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THE NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM (NES) FAQ v3.0A
by Martin Nielsen (Author of NES WORLD)
Released : 8th October 1997
This FAQ is an independent publication, offered free of charge by
NES WORLD. The information in this FAQ is provided without any warranty,
written or otherwise. The author or any of the individual contributors
will not assume any responsibility for the acuracy of the information in
Please note that there are personal oppinions in this FAQ.
You’re more than welcome to contribute with any information which
can improve this FAQ, and ofcourse you’ll get credit for it.
Parts of this FAQ may be used without permission, IF it is written that
it has been taken from NES WORLDs NES faq.
Note that this document is in no way based on any official Nintendo
information and may be incomplete and incorrect in many places.
All names are trademarks of their respective owners!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 Note from the Author
1.2 History of Nintendo
1.3 NES General Informarion
2. Technical Specifications
2.3 Unrom Games
2.4 Memory Management Chips
2.5 Lockout Chip
3. Hardware & Accessories
3.1 Nintendo Entertainment System
3.2 Nintendo Entertainment System 2
3.3 Family Computer
3.4 Family Computer Disk System
3.5 Mattels Powerglove
3.6 Konami Head-Set
3.8 Bandai Power Pad
3.9 NES Controller
3.10 NES Max
3.11 NES Advantage
3.12 Robot Operating Buddy (R.O.B.)
3.13 Broderbund U-Force
3.14 NES satelite
3.15 Family Fun Fitness
4. Unlicensed Hardware & Accessories
4.1 Camerica Aladdin Deck Enhancer
4.2 Camerica/Galoob Game Genie
4.3 Camerica SuperSonic Joypad
4.3 Nintendo/Famicom Clones
5. Licensed Game Developers
5.13 HAL America/HAL Laboratory, Inc.
5.15 HiTech Expressions
5.20 Culture Brain
6. Unlicensed Game Developers
6.1 Color Dreams
6.2 Wisdom Tree
6.3 Bunch Games
6.4 American Video Entertainment
6.6 American Game Carts Inc.
6.7 Active Enterprises
7. Misc Information
7.1 Adult NES Games
7.2 Play NES Games on the SNES
7.4 Super Mario Bros 2
7.5 Street Fighter 2 on the NES
7.6 Mortal Kombat on the NES
7.7 Super Mario World on the NES
7.8 The making of Donkey Kong
7.9 The Videogame crash
7.10 Consumer Electronic Show (June 1985)
7.11 Action 52 & Cheetah men 2
8. Misc Articles
8.1 Playing Pinball without Quaters
8.2 Mazes and Space Zapping
8.3 Slam-Dunk Action
8.4 The Winner… And still Champ
8.5 The best game that never quite caught
9. Rumours & Lawsuits
9.1 Tetris Lawsuit/Rarity of Tengen Tetris
9.2 Mike Tysons Punch-Out
9.3 Color Dreams Hellraiser Cartridge
10. Other Information Sources
10.1 Magazines, books and other printed publications
10.2 Internet Resources
11. Acknowledgements and Credits
11.2 Where you can find this FAQ
1.1 NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Hmmm… it’s been quite awhile since I last updated this FAQ, but here you
have a new update with lots of new cool stuff added and a whole new design!!
I’d like to sneak in a little note though. My native language is not English
and therefore there might be some words that are spelled wrong and/or grammer
errors. Well I’m doing the best I can to write as correct American (English)
as possible. So if you cannot live with this then I suggest that you stop
reading this FAQ right now. (Yes, this IS a hint to those people who e-mailed
me complaining). Ofcourse I’d rather write the entire shit in danish so that
I dident have to hear about errors in the grammer etc 😉
DO NOT e-mail me corrected versions and believe that i will use it, because
it wont happend. Mainly because, if you dont understand someting in the FAQ
and correct it to what you think it is, it might even not be correct either.
But please do e-mail me (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) if there are
parts of the FAQ which you dont understand. I will then try to make it more
1.2 HISTORY OF NINTENDO
Nintendo means something like “The heaven blesses hard work”. Nintendo was
founded in Kyoto, Japan, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. Until the 1960’s the
compagny mostly made gambling cards, and then later to develop electronic
In 1977 they introduced the first microprosessorcontroled arcadegame, which
improved the game quality quite a lot. Nintendo grew very fast and became a
leading compagny in the business, a possition which later also got in the
In 1980, Game & Watch was introduced by NOA. It was a seire of handheld
LCD-games with watch and an alarm. The Game & Watch serie included games
like Donkey Kong, Mickey Mouse and Zelda. Game & Watch became a big success
and in Scandinavia Game & Watch sold 1,6 million units in 1982-83.
In Japan, 1983, Nintendo introduced an 8-bit videogame called the Family
Computer (Famicom). It quickly became a big success. In a few years, Nintendo
sold 15 million consoles and over 150 million games. The same system was
released in USA 1985 and Europe 1986. In Europe and USA it was called the
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
Introduction of the 16-bit Super Nintendo System (SNES) in 1991, the world
began to show less interest for the 8-bit NES system. In 1994 Nintendo
officialy announced that they nolonger would support the NES system. Though
the NES dident die that fast in Europe and few NES games were released in
1995. The Famicom is “Still going strong” in Asia. Unlicensed/Pirate
companies have taken over the units and releases Famicom Disk System games
on cartridges and converts SNES titles such as Street Fighter 2 and
Super Mario World to the Famicom, ofcourse with reduced graphics and sound.
1.3 NES GENERAL INFORMATION
More than 50 million consoles and 350 million games has been sold since
1983! The NES is known for a lot of great games like: The Super Mario serie,
the Zelda serie.
The NES consists of a 6502 CPU (Custom Processing Unit) and a PPU (Picture
1889 – Fusajiro Yamauchi, great-grandfather of the present president of
Nintendo, began manufacturing “Hanafuda”, Japanese playing cards
1902 – Yamauchi starts manufacturing playing cards in Japan. Originally
aimed for export, but the product became very popular in Japan too.
1933 – Established an unlimited partnership, Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
1947 – Established Marufuku Co Ltd., a distribution company.
1950 – Hiroshi Yamauchi as new president and absorbed the manufacturing
operation of Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
1951 – Changed the name of Marufuku Co Ltd. to Nintendo Playing Cards
1952 – Consolidated factories were dispersed in Kyoto.
1953 – Became the first company to succeed in manufacturing mass-produced
plastic playing cards in Japan.
1959 – Started selling cards printed with Walt Disney characters, opening
a new market in children’s playing cards. The card department boomed!
1962 – Listed stock on the second section of Osaka Stock Exchange and on
Kyoto Stock Exchange in January.
1963 – Changed the company name to Nintendo Co. Ltd. and started
manufacturing games in addition to playing cards.
1969 – Expanded and reinforced the game department. Built a production plant
in Uji City.
1970 – Started selling the Beam Gun series. Introduced electronic technology
into the toy industry for the first time in Japan.
1973 – Developed laser clay shooting system to succeed bowling as a major
1974 – Developed image protection system employing 16mm film projector for
amusement arcades. Began exporting them to America and Europe.
1975 – In cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric, developed video game system
using electronic video recording (EVR) player.
1976 – Introduced the microprosessor into the video game system.
1977 – Developed home-use video games in cooperation with Mitsubishi
1978 – Created and started selling coin-operated videogames using
1979 – Started an operations division for coin-operated games.
1980 – Announced a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc. in
New York. Started seling the “Game & Watch” product line.
1981 – Developed and began distribution of the coin-operated videogame
“Donkey Kong”. This videogame quickly became the hottest selling
individual coin-operated machine in the business.
1983 – Started selling the home videogame console “Family Computer” employing
a custom CPU and PPU.
1985 – Started selling the US version of the Family Computer “Nintendo
Entertainment System” (NES) in America. The system included R.O.B. –
Robot Operating Buddy – and the games Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros.
Mario and Luigi becomes a big hit on the NES.
1986 – Developed and started selling the “Family Computer Disk Drive System”
to expand the functions of the Family Computer. Began installation of
“Disk Writer” to rewrite game software.
1987 – The NES is released in Europe?
The NES achieves the status as the #1 selling toy in America and the
Legend of Zelda becomes the first new generation home video game to
exceed sales of one million units.
1988 – Nintendo of America publishes the first issue of Nintendo Power
magazine in July. Develops the Hands Free controller, making the
NES accessible to many more fans. The game library for the NES rises
to 65 titles.
