The Grey Elephant's Curse. Russian VG Nerd - About Famicom Pirating Era

Uploaded by skrizhali on 02.04.2011

The Steepler Company has concluded a long-term contract with a Taiwanese firm (whose name has not been disclosed) under which the firm will produce video games specifically for Steepler on his own patented technology. ("Kommersant" newspaper of December 18, 1992)
Ninetieths... The time when we got all we were dreaming about, and even about we weren't. Remember?
The first comics, Disney's cartoons and fantastic possibility to watch them on a videotape...
Amazing toys, jeeps on remote-controllers, Ninja Turtles with plastic swords & nunchaks, made, of course, in China. Yeah...
But at the head of it was, naturally, that.
This is an 8-bit console Dendy, called so in honour of a grey elephant calf, pictured on it.
Dendy the elephant - is a symbol of all the 8-bit consoles in out country, invented as a trademark of Steepler Company, the only semi-legal firm distributed home videogame consoles in Russia.
Just think over - the only company distributing TV games devices in Russia, and this is not the original Famicom, not Nintendo Entertainment System either, oh no... This is Dendy.
In our great country noone of 7-18 year old gamers has ever heard about Famicom or NES, we played Dendy.
I'm sure many Internet users know such a famous among gamers person as AVGN - also known as Angry Video Game Nerd by name James Rolfe.
This man has told all the harsh truth on the videogame industry and on the products, that it've been stuffed world's gamers with for last 40 years.
But even he can't imagine, how this industry concerned the country I live in, and which products we were stuffed with here.
This grey elephant will be memorized by us for a long time...
Paul Grinyov a.k.a. Kinaman presents...
with the participation of
And an "Angry Video Game Nerd" fan group within the social network
The film...
"The Grey Elephant's Curse"
At the very beginning of 90ths, when the USSR didn't already exist, and Russia still doesn't, the countless multitude of Western goods has poured into our market, and among them - videogame devices.
Since 1992, Steepler Company was busy in distributing videogame entertainments (consoles & cartridges) in our country, and the most called-for ones were 8-bit Famicom-like game devices.
Now we surely know that Famicom is a Japanese video-console, appeared in 1983, it even had its own floppy disk drive for game diskettes...
and besides Japan it was selled well as Nintendo Entertainment System, a.k.a. NES.
But in 90's the word "Famicom" wasn't heard by anyone in Russia, all the more noone knew that this exactly was the name of original Japanese 8-bit game console, which was successfully assimilated by us.
And on the question "What is NES?" you'd most likely get the answer that it's the first part of "Nescafe".
We haven't caught NESes or Famicoms. Steepler has palmed upon us a noticable Taiwanese clone with the special name Dendy.
However, the Dendy console was only a peak of that iseberg, besudes it you could easily find & buy one of a ten of Chinese clones of Famicom:
With the heap of Chinese hieroglyphs on the box, they costed less & differed only by design, color and an additional cartridge as a unit.
And Dendy devided into 2 kinds - "Dendy Classic" and "Dendy Junior".
Both these versions were the most honourable, and were unconditionally considered the most authentic & original video-game consoles by our gamers.
Soon the word "Dendy" became a synonym for all 8-bit game devices, and if kids, whom their parents have bought Lifa or Subor, wanted to play it, they said: "Let's play Dendy".
Yeah, but it wasn't not enough to choose & buy one of these Chinese consoles, it should also be played & played at least with pleasure.
And what's required to play with pleasure? I suppose, a console itself with a couple of joypads, some interesting games, and, of cource, a TV-set.
Seems like nothing else, and we kept believing it back then.
But after buying the desired console, bringing it home, with the hope simply to sit down & play it...
...our young gamer faced such problems, which weren't supposed possible at all in any civilized country at the moment of mid 90's.
Carlsberg. We're hard pressed for Rolling Rock.
At the sight of this apparatus many of you certainly are waving your heads, recalling your hard childhood.
At 90's, more than a half of all average families had such huge tube TV-sets like "Horizont", "Photon", "Quartz", "Rainbow", etc.
These were the true pride of each family, wich were holding money aside for several months for it. I had "Photon-736", for instance.
And now imagine: you come home with a newbought console, unpack it, try to plug, and...
Here you get that there's no way to plig it like that. But we have one more wire!
Okay, let's seek...
Yay, got it! Tuned! Let's kick some ass!
WTF? Where's color?
What it's all about? The game is black-and-white, or the console is dulling? The telly's colored, all the channels show in color! What da Fuck!!!
How can I play that?! They're similar!
...can that be helped? You'll have to play so.
I've played Dendy in black-and-white for about 8 years. Know why?
Cuz these crappy soviet tube TV-sets all worked in outdated secam system, which our television has broadcasted in for last 50 years...
and all possible videogame consoles, made outside our great motherland, worked in PAL or NTSC, but since all was conveyed from China, it was PAL.
And besides the standard RF out terminal, they had also composite A/V one.
Only our valorous tellies couldn't recognize composite at all, and recognized antenna signal through such an ass, that all the picture became black-and-white.
To show the console's signal in color they required a PAL/secam decoder, for seting-up of one adjusters took the price three times as much as the console costed!
And after you were prevailing parents upon to buy the console for half a year, bought it, played it black-and-white...
and soon knew from friends that for playing in color it requires such a decoder, and you've told that to your parents...
with just a glare your father gave you to understand that he'd never EVER spend two month wages on such a shit.
Sometimes it happened that your parents had luck to buy the natural Japanese TV-set, like "Toshiba" or "Hitachi", which could easily understand PAL video.
Then with a clear conscience they give you for playing that old "Photon" and say kinda...
"Play as much as one wish, sonny, but if you ever dare to plug your shitty console into our new TV-set, I'll take it in a crack & bring to junkyard, and you'll never see it again".
