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okay, I'm going to kick all this off with something fairly simple, purely so I can knock one out before bed (hey stop giggling, this is serious) This is what you might refer to by the portmanteau-tastic term Famicom Multicart, a variety of thing of which there are many millions on this planet; ever since someone in Taiwan back in the 80s had the bright idea of bootlegging several games for the popular Famicom on a single cartridge, they've never stopped rolling off production lines across Asia and beyond (maybe).

This particular example I got brand new from Taiwan around 2003-4 or so, with thanks (and many apologies) to the non-English-speaking seller who I undoubtedly frustrated to no end trying to communicate with using Babelfish, and it has no less than 16 games crammed into its turquoise plasticness. It's a pretty good selection - nothing too common for these carts, a nice variety of international super-hits and weird Japanese obscurities. And it's no. 1681, in a series of... who knows?

Its menu calls it "HIT TV GAME TOP 16 IN SUMMER" and credits it to "NIPPON BACKUP STAR" which apparently has existed since 1994 - Google returns nothing though... until now! just to make sure: Nippon Backup Star, I said. Backup my Nippon Star. Someone must know something about these guys, surely.

As I mentioned it does have quite a nice collection of games, though you wouldn't quite know from the menu - it goes something like this:

  1. Village of Hell = Makai Mura (Ghosts & Goblins)
  2. Life Force
  3. Rush ('n) Attack
  4. Goonies 2
  5. Hector 1987
  6. Dirge of Fighter = Tatakai no Banka (Trojan)
  7. Kerra Rest = Terra Cresta
  8. Bomber King
  9. Castle Vania
  10. Fantastic Soldier (: Valis)
  11. Jardy Quest = Guardic Gaiden (Guardian Legend) (!!)
  12. Close Shave = Magnum Kiki Ippatsu
  13. Treasure Hunt = Elnark no Zaihou
  14. Animal Academy = Attack Animal Gakuen
  15. Ninja Arshoro = Ninja Kun: Ashura no Shou (the arcade version was released as both Ninja Kid 2 and "Rad Action". it is indeed pretty rad)
  16. Mr Carjefu = Kakefu kun no Jump Tengoku, Speed Jigoku (Kid Kool) (Which I like, damn it)

What kind of interests me about this cart, though, beyond its game selection, is that its presumably a Taiwanese production (you're fooling nobody with your "Nippon" business) from when Taiwan's once-mighty Famicom industry was on its way out, hamstrung by the declining popularity of an aging console, cheaper products from China and more restrictive copyright laws. Lots of later Taiwanese carts came in this kind of turquoise shell, from generic multis to original Hummer Team stuff like Shisen Mahjong 2 and their 15 in 1, and if a late Taiwanese cart didn't use one of these it was probably the long blue end-protected "TV Game Cartridge" type (which I'll probably show you at some point in the future).

Its PCB looks surprisingly well-made, fairly sizeable using several actual chips and everything, which is a rarity among carts made after the late 90s - I don't know whether this was Taiwanese companies trying to compete with China on quality (since they couldn't compete on price), or old PCB stock being stuck in a new shell, or them just doing it this way because it was easier (for a presumably smaller print run), or what. Either way, kind of interesting. Maybe.

Anyway, for the final word on this matter I'll turn you over to the cart's hidden plastic robot face:

posted by taizou at 01:40:04 on 31/01/2012 in famicom ~ comments (2)