Проклятие серого слонёнка


Uploaded by Kinaman88 on 30.09.2011

Transcript:
Steepler Company has signed a long-term contract with an unnamed Taiwanese firm through which shall produce video games specifically for Steepler using their own patented technology. ("Kommersant" newspaper, December 18, 1992)
The Nineties... A time when we got everything we dreamt about, and even that which we didn't. Remember?
Your first comics, Disney's cartoons, and the amazing potential to watch them on video tape.
Amazing toys, remote-controlled jeeps, Ninja Turtles with plastic swords & nunchaku... of course, all made in China. Yeah.
But at the front of it all was, naturally... this.
This is an 8-bit console called "Dendy", named in honor of the grey elephant calf pictured on it.
Dendy the Elephant is a symbol of all the 8-bit consoles in our country, invented as a trademark of Steepler Company,
the only semi-legal firm that distributed home video game consoles in Russia.
Think about it: the only company distributing game consoles in Russia,
but not the original Famicom or the original Nintendo Entertainment System either. Oh no... this is Dendy.
In our great country no gamers aged 7-18 years had ever heard about the Famicom or NES. We played Dendy.
I'm sure many Internet users have heard of of the famous AVGN, the Angry Video Game Nerd, otherwise known as James Rolfe.
This man has spoke of all the harsh truths of the video game industry,
and of its products that have been made available to the world's gamers within the past 40 years.
But even he couldn't imagine how the industry was in the country I live in, and which products we were stuck with here.
We will remember this grey elephant for a very long time.
Paul Grinyov a.k.a. Kinaman presents
with the participation of Emu-Land.net
and an "Angry Video Game Nerd" fan group within the social network Vk.com
a movie
"The Grey Elephant's Curse"
In the early '90s, when the USSR didn't yet exist - and Russia still doesn't -
the countless multitude of Western goods had poured into our market, including first game consoles.
Since 1992, Steepler Company was busy distributing game consoles and cartridges in our country, the most desired of which were 8-bit Famicom-like.
Now we know that the Famicom is a Japanese video-console, appeared in 1983, it even had its own floppy disk drive with game disks,
and outside of Japan, it had good sales as the Nintendo Entertainment System, a.k.a. NES.
However, in the '90s the word "Famicom" wasn't known by anyone here.
No one knew that it was the name of the original Japanese 8-bit game console which was successfully assimilated by us.
And if asked the question "What is the NES?", you'd be told that it's the first part of the coffee brand named "Nescafe."
We never got NESese or Famicoms. Steepler palmed upon us a wonderful Taiwanese clone with the original name Dendy.
But the Dendy console was only the tip of the iceberg. You could easily find and buy one of ten Chinese Famicom clones:
"Lifa",
"UFO",
"Liko",
"Subor",
"Kenga",
"Symba's",
"Bitman",
"BT".
With a heap of Chinese logograms on the box, they were cheaper & differed only by design, color and an additional included game cartridge.
The Dendy was available in two models: "Dendy Classic" and "Dendy Junior."
Both models were the most honorable, and were unconditionally considered the most authentic & original video game 8-bit consoles by our gamers.
Soon the word "Dendy" became a synonym for all 8-bit game consoles.
When kids who got a "Lifa" or "Subor" wanted to play, they would still say: "Let's play Dendy."
But it wasn't enough to choose and buy one of these Chinese consoles. It should also be played with enjoyment.
What's required to play with pleasure? I suppose a console itself with a couple of gamepads, an interesting game, and a TV-set, of course.
That's all, as we thought back then.
But after buying the desired console and bringing it home with the hope simply to sit down and play it,
our young gamers faced such problems that never happened or even believed in any civilized country in the mid-90s.
Only in Russia!..
...Carlsberg. We're hard-pressed for Rolling Rock.
At the sight of this apparatus many of you are certainly shaking your heads, recalling your hard childhood.
In the 1990s, more than a half of all average families had huge tube TV sets like "Horizont", "Photon", "Quartz", "Rainbow", etc.
