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Kitsune Sniper
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Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara
#368674 - 08/11/17 08:00 PM


Anyone we know, guys?


Quote:


A Milpitas family and three people who worked with them at a Santa Clara manufacturer of arcade games were charged with forging Pac-Man machines, officials said Thursday.

A woman, her son and her ex-husband, who together owned and operated the company called CoinOpStore, are accused of forging for a profit machines that played classics such as Galaga, Tank Battalion and five different versions of Pac-Man.

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, the six defendants are:

  • Chun Chu Chang, 61, of Milpitas
  • Kingsley Stewart Chang, 29, of Milpitas
  • Bruce Michael Burton, 39, of Sunnyvale
  • Kung Teh Chang, 59, of Milpitas
  • Ryan Loesch, 45, of Folsom
  • James Chian Chen, 67, of Arcadia
Collectively, the six are charged with 14 counts of felony counterfeiting, prosecutors said. Officials said that the proceeds from the sale of the machines may be seized —including $1.2 million in cash, a 2012 Mercedes Benz, a 2015 BMW and five properties.





SmitdoggAdministrator
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Kitsune Sniper]
#368675 - 08/11/17 08:05 PM


Clearly they were into more than Pac-Man fakes if they had 1.2 million in cash.



Kitsune Sniper
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Smitdogg]
#368676 - 08/11/17 08:16 PM


> Clearly they were into more than Pac-Man fakes if they had 1.2 million in cash.

AND the car. I'm guessing they were tied to some big bootlegging operation for them to have that much money.



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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Kitsune Sniper]
#368677 - 08/11/17 08:17 PM


More like cocaine. Bootlegging arcade games is bullshit money these days.



Kitsune Sniper
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Smitdogg]
#368680 - 08/12/17 12:19 AM


> More like cocaine. Bootlegging arcade games is bullshit money these days.

I didn't say arcade games. I'm convinced a lot of local Asian stores in the US side of town are involved in some big bootlegging scams, because there's no way they should be able to stay open unless they get money that way.



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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Kitsune Sniper]
#368681 - 08/12/17 12:30 AM


So then the "ghettos of Santa Clara" where the average home is over $1 million are so abundant that it's a multi-million dollar industry and the latest consoles can't detect a copied game? That seems far-fetched. Plenty of video game money in Santa Clara.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Smitdogg]
#368778 - 08/16/17 04:09 PM


> So then the "ghettos of Santa Clara" where the average home is over $1 million are so
> abundant that it's a multi-million dollar industry and the latest consoles can't
> detect a copied game? That seems far-fetched. Plenty of video game money in Santa
> Clara.

There's been a large influx of PRC nationals into California over the last 10-15 years who have been buying (mostly) property and expensive cars to avoid taxes in the PRC. One of the areas mentioned in the article (Arcadia, a suburb of L.A. 400 miles to the South of Santa Clara) is something of an epicentre for this activity, but it's also happening in the Bay Area, including in and around Santa Clara. My guess is that this is where that money may have been coming from.

It's a bit surreal to drive down a suburban street and see a fairly normal-looking 2000 sq. ft. 3 bed/2 bath home with both a 7-Series BMW and Bentley Continental GT parked in the driveway, but it's not uncommon in those areas. Property listings can easily go over $1 million for houses in those areas due to the demand from PRC buyers looking to convert cash into offshore assets.



TrevEB
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: casm]
#368780 - 08/16/17 04:45 PM


Give or take $1500x800 = $1.2 million
Selling since 2003.

So yeah, actually, there should have been mo money but they also seized 5 houses and cars. Coinopstore also sells cleaned up original arcade machines at obscenly high prices.
Sorry folks, no money laundering here. There actually is money to be made in classic arcade multimachines, mostly cocktail cabinets. The machines weren't fakes. Counterfeit for sure, but not fake. They could be set for taking coins or freeplay so mostly private use, but lots of commercial use as well. Perhaps Namco got fed up with seeing the machines in all the barcades and cafes that are appearing thoughout the area.

