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Unlicensed NES games.

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This may be a stupid question but how did all the unlicensed NES games get sold. I mean, didn't Nintendo go after them etc. It just seems unlikely that so many of these games got out there in the main stream along side licensed games and nintendo didn't care.

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This may be a stupid question but how did all the unlicensed NES games get sold. I mean, didn't Nintendo go after them etc. It just seems unlikely that so many of these games got out there in the main stream along side licensed games and nintendo didn't care.

 

Nintendo did care. They sued every company that made unlicensed games. They threatened retailers that if they sold unlicensed games, they would not be able to sell any Nintendo games. I believe that Nintendo lost in court.

 

I know they sued Tengen for copying their lockout chip. At first Tengen made licensed games, then copied the chip and then sold unlicensed games.

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I know they sued Tengen for copying their lockout chip. At first Tengen made licensed games, then copied the chip and then sold unlicensed games.

 

More important is the fact that Tengen released one of the same games Nintendo did. Recall that both Nintendo and Tengen did NES versions of Tetris. Most prefer the Tengen version, though, because of the VS. mode.

 

Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

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I know they sued Tengen for copying their lockout chip. At first Tengen made licensed games, then copied the chip and then sold unlicensed games.

 

More important is the fact that Tengen released one of the same games Nintendo did. Recall that both Nintendo and Tengen did NES versions of Tetris. Most prefer the Tengen version, though, because of the VS. mode.

 

Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

 

explain how this is a slap in the face, tengen's version was first, but tengen had the computer rights, while nintendo got the rights for home video game systems.

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Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

 

I love all my Nintendo systems but Nintendo deserved whatever happened to them, with their crazy license fees and bullying game makers and retailers.

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Let's not forget that Tengen was a thinly veiled offshoot of Atari.

 

:ponder: :)

 

Oh, if only Atari had made the wise decision to market the NES under their brand in the US... none of that nastiness would have happened. (But I'm sure plenty of other nastiness would've happened in its place.)

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Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

 

I love all my Nintendo systems but Nintendo deserved whatever happened to them, with their crazy license fees and bullying game makers and retailers.

 

You mean they deserved having the #1 system two generations in a row, and two of the top selling systems of all time?

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Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

 

I love all my Nintendo systems but Nintendo deserved whatever happened to them, with their crazy license fees and bullying game makers and retailers.

 

You mean they deserved having the #1 system two generations in a row, and two of the top selling systems of all time?

 

I'm not saying they don't make great systems.

 

Every time I hear Nintendo complain about third party support for the Gamecube, I laugh because they bullied everybody in the 1980's so they deserve whatever they get.

 

They were #1 back then, now they are #3 in a 3 horse race.

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I know they sued Tengen for copying their lockout chip. At first Tengen made licensed games, then copied the chip and then sold unlicensed games.

 

More important is the fact that Tengen released one of the same games Nintendo did. Recall that both Nintendo and Tengen did NES versions of Tetris. Most prefer the Tengen version, though, because of the VS. mode.

 

Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

The irony for me is that Tengen, while unlicensed and marked "bad" by Nintendo, made some pretty decent, good games for the NES. For example their ports of Tetris, Ms. Pac-Man and Gauntlet are excellent. The first two are filled with multiplayer modes and extra options (co-op Ms. Pacman anyone?). Tengen's Gauntlet had a password save that allowed you to continue and take your character with you to your friend's house. The officially licensed Gauntlet II had better graphics but did not offer the extra gameplay Tengen Gauntlet had.

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Tengen kicked ass on the NES!

  • ... back when arcade licenses really meant something, they brought a lot to the system. F$ck Nintendo for trying to bully them off the system.

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I know they sued Tengen for copying their lockout chip. At first Tengen made licensed games, then copied the chip and then sold unlicensed games.

 

More important is the fact that Tengen released one of the same games Nintendo did. Recall that both Nintendo and Tengen did NES versions of Tetris. Most prefer the Tengen version, though, because of the VS. mode.

