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Cinematronics Star Castle Free Play


Star Castle Free Play adds the following features to the Star Castle ROMs:

  1. A free play mode that can be toggled on or off via the test pattern dipswitch and replaces on-screen credits with FREE PLAY text. With free play selected, attract mode is not a static display. Instead, it continues to rotate between the Star Castle Demo, Scores & High Score Screen, and Press 1 or 2 Player Start Screen. Pressing 1 or 2 player start at any time during attract mode starts a new game.
  2. Switching between Free Play mode and Coin Operated mode can be done while the machine is on. Credits are set to zero when switched back to Coin Operated mode.
  3. Fixes a minor bug in the original game in which the Scores Screen flashes on the display when a new game is started while on the Press Start Screen.
  4. The free play ROMs can be installed into 8k (2716) Cinematronics PCBs using four 2716 EPROMs OR into 16k (2732) Cinematronics PCBs using two 2732 EPROMs. The 8k (2716) boards are standard for Star Castle. The 2732 EPROMs can be used to install the Star Castle Free Play in a board such as Cinematronics Armor Attack (not Rock-Ola). Currently shipping on new ST Micro 2716 or 2732A EPROMs.
  5. For those with an EPROM burner, the initial high score can now be set by editing four bytes within one ROM image and burning and installing the new EPROM. This can be used as a rudimentary high score save. In the original ROMs, the high score is never specifically set- at startup a loop just clears all memory locations to $000.

Please Note:
There is very little free space available in the original Star Castle ROMs. The code for the test pattern has been removed in order to have space to add the free play option.

In free play attract mode, the Star Castle Demo remains on screen twice as long as in the coin operated mode. The video below shows the free play attract mode cycling a few times before a game is started:

Installation Overview

The Star Castle Free Play is a simple ROM swap.

Power off the machine and insert the new EPROMs maintaining the same orientation (the notch on the chip) as in the previous chips. Since the ROMs are sent on new EPROMs, the legs may need to be bent inward slightly to properly fit in to the sockets on the Cinematronics PCB.

On an 8k (2716) board:
Replace P7, R7, T7 and U7.
Cinematronics Star Castle Free Play 2716
On a 16k (2732) board:
Replace P7 and T7.

R7 and U7 are not accessed and can be unpopulated or can contain EPROMs left from another game.

Cinematronics Star Castle Free Play 2732


Before powering up, verify that all the chip legs are in the sockets and that all the chips are oriented correctly. Inserting the chip backwards and powering up the game can destroy the chip.

Switching between Free Play and Coin Operation

Original Star Castle Option Switches:
Switch 7:

Star Castle Free Play Option Switches:
Switch 7:

All others are identical.

Purchase EPROMs:

By purchasing EPROMs, you can help support my work on these projects.

Choose four 2716 EPROMs or two 2732 EPROMs, depending on the wiring of the CCPU board. Currently shipping on new AT28C16 EEPROMs or 2732A EPROMs. The AT28C16 EEPROMs are far more reliable than currently available 2716 EPROMs when used with the Cinematronics hardware.

Cinematronics Star Castle Free Play EPROMs

Easy Version: Four 2716 EPROMs, or two 2732 EPROMs
This is the easier version with high scores recorded of over 10,000,000.
Identified by display of "SHIPS LEFT" after destroying Star Castle only if player died.
Star Castle (older) (starcas1) in M.A.M.E.

Hard Version: Four 2716 EPROMs, or two 2732 EPROMs
This is the harder version with high scores recorded less than 30,000.
Identified by game always displaying "SHIPS LEFT" after destroying Star Castle.
Star Castle (Version 3) (starcas) in M.A.M.E.

Please contact me if you are interested in the ROMs.


Download Manual

Click here to download a PDF manual with the information above plus information on setting the initial high score.