These were the true pride of each family, whom had put aside money for several months to afford one. I had the "Photon-736", for instance.
Now imagine: you come home with a brand new console, unpack it, try to plug it in, and...
This is when you realized there was no way to plug it in. But there was another wire!
Okay, let's see...
Yay, got it! Tuned! Let's play now.
What? Where's the color?
What's this?! Is the game black-and-white or is console messed up? The TV is color, all the channels are in color... What the fuck?
How can I do this?! They all look the same!
Crap!
Can this even be done? I'll have to make do.
I played Dendy in black-and-white for about 8 years.
Do you know why?
These crappy Soviet TV sets all used the outdated SECAM system, which our television stations used for broadcasting for the past 50 years.
All video game consoles made outside our great motherland used PAL or NTSC. But since they all came from China, they all used PAL.
And besides the standard RF output terminal, they had also a composite A/V one.
But our TV couldn't handle composite at all, and handled the antenna signal through such an ass that the picture became black-and-white.
To get color on an old TV, a PAL/SECAM decoder was needed.
And to get one installed, technicians asked for a price 3 times as much as the console itself.
So, you spent a half of a year begging your parents to get you a console, and they bought it finally.
You played it in black and white for a while, then learned from your friends that you need a decoder to get color, and told it to your parents.
You clearly see it your father's eyes that he would never spent his two months salary just to let you play in color.
And if your parents were lucky to get a real Japanese TV set, like 'Toshiba' or 'Hitachi', that had PAL support,
they would give you that old 'Photon' and say -
"Son, this TV is yours, you can play as much as you want now.
But if you ever fucking dare to play on our new TV,
I'll take the console to the junkyard right away, and you'll never seen it again.
So you had no choice.
Parents usually justified their dislike for using the console on a new Japanese TV with claims like "the signal quickly & heavily wears on the CRT."
And that logic couldn't be argued with using your 10-year-old brain.
Who even came up with that absurd idea, that the video signal from the console wears the CRT faster than a normal TV signal does?
They're quite similar after all! The only difference is that the console outputs only 16 colors at once.
So what? A video recorder outputs several thousand times more colors, but it was never forbidden to be plugged into the TV set.
Regardless, I spent most of my childhood playing Dendy in black-and-white 'til my parents took pity on me and presented me with a small "LG" TV.
I was 14 at the time.
My God, it's so colorful...
Only Russian gamers could feel such happiness.
But surely you don't you think playing in black-and-white was the only problem?
Definitely not. That's only the beginning, the very curse of the grey elephant was only building up...
"The Grey Elephant's Curse"
In a review called "Nintendo Accessories", James Rolfe spoke of 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 teenagers look like complete dumbasses!
Greetings to Zhenya Pekurovsky. (Russian translator of AVGN)
But compared to this, what China the Almighty was feeding us was a total train wreck of shit.
Here you have a typical situation from the 1990s. Your friend visits with his brand new console and you get set up to play something.
As true blood-boiling beat-'em-up fans, your choice was Battletoads, of course. "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 hard-wired."
"What the fuck?! From which pile of dung did you dig this console out of?"
"A shop, it's a licensed Dendy."
"Licensed?!"
"So not only does the second controller lack Select and Start, so we won't be playing Battletoads, but you can't even unplug these fucking controllers!"
"What a sick fuck designed this?!"
This is a genuine piece of Chinese shit.
Just look at it. What idiot thought about hardwiring controllers into the console?! Were they trying to save money on sockets?
So, if the controller breaks, 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 we go, it works! But the first controller still can't be unplugged, so if it breaks what could you do then?
You can only try to resolder the wires on the console's motherboard instead of simply unplugging the faulty controller and switching it with a normal one.
Surprisingly, the early versions of the Japanese Famicom also had hardwired controllers.
But Nintendo stopped making this crap since the mid-80s since the controllers would sometimes break and need to be replaced.
But why the hell, after 10 years in the mid-90s, were we forced to play on those stupid versions of the console? Why?
Because Chinese pirates don't give a shit about what they're ripping off, they palmed us half-assed garbage
that was dumped from the market in the mid-80s.