 

Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

 

explain how this is a slap in the face, tengen's version was first, but tengen had the computer rights, while nintendo got the rights for home video game systems.

 

Well perhaps "slap in the face" is a poor choice of words. But what I mean is that Tengen and Nintendo both came out with their respective versions of Tetris. Tengen's version offered two-player modes, while Nintendo just delivered the standard Tetris game. Well to be outdone on one's own console by an unlicensed title. Just seems to me that might be the straw that broke the camel's back between Nintendo and Tengen. Definitely one of many, anyway.

 

Thing that would've amazed me would've been if Tengen had've used their unlicensed status to develop custom chips in their carts to excel over what the rest of the licensed companies were doing at the time, or afterwards. NES versions of S.T.U.N. Runner anyone? :D

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I know they sued Tengen for copying their lockout chip. At first Tengen made licensed games, then copied the chip and then sold unlicensed games.

 

More important is the fact that Tengen released one of the same games Nintendo did. Recall that both Nintendo and Tengen did NES versions of Tetris. Most prefer the Tengen version, though, because of the VS. mode.

 

Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

The irony for me is that Tengen, while unlicensed and marked "bad" by Nintendo, made some pretty decent, good games for the NES. For example their ports of Tetris, Ms. Pac-Man and Gauntlet are excellent. The first two are filled with multiplayer modes and extra options (co-op Ms. Pacman anyone?). Tengen's Gauntlet had a password save that allowed you to continue and take your character with you to your friend's house. The officially licensed Gauntlet II had better graphics but did not offer the extra gameplay Tengen Gauntlet had.

Don't forget... Tengen only made unlicensed carts because Nintendo kept denying them licenses for games they ADMITTED were damn good and well worth releasing. But "OMG TEH ROMZ ARE RAER WE CAN'T MAEK TIHS MANY CARTZ!111" so they "had" to deny the license. Yuo know, because the roms were rare. Or rather, Because Nintendo wanted to keep games in short supply.

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We know that Nintendo has a problem with religious imagery in their games (along with other offensive images like swastikas in games like Doom), so i'm wondering if they really tried to shut down a non-licensed company like Wisdom Tree, or did they 'look the other way' when it came to a Christian game company? Or was it because they sold so few games, it wasn't worth it to sue?

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Still I'd say this was the ultimate slap in the face to Nintendo, nevermind the licensing screw-over.

 

I love all my Nintendo systems but Nintendo deserved whatever happened to them, with their crazy license fees and bullying game makers and retailers.

 

You mean they deserved having the #1 system two generations in a row, and two of the top selling systems of all time?

 

 

thats a stretch, the SNES wasnt number 1 in the 16 bit era until late in the game (1994), the Saturn and PSX were out the next year

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thats a stretch, the SNES wasnt number 1 in the 16 bit era until late in the game (1994), the Saturn and PSX were out the next year

 

Yes, but at the end of the era, when the smoke cleared, more SNESs were sold than Genesis'

 

They were #1 back then, now they are #3 in a 3 horse race.

 

To be fair, horse #2 isn't even close to being a contender in this race either. Plus, you are ignoring the GameBoy, factor that in and the Big N is still darn close to #1 in the videogame market

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Don't forget... Tengen only made unlicensed carts because Nintendo kept denying them licenses for games they ADMITTED were damn good and well worth releasing. But "OMG TEH ROMZ ARE RAER WE CAN'T MAEK TIHS MANY CARTZ!111" so they "had" to deny the license. Yuo know, because the roms were rare. Or rather, Because Nintendo wanted to keep games in short supply.

Yeah Nintendo held the market with an iron grip during the 80's. Here are a few quotes from Steven L. Kent's book "The First Quarter" explaining the story:

 

page 292: Shortly after [Namco taking over Atari of Japan's division], Masaya Nakajima [founder of Namco] decided to leverage some of Atari's arcade games as consumer products. He could not publish the games under the Atari banner [because they didn't have the rights to it]. Instead, Nakajima created a wholly owned subsidiary of Atari Games called Tengen.