No choise, as you can see.
Such a dislike for plugging the console into new Japanese telly was usually explained that the signal of the former quickly & truely wears and tears the kinescope...
that couln't be argued by your 10 year old knowledges.
Who at all invented that absurd idea, that the video signal from console kills the kinescope more than normal TV signal does?
They're quite similar after all! The only difference is that the console outputs only 16 colors at once.
What then?! Videotape recorder outputs several thousand times more colors at once, but it never was forbidden to plug into TV-set.
Whether or no, I've spent most of my childhood playing Dendy in black-and-white, till parents took pity on my & presented me a small "LG" TV-set.
I was 14 at the moment.
My God, it's colorful...
Only russian gamers could feel such a happiness.
But don't you think, playing in black-and-white was the only problem, huh?
Definitely not. That's only the beginning, the very curse of the grey elephant was only stealing up...
"The Grey Elephant's Curse"
In a review called "Nintendo Accessories" the well known James Rolfe told about a huge pile of shit released by Nintendo to diversify the gameplay of the 8-bit NES.
Some things were sold bundled, the others were sold separately.
Most of the stuff from this steaming pile of shit were making US children and teenages look like complete DUMBASSES!
Greetings to Zhenya Pekurovsky. (*Russian translator of AVGN)
But compared to this, what the China the almighty was feeding us with was a total trainwreck of shit.
Here you have a typical situation from the 90s. Your friend visits you with his brand new console and you set up to play something.
As a true bloodboiling 'beat-'em-up' fans, you first choice was, of course, Battletoads. (- So, how about Battletoads? - Yeah, let's get to it)
- So, press start. - OK.
What the hell?! Your second controller doesn't have the "Select" and "Start" buttons!
Oh yeah, forgot about that.
Just great! How are we supposed to play Battletoads if I can't even join in?
OK, screw that, swap it with yours then we'll press start and change them back.
I'd be glad to, but they're hardwired.
What the fuck?! From which pile of dung did you dig this console out of?
An ordinary shop, it's a lisensed Dendy.
So, not only does the second contoller lack "Select" and "Start", and because of it we won't be playing Battletoads, but you can't even unplug these fucking controllers!
What sick fuck desighed this?!
This is a genuine piece of chinese shit.
Just look at this. What idiot thought about hardwiring controllers into the console?! Were they trying to save money on sockets?
So, if the controller will break, and we already know about the fragility of chinese controllers, you can't just disconnect it and use another.
Although, there is a socket, probably for a light gun - maybe we can use it to plug in the controller?
Let's see...
Here you go, works flawlessly. But still the first controller can't be unplugged, so if it breakes what could you do then?
You can only try to resolder the wires on the console's motherboard instead of simply unpluging the faulty controller and switching it with a normal one.
Surpisingly, the early versions of the japanese Famicom also had hardwired controllers...
but Nintendo stopped making this crap since the mid-80s because sometimes the controllers could get broken and needed to be replaced somehow.
But why the hell, after 10 years in the mid-90s we were forced to play on those stupid versions of the console? Why??
Because a chinese manufacturers doesn't give a shit about what to rip off, and we were getting some half-assed garbage, that was already dumped from the market in the mid-eighties.
As for absence of the "Select" and "Start" buttons on the second controller, it's a different story.
Such kinds of gamepads would be boxed with every second Dendy Junior look alike, and absolutely denied any chance to play games where the second player must press "Start" to join in.
What purpose did it serve?
To rip you off and crap inside your soul when you come to your friend to play games like "Battletoads" or "R.C. Pro-Am II"...
and then realize that it's impossible because of these stupid controllers!
So, as it turns out by releasing these consoles they purposefully screwed you over by leaving out "Select" and "Start" buttons, and you paid for that.
Fucking chinese!
Unbeliavable, but early versions of Famicom also didn't had "Select" and "Start" on second controller.
But instead they had mounted miniature microphones which were used in the games that supported voice input.
But when chinese were cloning the Famicom, they threw away those mikes and didn't add "Select" and "Start" instead.
That's how those crappy controlles with two buttons missing were made.
You know what's more funny?
If you disassemble the second controller and look at the board...
you'll see that the connectors for the "Select" and "Start" are present.
In other words, they're provided by manufacturers, but on the gamepad's cases they just forgot to make two holes for those buttons.
Also, in the 90s the controllers of the China-Taiwan-Hong Kong production were different.
Some of them weren't very comfortable, some weren't very durable if not most of them.
The gamepads, pirated from Famicom, the wire was coming out from the side and it was uncomfortable to hold.
Later, they'd sell the same controllers but with the wire coming from the top.
Dendy Classic had controllers with slighty different form with a circular D-pad which some people also didn't like.
But the controllers of the most clones of Dendy were completely different varying from the SNES to the Playstation ones.
For example, I'm playing with the controller from the Lifa console where the buttons placed in a diamond shape like on the SNES.
Also one of the issues was that different 8-bit console clones had different controller sockets: 15 pin and 9 pin.
The latter ones were the same as on the Mega Drive console.
But thing that was common to all of those controllers was presence of the Turbo buttons by default.
And if someone happened to see the original Famicom controller, everybody thought that it was a pathetic copy because it didn't have Turbo buttons.
As for the durability of the console components and the consoles themselfs, it's pretty obvious.
Controllers would break all the time, usually the elastic bands or wires would tear off because of the bad soldering.
Curcuit boards also broke but not that often. AC adapters were overheating one after the other without even working for 3-4 hours straight.
And sometimes they were heating up so much that the case would melt in front of your eyes.
Personally, after a coulple of shitty AC adapters, I started using the one from Sega Mega Drive. And for about 7 or 8 years I'm playing for 5-6 hours without any problems.