What is surprising though is that they were also selling machines wrapped in art from the NFL, MLB, NHL, Disney, Wizard of Oz, Marvel, Harley Davidson etc, and bragged about how they could do whatever you wanted to the Feds.

They also sold around the country, crossing state lines.

So far, it appears to be only Namco that got upset about it.
Haven't even heard from General Computer Corp (GCC) whom guards Ms Pac-Man

Court date is Aug 21. Now thats a jury duty I would love to be on



Haze
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: TrevEB]
#368783 - 08/16/17 06:16 PM


> Give or take $1500x800 = $1.2 million
> Selling since 2003.
>
> So yeah, actually, there should have been mo money but they also seized 5 houses and
> cars. Coinopstore also sells cleaned up original arcade machines at obscenly high
> prices.
> Sorry folks, no money laundering here. There actually is money to be made in classic
> arcade multimachines, mostly cocktail cabinets. The machines weren't fakes.
> Counterfeit for sure, but not fake. They could be set for taking coins or freeplay so
> mostly private use, but lots of commercial use as well. Perhaps Namco got fed up with
> seeing the machines in all the barcades and cafes that are appearing thoughout the
> area.
>
> What is surprising though is that they were also selling machines wrapped in art from
> the NFL, MLB, NHL, Disney, Wizard of Oz, Marvel, Harley Davidson etc, and bragged
> about how they could do whatever you wanted to the Feds.
>
> They also sold around the country, crossing state lines.
>
> So far, it appears to be only Namco that got upset about it.
> Haven't even heard from General Computer Corp (GCC) whom guards Ms Pac-Man
>
> Court date is Aug 21. Now thats a jury duty I would love to be on

and that's only the US operation.

Here in the UK I can think of about 7 professional looking units within a single bus ride of where I am (most of them in bars or fast food places) and 2 of them within walking distance and that's for a relatively small city. Apart from fruit machines they're basically the only thing you see, especially the cocktail tables which seem to be considered trendy.

Absolute cancer on the industry these things, in so many legitimate establishments too because they're not even sold as bootlegs. Not sure why nobody believes me when I say somebody is making an absolute killing on them, and it's disgusting.

One interesting thing that did come up recently is a Kyle Hodgetts game running on the same hardware, makes me wonder who actually worked on the software they're running. The general presentation they have never felt very Chinese to me (choice of fonts etc.) so it could be all the development was outsourced although I imagine the software side of them is a very different business to these cab sales.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Haze]
#368792 - 08/17/17 12:43 AM


> Absolute cancer on the industry these things, in so many legitimate establishments
> too because they're not even sold as bootlegs. Not sure why nobody believes me when I
> say somebody is making an absolute killing on them, and it's disgusting.

I've seen these machines on sale at some fairly odd venues - county fairs spring to mind. Prices are as high as $5k for vinyl-wrapped (yes, really) 'deluxe' models.

> One interesting thing that did come up recently is a Kyle Hodgetts game running on
> the same hardware, makes me wonder who actually worked on the software they're
> running.

Fair point, but by the same token Hodgetts has never (to the best of my knowledge) ever developed his own hardware platform. Tweaked others' hardware, sure, but I can't think of anything that's 100% his.

> The general presentation they have never felt very Chinese to me (choice of
> fonts etc.) so it could be all the development was outsourced although I imagine the
> software side of them is a very different business to these cab sales.

I've seen some x-in-1 boards running Chinese, Korean, and English UI versions side-by-side. Visually, they were virtually indistinguishable with the exception of localisation changes to the text; for all I know, there was either a soft or physical switch to change between the appropriate region.

None of them exactly oozed a feeling of high-quality development having been put into the UI, however - they felt more that they were designed to appeal to the hardcore PC / console gamer crowd who are impressed more by visuals than actual content, or, alternatively, cranked out to be as sparsely-functional as necessary in as many markets as possible.