 

The only viable outlet for video games was the hugely lucrative NES... Nakajima knew he would need to become a licensee of Nintendo, so he met with Nintendo president Minory Arakawa and vice president Howard Lincoln in 1987 to discuss terms of the licensing agreement.

 

Nakajima wanted special privileges that had not been granted to other licensees. As the only company with access to the Atari library, he felt Tengen had more to contribute.... but Arakawa insisted that all licensees receive the same terms. Nakajima ultimately agreed.

 

Kent footnotes that:

Nintendo licensees could publish only five games per year. Once a game has been released on the NES it could not be released for other platforms. Nakajima requested both stipulations be waived.

 

The story goes that Tengen issued an R&D for cracking the NES lockout chip while being a Nintendo licensee. They first tried chemical solutions to peel off layers from the NES chips to examine the insides but that didn't help.

(p. 293)In 1988, as Nakajima agreed to release licensed version of Pacman, RBI Baseball and Gauntlet, his lawyers found another method of analyzing the security chip. They illegally obtained a reproduction of the 10NES program [lockout chip] through the Copyright Office by signing a false affidavit stating they needed it for use in a copyright infringement suit Nintendo had filed against them. The suit was entirely fictional...After deciphering the 10NES program, Atari developed its own prgram--the Rabbit program--to unlock the NES...It gave Atari access to NES ownders without Nintendo's strict license conditions.

.

.

.

On December 12, 1988 with three NES licensed games on the market and a complete understanding of NES marketing and security, Atari filed suit against Nintendo, alleging that Nintendo was "improperly using its patent and greater market share to monopolize the home video game market". Atari asked for $100 million in damages. All of the pieces were in place. Through the original licensing agreement, Atari had obtained access to retailers. Through the Copyright Office, it had obtained complete understanding of NES technology. Atari could now manufacture itw own cartridges and the court action would work as a preemptive strike against any injuctions Nintendo might file.

Kent explains the illegal affidavit maneuver hurt them in the following litigation that irrevocably followed.

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Yes, but at the end of the era, when the smoke cleared, more SNESs were sold than Genesis'

 

only because nintendo continued to sell SNES units into the late 90's. the SNES was where nintendo started to decline. it was nowhere near the monster the NES was in the market

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thats a stretch, the SNES wasnt number 1 in the 16 bit era until late in the game (1994), the Saturn and PSX were out the next year

 

Yes, but at the end of the era, when the smoke cleared, more SNESs were sold than Genesis'

 

They were #1 back then, now they are #3 in a 3 horse race.

 

To be fair, horse #2 isn't even close to being a contender in this race either. Plus, you are ignoring the GameBoy, factor that in and the Big N is still darn close to #1 in the videogame market

 

It's a logical fallacy to think of the console manufacturers as being in any kind of "race." If they're all profitable, they all win. By that measure, Nintendo is probably still #1, but that doesn't mean that anyone else "loses."

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Does anyone know what the exact document number was used for the 10nes copyright? I must assume that after twenty years it should have expired by now. I was able to find the patent on the 10nes chip design but not the source-code.

 

Does anyone have the source to the 10nes or the rabbit chip?

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Does this help?

 

http://www.neshq.com/hardware/mod/lockout.txt

 

If you are interested in the operation of the lockout chip and the NES' history in general, you might like to read David Sheff's excellent book "Game Over", and consult U.S. patents 4,799,635 and/or 5,070,479. Indeed, I obtained the information necessary to carry out this modification from one of these patents.