As for the consoles themselves, it's 50% chance. Some would break broke after just a month or 6 months after a purchase and others would work perfectly even today.
Of course, the latter ones mostly consist of Dendy Classics and Dendy Juniors, these, as I said, are the most advanced clones.
Another chinese consoles like Lifa or Kenga usualy wouldn't last long.
Speaking about quality of chinese clones you can't forget about their compatibility with game cartridges which were provided to us by the same China people.
Curiously enough, the compatibility of the most of them was very high and compatibility of the Dendy consoles was almost 100%.
But shit, as you know, happens. And even among the Dendy Junior consoles there were some which couldn't digest one of the most popular Nintendo games:
"Prince of Persia". Many 8-bit fans adored this game, and so did I.
And I got very "lucky" because from all Dendy Junior consoles that were sold here, I've got the one which was playing the game like this:
No need to comment. Any cartridge, any copy of the game would play like this.
But not only "Prince of Persia" was like this on my console, well known "Felix the Cat" was kinda dim.
The same effect was present in the game "The Jungle Book".
Well, I've already told you about chinese crap in the form of the consoles. Now it's time to tell you what games were we playing in the 90's on this exact crap.
This is the most popular and well known example of the types of the cartdriges that were sold in Russia.
While Famicom players in Japan were playing the original japanese games that looked like this...
and NES players from Europe and USA were playing games like this...
we in Russia were playing the games like this...
and even this.
But first thing's first, as I already said it's one of the most known cartridge types in Russia in the first half of the 90's.
In that period, when Dendy the Elephant was only starting his conquest of Russia, the cartridges for his 8-bit consoles looked like this:
The big orange cases with the label: "T.V. Game Cartridge".
They all had this silly cap which was protecting the cartridge from dust.
It was like a substitute for the box and manual.
This thing was completely worthless and often got lost or thrown away.
Now, let's talk about the cover. What do we see here? Hmm...
We see the title "Ninja Ryukendn" with the roman 3 floating above the last letter.
All that is accompanied by long-haired samurai, ripped off straight was from the cover of the game "Samurai Showdown" on Sega Genesis.
And all of that is an example of the most common the cartridges that were sold in the shops all around the country under the guise of the original Dendy cartridge.
We were all thinking that this was the original cartridge for "Ninja Gaiden"...
Aside from those big orange cartridges, for some times we had these so called "Steepler's" cartridges".
These ones were only sold in the official "Dendy" shops and nowhere else.
It's main distinctive feature was this small cardboard box labeled "for Dendy" inside of which there was the cartridge itself.
And that's all there was to distinct it from other chinese clones because inside we see typical pirated sample with a bunch of hieroglyphs on the cover...
with only difference being a sticker on the back of the cartridge which had Dendy's Mascot on it and Steepler's phone number.
Surpisingly, these copies would later become collector's items, the so called "Cartridges with an elephant" and for some would present a certain value.
As for these cardboard boxes, their only practical meaning was to make everybody who sees them say:
"Look, it's the most awesome and original Dendy's cartridge ever because IT'S IN A BOX!" that nobody would have any doubt that it is an absolute license, despite what it has under the case.
And speaking of the quality of those cases we can humbly remain silent.
But I won't be silent!
Even if the cases were kinda pretty, they broke too friggin often.
They were getting huge cracks all over, and inside of them attachments for the boards and the clips of the case itself were falling off.
They're so fragile that they couldn't even take a weak axe hit.
And after all those misfortunes the only thing you're left with is this.
Every young gamer in our country had crapload of those boards, sometimes even as much as cartridges with the cases.
Of course, in the first half of the 90s the boards itself were huge with bunch of chips and condensers and they were pretty comfortable to use.
We were putting them into the console and played them like the normal cartridges, no problems.
But later they start to get smaller...
and smaller...
and smaller.
And so trying to put this fucking thing in and out of the console is a total nightmare.
It's like a crappy one way system. You had to invent half-assed ways to pull it out.
This whole thing is total ass, just look at the american cartridges, no chance in hell that this box will break.
The owners of such cartridges in Europe and US probably never even had to do anything like that bullshit.
Of course, Russia is also party European country, but we only had chinese cartridges that would break all the time.
Instead of just simply playing the games, we had to fiddle around with the boards and shove those pieces of shit up the console!
Let's look at another type of our cartridges.
Here is anouter example of catridges that were bundled with a "Lifa" console, one of the most well known clones in our country aside from the Dendy itself.
This cartridge is labeled "9999 in 1".
9999 games in 1! Yeah, fucking mindblowing.
I wonder what games are there.
Here we see two brave guys from "Contra". "Contra" is a good deal.
Here we have "Super Fighter" and recognizable combatants from "Street Fighter". Hmm, even better.
Also there are four weird creatures who look kinda like Ninja Turtles.
And at the low row, there are pictures from "Battle City", "Mario", "Space Invaders" and "Wild Gunman".
Well, It is intriguing. Let's start up the game.
But even without starting it up everyone who remember the 90s in Russia knows that it has neither "Contra", nor "Street Fighter", nor "TMNT" and not even 9999 games in there.
It contains only six simple games like "Mario" or "Duck Hunt" and all the 9999 menu choices are just infinite variations of these games...
like beggining the game from second, third, 20th or 50th level.
In fact it's just a plain ripoff.
At first it doesn't seem so bad, but there were tens of thousands of cartridges like that in our country!
And all of them were labeled "9999999 in 1" and had nothing interesting to offer aside from 6-8 simpliest games.
I don't get it, who and why had an idea of making those cartridges?
At first time the people were hyped like: "Woah, 100 000 games in 1, fucking awesome!".
But later, when everybody has realized that it's a sham, nobody bought them but there were still many more coming out.