Haze
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: casm]
#368793 - 08/17/17 12:59 AM


> > Absolute cancer on the industry these things, in so many legitimate establishments
> > too because they're not even sold as bootlegs. Not sure why nobody believes me when
> I
> > say somebody is making an absolute killing on them, and it's disgusting.
>
> I've seen these machines on sale at some fairly odd venues - county fairs spring to
> mind. Prices are as high as $5k for vinyl-wrapped (yes, really) 'deluxe' models.
>
> > One interesting thing that did come up recently is a Kyle Hodgetts game running on
> > the same hardware, makes me wonder who actually worked on the software they're
> > running.
>
> Fair point, but by the same token Hodgetts has never (to the best of my knowledge)
> ever developed his own hardware platform. Tweaked others' hardware, sure, but I can't
> think of anything that's 100% his.
>

Some of the HW platforms he used were pretty much only used by him tho (the various TMS based ones)

and there are some really odd ones like Ski-Maxx and Shadow Fighters

I just wonder if there is a deeper connection.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: TrevEB]
#368794 - 08/17/17 12:59 AM


> Give or take $1500x800 = $1.2 million
> Selling since 2003.
>
> So yeah, actually, there should have been mo money but they also seized 5 houses and
> cars.

Agreed, but those items may have been purchased separately from funds moved out of the PRC that were unrelated to the x-in-1 cabinet business. If I had to guess, when the seizures happened all personal assets (including the homes and vehicles) were taken regardless of whether or not they were purchased from the proceeds of the counterfeit cabinet sales.

> Coinopstore also sells cleaned up original arcade machines at obscenly high
> prices.

I've heard stories that their work also left a few things to be desired in some cases, but fully admit that I've never had any contact with Coinopstore so can't comment first-hand.

> Sorry folks, no money laundering here.

Something I want to clarify re: funds being moved into the US from the PRC: I see it less as being money laundering (though there is undoubtedly some of that going on) and more just tax avoidance. Don't want to sound as though I'm splitting hairs over it, but do want to make that part clearer than it may perhaps have been.

> There actually is money to be made in classic
> arcade multimachines, mostly cocktail cabinets. The machines weren't fakes.
> Counterfeit for sure, but not fake. They could be set for taking coins or freeplay so
> mostly private use, but lots of commercial use as well. Perhaps Namco got fed up with
> seeing the machines in all the barcades and cafes that are appearing thoughout the
> area.

My guess is that Coinopstore was on their radar for a while, and may possibly have had ties to whoever's importing the PCBs. The retailers generally aren't worth prosecuting, but importers and wholesalers may be depending on how much turnover they have on items like this. Then again, Coinopstore may have had turnover to justify an investigation and raid. That's pure conjecture on my behalf, though.

> What is surprising though is that they were also selling machines wrapped in art from
> the NFL, MLB, NHL, Disney, Wizard of Oz, Marvel, Harley Davidson etc, and bragged
> about how they could do whatever you wanted to the Feds.

Do you happen to have a link to anything detailing their statements to the Feds? I searched but didn't turn anything up detailing who actually handled the raids and arrests, and would really like to know what level of law enforcement (local or Federal) handled it.

> They also sold around the country, crossing state lines.

Which would make it Federal, but I just can't find anything detailing who actually gave them The Knock.

> So far, it appears to be only Namco that got upset about it.
> Haven't even heard from General Computer Corp (GCC) whom guards Ms Pac-Man

Other defendants may be able to attach themselves to the case, depending on how it's structured and what the court allows.

