SMS-Pro flash cart on the Game Gear


The SMS-Pro flash cart is a cartridge (and programmer) made by Tototek which allows the user to store Sega ROMs to the cartridge and then play them on the Master System. It is a really versatile unit! However, Tototek's webpage says that Game Gear games don't work/aren't supported. Well, true, if you run the SMS-Pro on the Game Gear with a Master Gear converter, it doesn't work.

HOWEVER, doing the same with a Beeshu Gear Master does work! You can load GG games as normal onto the SMS-Pro (the software is for both SMS and GG), flash the cartridge, and run the game on your Game Gear using the converter. It runs, but only in Master System mode... Oh, no. Time to do a little hacking.

The culprit is the Gear Master, of course. It is designed to run SMS games on the Game Gear, in SMS mode, obviously. A quick hack joining pins 42 and 41 on the GG edge connector bumps it into Game Gear mode permanently, and the SMS-Pro now doubles as a bulky GG-Pro.

However, the best solution is to install a switch across pin 42 (GG/SMS mode pin) and pin 18 (Ground) so that one can switch between the two modes at will. So, this is what I did (pictured).

The wires are soldered up, and run up to the bottom of the Gear Master for easier access. I then installed a simple on-off switch with these two wires, and taped the sucker to the outside using black tape. Crude, simple, but it works fine.

It's interesting running SMS games or GG games on the Game Gear, and switching their modes in the middle of the game. Often, the palette just screws up. But, sometimes with GG games, it plays as usual but with a wider field of view. And SMS graphics become easier to see because of the extreme close-up.

It's odd; why doesn't the common Master Gear Converter work with Tototek's flash cartridge? Perhaps not enough of the essential CPU lines are connected to the cartridge. But anyway, I put my Master Gear to better use here.

Remember how switching between GG and SMS mode causes the palette to mess up on some games? Well, the SMS-Pro's menu is no exception. Boot the SMS menu in GG mode or the GG menu in SMS mode, and the palettes will be all screwed up. So, I endeavoured to fix that minor problem with a palette hack that makes one menu program look good in either mode. Witness the extra elegance of a dual-palette Tototek menu!

This is what you see if you start the GG in SMS mode.
This is what you see if you start the GG in GG mode
And this is a little extra: This sets up the GG palette correctly for SG-1000 games.

I made the SG-1000 hack on the right in order for SG-1000 games to run correctly on the Game Gear. They would otherwise run normally, but have an uninitialized palette -- too dark to see. Anyway, download the hacked Tototek menus here!

Now, an update. Tototek has released their GG-Pro cartridge, specially designed for the Game Gear. With the above-mentioned hack, you don't necessarily need it if you have the SMS-Pro. But, if you prefer design elegance and compactness over cost savings, then by all means, check out the GG-Pro. Tototek deserves our business!

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