By the way the covers on the cartridges, that were sold in our shops, were just mind-blowing.
For chinese pirates, you know, labeling some game with a picture cropped from a magazine or a poster was a usual thing.
They also didn't give a shit about typoes in the titles.
For example, "7 in 1" cartridge which every fifth Dendy gamer in our country had.
For 7 titles, only 3 of them spelled correctly.
"TaleSpin" is "Tale Spir", "Snake Rattle 'n Roll" is just "Snake-2"...
and I'm pretty sure that everybody who had that cartridge always thought that it was a sequel and for many years wanted to play "Snake-1" but never did.
"Seicross" became "Setcross" and lastly, the puzzle game "Magic Jewelry" is known simply as "Magic Block".
Aside from that at the main menu we also see a typo in the title of the game "Darkwing Duck", here it's "Darking Duck".
And here is a "4 in 1" game with the same issues. None of the games here are spelled correctly.
Just watch: "Tragon", "Marble", "Captain" and "Duck Race".
Let me translate: "Tragon" is probably a chinese for "Trog", the game about single-eyed monster.
"Marble" is the "Marble Madness", the game where the player must manipulate the ball through a convoluted path.
And the game titled "Captain" just kills you dead.
I'm interested: when you buy such cartridge, which game would you expect to see titled "Captain"?
Captain America?
Captain Planet?
Captain Ed?
Captain Tsubasa?
How many captains are there on Nintendo?
So, on this cartridge under the title "Captain" is a game "Captain Sky Hawk".
But fat chance trying to guess it just from the title "Captain".
Finally there is "Duck Race", which is like a race with ducks.
Personally, I don't know such game but the picture shows it's just "Duck Tales", but how could they mix up the words "race" and "tales" is beyond me.
Naturally when the titles doesn't tell you shit, instinctively you look at the picture...
and after that travel every possible idea in you mind just to understand which games does this cartridge has.
Why the fuck in order to see, which games does this cartridge has, do I need to strain my brain so much?
How hard could it be to simply put the title on the cover like in every civilized country?
But once again we had everything ass backwaards, and instead of the normal japanese or european cartridges...
we were given with this chinese crap with tons of hieroglyphs and fucked up titles!
Every third cartridge syrely had typos in the titles.
"Dick Tracy" was "Dicktracy"...
"Indiana Jones" was "Tndiana JoneII"...
"The Little Mermaid" was "Mermaio"...
"Nigel Mansell's World Championship Racing" was "Nagil Mansell's World Champion Ship"...
"Robocop 3" was "Robocomp 4"...
"Contra" was "Contora" (sounds like "office" in Russian). We can list them all day.
But not only did we had confusing titles.
Trying to attract an ordinary russian customer, those chinese assholes thought of taking some random games and naming them as sequels to other popular games.
Nowadays we all know how original cartridges for Famicom and NES looks like...
but back then in the 90s we were shocked when after coming to the shop saw a cartridge like that. Just look at it.
"Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 3"!
Yeeeeah, you're drooling, spending your last money, grabbing this cherished cartridge while memories of how awesome the first two games were flood your mind.
Anticipating the awesomeness of the third game you're hurrying back home, starting up the console, putting in the cartridge;
and you know that soon, real soon you'll hear this simplistic tune:
You start up the game, and...
What the...?
What the hell is this?
Is this "Chip and Dale"?
I don't get it.
You're playing as Chip who's walks around while shooting a minigun and blowing shit up with grenades in the middle of the desert.
This is...
Chip and Dale in Vietnam?!
What the hell is happening?
The first game had Chip and Dale throwing boxes at caterpillars, second one had the same thing.
But here two chipmunks are throwing grenades and breaking trough the rears of the Vietcong.
If I was AVGN, I would say "What were they thinking?!"...
But I'm not him. That why I say:
"What kind of fuckary is this?!"
And do you know what is pictured on the cover of this cartridge?
Some guy with a grenade and a handgun, in a military outfit who has the head of Fievel Mousekewitz from "An American Tail" cartoon.
Next to him is a some sort of a cowboy with a gun in his hand with a head of a smiling bear.
All this is accompanied with tanks and helicopters in the background, and "Chip and Dale 3" label on top.
What nuclear dogshit were they smokin'?
But that's not all, because aside from "Chip and Dale 3" there was another great sequel to another great game based on another great Disney's cartoon.
You expected me saying "Duck Tales 2"? Fuck not! It's "Darkwing Duck 2"!
Oh, yeah, the sequel to this popular game was a dream of every 8-bit fan out there.
That's because we were all admiring the game "Darkwing Duck", but were dissapointed that it didn't have DW's greatest nemesis: Negaduck.
And that's why we were all waiting for the sequel, hoping that the main boss of the second game will be Negaduck and we will finally fight him.
Well, the sequel was released, here it is.
Fucking chinese faggots.
Almost half of the games on Dendy available for sale in our country didn't have their original titles.
Chinese pirate companies were murdering the game's titles on their whim and probably with a feeling of great delight...
knowing that anyway, poor russian kids won't ever see the real games and original cartdridges, that weren't corrupted by filthy yellow hands.
And will be eating up any piece of shit that some time ago was normal game, but the kids would never know it.
This process maimed many lifes with those crippled games.
For example, the mega-hit game "Battletoads" for some dumb reason was named "Battletoads 3"...
and the sequel "Battletoads & Double Dragon" became "Battletoads 2".
From the early years I was playing these games and thought:
if there was "Battletoads 2" and "Battletoads 3" then there must be "Battletoads 1".
I was dreaming to play it for several years and was searching for it in stores and within friends and acquaintances.
And one day I was lucky to find the cartridge that was just titled "Battletoads". So, it must have been the first game.
