Super Explode

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Super Explode v5 Screenshot
Super Explode v5 Screenshot
Technical Info
ROM 16 kbyte
RAM None
Hardware features 1 Button reset (and freeze)
Manual PDF: Super Explode V5.0 Reference Guide
PDF: Super Explode V5.0 Schematic
CRT ID Super Explode V5.0 - 48
Super Explode V41 Video Byte Advert.jpg

Super Explode v4.0, v4.1 and v5.0 followed the earlier Explode! "87" V2.0 and Explode! V3.0 were sold by The Soft Group (in the USA!). Given the few cartridge dumps and Disks we found so far it wasn't too spread. The cartridge is mainly designed for fast loading and printing operations with some basic support for Video Byte a video digitizer by the same company. 1989 was extremely late for such a cartridge to become somewhat of a success but the fast loader is quick and seems reliable. A text file accompanying the ROM states it may be the "V-Max NTSC fastloader" but that should be checked a little closer.

Mayhem64 describes the Super Explode! v5 very nicely:

Super Explode! 5

Super Explode! version 5 is primarily a graphics cartridge. It is designed to capture, manipulate, and edit screens and then print them. Its color print capability includes recolorization, and it dumps to all but one available color printer. Its extensive ability to manipulate graphics images makes it the cartridge of choice for graphics buffs. (Note that Super Explode! interfaces with The Soft Group's Video Byte system, a low-cost video digitizer designed to capture full-color images from a VCR or live camera.)

Super Explode! 5's modest utility repertoire includes a complete disk-turbo feature, directory list to screen, single-stroke disk commands, and easy access to the error channel. These commands are not implemented on function keys, nor are the function keys programmed. There is no BASIC toolkit, monitor, or disk-backup or archiving capability. There is a fast multiple-copy file routine, as well as an unnew command. The freeze button doubles as a reset.

The manual is on disk (you must print it out) and is rather haphazard. Nonetheless, it contains a wealth of technical information. Topics include split screens, elementary and advanced file conversion (for Doodle, Koala, text screens, and custom character sets), sprite manipulation, and sprite overlay. If you require few utility functions but extensive graphics capability, Super Explode! 5 is for you.


Use at least VICE revision r42522 for proper emulation! To be found e.g. on the VICE-dev Github mirror.


Original Super Explode V5.0 Docs and Super Explode Bootle Docs (a supplementary autostart making program) are also available.

  • Fast serial LOAD and SAVE
  • Fast format
  • Image conversion and printing functions on menu ("M" in BASIC enters the menu)

On reset and powerup after the border flashing these keys are usable:

F7     Non-destructive reset
F1     Copy low RAM from $0000-$08FF to $6000-$68FF
RETURN Capture screen then reset
pressing any other key cycles through possible screens

DOS Wedge:

@io          initialize current drive
@u:          initialize 1571
@u;          software reset of current drive
@<command>   any regular disk command

Disk Commands:

  • "$" - Directory (any key to pause, RUN/STOP to abort)
  • "%" - LOADs a file ,8,1
  • "/" - LOADs a file ,8
  • "left arrow" - SAVE file ,8
  • "CBM+RUN/STOP" - load and run first file on disk
  • "Shift+L"FILENAME"" - translates to % (load and run)
  • "Shift+S"FILENAME"" - displays the file start address
  • "Shift+A"FILENAME"" - output petscii file to screen
  • "Shift+R"FILENAME"" - sort of "types" the file
  • "Shift+8" - set current drive to 8
  • "Shift+9" - set current drive to 9

Printer Commands:

  • "Shift+P" - screen printer dump
  • "Shift+O" - prints OPEN4,4,2:CMD4:LIST new line PRINT#4:CLOSE4 and positions the cursor on the OPEN


  • "pound symbol" prints "SUPER EXPLODE! V5.0" and towards the end of the screen "(C)1989" to confirm the cartridge is active. Also conditions the drive to SAVE for optimal fast loading. Performed automatically on RESET.
  • "+" - Executes SYS 49152 ($C000)
  • "-" - Executes SYS 32768 ($8000)
  • "*" - Executes SYS 2061 ($080d)
  • "Shift+V" - prints POKE53281,2 and positions cursor to start
  • "=" - place cursor into the bottom line of the screen


As usual ripped from superexplode5.c from the VICE emulator.

    FIXME: this one has been implemented purely based on guesswork and by
           examining the cartridge rom dump.

    The Soft Group "Super Explode V5"

    - 2 ROM banks, 8k each == 16kb
    - one button (reset)

    ROM banks are always mapped to $8000
    the last page of the ROM bank is also visible at DFxx

    controlregister is $df00:
        bit 7 selects bank

    the ROM at $8000 is enabled / disabled the following way:
    - if either IO1, ROMLO or RESET are active (=0), then EXROM becomes active (=0)
    - if all of the above are inactive (=1) then a capacitor is being charged,
      and EXROM becomes inactive (=1) after roughly 300ms


  • Explode! v2 ROM Dumps
  • Explode! v3 ROM Dumps
  • Super Explode! v4 ROM Dumps
  • Super Explode! Disks
  • Box/Cover Art
  • Video Bytes I (read ONE) and II hi-res images of the inside and any Software

Binaries contains: