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atarimastermarty

Atari 1989?

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I recently picked up 4 8-bit nintendo games. One of the games is Toobin by Tengen. hen you turn it on, the main screen says atari at the bottom. What was going on with Atari an dTengen anyone know?

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Ah, you've entered one of my favorite subjects, late-80's Atari. I believe Tengen was a subsidiary of Atari, which explains NES Gauntlet, and that whole Tetris ordeal. Also, if you've ever seen Tengen ads in old NES mags, you'll notice that they say their games are in no way sponsored/endorsed by Nintendo, they were not liscensed by them in any way. Apparently after Tetris they didn't have a very good relationship. I'm probably not the best one to be telling this, I'm sure someone else here has better info.

 

[ 02-13-2002: Message edited by: King Atari ]

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As far as I know, Tengen was the label from Atari Games (which made the Arcades) not Atari Corp. (which then made the Computer and consoles) to bring Atari CoinOp conversions to Computers and consoles. I don´t know why they have choosen this label and didn´t take Atari Games as brand mark. Maybe it had to do with the split of Atari when Jack Tramiel bought the Computer and Consoles Division from Warner and Warner kept the Arcade Division. It would maybe have confused consumers to see that Atari Games was producing many games for Nintendo and Sega Systems while the library of Atari consoles were small and some of them even never found their way to them.

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Because Atari Games was not allowed to produce ports of their arcade games for several years after the Warner Bros. split up of Atari,they created Tengen(=the central point of the board in the game of GO)to become a licensee of Nintendo.They make 'Pac-Man', 'RBI Baseball' and 'Gauntlet', until Nintendo "claimed" a chip shortage to control their licensee's cart. output.So Tengen/Atari Games lawyers stole the lockout codes to the Nintendo system and sold their games with their own chips;and got sued.See page 241+ of 'Game Over,Press Start To Continue'

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A Tale of Two Ataris

 

In 1984, the video game world caved in. The industry leader, Atari, had losses in the hundreds of millions. Their corporate parent, Warner Communications, wanted out, so they decided to sell it.

 

Jack Tramiel, fresh from success at Commodore wanted Atari so he could make home computers to take on Commodore. But he didn't want all of it. He only wanted the home division.

 

So Atari, Inc. was split into two: Atari Corp. (owned by Tramiel) and Atari Games Corp. (still owned by Warner).

 

Atari Corp. was the home division. At the time it encompassed the 2600, 5200 and 8-bit line of computers. Tramiel's interest was in computers and not video games, so the new (but unreleased) 7800 was shelved in favor of the computer line.

 

Meanwhile, over at Atari Games Corp., Warner finally found a buyer in Namco. Namco's ties to Atari were deep, as Namco had distubuted many Atari titles in Japan and had eventually bought Atari Japan outright. Now they had the arcade half of Atari.

 

Namco was involved at the time in a dispute with Nintendo over the licensing fees for the Famicom in Japan. They came up with a devious plan to hurt Nintendo in the U.S.

 

When Nintendo launched the Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S., Namco was right in there as an original licensee. But it wasn't Namco itself, it was a newly formed arm of Atari Games Corp. that had the license. This new arm was Tengen. The original batch of Tengen games (all fully licensed) included Pac-Man, R.B.I. Baseball and Gauntlet.

 

The devious part was that Namco/Atari Games/Tengen never intended to stay as a licensee. Once they had access to development material and knew the inner workings of the NES, they struck out on their own, declaring that they could make games without Nintendo's authorization.

 

This is when the black Tengen carts begin. All the original licensed titles were re-released and new titles appeared: Ms. Pac-Man, Toobin' and Pac-Mania among them. Pac-Mania is interesting because it was developed by Atari Games. It was the only arcade Pac-Man that Atari Games developed.

 

During this time, an agreement existed between the two Ataris that would allow Atari Corp. licenses for Atari Games Corp. titles. This is why on some Lynx titles you'll see Atari Corp., Atari Games Corp. and Tengen all listed on the same game.

 

Eventually, Namco dumped Atari Games back to Warner (now TimeWarner) and eventually made up with Nintendo and re-released Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man legitimately.

