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Thread: The wonders of a famiclone childhood

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    WCPO Agent Orchid87's Avatar
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    NES The wonders of a famiclone childhood

    Is there anyone else here who spent his childhood in a shithole that had no official NES release? I have a weird nostalgia for that time.

    Gaming was simple for you, first world countries gamers. You read your favorite gaming magazine, learned that a game was released recently. Then you walked into a store and simply bought it. More hardcore types probably kept in mind games release dates that were published in those magazines and went to a store on those dates. So, pretty much like the recent times, except no Internet.

    I've spent my childhood in a couple of post-Soviet countries (we moved a lot) and it was quite different there. First of all, instead of NES we had famiclones. Even before the likes of Pegasus and Dendy, there were chinese famiclones, the most common one looked like this:



    But most importantly there were no magazines up until the Megadrive became widespread. There were no release dates too. We were in a complete blackout.
    We went to our local flea market and saw what was sold there. And we were in for a treat! The biggest perk of a famiclone gaming is Famicom exclusive games that many Westerners discovered only on the Internet. Kunio Kun games were the most desired. There were multicarts that had 5-7 of them! I myself had a cart with Recca (it was a 3-in-1 cart with Bucky O'Hare and Top Gun 2). My friend had Crisis Force (we argued a lot which one was better, CF or Recca). Also one of my favorites was Captain Tsubasa II - once you make yourself familiar with japanese menu for ingame actions it becomes very playable. Some less known today but still fun games like Layla, Choujin Sentai Jetman or Donald Land (it is actually a Ronald Macdonald game, really nice one) were available too. You can point a finger at any game in a Famicom exclusive game list and most likely me or either of my friends owned it at some time. The exceptions were text heavy adventure games which weren't sold at our local markets for obvious reasons. The funniest thing about this is that many carts were rare and for multicarts I never ever saw two idential ones, except those 1000-in-1 cart with simple games. This made all of us collectors and traders. You went to a flea market "on the hunt" to find some cool rare game. You made deals with salesmen to keep watch for nice stuff, and they keeped it for you at a higher price, but for the rare games that nobody else had,it was a small price to pay. You had a cool rare game and suddenly everyone wants to trade with you. Friendships were made but so were the grudges. I once went "to beat the shit out" of the guy with whom we swapped games for a week and then he traded my precious game with someone else. I don't even remember what that game was, but this guys mom had a serious talk with both of us and we became friends some time later.

    Some other things: we had NES exclusive game in a famicom form factor too. Basically we had the best of both worlds at the expense of being several years behind. We didn't care though since, as I said, we didn't have gaming news or magazines. All of the games that had both Famicom and NES releases, we had in japanese. Exception is the original Contra as pirating the NES version is much cheaper. The infamous pirate ports of 16-bit games became widespread at the same time the actual 16-bit hardware became widespread for us. I had Mortal Kombat II on Megadrive, one of my friends played it on a famiclone and we were fine. We both were envy of our third friend which had the game on his SNES though. We compensated by making fun of him since SNES carts were much harder to buy and his only other game was Desert Strike. His parents didn't allow him the second console too.
    Last edited by Orchid87; 07-24-2018 at 05:10 AM.
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    Is there anyone else here who spent his childhood in a shithole that had no official NES release?
    Here I am, from Georgia (former USSR now EU)

    Raised on 99999 in 1 mutlicarts, shitty hacks, FamiClones s.a. Dendy, Subor and Terminator(A.K.A. Ending Man) and of course no Castlevania 3. not to forget that we got it around 92-93 which is almost a decade late from the original Famicom release lol.

    My first Mega Drive (from 98-99 as I recall) was a Model 1 clone and is almost identical to the original one in terms of both hardware and build quality, supports both Sega CD and 32x lol..
    Later on in PSX era all PSX consoles were sold as new but pre-modded to play anything from anywhere.

    I remember that little game store filled with bootleg games, I once bought a legit Asian release of Virtua Racing there, just because the cart looked weird (also it was super expensive) and was blown away by 3d graphics.

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    WCPO Agent Orchid87's Avatar
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    92-93 is I think when Dendy and Subor first appeared. Asian, non-rebranded famiclones were available in Russia and baltic region (Estonia for example) a couple of years before, circa 1990. From that time up until mid-90s, IMO, was the best period for famiclones because you could get really quality hardware and rare games. 95-97 was the 16-bit era for us and at the time the quality of 8-bit clones went into a nosedive. Crappy Nes-on-a-chip consoles and carts with such thin PCB it barely connects and works. It also was the time when gaming magazines started to appear, so we learned gaming news just like the rest of the world. PS1 appeared in 97, first in "gaming cafes" because at the time not everyone could afford having one at home. I've got mine in late 1998 but by that time I was spoiled by Quake and Red Alert on my dads PC. Maybe that's why I am mostly a PC gamer who enjoys only classic consoles. Still, playing on the famiclones in early 90's is probably my favorite gaming period. Maybe not for the games themselves but for all the weird and funny stuff that happened with our newborn gaming community around that time.
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    I actually did grow up in the west but it was a small shop in Irkutsk Syberia which rekindled my interest in retrogames. My wife was studying there and I went to visit her there I found this awesome Sega store. I snapped up bootleg copies of all the games I wanted as a kid like alien soldier and Castlevania. and this is how my thrifting and retrocollecting really took off.