1989 – Released “The Adventure of Link”, a sequel to the top-selling game
“The Legend of Zelda” in the US. Started “World of Nintendo” displays
in the US to help market Nintendo products. Introduces the Gameboy,
handheld system with changable game paks.
1990 – Nintendo Power Fest featuring the Nintendo World Championships tours
the US. Japan enters the 16bit market with the release of the Super
Famicom in the fall.
1991 – The SuperNES and Super Mario World is released in the US.
1992 – The SNES is released in Europe?
1994 – The Super Gameboy gets released. It is now possible to play Gameboy
games on the SNES!
1995 – Nintendo announces at CES (??) that they’re discontinuing the NES
8bit videogame console.
The VirtualBoy is introduced to teh US market. However it fails to
succeed because of the lack of software.
1996 – The Nintendo64 is launched in Japan on June 23rd. Nintendo introduces
the Gameboy Pocket. September 29th the Nintendo64 is released in
North America. The first shipment of units (350,000) is sold within 3
1997 – Nintendo64 is released in Europe (Denmark 1st March).
2. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
As in all other computers, is the Nintendo controlled by by software. The
software is cartridge which you put into your NES just like a Computer disk.
When you put your cartridge into your NES, the end of the cartridge which has
an opening i put into a slot. The console and the cartridge now has
“contact”. The informations can now go from the cartridgechip to the Central
Processing Unit (CPU) or the Picture Processing Unit (PPU) in the console.
If there is dust between the console and the cartridge, the game might not
work, so remember: KEEP YOUR CARTRIDGES CLEAN!!!
Did you know, that your NES is like a Tv-transmitter? It transmit waves which
you TV can receive. The PPU is sending a compositive videosignal, but many
TV’s cannot receive this signal, so it has to be converted to a RF-signal in
the RF-modulator. The RF-signal which the RF-modulator makes, is changed to a
compositive signal when it’s inside the TV. This means, that you might loose
some picture quality, but if you have a TV with SCART/EUROPEAN – connection,
you can buy a cable which does that you can use compositive signals.
The console also gets informations from the joypad. When the CPU needs
informations from the joypad, it sends a message to the a memory in the
joypad. The memory tells the CPU when the buttons are pressed. This might
sound like it takes quite awhile before the CPU knows what to do, but it
happends in less than half a second.
The PPU (Picture Prosessing Unit) is just like the CPU placed on the
motherboard. The PPU gets digital informations ( 0′ and 1′) from the CPU and
the cartridges and converts then to composive signals which controlls every
pixel and colour on the screen. 50 times per second, the PPU gets this
information and draws the screen again. Because it goes this fast, it’s like
the figures moves.
The CPU (Central Prosessing Unit) is a kind of a little telephonecentral with
a huge capacity. It makes thusinds of “phonecalls” in and out all the time.
Every 50th second when a new screen is drawn, the CPU checks if there are any
interupts. These commands comes from the cartridge which tells the CPU to ask
the Joypad about a possition, or that the CPU has to send a sound signal to
the TV’s speaker. Emagine, that the cartridge is a cookbook and the CPU is
the cook, who follows the instructions in the book there is just one
difference… the CPU make it all at the same time.
Processor : 6502 (using a custom Motorola 6502 class)
Processor speed : 1.79 Mhz
Display : 256×240
Colors : 52
Colors on screen : 16
Max sprites : 64
Max sprites pr. line : 8
Sprites size : 8×8 or 8×16
Picture Scroll : 2 h.v
RAM : 2 kb
Video RAM : 2 kb
NES Software consists of a PRG-ROM (Program ROM) which is the code area and
a CHR-RAM (Character RAM) which is the pattern table.
Most games load themselves into the Lower PRG-ROM ($8000), using 32kb of
PRG-ROM space. The first game to use the entire PRG-ROM space is Super Mario
Brothers. However, all games with more than one (1) 16K bank of PRG-ROM load
themselves into $8000 as well. These games use MMCs (see section 2.5) to
address PRG-ROM past the 32K boundary, and to access more than 8K of CHR-RAM
2.3 UNROM GAMES
Unrom games come with a built-in PRG ROM chip as well as a RAM chip for
memory storage. Such things as background and moving object characters for
the current area are stored in the RAM chip until needed. The Unrom also
was the first chip to expand the memory size of the NES games and were the
first to carry a feature known as bank switching for the games.
This effect allowed for many pages of information and to have serveral
programs on one chip. Back switching allowed for automatic switching between
multiple programs on one chip. Also, the maximum game page size was 8x16kb,
just like the MMC1 chip.
2.4 MEMORY MANAGEMENT CHIPS
MMC1 – The first and most used chip of all five. Many games like the Legend
of Zelda and Metroid use this chip because otherwise they would not
be possible. The MMC1 allows NES games to have the ability to scroll
vertically and horizontally at the same time on teh screen. The chip
also expanded the NES memory to allow for more, and larger game
worlds. The maximum game page size is 8x16kb.
MMC2 – This chip is only found in the US and European Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out,
the Japanese version used a MMC4 chip. It was entirely used for the
purpose af allowing large characters to move on the screen. The chip
also allowed for you to see expression on an oponents face. This could
be a dropped jaw, blinking, shock, a wince, twitching, as well as hand
and feet movements. The game, because of all its different variations,
required a big memory boost which this chip allowed for. The maximum
game page size of this chip is 32x16kb. But why were they able to use
a MMC4 for the Japanese version then?, I dont know.
MMC3 – Second most used chip for NES carts allowed for many new game
innovations. The additions are; expanded memory and the use of split
screen scrolling in games. Games like Super Mario Bros 3 use this
chip. In SMB3 its used as a split screen between the playing field and
the status screen at the bottom of the screen. These games also has a
maximum game page size of 32x16kb, just as the MMC2.
MMC4 – ?
MMC5 – The newest of the MMC chips for the NES. The first game it was used
for was Castlevania 3: Draculas Curse. This chip has many nw and
expanded features that accompanied it. The MMC5 improved the battery
backup feature so you wouldent have to push reset when you turn off
the NES to prevent data loss. The chip also allows greater color
deffinition and partial screen scrolling (not locked like SMB3). It
is also a customized mathematics module that took much strain off the
CPU and took care of many tasks like the internal clock, and other
The MMC5 also aloowed a vertical split screen scroll which means you
can have a side bar of information while the scrolling action of
the game continues. The chip has a memory capacity of 8 Megs
(1,048,576 bits). Another MMC5 game, and probably the only one, is
Kirby’s Adventure. A few games which this chip had a maximum game
page size of 64x16kb.
2.5 LOCKOUT CHIP
Nintendo used at least 3 different types. There were different types used for
the USA, UK, and Europe. Europeans have always been told by Nintendo that
games could not be bought all over Europe an then work in their NES.
Europe was divided up in the following parts:
Scandivavia = Finland, Sweden, Norway, Island and Denmark.
? = Germany and Austria.
? = Belgium, Holland and France.
United Kingdom = England, Scotland, ??.
? = Spain.
More to come soon….
Anyway, what Nintendo said is untrue because on my trips to other countries
in Europe I took to chance and bought games which Nintendo claimed did not
work in my Scandinavian NES unit, they did without any complications though.
Only games from United Kingdom will not work in the other European NES units
and vice versa, because the UK uses another PAL standard than the rest of
Europe. The PAL games were marked “B” or “REV-A”. REV-A was the UK games and
the “B” labeled carts were used in the rest of Europe.
Game Pak codes are (xx is the games ID which is different from game
NES-xx-UKV = United Kingdom
NES-xx-SCN = Scandinavia (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Island).
NES-xx-FRG = Germany.
NES-xx-NOE = “Nintendo of Europe” (Germany).
NES-xx-USA = United States.
NES-xx-EEC = ? (Scandinavia)
NES-xx-ESP = Spain
Nintendo removed the lockout chip from the redesigned top-loading NES.
Some unlicensed games contain circuitry which *requires* that a security
chip be present. For example, the game Firehawk by Codemasters works on both
a UK NES and an old-style US NES. It fails to work on my new-style US NES and
the European NES. Another Codemasters game, Quattro Adventure, works on an UK
NES but fails to work on either of the US NES models an the European NES.
3. HARDWARE & ACCESSORIES
3.1 NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM
3.2 NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM 2
Nintendo re-released the NES in a smaller case and with a standard cartridge
slot (instead of the “zero insertion force” slot in the original NES which
was very dirt-prone) in 1993 and tried to push it in the coming Christmas
season for $49. Before this, the older NES was selling for $10 less than the
Super Nintendo, it’s smart marketing on Nintendo’s part, in getting a big
user base for the SNES, but doing no good for the NES. Nintendo officially
dropped it in 1994.
