, keep hi scores on disk, make screen dumps and play the game in slow motion, and more.

In general, The Game Master 1 only works with MSX1 games, and The Game Master 2 with MSX1 and MSX2 games. The Game Master 2 also has some SRAM. You can make savings to this with a lot of MSX2 games, and some MSX1 games.

The Game Master 1

The Game Master 1 works with almost all MSX1 Konami cartridges except Synthesizer, Shalom and most of the Sony Konami Games (Juno First, Computer Billiards, Sparkie, Crazy Train).

It is important that the Game Master cartridge is in a lower slot than the game you want to play. Just put the Game Master in slot 1 (or A) and the game in slot 2 (or B).

The Game Master 1 also operates with some MSX2 games. You can use it with Goemon, Vampire Killer and Hinotory (Firebird). To do this, insert the Game Master 1 in a higher slot than the game. Now you can select stage and lifes when you start the game. In the game, you can at any time press <STOP> to interrupt the game. Now you can press <:> to advance a frame (see below) or press <STOP> again to go back to the game. Actually, it isn't The Game Master which is operating here. The game detects whether The Game Master is there and has special routines if is. The Game Master itself is never executed.

The Game Master 1

If you choose "Game", the game will start but you'll start in the first stages as normal. If you choose "Modify", you can select a different starting stage, more lifes, and enable ranking mode (sort of hi scores list with names that can be saved). Choose "Self" if you wish to load a screen shot.

Not with all games support all options. For example, in F1 Spirit lives do not exist.

In the game itself, you can press <STOP> at any time to pause the game. The CAPS lock led will turn on. Now you can:

Please note that when you save the game, you can only use the file on the same computer model as you saved it on. The file is a dump of system memory and video memory, so it contains a lot of system specific data.

The files have the following extensions: (xx denotes the RC number of the game - RC 7xx.)

Skipping The Game Master

If there is a game in slot 2 which the Game Master can detect, you go directly to the game by keeping <ESC> depressed while the Game Master starts. This has the same effect as choosing 'Game' from the menu in the Game Master. So you can still use the Game Master features (like <STOP>). In stead of pressing <ESC>, you can also press <SHIFT>, but then you can't use the Game Master features.

Converting Screen Data files

The screen data files cannot be loaded in BASIC, because they are in a different format. It is possible to convert them BLOAD format, to do this do the following: (thanks to Klaas de Wind.)

Next, in BASIC, type the following program:

10 COLOR 15,0,0:SCREEN 2,2
20 BLOAD "filename.VRM",S
30 A$=INPUT$(1)

Using Ranking Mode

If Ranking Mode is enabled, every time someone starts a game he must enter his name. His score will be stored along with his name in a list. You can view this list by pressing <STOP> in the game, then <CTRL> and select Ranking Mode, View.

To enable Ranking Mode you must clear it before you start the game. In the Game Master main menu, select Modify, Ranking Mode, Clear Ranking Data. Then start the game.

The Game Master 2

The Game Master 2 operates with almost all Konami cartridges except Synthesizer, Contra, Majutsushi (Mah-Jong 2) and most of the Sony Konami Games (Juno First, Computer Billiards, Sparkie, Crazy Train). The Game Master 2 has some more interesting features (the cartridge is also know as "the new 10 features"). There are some small games in it. (Hockey, Tennis and Biorythm.) Also, the cartridge has some SRAM. Some games allow you to make savings in this SRAM. For example, King's Valley 2 can save custom stages in this SRAM.

The Game Master 2 operates in the same as The Game Master 1. There are some minor differences:

Converting Screen Data files

You can use the same method as for the Game Master 1 (see above) but you must use a different BASIC program to load the file into BASIC if it is a MSX2 game (because it is screen 5).

10 COLOR 15,0,0:SCREEN 5,2
20 BLOAD "filename.VRM",S
40 A$=INPUT$(1)

Skipping The Game Master

You can use the same keys as for the Game Master 1 (see above) but you can also press <SPACE> or <GRAPH>. This will always work, even if there isn't another Konami game in another slot. So you can go to BASIC or DOS in this way.

Emulation Problems

Emulators that support the Game Master 2 correctly are (as far as I know):

Older versions of fMSX won't work. Virtual MSX is replaced by mess.

Using SRAM

Technical information on how the ROM/SRAM mapper work is on my tech pages.

Before the SRAM can be used, it must be formatted. To do this, Select "Self" at the main menu of the Game Master 2, then "SRAM disk utility" and "format". Here you can also see what files are stored in the SRAM, and delete them.

Possible reasons for an SRAM save to fail:

The following Konami games can use the SRAM:

Shalom (filename: SHALM)
Save the game

Pennant Race (filename: PENAN) and Pennant Race 2 (filename: PENA2)
Save team information

Parodius (filename: PARO)
Save the game: press <F1> to pause the game, and press <S> to save and <L> to load from SRAM.

King's Valley 2 - both MSX1 and MSX2 (filename: FILE1, FILE2, FILE3)
Save custom stages

Contra (filename: CONTR)
Save the game: press <F1> to pause the game, and press <S> to save and <L> to load from SRAM.

Nemesis 3 (filename: GOFE1, GOFE2)
Save the game: press <F1> to pause the game, and press <S> to save and <L> to load from SRAM.

Majutsushi (filename: MAJAH)
I only know this game uses the SRAM by looking at the code. I am puzzled by the game itself.

Solid Snake (filename: SNAK1, SNAK2, SNAK3)
Save the game

In order to use the SRAM, The Game Master 2 doesn't need to be in a lower slot than the game; if you have the game in slot 1 and the Game Master 2 in slot 2, you can't use the Game Master 2, but you can use the SRAM.

You can also just put the Game Master 2 in slot 1 and the game in slot 2. Just keep the <SPACE> or <GRAPH> depressed so the Game Master 2 doesn't start.

Contra and Majutsushi do not work with the Game Master 2 (The Game Master hangs if you start Contra from it and The Game Master cannot detect Majutsushi), but if you bypass the Game Master 2 by pressing <SPACE> or <GRAPH> or reverse the slot order, you can use the SRAM.

SRAM to Disk Utilities

Here are two utilities for those lucky guys out there who have the original cartridge of The Game Master 2. Using these programs, you can save the SRAM to disk and vice versa. The files are compatible with MESS and fMSX (after applying the patches above). Documentation is in the zip file.

The Game Master 2 and Intro Screens

Game Master 2 non-Japanese
Any non-Japanese MSX.

Game Master 2 Japanese MSX1
Japanese MSX1.

Game Master 2 Japanese MSX2 or higher
Japanese MSX2 or higher.

On any non-Japanese computer, the Game Master 2 has the MSX1 logo at the top. And on Japanese computers, it's different: a simple one on a Japanese MSX1 (in the middle) and a more advanced one on a Japanese MSX2 or higher (at the bottom).

It seems that the 'M' of Master has an error on the non-Japanese MSX. It is also true for the real cartridge, so it's probably just may be a bug.

BiFi <>