Emulation is fun, isn’t it? Playing a load of old games on your PC, enjoying titles that we were never supposed to see here in the UK, or just saving a load of space and clutter under the telly by having all your “consoles” in one nice neat PC-shaped box. But this month, emulation is going to be more than a bit of harmless fun. This month, we’re going to see if emulation can change the world.

Most of us like a little gamble now and again, and Emulation Zone is prepared to bet (appropriately enough) that most PCZ readers put the odd pound coin into a fruit machine, whether it be dropping the change from a round into a pub machine or playing the four-reel £1000-jackpot monsters found in more sophisticated locations. And Emu Zone is equally sure that everyone who’s ever played a fruit machine and lost on a High-Low gamble has wondered whether, as the machine waited for you to go higher on a “2” and then spun in a “1”, it was playing fair or not. The only problem was, without a time machine it was impossible to know either way. But now, thanks to emulation, we have one.

Emu Zone wants you to try something. At the links at the bottom of this piece, you’ll find the MFME fruit machine emulator program, a layout and ROM files for the popular real-life £250-jackpot machine Club Monopoly, and a “save state” file, containing the fruity’s internal RAM saved at the point where, from a factory reset, the machine has taken in £1000 and paid out not a single penny (the legal minimum payout for a fruit machine is 70% - though this one is set at 86% - but amazingly there’s no stipulation about how long it has to take to achieve that percentage). Unzip all the files into the same directory, load the emulator up and start Club Monopoly. Insert a pound using the zero key, and play.

On your second spin, you’ll be awarded nudges. Nudge in Reel 1 for a three-oranges £1.60 win. You now have a chance to gamble using the High-Low reel. And here’s where Emu Zone is going to give you a hand, chums, because Emu Zone - thanks to its emulation time machine - knows what the numbers are going to be. You start off with a 10. Normally you’d go “Low”, but the next number is a 12, so go “High” instead.  The next numbers are going to be 4, 6, 2, 12, 7, 4 and 5, so choose accordingly.

By this stage you’ll have a £25 win. But the machine’s clearly in a paying mood, so you may as well continue, right? Wrong. If you gamble “High” on the 5, the machine will spin in a 3 and you’ll lose. If, on the other hand, you gamble “Low”, it’ll spin in a 9. And you’ll lose. Every time. (Quit the emulator, copy the original RAM file in and try again.) This isn’t gambling, readers. This is fraud. It’s the equivalent of a three-card monty game in the street, where there is no ace for the mug punters to find because the con artist has slipped it up his sleeve. The machine is presenting the situation as a “gamble”, but in fact whatever you do, you will lose. You are, to put it simply, being robbed. It’s against the law, and it’s happening in every pub in Britain every day.

Club Monopoly is merely our example - it’s in no way even remotely unique in this behaviour. It’s just that, until the advent of fruit machine emulation, there was no way for the cheating, robbing fruit machine manufacturers to be found out. But now they have, and Emulation Zone is going to do something about it. The information in this column has been forwarded to Emu Zone’s MP, the UK Gaming Board, and the Department of Culture, which is responsible for the regulation of gambling in Britain, and the Department of Trade and Industry is investigating too. (The fruit machine companies have so far refused to answer the allegations.) As far as Emu Zone can see, the way is clear for a class-action lawsuit to be brought against the manufacturers on behalf of every fruit-machine player in the country, and subject to legal advice that’s exactly what Emu Zone is going to do. But don’t worry, YOU don’t have to do anything. (Though if you DO want to help, go to the address below.) Just watch this space, and see if the world changes.


Crimewatch UK: Have you seen this villain?



Prepare to be mugged.








http://thumbs.aloft.users.btopenworld.com/fruitemu.zip - the emulator

http://thumbs.aloft.users.btopenworld.com/monopoly.zip - the Club Monopoly file and ROMs

http://thumbs.aloft.users.btopenworld.com/ram.zip - the saved-state file

http://www.fairplay-campaign.co.uk/ - updates on the current situation

http://www.retrochat.com – talk with the creator of the emulator file which revealed the swindle




Emulation Zone is brought to you in association with the International World Of Stuart Foundation.