I brought the cartridge home but after I started the game, I realized that it's the very same "Battletoads 3".
There was no end to my dissapointment, and I, staggered from such a ripoff, have continued my search for the first game.
So just imagine what was it like when later in some magazine I've read that "Battletoads 3" is really the first game about three toads.
Only the dreaded chinese pirates hacked it and add the option to restore your lives by pressing a combination "Up+Start".
Also they maimed the copyrights logos and called the game "Battletoads 3".
So, for several years I was searching for the game that I was playing everyday on my console.
The same story happened with well known "Contra Force" by Konami.
The first "Contra" was one of the first games we've ever played.
It's sequel "Super Contra" aka "Super C" also was well known to us.
When "Contra Force" was released in the US, our valiant chinese hackers, instead of letting us play its normal version...
hacked it beyond common sense and called it "Super Contra 6"...
replacing existing characters with the ones from "Street Fighter" and Rambo as the leader.
And putting on the cover a picture stolen from "Contra Spirits" that was released on the same year on Super Nintendo.
And we would handle everything: out of place "Street Fighter" characters and Rambo, but why in god's name did they call it "Contra 6"?!
Why not at least "3"? It would somehow be logical after first two games.
But no, they called it "6" dooming us to the vain search for the missing 3rd, 4th and 5th games.
And to top that, later they suddenly had a change of heart and finally released the normal version of "Contra Force".
But this just added more fuel, because when it's became available for sale everybody thought that that's one of the missing three games.
But later it became clear that it's the same "Contra 6" but with different characters.
So, some of us thought that "Contra 6" was an altered copy of "Contra Force", others thought that "Contra Force" was an altered copy of "Contra 6".
But the 3rd, 4th and 5th parts of the game were still missing. And so, they were left as mysterious lost parts of the "Contra".
While talking about cruel pirate jokes with digits in the game titles, you can't fail to mention one more suffered series.
This is a catridge with the game, called "Ghostbusters 3" on Dendy.
You can dig up but still you won't find this game there.
Because this game is a myth, just as the movie "Ghostbusters 3".
But oddly enough here it is in my hands and I'll play it right now.
So I'm turning the game on, look at the title "Ghostbusters 3"...
and after a few seconds there is the opening sequence of "Ghostbusters 2".
What a shock!
Two films of the series, with the one that's not even filmed yet, are in the same game.
You think, this is the same thing as with "Back to the Future 2 and 3"? Not quite.
Let's start the game again, but this way.
It's a miracle! The game "Ghostbusters 3" became "Ghostbusters 2"!
But why? It's simple.
First of all, people of some notorious asian nationality took the American "Ghostbusters" game, pirated it and issued it under "Ghostbusters" title.
Then they took Japanese "New Ghostbusters 2", pirated it and issued it under "Ghostbusters 2" title.
And then they learned that back in the USA, there is already released another "Ghostbusters 2" game.
They pirated it, added a "III" to the title screen without any hesitation, and issued it as "Ghostbusters 3".
Thus, the "Ghostbusters 2" game turned into "Ghostbusters 3". And "New Ghostbusters 2" game turned into "Ghostbusters 2".
Well, we were playin this, never suspecting anything. But then, ten years later, there comes Internet.
We're going to download all favorite games and are surprised to learn that "Ghostbusters 3" is actually "Ghostbusters 2"!
And "Ghostbusters 2" is "New Ghostbusters 2"!
So, this implies that "New Ghostbusters 2" is "Ghostbusters 3", but still it's called "2".
Yeah, after all this mess I don't even wanna think about there was a "Super Mario 16" game.
But, you know, no matter how sad it is,
I mean, that pirates took the original games, hacked, modified them, sometimes making them hard to recognize,
distributed them on cartriges under some weird titles, this was definitely not the worst thing about it all.
After all, we were having fun playing these games, because it was all we had got...
never realizing that the majority of games we played was pirated and hacked stuff, that sometimes doesn't even looks like the original.
We were having fun, 'cause games worked properly and could be walked through without any problem.
But, as you know, shit DOES happen.
And one fine day, it happened to me.
This is the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" game by Konami.
Here in Russia, it's been sold under Dendy quality label and was considered to be licensed.
Thousands of kids, including me, played it avidly, dreaming to beat it.
After 7-8 attempts to walk it through it seemed to be of over-the-top difficulty.
Just 3 lives, hordes of soldiers, each having 4 hitpoints, while performing super attack moves was like a slow suicide, and only the "Down+B" combination could help a little.
Usually, when you finally faced the boss, your character had only a few hitpoints, and that's where the super moves came to action.
But when you needed it most, you just couldn't do it right, which led to a life loss.
And it became obvious that a full walkthrough requires weeks of training.
And I was playing this game for weeks, gaining experience, scarcely beating level after level.
Finally, I made it to the Technodrome.
At first, I spent continues here, but then somehow I managed to preserve some more lives during boss battles.
First boss battle is easy - you just have to beat him with a super move when he's charging to attack. Just do it a few dozen times and the job is done.
And here comes the Shredder. The carnage begins.
He never left me a time to rest, wherever I went, however I acted.
So I learned that the only way to beat him is to use super moves and try to hit him more times than he manages to hit me.
And I gave it my best shot!
Yeah, he started to blink! You can't run...
Just a little more...
He stopped blinking?!...
This just couldn't be...
So, flickering again... It must mean just a couple hits left...
You're fucking dead!
What the fuck!!! Are you scoffin' me?? You should have already died in pain!
Did you see that? This shithead was blinking three times. And then...
then he just stopped blinking!
Just got tired, flickered a little and stop!
* "Stolyichnaya"
You're FUCKING dead!..
I'll send ya to hell!
Fucking condom!
Fuck it!