    I even made threads about it back in the day:
    http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthr...it-the-jackpot


    http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthr...ssian-bootlegs

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    Antiquing Hedgehog Lord QuickSciFi's Avatar
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    You guys had famiclones? You were so lucky. I saw a couple of kids with an LED racing game on two occasions growing up. I got to hold one in my hands for like 20 seconds on one of those two occasions. I was thrilled!

    Other gaming experiences I had were Pac-Man on a PC at an expo, a Popeye arcade and a Galaga/Centipede multicab of some sort. Good times.

    But yes, these are the sort of piecemeal experiences that make one appreciate things all the more.

    P.S.> I did come in 94, so console gaming was not even heard of in Cuba by then. But I do have a friend who did enjoy a famiclone as his first console circa 98. I may ask him to join the forums to share his experience. I love listening to his stories growing up.

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    Mastering your Systems Shining Hero TmEE's Avatar
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    Apart from the flea market hunts (lived waaaay to far away from such things) my experiences were similar. I had lot of great games to play, on not so bad famiclones, and we did cartridge swaps with friends to play even more games. Mega Drive never became a thing here, nor SNES, Saturn, N64 or Dreamcast. Eventually PSX came and ruled everything and later PS2 did the same.

    I (or rather my father) had these Haili controllers at one point for our Ending Man S-500 (because original ones died). That thing got years of (ab)use lol
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    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    I'll just summarize it as follows: "what do you mean Battle City was a Japan exclusive?"

    And famiclones on Argentina looked pretty much like the real thing (talking about the shell) aside from the slight quirk. Oh, and the A/B buttons were round, not square. Though note that I'm bringing this being already in the 90s.

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    WCPO Agent Orchid87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    I'll just summarize it as follows: "what do you mean Battle City was a Japan exclusive?"
    Whoa, WAIT A MINUTE!
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    Btw I only learned that it was called Battle City about 5 years ago. Because I've only owned bootleg copies of it which never even mentioned the real name. We always called them "Tanchiki" (i.e. Tanks)

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    This talk about Battle City reminded me of the moment when I realized something.
    See this cheap multicart, containing Battle City, Wild Gunman, Duck Hunt and Hogans Alley? Notice anything weird?



    And this is how the original carts look. I almost shat bricks upon the realization. WTF even happened to the tank cannon?

    Also this reimagining of a Slam Masters art for a pirate Street Fighter game is glorious:



    I really enjoy this kind of creativity in early famiclone years. A decade later pirates would just stick a picture of Duke Nukem on a Contra game or Master Chief on a Robocop game. Lame cheap fucks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orchid87 View Post
    Also this reimagining of a Slam Masters art for a pirate Street Fighter game is glorious:
    Hell, it's better than some of the official stuff. At least Chun Li doesn't look like Ray Romano with tits (SF2 SNES/DOS cover art).

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    Raging in the Streets Yharnamresident's Avatar
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    The strange thing is console gaming still isn't really that popular in a lot of the post-Soviet countries, like Russian gamers of today much prefer the PC. I know Poland is a Sony stronghold, but was it even part of the Soviet Union?

    I definitely don't relate to you guys with this famiclone stuff, but that was just my general thoughts.
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    Extreme Procrastinator Master of Shinobi Flygon's Avatar
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    Cloning a Famicom or Mega Drive for cheap is a whole hell of a lot easier than cloning a PlayStation for cheap.

    Never mind anything even newer.

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    Raging in the Streets Thierry Henry's Avatar
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    The various Famiclone systems and carts were big in this neck of the woods.

    Our "unofficial/official" one was called the 'Golden China'. Sometimes also branded as "Reggie's Entertainment System". These were widely available, and especially from the various Reggie's stores around the country.
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    WCPO Agent Orchid87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yharnamresident View Post
    The strange thing is console gaming still isn't really that popular in a lot of the post-Soviet countries, like Russian gamers of today much prefer the PC. I know Poland is a Sony stronghold, but was it even part of the Soviet Union?

    I definitely don't relate to you guys with this famiclone stuff, but that was just my general thoughts.
    Playstation was really huge. So was Dreamcast. Things kinda slowed down with PS2 introduction. In 2000-2001 almost every household seemed to have a mid-range PC. Basically, parents bought their kids PCs instead of consoles because PCs could be used for studying while consoles are just "silly games".
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