> Court date is Aug 21. Now thats a jury duty I would love to be on

Not sure if this is just a preliminary hearing or a full-blown trial. Either way, it'll be interesting to see what happens.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Haze]
#368796 - 08/17/17 01:15 AM


> > > Absolute cancer on the industry these things, in so many legitimate
> establishments
> > > too because they're not even sold as bootlegs. Not sure why nobody believes me
> when
> > I
> > > say somebody is making an absolute killing on them, and it's disgusting.
> >
> > I've seen these machines on sale at some fairly odd venues - county fairs spring to
> > mind. Prices are as high as $5k for vinyl-wrapped (yes, really) 'deluxe' models.
> >
> > > One interesting thing that did come up recently is a Kyle Hodgetts game running
> on
> > > the same hardware, makes me wonder who actually worked on the software they're
> > > running.
> >
> > Fair point, but by the same token Hodgetts has never (to the best of my knowledge)
> > ever developed his own hardware platform. Tweaked others' hardware, sure, but I
> can't
> > think of anything that's 100% his.
> >
>
> Some of the HW platforms he used were pretty much only used by him tho (the various
> TMS based ones)
>
> and there are some really odd ones like Ski-Maxx and Shadow Fighters
>
> I just wonder if there is a deeper connection.

I certainly wouldn't put it outside of the bounds of possibility; Hodgetts seems to pop up in some interesting contexts.

Another possibility: the hardware for those games was designed by a third party and he wrote the software for the platforms in question. Ski-Maxx was manufactured by ICE, who would have had the resources to pull off the design. I'm not totally convinced that Hodgetts himself would have done that... But I'm also not totally discounting the possibility.

Either way, I do agree that the same scenario could have applied to an x-in-1 board.



TrevEB
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: casm]
#368801 - 08/17/17 02:00 AM


You would have to use the internet wayback machine to see what the web page was like before the Feds cracked down on them.

https://web.archive.org/web/201706061442...Trackballs.html

They did not advertise NFL and other art on thier site. That was all done via craigslist.

No, you won't find any other details about the case. I just happen to know something about what went down and it was a conversation with some at CAX who were in the know.

Yes, the FEDS were involved. The typical early morning siezure of assets at the store. All artwork confiscated. Web site had to be stripped of all copyright art. Cabinets and PCBs from china shipped separately and installed at the store. All of this went down I think in the 3rd week of July. Hit the news Aug 11.

There had been some experimenting as well with cocktail cabinet design as they sold the best. Control setups for head to head and horizontal game layouts. Bar high chair tables. I think the majority of the sales were to home users wanting the classics for the man cave. Decent construction, light weight and durable. Some games played for crap since the controls were all wrong but for the most part it gave people that no nothing of Mame an easy way to play the classics.



jonwil
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Haze]
#368804 - 08/17/17 04:24 AM


I see these x-in-1 cocktail multi-game tables (which clearly violate the copyright of at least some of the games involved since I know for a fact Nintendo would never allow their titles in a x-in-1 multi-game like that) outside the stores of a barbershop chain here in Australia (all set to free play). I have also seen at least one in the lobby of a movie theater (although that was quite a while ago now) as well as being offered for sale at the Royal Show in various states (the Royal Show is much like the US state fairs in that its got agricultural stuff, rides, weird food, all sorts of people selling all sorts of crap etc)

I have even seen retail shops (reputable shops that have been around for a long time) that deal in things like pool tables, soccer tables and the like who also sell the x-in-1 cabinets.

Clearly there are a lot of entities out there who sell, supply or run this stuff (i.e. have cabinets in places the general public can play them) and either dont know or dont care that the games on these machines violate copyright.



R. Belmont
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Kitsune Sniper]
#368815 - 08/17/17 04:38 PM


> > Clearly they were into more than Pac-Man fakes if they had 1.2 million in cash.
>
> AND the car. I'm guessing they were tied to some big bootlegging operation for them
> to have that much money.

They were the US distributors of the 60-in-1 MAME bootleg JAMMA boards. Those things are everywhere, like cockroaches.



R. Belmont
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: casm]
#368816 - 08/17/17 04:43 PM


> Fair point, but by the same token Hodgetts has never (to the best of my knowledge)
> ever developed his own hardware platform. Tweaked others' hardware, sure, but I can't
> think of anything that's 100% his.