Who do you fucking think you're!!
How many times he must flicker? Ten?
If it's a licensed cartridge then i must be a rhino...
But it was all you got, and if you wanted to beat this game, you played it again and again...
exhausting yourself out just to screw that Shredder. And he was just flickering a few times and killing you!
You spent all of your continues without any effect!
You know what's the worst thing about it?
We thought that it is normal, that it just should be like this, because we believed that this is a licensed cartridge...
it should work properly, after all, it was bought in the "Dendy" store for quite a price!
I felt myself like under communism, when they give you something shat thrice and tell you this is a candy, and you believe it!
You believe and you're feeling fine just 'cause you don't see anything else!
This is so egoistic!
No more...
Ah, so you're asking why Shredder doesn't die in this game? Everything is damn plain and simple:
the thing is that "TMNT III" is one of a few titles containing anti-piracy protection.
Just before the launch, game checked if the copyright (a Konami logo) is present in the ROM.
If there's none, the game started in the ass-tearing ultra hard difficulty mode, where the soldiers and the bosses had several times more HPs.
So, considering that damned fucking pirates usually cut off copyrights from every game they pirated, this game didn't become an exclusion.
But they probably didn't know, that there is a protection of some kind...
so they shat their hard-mode unbeatable version of "TMNT III" into our market.
But why is the Shredder invincible? I don't know.
Some gamers tell he can be killed if you hit him without any break.
But you saw it all now with your own eyes! How the hell can it be more continuous?
Unfortunately, "TMNT III" is not the only game broken by the Chinese.
Here's the "Ninja Gaiden" game, to be exact, it's European version called "Shadow Warriors", pirated again.
Don't you notice something strange?
I thought there should be lanterns containing weapons, lives and... something like this...
Where the fuck are all of the power-ups gone??
Ah, there is one, at last. So what's inside?
A Shuriken? Why do I need a shuriken if I've got 0 on my weapon meter?
Where, where are these hieroglyphs that fill the sub-weapon meter? Where???
Nice, I made it to the boss, and I've collected only one lousy shuriken that I cannot even throw!
Alright, this idiot is easy, I can beat him without a problem.
Damn, WTF?
Give me some weapons! Give me at least something!
What the hell is this shit...
What~ ah, at last...
Damn, gimme something useful.
What's that?
Fuuuuucking nice!
One crappy power-up in the whole level, and if you pick it, it freezes the game! Excellent!
Screw that, we won't pick it again.
Fuck ya!
Fuck this shit!
Damn, I've got no sub-weapon again...
Ah-hah. Of course. Not a single lantern.
Fucking fun.
Fuck th~
Makes no fucking sense...
Couldn't they place that higher? Who is it hanged for? Maybe, Baloo will arrive on the plane?
Damn, why the hell did they implemented sub-weapons in the game if it's nowhere to be taken?!
Hmm... what's there?
Fuck you, alright? I picked this crap on the level 2, and the game crashed.
But I wonder, what the hell is it? Maybe it'll grant me somethin really cool?
If you pick this thing, game freezes.
Then how to play this?!
The game is fucking insanely difficult by itself, and moreover there is no weapons, no power-ups and no lives!
Who should you be to beat it like this?
Angry Video Game Nerd tried to beat it too, and if you wanna know, how damn difficult this game is, you can watch his review.
But he could pick weapons and lives...
And we played THIS! That's all we got!
I wish these butt-headed cocksucking Chinese pirates to burn in Hell!!!
But not only these games became unbeatable because of you-know-who.
You might remember amazing NES game "Shatterhand"...
and surely will never forget its Japanese version, "Tokkyuu Shirei - Solbrain".
The one which's been titled "Robocop 3" by the pirates, while a real "Robocop 3" game's been presented as "Robocop 4".
This version is remarkable not only for its animated cutscenes, which's been cut off in NA release...
but the fact that it was absolutely impossible to beat because of a nasty glitch on the level 2.
Due to this glitch, after clearing Area A, the player was unexpectedly taken to Area F, and there was no possibility to choose next area.
The area choice screen just doesn't show up!
In the end of the level, there is a boss battle.
If you beat this boss, the battle repeats.
And if you beat THIS boss...
the battle repeats again!
You will see the message saying "Area F cleared" after every battle.
But you have to beat this scum again and again 'til it finally fucks your brain up, making you throw the gamepad into the TV screen.
However, nothing can help you to go to the next level. Just because the next level will never appear.
Cause it's a piece of shit raping your console and making you watch this!
Having seen all of this crap, you might be asking "Did the pirates make at least something good?"
Surprisingly, they tried to, they even released their own games.
In this regard, only these ones were lucky who had only 8-bit console, with no Genesis or SNES available.
There were a lot of them in our country and they were the ones, who pirates made 8-bit ports of 16-bit bestsellers for.
Majority of games developed for 16-bit was never released on 8-bit consoles. That's why there was a lot of ports...
"Earthworm Jim"...
"Mortal Kombat"...
"Toy Story"...
"The Lion King"...
"Aladdin" and more...
Some of them were playable and even beatable.
Some looked great for a pirate port, i.e. "Aladdin".
And some of them were disgusting and totally unbeatable.
For example, despite the good-quality porting of the first Boogerman game gameplay...
it is almost impossible to beat because of excess difficulty of the last boss battle.
I was trying hard to get through, but I didn't find any way to dodge his attacks.
The second port, "Boogerman II" was an attempt to fix all errors and inaccuracies.
Compared to the first port, this game had a wider variety of levels...
but the controls seemed to be made through the ass, so the game was absolutely no fun.
Nevertheless, these ports, good and not so good, brightened the life of those who had no 16-bit consoles at the time.
Russia was hardly considered to be modern European state in the early 90s.