3.3 FAMILY COMPUTER
3.5 MATTELS POWERGLOVE
In 1989 Mattel (yes, the toy company) introduced the PowerGlove, a
handtracking device based on a glove. The PowerGlove was intended to work
with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in place of a regular
controller. The PowerGlove can track motion of the glove in three-space,
finger position, and has a set of buttons/switches on the top of the wrist.
It has two modes “hires” and “lores”. In “hires” mode, the PG reports the
position in threespace, the roll, and configuration of fingers along with the
SELECT, START, A, B, CENTER and ARROW CLUSTER switches (which are a part of
the NES standard controller). In lores mode the glove reports position on the
hand on the x and y axis and the buttons (thus emulating a NES controller
completely and allowing one to use the glove with non-glove-specific games).
The lores mode also allows the users to select one of fourteen (?)
built-in programs that associate different sets of motions with the NES
controller outputs of up/down/left/right/select/start/A/B. Each program also
has its own translation of finger movements to control inputs.
PowerGloves originally cost around $100, these days you can find them usually
under $30 at a Toys R’ Us on the remaindered rack. If you don’t know what a
Dataglove costs, you probably can’t afford it. To make matters worse, VPL
seems to have gone under (Note: as of 7May93 I understand that VPL is in
business, but Jaron and friends are off doing other things.).
Several problems face you if you want to use a PowerGlove as a VR input
device. These aren’t technical problems (although there are those as
well), mind you, but real-world problems.
There is no official hardware or software support from Mattel, and the gloves
are no longer being produced. Of course, there is no official hardware or
software support from any third party companies either.
Contact Nintendo for information if you like, but the person who answers
the phone probably won’t even know what a PowerGlove is.
On the up side, everything you will use was probably written or designed
by a fellow hacker.
The ultrasonic sensing is done with inexpensive microphones so it is
difficult to place the sensing array directly on a computer monitor and get a
clean signal. A somewhat common fix is to hang the sensing “array” on a wall
that has a low ultrasonic reflection rate. People are using anything from
towels to ultrasonic anechoic foam to dampen the noise.
The only information about hand orientation that get is rotation.
(This is also called roll.) In flight technology, if you raise one wing
while you lower the other, this is called rolling the plane. Ascribing this
behaviour to your hand, if you raise your little finger while lowering your
thumb, this would also be called roll. If a plane moves it’s nose to the left
while the tail moves to the right, the plane is said to yaw. If you do the
same thing with your hand, the ultrasonic transmitters would point away from
the sensor array and you would lose all orientation information. If a plane
lowers it’s nose while the tail is raised, the plane is said to pitch. If you
do the same thing with your hand, again you lose all orientation information.
So, while the VPL DataGlove can track yawl, pitch and roll. The PG can only
track roll (commonly called rotation).
The information about how your hand is configured is not very accurate. As
mentioned above, the material that covers the thumb and fingers has different
electrical resistance depending on how much it is flexed. So, when you have
a finger fully extended, the material is not flexed at all. When you have a
finger fully clenched, the material is flexed to it’s functional limits. This
is expressed in terms of a degree of flexure (bentness) for each digit. This
degree is one of 4 integer values.
0 means the digit is fully extended.
1 means the digit is a little bent
2 means the digit is more bent than straight and
3 means the digit is fully bent.
For each digit, this resolution isn’t very good. Aside from that, it is hard
to flex the material to reproduce the desire degree of flexature. For
instance, it is not a trivial matter to do a gesture that requires that the
ring finger be at state 1 (a little bent). This digital (no pun intended)
value is also hard to maintain once you have it, because moving the
neighboring digits can have an effect on the flexure of the digit in
question. Try bending your middle finger without also bending your ring
finger. Additionally, Only the thumb and THREE of your fingers are tracked at
all. For some reason, the PG doesn’t keep track of your pinky. In conparison,
the VPL DataGlove gives much better resolution on ALL of your digits and
material (a small fiber optic cable) is much easier to use than the bulky
If you are interested in the various mailing lists, you’ll want to grab the
canonical list of mailing lists from news.answers on USENET. (Or, failing
that, from the author arielle@@taronga.com. Don’t bother her unless you need
to, she’s very busy and too nice to bother with trivial problems.)
The PowerGlove mailing list is run by jet@@nas.nasa.gov (J. Eric Townsend)
from the machine boxer.nas.nasa.gov. It operates on an automated
listserv-type package, which means it can do lots of neat things, but users
need to pay close attention to the instructions.
To subscribe, send a message to listserv@@boxer.nas.nasa.gov with a body of
“subscribe glove-list your_full_name”. Send this message from the account
you want to recieve the list. You cannot subscribe another person, or a
different email address. (If you would like to subscribe a local reflector,
please email jet@@nas.nasa.gov.)
The glove-list software supports file transfer by email, the list manager
(jet) makes a serious attempt to have current versions of PowerGlove related
software and mailing list archives available via the mail server.
sci.virtual-worlds and its sibling, sci.virtual-worlds.apps, are
newsgroups on the USENET covering developments in the field of virtual
worlds technology and applications, respectively. These newsgroups, now
three years old, serve an international community of over 15,000 regular
participants with news, technology highlights and developments,
scientific and philosophical issues, and discussions of how virtual
worlds (also known as “virtual reality”) are or will be used in various
commercial and social settings. Moderating sci.virtual-worlds are Bob
Jacobson, President, Worldesign, Inc. (bluefire@@well.sf.ca.us) and
Mark De Loura, Univ. of North Carolina (deloura@@cs.unc.edu). Other
co-moderators from around the world contribute to
sci.virtual-worlds.apps and keep it topical. The FAQ for s.v-w is at
A mailing list is kept by Prof. Greg Newby at the University of
Illinois for those who cannot directly access s.v-w and s.v-w.a via
the USENET. Requests to be added to this list should be sent to:
This is not an automatic operation; please be patient while Greg makes
the necessary additions.
The newsgroups are also featured on CompuServe, in the Arts Section,
in abbreviated form; excerpts also appear on GEnie, BIX, and the WELL
(in its vr conference). Welcome!
email@example.com has offered the use of cogsci.uwo.ca as a
PowerGlove related ftp site. Check: /pub/vr for a variety of glove-list
relted stuff. Please note that karazm.math.uh.edu is no longer the
PowerGlove ftp site.
The Zapper is a Lightgun which makes the player able to point and shoot
obects on the tv screen. It requires big precision of the gamer to use
this device. The Zapper can be used in games such as Duck Hunt,
Hogan’s Alley, Wild Gunman, Gumshoe, Bayou Billy, Chiller and Trick Shooting.
3.10 NES MAX
Looks a little bit like a playstation joypad. Instead of the normal arrowpad
the NESmax has a cycloid and turbo buttons for A and B.
On the pack, Nintendo claims that it’s much much easier to play with the
cycloid…. but my experience is no way near that1.
3.12 ROBOT OPERATING BUDDY (R.O.B.)
The following reprinted from the “Nintendo Power (TM) Pak Source:
R.O.B. stands for Robotic Operating Buddy, an accessory once included with
certain NES sets. The idea was to provide an interactive medium between the
TV screen and player. In the two robot games listed below, R.O.B. is
controlled by the player while the robot’s actions affect gameplay on the
screen. Sound confusing? It was. A lot of people didn’t understand how it
worked. (Don’t expect to find R.O.B. or these games in the store. Nintendo
has no plans to produce future games for R.O.B.)
Only two games were released with ROB in mind, Gyromite and Stack-up.
Setting up R.O.B. can be tricky, especially if you’ve just purchased him at
a garage sale and he didn’t come with a manual. Three easy tests can
determine if your R.O.B. is functional:
TEST 1: Turn on the on/off switch. If R.O.B. doesn’t move at
all, or moves very slowly, he needs new batteries. If he has
fresh batteries and does not move to the right and up as he opens
and closes his hands, his mechanism may be broken. Check the
batteries again just to make sure.
TEST 2: Line up R.O.B. directly in front of the TV screen at a
distance based on the size of your TV screen:
8 in. screen 10 to 12 in. away
13 in. screen 1 1/2 to 3 feet away
19 in. screen 2 to 3 feet away
25 in. screen 2 1/2 to 3 feet away
Over 25 in. screen R.O.B. won’t work unless modified
Turn on the game and select TEST mode with the Select Button on
the controller. Activate the test by pressing Start. The screen
will say TEST and flash green. Adjust the brightness control on
your TV until R.O.B.’s light blinks with the flashing of the TV.