SkiMaxx is his, as far as I'm aware.



R. Belmont
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: Haze]
#368817 - 08/17/17 04:45 PM


One of the vendors at CAX this year was selling 200-in-1 machines, which really surprised me. I was tempted to print out a big sign PROPERTY OF MAMEDEV and stick it on the thing.



jopezu
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<3 new [Re: R. Belmont]
#368822 - 08/17/17 07:34 PM


should've done it, photo'd it, then put it on social media where we could all reshare the shit out of it.



i learned everything i know from KC



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: R. Belmont]
#368840 - 08/18/17 02:56 PM


> > > Clearly they were into more than Pac-Man fakes if they had 1.2 million in cash.
> >
> > AND the car. I'm guessing they were tied to some big bootlegging operation for them
> > to have that much money.
>
> They were the US distributors of the 60-in-1 MAME bootleg JAMMA boards. Those things
> are everywhere, like cockroaches.

Ah, ok. The raid makes more sense in that context, since individual retailers generally aren't worth prosecuting in cases like this from a cost/benefit standpoint.

It'll be interesting to see who and what steps in to fill the vacuum this prosecution will leave. It's not as though there aren't 2,736,542 other crappy [x]x-in-1 boards to choose from, and just as many people looking to make a buck from them.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: R. Belmont]
#368841 - 08/18/17 03:07 PM


> One of the vendors at CAX this year was selling 200-in-1 machines, which really
> surprised me. I was tempted to print out a big sign PROPERTY OF MAMEDEV and stick it
> on the thing.

That subset of arcade collectors who will rail as hard as they can against emulators in general while happily tossing an x-in-1 board into a cabinet are entertaining: they manage to not understand the definition of irony while simultaneously personifying it.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: R. Belmont]
#368842 - 08/18/17 03:17 PM


> > Fair point, but by the same token Hodgetts has never (to the best of my knowledge)
> > ever developed his own hardware platform. Tweaked others' hardware, sure, but I
> can't
> > think of anything that's 100% his.
>
> SkiMaxx is his, as far as I'm aware.

I stand corrected, and will give Hodgetts a small measure of credit for branching out.

Out of curiosity, has anyone been putting effort into decrypting the x-in-1 boards? I'm less interested in this from the standpoint of seeing them emulated (which, IMHO, is pretty much a 'who cares' sort of thing), but am interested in seeing what the underlying code for both the UI and emulator may be.



R. Belmont
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: casm]
#368844 - 08/18/17 03:48 PM


> Out of curiosity, has anyone been putting effort into decrypting the x-in-1 boards?
> I'm less interested in this from the standpoint of seeing them emulated (which, IMHO,
> is pretty much a 'who cares' sort of thing), but am interested in seeing what the
> underlying code for both the UI and emulator may be.

39-in-1 runs (slowly). When it's booting up and listing each game, it's actually emulating it until the POST is complete, inserting a coin, and then save-stating it to RAM. This is why each game takes a wildly different amount of time for its name to be printed during that startup.

Then when you pick a game to run it just resumes that save state. It's possible in the MAME debugger to skip that step; it starts up immediately but when you pick a game it then just POSTs and goes through attract mode

I strongly believe the emulator is MAME although I haven't tried to decompile it or anything, and they did a good job scrubbing it for tell-tale strings (as opposed to Konami's PS2 classics series, which has Aaron's name in it and the MAME version string). The game selection and the timeframe pretty much guarantees that.



casm
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: R. Belmont]
#368846 - 08/18/17 04:36 PM


> > Out of curiosity, has anyone been putting effort into decrypting the x-in-1 boards?
> > I'm less interested in this from the standpoint of seeing them emulated (which,
> IMHO,
> > is pretty much a 'who cares' sort of thing), but am interested in seeing what the
> > underlying code for both the UI and emulator may be.
>
> 39-in-1 runs (slowly). When it's booting up and listing each game, it's actually
> emulating it until the POST is complete, inserting a coin, and then save-stating it
> to RAM. This is why each game takes a wildly different amount of time for its name to
> be printed during that startup.

