Quoted from jwilson:
I think I can count on one hand the number of people qualified to program a WPC-era game, and all of them are gainfully employed elsewhere.
Also, keep in mind that if it's just a ROM upgrade, they'd still be working within the limitations of the system itself, now over 20 years old.
ChadH has done DE System 3 without Source code. I very seriously considered doing something similar to BF, but opted to sell it instead. Were the source available with the original tools WPC would be difficult, but much easier. Free WPC makes doing something like tom very realistic.
The problem isn't that there are few people qualified. Programmers are everywhere. Problem is motivation or lack there of. I get paid a good salary to code. Its awesome. Great really. Love it to bits. Sitting down and rewriting using free wpc or hacking roms pays nothing. Hundreds of hours of time that I could spend in the gym, practicing hurling, seeing my gf, reading, working on pinball, and even playing pinball gone for such an endeavor.
After an 8+ hour day of coding at work do you really want to come home and do the same thing? I love working on my machines to get away from computer screens. The only way a game is getting hacked or rewritten by a programmer is if they just love the game to bits or they want a pet project which nets nothing in the workplace. Sorry, but monetarily if I want a pet project its better to pick something that correlates with potential jobs. Assembly for an archaic pc architecture isn't it. The latest microsoft certification? Studying Big Data? Those things lead to $$$$$. That money can in turn buy more machines which don't need these software fixes.
As far as the systems themselves being too old? TOM isn't boring because the cpu isn't fast enough or it lacks ram. Are you saying TZ is too shallow? It has the same CPU driving it as BOP.
Most of these games need tweaking, not complete overhauls. BOP was written early in the life of WPC and its rules are a product of its time. The DE SW rewrite and JP rewrite highlight the limits of those systems, but it is a glorified system 11.