If R.O.B. fails this test, make sure there is no glare reflecting
off the TV screen. You might also try the R.O.B. at different
distances from the TV.
TEST 3: Select the DIRECT mode by pressing the Select Button and
then Start to activate. The screen will show a box and will wait
for commands. R.O.B.’s light should be solid red. When you
press various buttons on the controller, R.O.B. should respond
and the screen should display the commands you are giving. If
R.O.B. does not function at this point, try him at different
distances from the TV, adjusting the brightness. If you still
have difficulty getting your R.O.B. to play with you, give
Nintendo Consumer Service a call at 1-800-255-3700. A
Representative will be happy to give you further assistance.
3.14 NES SATELITE
An accessory which will allow 4 player to play the same game. The Nes
Satelite has a Receiver module which is plugged into the joypad sockets
on the front of the NES unit.
The transmitter module requires six (6) “C” batteries to opterate, and
approximately 180 hours of battery life under normal use. Normal use is
considered four hours a day using the standard joypads. The transmitter
should be placed on a flat stable surface so the black lens is in line
with the receivers black lens. The working range is between 1 and 15 feet.
There’s only one problem…. The Nes Satelite will only work 100% with
the standard joypads. Other joypads like NesMAX, NEs Advantage which has
turbo buttons may not work in most games.
Games that can be plaued by 4 players has a white and red sticker on the
box with a big “4” on it.
3.15 FAMILY FUN FITNESS
Get in shape while you’re playing a Nintendo game. These were the words
Nintendo used to sell a quite cool accessorie for the NES. The Fitness thing
is a big mat which has 8 buttons, spots on the mat. They are used to
control special games designed for the Fitness mat. As far as I know only
one game cart were reeased for Family Fun Fitness, Athletic World witch had
5 different games on it. The cool thing about The Fitness pack is that you
can play it against one of your friends. But Family Fun Fitness weren’t that
big a success, so Nintendo stopped the production at a quite early stage,
just like they did with ROB (see 3.12).
4. UNLICENSED HARDWARE & ACCESSORIES
4.1 CAMERICA ALADDIN DECK ENHANCER
The Aladdin was announced in mid-1992 and got mega amount of press. It was
going to have an extra 64k of memory, a built-in battery to let you save
games like you can on the TG16, and some kind of graphics SuperChip like
Color Dreams announced earlier. All this was going to sell for $30, with
“Compact Cartridges” to go with it to be priced for around $15-20.
The Aladdin was first displayed at the Winter CES in 1992, and once again
got mega amount of press and praise. The Aladdin’s carts, when plugged
into the Aladdin, made the thing the exact same shape as a regular NES
cart. Everything looked cool for its release… and then Camerica went out
of business. Doh! Codemasters announced that it would take over Camerica’s
business in North America, but it still didn’t bother much with releasing
Anyway, as far as I or anyone else knows, the Aladdin itself, with the
pack-in game Dizzy the Adventurer, was sold only through the Home
Shopping Club on TV (which had been selling Camerica games for a while by
then). The six games announced as “Available Now” for the Aladdin were
manufactured to some extent, but never released for sale to anyone. The
twelve or so announced as “Coming Soon!” never saw the light of day (some
interesting screen shots on the back of the Aladdin box though..)
The Aladdin system is kinda like a cartridge split up in two in two parts.
All the chips which are the same in every NES cartridge has been put into a
seperate cart (called the Deck Enhancer) and the game rom (the game itself)
on it’s own cart. It would be possible to sell games for the Deck Enhancer
cheaper than original cartridges because of this.
When you want to play a game, you simply just plug the Compact Cartridge
(Cartridge with the game rom) into the Deck Enhancer part (the part with
all the standard chips) and then finally insert it into your NES system.
Deck Enhancer fits both US and European NES consoles because of a small
switch on the Deck Enhancer part.
Dont feel bad about not having a Aladdin Deck Enhancer in your collection,
because all of the Deck Enhancer games, except Dizzy the Adventurer, are
available on “normal” cartridges, unlicensed ofcourse. In The US these
cartridges were released by Camerica while Codemasters releaed them in
the UK themselves.
4.2 CAMERICA/GALOOB GAME GENIE
Game Genie is the video game enhancer from Galoob (Codemasters), first
introduced in 1991 and available in five different models for the Sega
Genesis and Game Gear systems, the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super
Nintendo Entertainment System and the Nintendo Game Boy system.
With Game Genie video game enhancer, you can change and customize game play
and create special effects on many popular video games. For example, you can
have more lives or weapons, start on any level of the game, jump higher, be
invincible, and more. The changes you make with Game Genie are not
permanent, and disappear when the power to the game deck is turned off.
Game Genie, invented by Codemasters in England. It is a cartridge-like pack
that connects between the game cartridge and the game deck. It introduces
its own startup screen, called the “Code Screen.” On this screen, you enter
special letter codes chosen from the accompanying Game Genie Codebook to
create the effects you want. Or, you can program your own codes.
Codes have been produced for many popular classic and recent games. New
codes are made available by Code Update subscription and in video-game
magazines, but you’ll find them first on The GameGenie Web Site:
Games incompatible with The GameGenie:
Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse
Many games created by the company Color Dreams
If you have a new model Control Deck:
Your Game Genie doesn’t fit in the new model NES deck. Some time ago
Nintendo changed the design of their NES deck and as a result some titles
don’t work properly with the Genie. You need to call the number on your
Game Genie and tell the operator that you have a new model NES deck.
DO NOT FORCE THE GAME GENIE TO FIT INTO THE NEW MODEL CONTRAL DECK.
If you are having a problem using the Game Genie with any NES game:
If the Game Genie Code Screen is not appearing
Be sure that the game, the Game Genie, and the NES Control Deck are
clean. Any type of NES cleaning kit should work fine. Be sure that
the Game Genie and the game are connected properly and are pushed
FIRMLY ALL THE WAY into the NES Control Deck.
If the screen just blinks after you press “start” at the Code Screen
Be sure that the game, the Game Genie, and the NES Control Deck are
clean. Any type of NES cleaning kit should work fine. Be sure that
the Game Genie and the game are pushed FIRMLY ALL THE WAY into the
NES Control Deck.
Damage on Cartridges:
The GameGenie can damage your NES cartridges, even though the maker claims
it cant. I’ve received a couple of e-mail from people who have experienced
that the GameGenie damaged some of their games.
I’ve had the same experience with the GameGenie damaging NES games. The
first one was Super Mario Bros 3 where the screen completely screwed up.
One was Capcom’s Gold Medal Challenge where the GameGenie destroyed one of
the savegames and it I was not able to remove or overwrite the savegame.
So, if you want to keep your NES carts for a long time… my advise is not
to use the “Genie” with your own carts. Ofcourse you can use it on the
neighbours or those you rent 🙂
5. LICENSED GAME DEVELOPERS
In 1969 Mr. Kozuki established a firm called Konami. Their first real
videogame was a very primitive arcadegame, called Astro Invader. The money
they earned from the game was used to build up the compagny. In the the next
couple years it diden’t go quite as good as Konami expected. But then they
started makeing games for a new japanese system, called the Family Computer.
Konami was one of the first companies to sign a contract with Nintendo, and
they soon discovered that the NES market was expanding by the speed of light,
they began converting their great arcade games to the NES. Now the money
In the the late 80’s Konami became one of the most selling companies in the
videogame business, and titles like Gradius, Castlevania, Track & Field,
Konami placed their name in the videogame history.
One of the best and most successful videogame series is Konami’s Castlevania
and the first 3 were released on the NES.
It all started in the beginning of the 80’s, when the little Japanese firm
Capcom started to produce their first arcades, and after a while they became
one of the best gamemakers. In 1984 Capcom made a concract with Nintendo.
The first Nes game was, Ghost ‘n’ Goblins, which had great sales all over the
world, because of the arcade version was one of the most popular games back
Capcom continued by relesing their biggest arcades in NES versions, which
sold quite well in Japan, USA and Europe. But when they started to produce
games from their own ideas, the great success came. In the late 80’s they
had two big NES projects. One of them was a contract with Disney, where they
should develop a game from a new Disney Tv-serie.
The other plan was to create their own tv-game hero, which should have it’s
own action platform game. The result of these to projects were Duck Tales and
Mega Man (Rock Man). Today Capcom has released over 20 Disney games and 11
Mega Man games for Nintendos 3 videogame consoles.