After the Soviet Union dissolution there was a collapse of economy and chaos in the country.
Maybe that's why we didn't have our own official video game market.
And that's why Russian gamers suffered the other VG entertaiment feature, or to be exact, the lack of it:
There were almost no games released in Russian in the 90s.
In Japan, the games were released in Japanese; in Europe and USA they were in English.
Commonplace for the others, luxury for us.
Officially there was no videogames, eveything was brought from China and others of that ilk.
But the majority of games are primitive, everything is intuitively clear. Of course!
If you're playing the plotless game like "Battle City", everything is clear. But I played "Kiyatto Ninden Teyandee"...
and "Ninja Ryukenden III"...
The development team spent a whole lot of time, efforts and console resources to implement a real cartoon-like cutscenes...
whereby players could, like, get into the movie and "live through" it.
And dammit, they could!
But we couldn't.
We sat before the TV screen and couldn't understand nothing of what happend in the cutscenes.
But you could just skip cutscenes and play like that, and never care about the plot.
But when the lack of knowledge terminates the possibility to beat the game, this is awful.
There's example. Excellent game called "River City Ransom". But in Japanese, it enrages me.
You are low on HP, so you enter the store and think "What should I buy?".
Hmm, what...
Or this?
OK, I'll eat this.
Excellent! No health replenished...
Alright, what if I buy this?
Or this?
OK, this!
No, the lowest one is better, at least it's more expensive.
One HP? One lousy HP?
And I've got no money. Good buy, come again >_<
However, some games were translated into Russian. But they were hard to find on the sale.
For example, the "Prince of Persia" game I've told about before, was translated by the "Electronica" company in 1994.
During the Soviet years, this company sold household appliances and pirated Nintendo's pocket VG consoles like Nintendo Game & Watch...
remaking them for a Russian market and distributing under their own label.
I was shocked when I found that our "Nu, pogodi!"("You Just Wait!") game was a Nintendo's Game & Watch rip-off.
In addition to this, "Electronica" translated other games like
"The Little Mermaid"...
"Duck Tales"...
But these versions were so rare that only a few people saw them.
Later, in the 21th century, thanks to the Internet, we had got handymen, who learned to translate dumped ROMs fast and nice.
So now this isn't much of a problem.
But then, in 90s, to play "Darkwing Duck" or "Chip 'n Dale" in Russian was just like a pipedream.
In spite of the fact that all of the goods supplied by "Steepler" was a piracy, it was widely advertised by the mass media.
In August 1993, came in the first issue of "Video-ASS Dendy" magazine.
At first it was all devoted to 8-bit games, but later it covered all the most popular game consoles.
In September 1994, a new mostly advertising TV-show "Dendy - Novaya Realnost" ("New Reality") was launched on Russian television.
Game console "Dendy" and cartridges for it were advertised here regularly.
Firstly, the show was running only in the capital region, but several month later it was launched on the central TV and advertised video game consoles nationwide.
Dendy, Sega Mega Drive, SNES and even the portable Game Boy.
You could observe all the most popular pirated games in this show...
the most distributed Chinese cartridges that flooded our country under the "license" disguise.
"Chip 'n Dale 3"...
"Robocop 3"...
"Super Contra 6"...
"Mario 16"...
"Double Dragon 4".
All this pirates' shit was advertised countrywide by the central TV as licensed cartridges for a Dendy game console!
I remember that in one of the AVGN's reviews James Rolfe demonstrated his vast collection of cartridges for NES.
There he noticed a few of Famicom cartridges that somehow got in there.
Amongst them, he found and showed a pirated "Duck Tales" cartridge.
And wondered why the fuck there is just a duck on a forest and pond background on the label, and it's called "Duck Tales".
So James, just imagine, in the year 1995, in our country, on a central TV channel...
the narrator of the "Novaya Realnost" show advertises this cartridge nationwide!
...that means "tales about ducks" or "duck stories" as we got used to call it.
This is "duck stories", "Duck Tales". Adventures of a quite old... young man called Scrooge McDuck.
Burdened with three nephews, he finds the time for some senile fun like treasure hunting, nephew saving and the like...
So James, don't worry, this is the real licensed cartridge for the "Dendy" game console.
Made in China!
What's more, the game was released at the end of the year 1989, and we saw it on TV way later in 1995.
That's when Nintendo had officially stopped the production of 8-bit consoles and cartridges.
By the way, a few people know that "Steepler" had a contract with Nintendo in 1994.
According to this contract, "Steepler" obtained the exclusive right to distribute SNES on the territory of Russian Federation...
only if it will not support the distribution of Sega consoles in any way. So "Steepler" shall never sell Sega Mega Drive consoles and cartridges.
It was November. And then, Sega consoles and games disappeared from the "Novaya Realnost" show, and from the "Dendy" magazine.
SNES became highly advertised on the TV.
"Do you want to control the world? Your world, in which every second is the fight and the speed?..
The most perfect weapon is in your hand! Today, in Dendy stores, all over the country, the perfect game system SUPER NINTENDO!"
But the Sega taboo didn't last for years, as expected by Nintendo, but just for two months.
In January 1995, Sega games returned to TV and magazines.
What's wrong? Super Nintendo license is obtained, so fuck all the rest!
Because "Steepler" purchased all the Sega goods from the Chinese sellers and not from Sega company. So the Nintendo contract isn't broken.
By the way, Steepler had been gone under reorganization in 1995, and turned into "Dendy" company.
Afterwards, it started supplying us real Japanese consoles and cartridges from Nintendo.
Mainly, it was SNES.
But these licensed had a really freakin' high prices into Russian money, so they stood on a store shelves for months.
In addition to Dendy, Sega Mega Drive and SNES you could buy a real Nintendo Game Boy in the middle 90s.
