In this video I try the Kung Fu Flash, a'interface that connects to the Commodore 64 expansion port and… can emulate different types of cartridges.
The project is by Kim Jorgensen and is open source: on GitHub, you can easily find both the hardware and software projects. It is also possible to purchase the interface already assembled and with the 3D printed container.
At the rear, the Kung Fu Flash is equipped with a micro SD memory card slot. Using a PC, we can copy different types of files to the micro SD.
In fact, Kung Fu Flash supports CRT files, which are then the copies of the ROMs of the cartridges that we insert in the Commodore's expansion port.
It also supports other file types, including i PRG, which can be programs made in Basic, games or utilities and also disk image files, therefore D64, D71 and D81.
Up to version 1.14, the Kung Fu Flash presents some limitations: Only works with the PAL version of the Commodore 64 or Commodore 128. Disk drive emulation does not work with fastloaders. REL files are not supported. In addition, the interface only works in read: you can not save files from the Commodore.
From version 1.15 it is also possible to save and delete files from disk images (D64 / D71 / D81), as well as select the virtual drive address.
In version 1.30 you can also upload files in T64 format (normal tape files only), and there is support for NTSC computers.
Don't know how to update the firmware of your Kung Fu Flash? You can find out by reading this article.
Loading a PRG file with the Kung Fu Flash
Immediately after turning on the Commodore 64 you have to press the button Menu on the Kung Fu Flash. The list of files on the microSD opens.
The first file I tried to load is a program I made in Basic: if you follow my videos, you've already seen it. It is the program to manage the coffee machine.
An interesting feature of the Kung Fu Flash is that it behaves like a real cartridge. It stores the last loaded program and, every time the Commodore is turned off and on again, the program starts automatically.
However, the microSD memory card must remain inserted in the interface when it is turned on, otherwise the program will not be loaded.
Opening a D64 disk image
As a further experiment, I tried opening a D64 file, which is a disk image. To choose the file to upload, press the button Menu on the cartridge.
Within the D64 image of a disk, there may also be multiple files. For the experiment, I loaded the Kick Off 2 game.
Also in this case, it is possible to turn the Commodore off and on again and the Kung Fu Flash always restarts from the last game loaded, obviously provided that the microSD has not been removed in the meantime.
Cartridge emulation: CRT file
Finally, I tried to load some CRT files - these files are ROM copies of real cartridges.
It is possible, for example, to load the FastLoad Epyx, to speed up the loading of files from the floppy disk drive. In this case, when the Commodore 64 is turned on, the Kung Fu Flash behaves just like a FastLoad interface.
It is also possible to load a diagnostic cartridge for the Commodore 64 and perform the operation tests of the computer. I tried to emulate the cartridge's ROM diagnostics Rev. 586220.
Again, you can upload one Action Replay: the Commodore 64 behaves just as if it had a real Action Replay connected.
I had made a video sulla Datel Action Replay, in which I explained how to load a game from tape and then save it to disk or microSD with an SD2IEC floppy disk emulator.
The Action replay has a button that is used to freeze the game, after loading it. Here, on the Kung Fu Flash the button to press is called Special.
Of course, it is also possible to load games in CRT format.
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Credits: in the video review, SID music is Super Hang-On by Steve Barrett.