One of the smaller game developers. Though Jaleco released alot of games for
the NES, but almost all of them turned to be total failures. Not even their
NES version the C64 hit Maniac Mansion became a success, because of sick
colours and bad sound, wierd that they translated the game to swedish though.
And the list goes on…. Goal, Racket Attack. Though they did get famous for
their Bases Loaded baseball serie, but my advise is to stay away from games
made by Jaleco.
My personal favourite NES game developer. SunSoft, a division of Sun Corp.
made some quite cool NES titles such as Gremlins 2, Ufouria and Batman.
Released NES titles such as Lode Runner and Legacy of the Wizard.
They dident release any games in the US as far as I know. But they released
a true classic in Europe, the game called “elite”.
Another European game developer which is known for games such as The Smurfs,
Asterix and european releases of US games such as River City Ransom which
was renamed to Street Gangs and S.C.A.T which in Europe was renamed to
Action in New York. Infogrames are known for making games with cartoon
characters such as Asterix, Lucky Luke, Tintin and others. None of their
NES games were released in America either.
Now who doesnt know Square? They started out with Rad Racer and moved on to
their great RPG success called Final Fantasy. In all 3 NES Final Fantasy
adventures were released in Japan, only the first one reached the US and
none of them were released in Europe. But hey, we all know that Nintendo
never really cared about the European NES market (shame).
26 titles released by Taito. Games such as Bubble Bobble, Wrath of the Black
Manta and Blue Shadow earned the company a lot of money. They also produced
the Arkanoid pack with the special Arkanoid controller which is reported to
screw up very easily.
Releated to Konami.
Related to Konami.
The company which dident release anything but crap! I cant say anything
positive about this company, they’re simply the worst! Titles such as
Where’s Waldo, Swamp Thing, James Bond Jr., Home Alone and Attack of the
Killer Tomatoes (the movie sucks too). A total of 13 games were released
by these suckers.
5.13 HAL AMERICA/HAL LABORATORY, INC.
Until Nintendo bought the company they were called “HAL Laboratory” and
released one of my favourite action games…. New Ghostbusters 2!!!!
Responsible for the Double Dragon serie.
5.15 HITECH EXPRESSIONS
Uuuuuh another bad one. I cant say anything good about the guys at HiTech
either. They released games such as the Sesame Street Serie, Barbie, Orb 3-D
and about 11 other ones. Though one Hitech game is worth checking is
Tom & Jerry, platformer.
Aaaaah the great Japanese toy company. They released my favourite shooter
game, Dragon Spirit which was created by Namco. Dragon Spirit is also
available for the TurboGrafix 16, the NES version is best though. Today
Bandai is known for their electronic pet thingy… the Tamagochi(sp?).
Released some very cool Adventure/RPGs such as Deja-vu, Shadowgate and
The Uninvited (which also were translated to swedish, just as Jaleco’s
Maniac Mansion). But besides those they released Bugs Bunny’s Birthday
BlowOut (!!!) the year Bugs turned 60 (?) as a special offer that year
only. They also released Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle (called Roger Rabit
something on the Famicom Disk System) which is a great puzzle game. They
also released Konami’s old game Hyper Olympics in 1992 for the Olympics in
Barcelona, they renamed the game to “Track & Field in Barcelona”, the
game sucked totally, because they dident do anything to optimise the game
to the ’92 game standard. Anyway, Kemco was one of the best companies.
Known for their Cinema serie called Ninja Gaiden, or Shadow Warrior in
Europe. A total of 3 Ninja Gaiden games were released, only the first
two were released in Europe because the first game in the serie dident
sell at all, so why did they release the second game the? (hmmmm…).
Tecmo was/is huge in Asia because of their “Captain Tbuasa” serie (Released
as Tecmo Soccer in Europe), a soccer RPG serie. 2 Captain Tbuasa games
were released in Asia, only the first game in Europe though.
Managed to release 30 (!!!) games for the NES. Ofcourse Acclaim also had a
videogame serie and they called it Wizards & Warriors.
5.20 CULTURE BRAIN
Released another of my favourite games, Little Ninja Brothers, a great RPG/
Released games such as Prince of Persia and Mario is Missing in Europe.
Originally Tengen, a subsidary of Atari Games, was a licensed company, but
they terminated their contract with Nintendo and started making their own NES
cartridges. Ofcourse Nintendo sued Tengen for manipulating with the NES
lockout chip. Tengen only released 3 games as an official NES game maker;
Pacman, RBI Baseball and Gauntlet. As an unlicensed company these 3 were
rereleased as unlicensed games and another 20 titles were released. Tengen
is also known for their Tetris games where it turned out that they actually
dident have license to release it in the US. Ofcourse Nintendo sued Tengen
again, because Nintendo had the license.
6. UNLICENSED GAME DEVELOPERS
6.1 COLOR DREAMS
In the beginning of the 1990’s a small company was formed with the main
purpose of making games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The compagny
got the name Color Dreams. They couldent afford to pay Nintendo to get an
official seal of quality, so they made some software which would let them
bypass the Nintendo Entertainment System’s famous “lock-out chip” and they
started producing their games, and all in all they released about 15 games.
Color Dreams worked on a very special game for the NES which was supposed
to have 16bit graphics and an extra prosessor. It was also supposed to
use the pins on the bottom of the NES. However the game naver was released.
For more information about this game see section 8.3.
Later Color Dreams formed another small label called Bunch Games, obviously
because Nintendo by that time had given Color Dreams so bad a reputation that
no store would carry their games because they were afraid of Nintendo. Anyway
Color Dreams only released 5 games on the Bunch Games label before they
formed even another label.
The last game from Color Dreams was released in the last months of 1992 and
noone heard from them since, though the company is still alive today under
the name Wisdom Tree.
6.2 BUNCH GAMES
Color Dreams’ game label. Bunch Games released 5 titles.
6.3 WISDOM TREE
The new name for Color Dreams. Their goal was to create religious games,
maybe they got a sign from above? Games such as Bible Adventures and
Sunday Funday were Released by Wisdom Tree. Sundau Funday was actually
the same as Color Dreams’ Menace Beach games, the graphics was changed a
little bit though.
Camerica, the company responsible for the American distribution of
Codemasters stuff, had a pretty much typical relationship with Nintendo.
In 1988 it released the Freedom Stick, which was basically a cordless clone
of the NES Advantage joystick, and promptly got the pants sued off of it by
Nintendo for copyright infringement. Two years later it got involved in a
legal fight over Nintendo about the Game Genie. Nintendo was able to keep
the Genie from being released for nearly a year in the US, but Camerica won
its battle against Nintendo in the Canadian courts, and was able to market
it in Canada a few months before the US release. Camerica took advantage of
the free publicity and ran full-page ads in VG&CE blaring “THANK YOU CANADA”
and taking the piss out of Nintendo.
Having beaten the great shiny machine that Nintendo was back then,
Camerica decided to really piss it off and announced several neat things
in 1991. These announcements included the promise of about 20 unlicensed
carts (made by Codemasters), a device that let NES users play Game Boy
games on their TVs, and a portable NES clone called The Express.
Neither of the last two ever saw the light of day, but the other thing
Camerica announced, the Aladdin Deck Enhancer, did. For more info about
the deck enhancer check section 4.1.
Camerica released about 13 normal Cartridges for the NES; FireHawk,
Fantastic Adventure of Dizzy, Ultimate Stuntman, Bee 52, Big Nose the
Caveman, Big Nose Freaks-Out, Linus Spacehead’s Cosmic Crusade, Quattro
Arcade (rare), Quattro Sports, Quattro Adventure, Stunt Kids, Mig 29 and
Camerica’s games has a compatibility switch so that they can be used in
American as well as European NES consoles. However none of the games ever
reached Europe while Camerica was alive, and Codemasters had obviously
better things to do than release those carts after Camericas death.
A few games WERE released such as; Ultimate Stuntman, FireHawk, Micro
Machines and Treasure Island Dizzy (Fantastic Adventure of Dizzy). But they
were released in another kind of cartridge than Camerica used. Codemasters
used some kind of PlugThru system where you had to use a normal cartridge
with the Codemasters cartridge.
7. MISC INFORMATION
7.2 PLAY NES GAMES ON THE SNES
The Tri-Star is a light (cheaply constructed?) gray, squarish adapter that
plugs into the SNES, sits mostly on top of it, and admits the playing of
8-bit NES games on the SNES. It has an RF out and an AV out; the AV out line
plugs into the back of the SNES and the AV from the TV/video source plugs
into the Tri-Star. The top of the unit has three slots: one for SNES games,
one for US NES games and one for Japanese NES games. When the SNES unit is
turned on, the Tri-Star screen shows two options, one for 8-bit play and one
for 16-bit play.