But it appeared here only five years after its official release in Japan in Europe.
And I must say, a few ones bought it, because it was expensive, had a high battery consumption, required cartridges...
And we already had our own portable game system by the moment of Gameboy release!
The one requiring no cartridges, having a way lower battery consumption and a bunch of games embedded.
Due to it, you could play for days, and never get bored.
Here. This is "Tetris" or, to be exact, "Brick game".
This China-made thing had only 5 or 6 games like "Arkanoid" or "Snake", headed by our great "Tetris" game.
It required only a pair of AA batteries, and could turn you into a nerd, gazing into this little screen every day and night!
And, a couple of years after the "Brick Game" release, here comes a Game Boy...
And everyone thought that this is just a lousy "Tetris" clone, priced more than a "Dendy" console and requiring cartridges and batteries!
Of course, no one needed this crap, cause we already had "Dendy" and "Tetris" by our side.
So Game Boy sucks, Tetris rocks!
Tell me, if you play an NES game, and reach a place where you can't figure out what to do next, what do you do?
Most certainly, you browse some game sites or forums to find an answer.
Back then, in 90s, there was no Internet, and if Russian 8-bitniks... (hmm... sounds like 8-year old beatniks)...
got stuck in any 8-bit game, their only hope was a VG magazine "Video-ASS Dendy".
Sometimes, you could not find a solution even there.
At the last pages, there was a "No problems" rubric, where our gamers shared their findings.
But this rubric took only a few pages, while there were thousands of questions!
That's why a bunch of cheatbooks, filled with cheat codes, secrets and tips, came into market!
It would seem to be an awesome thing that every gamer needs...
Uh-huh, kiss my ass.
Here I've got this "Dendy: tips, secrets, passwords" book. Well, let's take a look!
How d' you think, how many Batman games is there on NES?
We are familiar with "Batman", "Batman Returns" and "Batman: Return of the Joker". So, there's three.
And in the book...
Where did they take so much??
Let's begin with "Batman & Flash" is a hack of "Monsters in my Pocket".
Do you think that pirated hacks shouldn't be mentioned of in official cheatbook? You're wrong.
"Batman Forever". This is a Genesis and SNES game, so how the hell did it get here??
"Batman 2" and "Batman 4"... just what games are these?
If "Batman 2" means "Batman: Return of the Joker" according the release timeline, why they are separate here?
But wait...
...passwords are all the same!
Why the fuck they wrote the same passwords twice?
Oh my... it can't be...
"Batman 4" has the same passwords, too!
They wrote the same passwords three times under different titles?!!
Let's see something else...
"Life Force", "Mach Rider", "Little Nemo", "Little Samson"...
"Mario 2", "Mario's time machine"...
on "Dendy"...
"Ninja Ryuken 4: Ninja Dragon Sword"...
"Ninja GARDEN"... fantastic!
There is a garden ninja on "Dendy"...
Here, "TMNT 2"! Let's have a look...
"Before demo play begins, on the title screen, press U, D, L, R, A, B, A, B, SELECT - ...
... - play as Splinter"??
Fuck my ass, is it really possible to play as Splinter in "TMNT 2"?!
Wow, let's check it out!
Okay, "Before demo play begins press..."
"U, D, L, R, A, B, A, B, SELECT"...
OK, one more time...
Damn, this code doesn't work! What a hoax!
Alright, let's see what else's in there.
"Auto weapon select"
"In a "Choose a player" mode press D+SELECT. After every life loss, a recommended weapon will be choosen automatically".
Recommended? But every turtle has only one weapon, doesn't it?
OK, let us try.
Few minutes later.
WTF? Nothing changed!
Spoofed again! What kind of scum are those who wrote it?
Alright, last chance!
Here's another secret: "Different teleportation types".
"In order to change the level you're on, press the D-pad center and SELECT simultaneously".
So, I, like, will transfer to another level?.. Alright.
Here we go.
Doesn't work.
Dammit, who the fuck wrote this codes, where did he get 'em, they don't work!
Where did he get that it's possible to play as Splinter?!
Have you EVER seen it is?!
It means... on level 5 you've got to save Splinter as Splinter?!
This is a bullshit!!!
Who wrote this fucking book?
"Tested by professionals"???
Yeah, that's how the story goes.
That's what this little elephant made here in 90s.
In fact, it's not only him.
It's depressive economy, fallen by the moment of USSR dissolution, that's why people of new Russia could only afford cheap Chinese consoles.
Demand is high, but money is low.
When licensed SNES was appeared here in 1995, it cost my parents' two-month salarym...
so it's clear that a few people could buy it, despite of a huge amount of ads on TV and the mass media.
People just wanted to play, and they played. Ass backwards, but cheap.
Do I have to tell about consoles, that were released all over the world in the mid 90s, and appeared here six years later...
i.e. PlayStation that became popular in the early 2000s.
But that's another story.
And I'm grateful to this little elephant Dendy. Yes, I am!
This little gray scum fed us with crap, but he gave us possibility to play great Nintendo games that became an all-time hits.
We had black-and-white picture, glitches, hacked games, continually breaking gamepads and AC adapters...
cheats and codes that'll never work, invincible Shredder, no SELECT and START buttons, but we played, God dammit!
That's the power of Dendy!
And that's the curse of Dendy.
Despite all of this shit, we played! And rightly so...
Created, Edited and Directed Paul Grinyov
Camera working: Nikolay Moiseev aka Coulthard Denis Buturlinov aka Denver and Fialka
Starring: Paul Grinyov Nikolay Moiseev
Title "Battletoads" music by Darkman007
* Thanks for help to sites and friends. * Especially to James Rolfe for AVGN.
English subtitles made by DeniSS aka CamaroSS & Sobol14