 

TimeWarner continued the Namco policy of using the Atari Games name in arcades and a diferent name for home releases; first, continuing Tengen, then as TimeWarner Interactive.

 

TimeWarner then sold Atari Games to Midway, who continued Atari Games in the arcades and sold home titles under their own Midway banner.

 

Meanwhile, back at Atari Corp., the Tramiels were playing out the string, as the 7800, Lynx, and Jaguar failed to revive Atari's home video game success and the ST/Falcon lines were knuckling under to the power of PC-compatibles.

 

The Tramiels sold Atari Corp. to JTS, a disk drive company, who bought it as part of some debt-reduction scam (lawsuits eventually flew over that one). They sold Atari Corp. to Hasbro for a mere $5 Million.

 

Hasbro made a go of it (to varying degrees of seriousness and success) for a few years. As part of this effort, they decided they didn't like the idea of two Ataris floating around, so they con-fabbed with Midway and an agreement was reached. Atari Games Corp. would be renamed Midway Games West and that would leave Hasbro's Atari Interactive as the only Atari left.

 

Ultimately, Hasbro too decided to get out of the video game business. They sold Hasbro Interactive (not the whole company as some seem to believe) to Infogrames, the French video game developer/publisher. This included within it the assets of Atari Corp.

 

Still unclear is the areas where the two sets of Atari properties are held. All post-split arcade games are obviously owned by Midway as they originate with Atari Games. All home titles for any Atari system are held by Infogrames. But the status of pre-split arcade titles has never been satisfactorily settled.

I've always heard you to be a hard-hearted policeman, Inspector.

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quote:

Originally posted by Pete Perpetua:

Indiana Jones was also on of the origional 4 licensed games

No, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was originally released in an unlicensed, black cartridge by Tengen. It was later re-released in a licensed, grey cartridge by Mindscape.

 

A quick double check of a NES rarity list shows that only the three I listed were authorized releases by Tengen.

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Well the NES rarity list must be wrong, There were 4 origional Tengen games and Indy Jones was one of them. The Mindscape release was the third version released.

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quote:


Originally posted by Pete Perpetua:

Well the NES rarity list must be wrong, There were 4 origional Tengen games and Indy Jones was one of them. The Mindscape release was the third version released.


 

If the Tengen release was the first one, and the Mindscape release was the third one, what was the second one? And are these three releases the same(besides the obvious packaging differences)? Is the Tengen version the rarest?

 

..Al

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quote
Well the NES rarity list must be wrong

 

From various web-sites:

 

Tengen wasted no time releasing their previously licensed games Gauntlet, Pac-Man, and R.B.I. Baseball--in their new black casing, shown on the right.

 

TNCA

 

Three licensed Tengen games were released and exist in both black and grey carts: Pac-Man, Gauntlet and RBI Baseball. The grey carts are slightly harder to find than the black versions, but not by much.

 

HQ

 

EL: EL: That I had a license, yeah. Well, actually, Namco owned half of us, so it was clear Namco was gonna sell it in Japan. But when the NES came out, then Tengen had to do that.

tsr: At the same time, though, Tengen had an official license from Nintendo for three games: RBI Baseball, Pac-Man and Gauntlet. Did you have a hand in NES Gauntlet?

EL: No, Eric Horne did that. Now, someone else did one afterwards that was far superior, really nice...

tsr: Gauntlet II?

 

Interview

 

Wow the rarity list isn't the only source that is wrong!!! Its a conspiracy!!! NOOOOO!!!!!

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Tengen released "Vindicators" for the NES aswell, btw that's the only Tengen title I have got for the NES. :-)

 

Tengen also released some of the late c64- and c64gs-cartridges namely Badlands, Vindicators and Cyberball. And I love the company just for these three carts... :-)

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The first version was by Tengen licensed by Nintendo in a grey case.

 

The second also by Tengen Un-Licensed in a black case.

 

The third was by mindscape in a grey case.

 

As far as I know the games are the same except for the title screen.

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I think i read in that interview moycon posted that the later version is faster then the previous ones.

 

it was late when i read it and cant remember for sure and im not reading that interview again

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