OK, that fills in one of the questions I've had regarding those boards' initial POST behaviour and is actually kinda cool. A bit bass-ackwards IMHO - they could have just loaded pre-generated save states from storage into RAM rather than creating them on the fly at each boot - but I guess that doing it that way saved $0.17 per board on the BOM or something

> Then when you pick a game to run it just resumes that save state. It's possible in
> the MAME debugger to skip that step; it starts up immediately but when you pick a
> game it then just POSTs and goes through attract mode

Given the intended application of these boards, it makes sense: with near-instantaneous game switching being desirable, this would certainly be one way of achieving it.

> I strongly believe the emulator is MAME although I haven't tried to decompile it or
> anything, and they did a good job scrubbing it for tell-tale strings (as opposed to
> Konami's PS2 classics series, which has Aaron's name in it and the MAME version
> string). The game selection and the timeframe pretty much guarantees that.

I seem to recall someone mentioning several years ago that there was an in-game giveaway in one of the 39-in-1's games as to the boards' MAME origins. Specifics escape me right now, but I want to say that it was something along the lines of a later-fixed bug specific to MAME's emulation of that particular game being triggered in one of the drivers during gameplay; this at least pegged it to a MAME version less than n.

That said, it's a pretty weak memory. I could be confusing it with something else.



Haze
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Re: Prosecutors: 6 charged with making fake Pac-Man games in Santa Clara new [Re: R. Belmont]
#368848 - 08/18/17 05:08 PM


> I strongly believe the emulator is MAME although I haven't tried to decompile it or
> anything, and they did a good job scrubbing it for tell-tale strings (as opposed to
> Konami's PS2 classics series, which has Aaron's name in it and the MAME version
> string). The game selection and the timeframe pretty much guarantees that.

Around the time it was added somebody did and said it seemed to be based off one of the Digital Camera ports of MAME, or at the very least there were large chunks of the same code between them (could be it uses MAME CPU cores without being outright MAME tho)

very hard to tell because a lot of what would uniquely identify it had been stripped tho.

afaik we didn't actually have working save states in that period, which means that it's definitely had work done to it either way. (of course hacking them in badly wouldn't be too difficult)

the later ones (happy fish etc.) are definitely MAME running on stupidly underpowered ARM devices on top of linux.

sidenote, emulation is still broken in it, bullets in scramble appear to move backwards like it thinks flipscreen is enabled, but only for the bullets (they collide where they should, it's purely a visual thing) I'm guessing it's something not initialized properly, or an ARM cpu core bug, I'm informed it works fine on hardware (unless there are multiple undumped revisions)



MoreGozenso
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Take away commerce, you take away crime new [Re: casm]
#368940 - 08/23/17 12:04 AM


Well. I would poke my head in when such a thing happens and is posted.

Anyways. I'm doing well. Better than ever, actually. Actually. No ganja for at least three weeks, and I'm sleeping better. Ultimately correct diet and sleep rule all. Right Moog?!


@Tomu: guess what?? My 18-year-old-when-I-met-her ex came a-callin a couple months ago. She and her husband (he's about my age) are exploring poly, and also he's not that sensually inclined, nor inclined to give her early-30s body what she needs. But I aaamm! An I was just thinking prior to that about getting some really heavy fuckin material goin. See, I'm psychic. Kiss.....



Vas Crabb
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Feck off M.Valentine/mogli/Traso/Severance Tax -nt- new [Re: MoreGozenso]
#368945 - 08/23/17 01:57 AM


> Well. I would poke my head in when such a thing happens and is posted.



Tomu Breidah
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SINNER!!! [nt] new [Re: MoreGozenso]
#368951 - 08/23/17 07:15 AM


Sin Didder!

Edited by Tomu Breidah (08/23/17 07:16 AM)



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