The SNES controllers are used for playing all games, with the B button as the
NES A button, and the Y button as the NES B button.
It’s no wonder there is so little information on this unit. Not only doesn’t
it come with any instructions, but there is no make or manufacturer anywhere
on the box. What little information there is follows:
* The model number is F-012
* The instructions are “Allows You to Play The Latest 8-bit Games
on Your Snes ™” and “Simply Plug into Your Snes ™”
* The copyright date on the title screen is 1993.
The biggest limitation appears to be that the second controller’s select and
start buttons do not work. This isn’t much of a problem on games where the
first person can select a two player option (Pinball), but it renders two
player versions unplayable on games where the second controller’s start
button must be pushed for the second player to enter the game
(Narc, Burgertime). The sample size of this information is 2, so more
information is needed before anything definite can be concluded; however, it
appears that the Tri-Star is missing complete two-player functionality.
* Can this unit play “locked-out” games?
Being a non-Nintendo product, probably. Tengen Pac-Man plays fine, as
do all other NES games that I’ve picked up so far.
* Can non-controller games be played? How?
* Will the gun from Lethal Enforcers (SNES) work with the shooting games?
* Does a Super Gameboy work in the SNES slot?
No. The Super Gameboy border comes up, but the game never loads.
* Do Game Genies work in any of the slots?
Unknown at this time. A “Game Action Replay” will not fit in the slot,
but if the cover is taken off (by removing 4 screws), it will. Games
inserted into the Game Action Replay slot work through the Tri-Star,
but I have no documentation on the GAR, so I don’t know if its features
can be utilized.
7.4 SUPER MARIO BROS 2
When Super Mario Bros. 2 was released back in 1988, it presented a new way
to play videogames. Now you could choose between four different characters,
as you went through the 7 worlds in sub-Con. You can choose between Mario,
Luigi, Toad and the Princess and all four of then has their own pros and
cons. Toad is strong, but slow, the Princess can fly and Mario is just
about good at it all.
The best about Super Mario Bros. 2 was to learn the characters pros and
cons and then use them at the right moment. Ex. the princess can fly across
the waterfalls, while the three others has to jump across by using some
pieces of wood which is lying in the water. The biggest diference between
Super Mario Bros and no. 2 is, that SMB 2 is a dreamworld – Subcon. Sub-Con
is different from the mushroom kingdom in many ways. In Sub-Con there’s
doors, which dissapear again, vegetables, which our hero can dig up of the
field, bombs, magical water and other weird things, which Mario and the
others can use.
In Super Mario Bros. 2 you, for the first time, also saw vertical and
horisontical stages in the same game. The whole game has a touch of
But the American and European Super Mario Bros. 2 was not made to become
what it did. The Japanese SMB 2 started of where SMB left and the americans
dident think that this was a game worth to be released in the rest of the
world and therefore Nintendo quickly bought a japanese platform game called
Doki Doki Panic and reprogrammed it a little bit.
The original hero in Doki Doki Panic was a little guy with a turbo-turban
and harempants – dissapeared and was replased of Nintedo’s plumber hero…
Another difference from the other super Mario games is the main boss. In
Super Mario Bros. 1 & 3 the main boss is called King Koopa (bowser), but
in Super Mario 2 it’s a big toad called Wart. Wart is the most mischievous
of all in the world of dreams. He created monsters by playing with the
dream machine. Wart hates vegetables…
A stage boss, Mario or one of the others will meet many times during their
journey through the dream world, is Ostro. Ostro is a red (or gray)
creature which looks like a dinosaur. He thinks he’s a girl and he spits
eggs from his mouth (or fireballs when he’s gray).
My oppinion about Super Mario Bros. 2 is that it’s a f***in cool game and
a must for every NES game collector. But I’m a bit angry at Nintendo for
not releasing the real Super Mario 2 game in Europe and the states…
In 1994 Nintendo released Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo
System. It was a collection of all the Super Mario games from the NES
(including the japanese Super Mario 2 game) with graphics uptimized to
My fave game on this cart is “The Lost Levels” which is the Japanese SMB 2
game. And now that i’ve played the game (not finished it yet… at world
8-3), I get even more angry at Nintendo, because “The Lost Levels” has to
be the hardest game I’ve ever played. Ok.. it does look like SMB but the
gameplay is much better.. and it has the real Super Mario spirit.
7.8 THE MAKING OF DONKEY KONG
Miyamoto was nearly finished, but the game needed background music. He wrote
it himself, on an electronic keyboard attached to a computer and stereo
cassette deck. When the game was complete, Miyamoto had to name it. He
consulted the company’s export manager, and together they mulled over some
They decided -kong- would be understood to suggest a gorilla.
And since this fierce but cute kong was donkey-stubborn and wily (donkey,
according to their Japanese/English dictionary, was the translation of the
Japanese word for stupid or goofy), they combined the words and named the
game “Donkey Kong”.
Later, when the American sales managers who would sell the game outside
Japan heard the name, they looked at one another in disbelief, thinking
Yamauchi had flipped. “Donkey Hong?” “Konkey Dong?” “Honkey Dong?” It made
Games that were selling had titles that contained words such as mutilation,
destroy, assassinate, annihilate. When they played “Donkey Kong,” they were
even more horrified. The salesmen were used to battle games with space
invaders, and heroes shooting lasers at aliens. One hated “Donkey Kong”
so much that he began looking for a new job.
Yamauchi heard all the feedback but ignored it. “Donkey Kong,” released in
1981, became Nintendo’s first super-smash hit.
7.9 THE VIDEOGAME CRASH
After the videogame crash of 1984, Atari was reluctant to release its Atari
7800 Prosystem and instead let its stock of the consoles sit in a warehouse.
Meanwhile, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), a huge hit in Japan as
the Famicom, was released in 1985. Seeing the success of the NES, Atari
started pushing the 7800, but a new generation of gamers was in place
a generation hooked on Super Mario Brothers, not Pole Position.
Soon afterward, Sega released its Master System (SMS) into the resurging
videogame market. All three systems are 8-bit systems with similar
capabilties, though technically, the SMS and 7800 had some advantages over
Why, then, did the NES hold approximately 90% of the 8-bit market? The 7800
and SMS lacked one key component to success: a monopolistic third-party
policy like Nintendo had. Once Nintendo lured the hit licenses to its
system, they didn’t make it to the other systems. And what happened to all
of those arcade licenses Atari had? Those went to Atari Games, the arcade
division, which became a separate company from Atari Corp. after the
Tramiels took over. Ironically, Tengen (the home game division of Atari
Games) was the first third-party company to break Nintendo’s lock-out code
and went on to produce some pretty good versions of Atari’s arcade games for
The SMS and 7800 had to be content with mostly first-party games and a few
conversions of arcade hits by Activision. Even with conversions of many Sega
arcade games, the SMS didn’t fare well
(but was extremely popular in Europe!).
In 1987, Atari started pushing its systems (at this point, the 2600jr, the
7800, and the XE Game System) with a decent TV campaign. But the new, leaner
Atari had to support three different systems, two of which were made of
ten-year-old technology (the XE Game System is an Atari 8-Bit computer in a
pretty new case, and the 2600jr is–you guessed it–the venerable VCS in a
smaller package). They just couldn’t compete with “The Big N.”
7.10 CONSUMER ELECTRONIC SHOW (JUNE 1985)
At the June 1985 Consumer Electronics Show, Nintendo debuted what Arakawa
had renamed the Nintendo Entertainment System, or the NES. The operative
word was entertainment. Everything Nintendo would do to sell the machine
would emphasize this.
The reaction at the new show was somewhat better. Buyers liked ROB. Still,
they were reluctant to place orders.
Arakawa stubbornly ignored the reaction. He said that the people in the
industry were jaded. Kids would love it, he believed. To prove it, he
commissioned focus-group studies in New Jersey. From behind a one-way
mirror, he watched a random sampling of young boys play the NES and heard
them say how much they hated it. Typical was the coment of an eight-year
old: “This is shit!”
7.11 ACTION 52 & CHEETAH MEN 2
Active Enterprises (305/559-0711 Miami, Florida) was the company responsible
for the development and release of the Action52 game pak which was released
in May 1992. All games were created and developed in the U.S.
