How do I know which Killer Instinct kit to purchase for my hardware?
- Killer Instinct is easy, there’s just one kit.
- Killer Instinct 2:
- Dedicated motherboard (only plays KI2, can not be converted to play KI)
- Conversion motherboard (a KI board + conversion kit)
Can I convert my Killer Instinct PCB to play Killer Instinct 2?
- You must have a Killer Instinct 2 hard drive controller/interface PCB to convert a KI PCB to KI2. Without this component, it is not possible.
- You must use the boot ROM specifically for KI 2 conversion hardware. This ROM is available as part of a hard drive replacement kit or via the Downloads page.
- You must swap all (8) sound ROMs and replace them with KI2 ROMs.
What is the Killer Instinct conversion kit interface/hard drive controller PCB?
- The Killer Instinct 2 hard drive controller/interface PCB was part of factory Midway kits that allowed operators to convert KI to KI2.
- It is the updated hard drive controller for the larger KI2 hard drive.
- This component is very rare and can be difficult/expensive to find/buy.
I want to convert my KI to KI2 – how do I find an interface PCB?
- The Arcade Museum Forums
- Usenet (aka Google Groups): rec.games.video.arcade.collecting
- Sacrifice a blasphemous arcade conversion and pray to Gargos
Is it worth trying to find an interface PCB?
- My opinion is a solid “no.”
- If you want to play KI2, save your money and find a dedicated KI2 PCB.
- To swap between the games you will have to swap (9) EEPROMs. Even if you are careful, you will inevitably break/damage a leg on a ROM. If you are doing this once/year – maybe … I found it to be a huge PITA.
What is the origin/meaning of “Any-IDE”?
- Me (really)
- I just made it up.
- Meaning? I can explain.
- KI and KI2 shipped with physical hard drives. Here’s the ST9150AG from KI.
- The interface these drives used is known as an IDE interface.
- KI doesn’t have a filesystem like Linux, macOS, or Windows.
- The motherboard knows where the video for Riptor is because it is always at a given cylinder, head, and sector.
- “Any-IDE” is simply: A KI/KI2 ROM that allows you to use “any” IDE hard disk with your KI or KI2 arcade hardware.
- These ROMs should not be in MAME, they are not interesting variants and time has made the name irrelevant.
- Fun fact. CompactFlash and KI came out in 1994. It would be years before IDE to CompactFlash adapters existed.
What is the “Any-IDE” ROM for KI?
- It is a ROM that allowed operators to use an IDE hard drive replacement that was not the Seagate ST9150AG that shipped with KI machines.
- There is nothing special about the KI “Any-IDE” ROM. I discovered that non-US machines shipped with different hard drives, and this ROM seemed to work for any IDE hard drive I used. I chose a name that (at the time) explicitly stated the purpose of the ROM. Keep in mind that this pre-dated flash-based hard drive replacement kits, and it just stuck.
- I wish this ROM were not included in modern MAME releases, as IIRC it came to me from a KI fan from Australia.
What is the “Any-IDE” ROM for KI 2?
- Midway had Seagate add two extra digits to the ST9420AG’s serial number. This was an extremely effective form of copy protection and prevented operators (and guys like me) from copying drives. It forced operators to purchase expensive replacements from Midway.
- KI2 was not a huge success and Midway stopped selling replacement hardware not long after its release. This stranded a lot of operators and hobbyists without a means to keep their machines (aka “investments”) operational.
- The Any-IDE ROM for KI2 is a modified version of the KI2 L1.4 boot ROM that skips the serial number check.
What do the Hard Drive Replacement Kits actually do?
- They only replace dead/bad hard drives. That’s it.
- If your boot ROM was bad, the kits would also fix that (albeit inadvertently).
Will Killer Instinct boards work without the sound ROMs installed?
- Yes, both KI and KI2 boards will power up and play without sound ROMs.
- You will, of course, have no sound.
What MAME version are the KI and KI2 ROMs on your download page compatible with?
A few times a year I get requests to update the KI/KI2 ROM bundle on the Downloads page because a random front-end has spewed an error like “Can’t find <some ROM> for <some MAME version>.” This sends the person searching the Internet trying to find a specific version of KI/KI2 ROMs … but the ROM bundles for KI/KI2 never change!
- EEPROMs are the physical chips (hardware) that stored the game code that made arcade games wonderful.
- ROMs (in this context) come from people (like me) who removed the physical chips from their KI and KI2 motherboards and saved them to files using EEPROM programmers. Those files are sent to the MAME developers.
- Emulators (MAME) software-emulate physical hardware, allowing them to run the original ROMs.
- Front-Ends (typically) are graphical interfaces that put a “pretty face” on top of another emulator (like MAME).
If you have an emulator or front end that is saying it requires version “xxx” of a ROM as old as Killer Instinct:
- Your front-end is attempting to enforce versioning rules that simply do not exist.
- Your front-end is configured to use merged sets and doesn’t realize every thing it needs is already there.
- Your front-end is looking for the ROMs or CHDs in different locations than where you put them.
If you don’t believe me now, once you configure your end properly, you will. 😛
What is the The Killer Instinct Project’s “origin story”?
- I was in college when KI was released. I was into Mortal Kombat II at the time, but I just fell in love with the game, especially Riptor.
- Arcade games were and still are a huge investment for operators – if you spent $$$ on a machine, and the game sucked – it’s just like dropping $60 on a crappy game today, “tough luck kid.”
- A bar near my apartment had (2) KI machines side by side and one sat powered off for a while, so I asked the owner about it. He said Midway wanted “more than the machine was worth” for a replacement hard drive. I asked him if I could try and image the working drive to a ST9150AG that I would buy on-line (the drives were readily available and at 130MB they were around $60 new). To my surprise, he said “go for it.”
- Success! I used the exact same method to image the drive (‘dd’ in Linux) as I do every kit I have built for the last 20+ years.
- This is a passion project … If you offset the cost of several EEPROM programmers, web-hosting, ordering adapters from China, keeping a stock of ancient CompactFlash cards and MC274001 ROMs, ever rising shipping costs, the time involved in making and testing each and every kit, plus countless trips to the post office – it’s questionable if I make any profit at all. I provide a service the original manufacturer abandoned long ago. I do not consider this “theft” as you must own the arcade hardware to use the images/kits.
- These days, I might sell (12) kits each year. That’s still 12 machines that would otherwise end up being converted, or scrapped … but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered throwing in the towel on numerous occasions (whether it was even worth the time and effort to update this website was certainly one of them).
- So … why do I keep this up? I get e-mail from all over the world about these games and I genuinely enjoy helping people fix their machines. I wish I had a map of every country I have shipped KI kits to. When I stop and think about how many machines I’ve helped to keep going and how much “extended play” I have added to this game, it feels good and makes me really happy.