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Hi Actually,

I have read this, it is really only good for disabling the NES console itself but not replicating the actual lockout (or more importantly spoofing the lock-key algorithm) chip. I am interested in making a limited number of home-brew Nintendo games without having to butcher old games for their lock-out chips. This is why I am looking for info on the 10nes. I know that people have made carts with 5-volt stun circuits (color dreams etc.) but later versions of the NES were un-stunable. So I think the best approach is to try to compete directly with the 10NES.

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This is the actual patent for the lock-out chip

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/patents/u...635/4799635.pdf

 

This is the registration information for the copyright to the 10NES source code

1. Registration Number:     TX-1-945-426

Title:    10NES software.

Description:    printout.

Claimant:    Nintendo of America, Inc.

Created:    1985

Published:    1Oct85

Registered:    1Dec86

Author on © Application:    computer program: Sharp Corporation, employer for hire.

Miscellaneous:    C.O. corres.

Special Codes:  	1/C

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The officially licensed Gauntlet II had better graphics but did not offer the extra gameplay Tengen Gauntlet had.

 

I disagree, Gauntlet's graphics overall are superior to its sequel, at least on the NES. Gauntlet II uses a rather limited palette and shows far less of the screen than Gauntlet. It also plays much slower. Some of the sprites are a bit more detailed though.

 

People often blame Nintendo for the 1988 ROM chip storage, but I seriously doubt that it was all Nintendo's fault. They had to supply NES games for all of the three markets, Japan, North America and Western Europe. By this time, the NES was such a big success that they had dozens of third party developers trying to get their games out by Christmas. Remember that mask ROM chips containing set code have to be manufactured virtually from the silicon, Nintendo didn't use PROMs or EPROMs like some other companies did. Production capacity for the large 128kx8bit and 256kx8bit ROMs that games were being produced on was not as widespread as it needed to be to handle the volume of requests Nintendo was receiving. Nintendo also had strict quality control standards for electronic parts, failure was not an option. So Nintendo was unable to meet demand. On the other hand Nintendo did not want to flood the market with games either, and their success made them rather insensitive. Finally, Nintendo failed to allow other parties to try to secure their own sources of ROM chips until it was too late.

 

If you want lockout chips, buy a bunch of cheap NES games for a dollar and add the cost onto your homebrew.

 

Tengen had a far better port of Ms. Pac-Man than Namco put out, which is rather rare.

 

Nintendo had three reasons for not going after Wisdom Tree. First was that if they sued Wisdom Tree, the makers of incredibly bad "Christian Games", they would receive bad publicity and have conservative pundits and evangelical leaders lash out against them more noisly than in the past. Remember, video games are tools of the Devil. Second, Wisdom Tree was small potatoes, no money in suing them. Unlike Tengen, which bit the hand that fed it (Tengen was originally a licensed developer), Nintendo didn't need to make an example of Wisdom Tree to keep the other developers in line because it never had a license. Third, Wisdom Tree didn't begin publishing until 1991, and by that time Nintendo was concentrating more and more on promoting the NES. They would continue both lawsuits against Tengen and Galoob due to their future implications.

 

Nintendo did sue Color Dreams, which renamed itself Wisdom Tree for their lockout chip bypassing technology. But as Color Dreams didn't use the 10NES code, they were not liable for copyright infringement. Nintendo built in a little extra protection in their later NES consoles to defeat the voltage spike lockout chip defeater. Having successfully sued Tengen, virtually forcing them out of the NES market and into the more welcoming arms of Sega.

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I agree with everything you said, Nintendo was the 800 pound gorilla in the market place and so they could insure their profitability from the consumer and the 3rd-party developers (charging them three times what it cost to produce the chips and regulating that they could only produce two games a year).

 

I don't want to use old CIC chips because they varied so much over the lifetime of their manufacturing, plus there is a "ship in the bottle" sort of challenge in making the chip that Atari and all other third-party developers failed to make. The question that remains to be answered is "is it legal". The last thing I want is Nintendo breathing down my next over a small run of art games.

 

Do you know if the CIC varied from board to board depending on the memory map locations?

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