The Action52 cartridge utilizes 16 megabits (four 4-meg chips) of storage
ROM. The games in the Action52 shares software drivers which handle common
functions for all the games, such as menu-selection, basic jumping and
shooting and a few other features.
Active Enterprises has programmed all games themselves which means that this
is not one of those many illegal multicartridges floating around in the
world. The games in the Action52 has from 3 to 20 stages each.
One of the Action52 games is Ninja Assault which is a four-level action with
sampled voices and sound. It is short on storyline, but big on hack-‘n’-slash
action. Billy Bob is a cartridge cowboy, who must save his sweetheart,
Marylou, from the bad guys. Time Warp Tickers takes place across a
wierd-looking , surrealistic landscape. The hero is a hand á la the thing in
Addams Family, specifically an index finger, a third finger and a thumb.
The Action52 has a showcase too. The Cheetahmen is a six level,
action/adventure with characters that will also star in their own seperate
NES cartridge (More about Cheetahmen 2 later) and possibly in a syndicated
cartoon show. You guide three giant Cheetahmen in their fight against the
evil beings running GameLand.
The cart was priced at an eyeopening $199 suggested retail back then. Devide
that by 52 and you get Active Enterprises marketing strategy for the Action52
and a key attraction of multi-cart – price per game. A Sega Genesis version
of the Action52 was slated for a September 1992 release.
Action52 is still sold, in the UK for œ99 by a company called Telegames.
Because after Active Enterprises went out of business in 1995 their stock
of cartridges were shipped to Europe.
Active Enterprises, was basically just some guy who in his garage was putting
out these carts, atleast thats what the rumour says. The games does look like
they were made by some amature, but if you take a good look at the cartridge
itself it is very professional made.
A couple of the games don’t work on the new-style US NES. They are: Alfredo
Here’s a list of games in the Action52 (by Mark Knibbs)
# Menu name In-game name, if different from menu name
– ——— —————————————–
1 FIREBREATHER FIRE BREATHERS
2 STAREVIL STAR EVIL
4 G-FORCE FGT. G-FORCE
6 SILVER SWORD
7 CRITICAL BP. CRITICAL BYPASS
8 JUPITR SCOPE JUPITER SCOPE
9 ALFREDO ALFREDO N THE FETTUC
10 OPERAT. MOON OPERATION FULL MOON
11 DAM BUSTERS
13 HAUNTED HILL HAUNTED HALLS
14 CHILL OUT
17 FRENCH BAKER
18 ATMOS QUAKE
20 SPACE DREAMS
21 STREEMERZ [no title on game screen]
22 SPREAD FIRE
23 BUBLGUM ROSY BUBBLE GUM ROSSIE
24 MICRO MIKE MICRO-MIKE
26 ROCKET JOCK ROCKET JOCKEY
27 NON HUMAN
28 CRY BABY
30 CRAZY SHUFLE CRAZY SHUFFLE
31 FUZZ POWER
32 SHOOTING GAL SHOOTING GALLERY
33 LOLLIPOPS LOLLIPOP
34 EVIL EMPIRE
36 STORM OVER D STORM OVER THE DESERT
37 MASH MAN
38 THEY CAME THEY CAME…
39 LAZER LEAGUE
40 BILLY BOB [no title on game screen]
41 CITY OF DOOM
42 BITS N PIECE BITS AND PIECES
43 BEEPS N BLIP BEEPS AND BLIPS
47 HAMBO HAMBOS ADVENTURES
48 TIMEWARP TIME WARP TICKERS
50 NINJA ASAULT NINJA ASSAULT
51 ROBBIE ROBOT ROBBIE N THE ROBOTS
52 CHEETAH MEN ACTION GAMEMASTER
Besides the Action52 cartridge Active Enterprises released Cheetahmen 2 as a
single game cartridge. The game was assembled in the leftovers from the
Action52 production, so the two cartridges are identical except from a small
golden sticker on on the back which says “Cheetamen 2″…. yes they spelled
the name wrong!!!!
Cheetahmen 2 was a follow up on one of the game on the Action52. And just as
the games on the Action52 the Cheetahmen 2 is very bad programmed. Bad
screenflicker and a main character who cannot jump very high or very good
makes this game the worst, yes the worst game ever!
The game has no manual, it does include a yellow piece of paper but it is
a guide for people who cannot get their Action52 cartridge to
load up, they probably also had to get rid of these too so they included them
in the Cheetahman 2 pack.
None of the two Active Enterprises game paks are licensed by Nintendo.
8. MISC ARTICLES
8.1 PLAYING PINBALL WITHOUT QUATERS
Nintendo’s Pinball was one of the very first cartridges released, wayback
in October 1985. Most of those early games were simple action-adventures or
sports simulations that have been surpassed by more recent titles.
But Pinball still compares well with newer pinball games. Pinball was a
perfect game for the newly introduced Nintendo system because you can play
it–and play it well–even if you have never held a controller before. The
buttons control flippers similar to those on a real pinball machine, and the
feel of the silver ball bouncing around is quite like the real thing.
Nintendo Pinball doesn’t have animated penguins on springs, but it does have
charming graphics, decent sound effects, and enough special features to
please any pinball fan. Pinball also gives a supporting role to a character
who went on to star in his own Nintendo games–Mario. When youenter a bonus
round, you get to help Mario with what could be his very first rescue of a
8.2 MAZES AND SPACE ZAPPING
Perhaps Section Z remains popular because of its “special solar-energized,
jet-propelled super-sonic spacesuit,” as it says on the box. But a more
likely reason is that Section Z was one of the first games to take a space
game beyond simple arcade action.
In Section Z, the Balangools are threatening Earth with galactictyranny. Not
only are they thoroughly bad characters, but they have also joined a host of
other despicable aliens at a base near Earth.
As Captain Commando, you must infiltrate the Balangoolbase, a maze of
connected hallways labeled from A to Z. At the end of each corridor is a
generator and two exits. Choose the correct exit, and you’ll end up a little
closer to Brain-L, the center of the base. But take the wrong exit, and you
might have to retrace a lot of steps.
Section Z is more complex than many arcade games, although it’s still a long
way from Zelda. Since most gamers’ interests fall between thc two extremes,
Section Z remains a happy compromise between relentless action and the
demands of thoughtful planning.
8.3 SLAM-DUNK ACTION
Double Dribble is sure to get a lot of competition from the new kids on the
block, including Hoops, Jordan vs. Bird: One on One, and Magic Johnson’s
Fast Break. But there’s something exciting about Double Dribble that the
other games have been hard-pressed to equal.
Most basketball games give you options for teams, skill levels, and time
limits. In Double Dribble, there are only four teams to choose from Boston,
Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. You can pass the ball down the court
from player to player, find someone open, and watch the screen graphicsas he
slam-dunks. The switch from full court action to the slam dunk isterrific,
even though the players don’t always follow through with scoringa basket.
But then, neither does Michael Jordan.
The rest of the action, which includes jump balls, free throws,fouls,
stealing, and a half-time show, is smooth and easy to control.
Double Dribble is a good two-player game, and the computer is a formidable
opponent as well.
8.4 THE WINNER… AND STILL CHAMP
With the exception of the Zelda and Mario Bros. series, no other Nintendo
game has been as popular as Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Almost all polls still
rank this boxing simulation in the top ten, where it has been since its
release in October 1987.
Punch-Out is very easy to play–even gamers with little or no Nintendo
Experience won’t have any trouble jumping right into the middle of the
action. Little Mac, the diminutive hero of the game, must fight his way up
through alist of has-been boxers and real contenders before taking on Mike
Luckily, Little Mac’s opponents have idiosyncracies that help defeat them.
Bald Bull, for example, always charges at you. If you wait until his third
jump and then hit him with a left, he’ll go down for the count. Likewise, if
you sock King Hippo when he opens his mouth, he’ll leave hisample stomach
unprotected and present you with a perfect target.
Passwords allow you to replay any half-finished game or choose any opponent,
even Tyson. But don’t expect an easy fight. Even the best game players have
a very tough time against the champ.That Karate Movie Comes Alive since the
great majority of Nintendo hits originated in Japan, it’s not surprising
that there are so many martial-arts games.
But many of these games can’t combine the art of self-defense with a strong
story line, so you end up with either a tutorial game or a pure fighting
game in which you do battle not only with your hands, but also with any
weapon you can find, from baseball bats to knives.
Since The Karate Kid was based on the popular movie The Karate Kid II, it
had a ready-made plot. And unlike some other video-games based on box-office
hits (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or Back to the Future), The
Karate Kid was effectively translated into the videogame format.
The hero, Daniel, begins in the United States, taking on competitors in a
karate tournament. Then he travels to Okinawa, where he fights dozens of
opponents alongside Japanese pagodas and other colorful scenery. Enemies
keepcoming, even when a typhoon strikes, and Daniel must protect himself
and rescue a small girl.
There are three bonus rounds in which you have to catch flies with
chopsticks, chop through six slabs of ice, or dodge a swinging hammer.
Other than the chopsticks, you never use a weapon in The Karate Kid–except
for your own drum punches and crane kicks.
8.5 THE BEST GAME THAT NEVER QUITE CAUGHT
On It’s surprising that Karnov never became truly popular. Terrific
graphics, fast action, nine complicated (but not impossible) levels–it
seemed Karnov had everything it needed to reach the top. It was released in
January 1988. If you can still find a copy, you might want to give Karnov
In this game, the treasure of Babylon has been stolen, and Karnov–a famous
circus strongman– is the only one with the muscles and brains to recover
the cache. It’s no easy trek. You are beset by stone-throwing monsters,
deadly sea creatures, flame-throwing lions, androids, pirates, and hordes of
But you can pick up boots for extra jumping power, eyeglasses forseeing
hidden enemies, clappers that kill all enemies on screen, bombs,boomerangs,
wings, swimming masks, and shields.
Karnov has vivid, varied graphics. The game’s nine levels takeKarnov from
rocky terrain to an ice world to an arid desert to a fortressin the sky.
Karnov can walk (he’s a little too large to run), swim, and even fly in
search of the stolen treasure.
Some NES games have remained popular from the moment they were released.
Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II:
The Adventure of Link are all phenomenal and long-lived hits. Castlevania
has been a hit since May 1987, and Metroid since August of that year.
We still receive letters from fans of Mighty Bomb Jack and Rambo, other
releases from 1987.
But how many people remember Clu Clu Land? Or Ice Climber? And look how far
sports simulations have come since the generic and outdated Baseball and
Golf cartridges. It takes a game with a little something extra to get
(and keep) everyone’s interest.
9. RUMOURS & LAWSUITS
9.1 TETRIS LAWSUIT/RARITY OF TENGEN TETRIS
Tengen was a subsidiary of Atari Games (not Atari Corp.; Atari Games made
arcade games only while Atari Corp. produced the 2600, 7800, Jaguar, etc.).
Tengen was originally a legal licensee of Nintendo, but this changed pretty
quickly in 1988 when Atari sued Nintendo for $100 million, alleging that
Nintendo was creating a monopoly thanks to its licensing system and the fact
that it was the sole manufacturer of cartridges for all licensees.
At the same time, Tengen/Atari announced that they had found a way to bypass
the so-called “lockout chip” that prevented non-licensees from producing NES
games. Tengen quickly released Gauntlet, Pac-man and RBI Baseball with the
new-style system, even though “legal” copies of the game from the licensed
days were still around.
The year after, Tengen formally terminated their licensing agreement with
Nintendo, since they were able to manufacture their own carts by this time.
Naturally, Nintendo sued the pants off of them for copyright infringement
and breach of contract (since Nintendo had patented the lockout device, they
alleged that Tengen got around the chip by simply copying it).
Finally – and more related to this – in the summer of 1989, both Tengen and
Nintendo made NES versions of Tetris. Tengen got the rights to make it from
MirrorSoft, a European company who got the rights to distribute Tetris in
Europe. Nintendo, however, actually got the rights from the Soviet Foreign
Trade Association. So, both companies sued the pants off of each other to
see who would be able to sell Tetris in America.
Tengen lost this case, since MirrorSoft didn’t really have the right to
grant licenses anyway. The European company turned out to be the big loser
in the whole thing, since they had to pay the damages the court gave to
Nintendo for lost sales. But the most interesting thing of all (to
collectors anyway) is that, as a result of the case, all copies of Tengen
Tetris were taken off the shelves. Instant rarity!
It’s actually too bad that this one is a rarity, because it’s really the
better version of the two released. I mean, Nintendo’s version didn’t even
have a real two-player mode, while Tengen’s has two different two-player
games. In the one pictured above, making multiple lines causes the other
player’s stack to get larger, much like the two-player mode in Nintendo’s
Game Boy version.
The really cool bit of the game, and one that I haven’t seen anywhere else
(not that I’ve been keeping up on Tetris clones), is the competition mode.
Here, both players get different pieces and just try to create lines in one
really huge bin, instead of two separate playfields. This is a lot of fun.
You have to act quickly, since the other player may decide to dart his piece
into the hole you were aiming your own piece at, and he gets the score for
any lines he finishes. You can try screwing your opponent over by
deliberately creating and covering holes, but you need to watch that you
don’t kill the game in the process.
What most people don’t know is, that there actually are a third TETRIS game
for the NES. It’s made by Bullet-Proof Software. The funny thing about this
game is that there’s a screen with all license agreements which are like the
TETRIS TM AND COPYRIGHT 1987 ACADEMYSOFT-ELROG
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
TETRIS IS LICENSED TO ANDROMEDA SOFTWARE LTD
AND SUBLICENSED TO MIRRORSOFT LTD., SPHERE INC.,
TENGEN INC. AND BULLET-PROOF SOFTWARE INC.
COPYRIGHT 1988 TENGEN INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
COPYRIGHT 1988 BULLET-PROOF ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ORIGINAL CONCEPT BY ALEXEY PAZHITNOV
ORIGINAL DESIGN AND PROGRAM BY VADIM GERASIMOV.
Now where is the “licensed by Nintendo” line?
I haven’t been able to find out what relation this TETRIS game has to Tengen
or Nintendo. But one thing is sure and that is, that Nintendo never released
this game….. it would have sucked too much or would it?.
My guess that this is a version of TETRIS that Bullet-Proof had made for
Tengen, but when they saw how much it sucked they made a brand new version
which were the one that Nintendo sued TENGEN for….
If you know the truth about this 3rd TETRIS game… plase e-mail me:
9.3 COLOR DREAMS HELLRAISER CARTRIDGE
if you were an NES junkie during 90-91 you probably heard of Color Dreams.
It got its notoriety from publishing non-licensed NES games. All in all they
sold 25 titles for the 8-bit.
But one special game from Color Dreams never reached the gamers. Though you
might have seen adds and screenshots from the game… but why wasen’t it
released and why did everyone talk so much about it?… what was so special?
Well, rumors at the time said that the game had some sort of special version
of a MMC chip in it that actually contained an extra 8-bit processor. Dubbed
by gamers the “Super C” chip, it would supposedly let your 8-bit Nintendo
display graphics like a 16-bit machine. Other more fabulous rumors even
suggested that the cartridge used the bottom row of pins to access an unused
duplicate 8-bit processor on the NES motherboard. This rumored processor was
assumed to have something to do with the “mystery port” on the bottom of the
Unbelievably, the actual history is not far from the rumor. The game
Hellraiser was engineered during the year 1990. The cartridge had a Z-80
processor in it running at 2 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second). This
gave the game 3 times the computational power of the NES console alone. The
cartridge also had 64k of RAM (Random Access Memory) on-board. This means
that the game could store 64 thousand characters of information independent
of the NES console.
In Hellraiser, the game fully bitmapped out the screen to memory first
(the processor on the game could draw with more colors, and handle more
sprites at one time than the NES).
The potential price that dictated the life of this game. It would have cost
in the range of $80 for someone to buy, and because most stores refused to
carry Color Dream’s games for fear of retaliation from the Big “N”,
consumers would have had a difficult time buying the game–thereby causing
potentially small sales. In the end it all came down to the issue of money
as it does with many things in life, and the title was scrapped to a box to
gather dust. There might not even be one single working copy of the game
existing.. according to Color Dreams.
11. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND CREDITS
Special thanks to (in no special order):
J. Eric Townsend
Ken Grifford (“tsr’s NES archive”)
VmprHntrD (runs the NES WORLD JUKEBOX)
11.2 WHERE YOU CAN FIND THIS FAQ
The latest edition of THE NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM FAQ can be found
at NES WORLDs homepage:
Parts of “History of Nintendo”, taken from Nintendo of America’s homepage
(www.nintendo.com), used for the Timeline.
Unrom and MMC info provided by Jeff Kennedy (aka Vmprhntrd).
Software info taken from Y0SHi’s NES DEV document.
(C) NES WORLD 1997
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
URL : http://pengu.v-wave.com/nesworld