As for absence of the Select and Start buttons on the second controller, that's a different story.
Such kinds of gamepads would be boxed with every other Dendy Junior look-alike,
denying 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 disappoint when you try to play games like "Battletoads" or "R.C. Pro-Am II" with your friends,
only to realize that it's impossible because of these stupid controllers!
It turns out that by releasing these consoles they purposefully screwed you over by leaving out the Select and Start buttons. And you paid for that.
Fucking Chinese!
Hard to believe, but early versions of Famicom also lacked Select and Start on the second controller.
Instead they had mounted miniature microphones which were used in games that supported voice input.
But when the Chinese were cloning the Famicom, they threw those away and forgot to add Select and Start buttons.
That's how those crappy controllers with two missing buttons were made.
You know what's even more funny?
If you disassemble the second controller and look at the board,
you'll see that the connectors for the Select and Start buttons are present.
In other words, they're provided by manufacturers, but on the gamepad's cases they just forgot to make two holes for the buttons.
Also in the 1990s, the controllers of the China-Taiwan-Hong Kong production were different.
Some of them weren't very comfortable, while others weren't very durable, if not most of them.
The gamepads, pirated from the Famicom, had the wire coming out from the side, making it uncomfortable to hold.
Later, they'd sell the same controllers but with the wire sticking out the top.
Dendy Classic had controllers of a slightly different shape, wiath a circular D-pad which some people also didn't like.
But the controllers of most clones of Dendy had were completely different, varying from the SNES-like to the Playstation-like ones.
For example, I'm playing with the controller from the Lifa console where the buttons are placed in a "diamond shape" like on the SNES.
Other major issue was that different 8-bit clones had different controller sockets: 15-pin versus 9-pin.
The latter ones were the same as on the Sega Mega Drive console.
That was common to all of these controllers is that they all had Turbo buttons.
And if someone happened to see the original Famicom controller, he'd thought that it was a pathetic copy because it lacked Turbo buttons.
As for the durability of the console components and the consoles themselves, it's pretty obvious.
Controllers would break all the time. Usually the elastic bands or wires would tear off because of bad soldering.
Circuit boards also broke but not that often. AC adapters were overheating one after the other without even working for 3 to 4 hours straight.
Sometimes they would get so hot that the casing would melt right in front of your eyes.
Personally, after a couple of troubles with AC adapters, I started using the ones from the Sega Mega Drive,
and for about 7-8 years I play for 5 to 6 hours without any problems.
As for the consoles themselves, it was a 50/50 chance.
Some would break after 1 to 6 months after purchase, while 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.
Other Chinese consoles like Lifa or Kenga usually wouldn't last long.
Speaking of quality of the Chinese clones, you can't forget about their compatibility with game cartridges, also provided by the same manufacturers.
Curiously enough, the compatibility of the most of them was very high and compatibility on the Dendy consoles was almost 100%.
But shit happens, you know. 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, so did I.
I got very "lucky", because from all Dendy Junior consoles that were sold, I've got the one which played the game like this:
No need to comment. Any cartridge, any copy of the game would play like this.
Not only "Prince of Persia" was like this on my console. The well known "Felix the Cat" was also pretty dim.
The same effect was present in the game "The Jungle Book".
Well, I've already told you about Chinese shit of the console shape. Now it's time to tell you what games we were playing in the '90s on this shit.
This is the most popular and well known example of the type of cartridge that was sold in Russia.
While Famicom players in Japan were using the original Japanese cartridgles that looked like this...
...and NES players from Europe and USA used cartridges like this...
...we in Russia had this...
...this...
...this...
...and even this!
But first things first. As I already said it's the most well-known cartridge type in Russia during the first half of the 1990s.
During that time, when Dendy the Elephant was only beginning his conquest of Russia, the cartridges for his 8-bit consoles looked like this:
Big orange cases with the label: "T.V. Game Cartridge".
They all had this silly cap which protected the cartridge from dust, probably.
It was like a substitute for the box and manual.
This crap was completely worthless and often got lost or thrown away.
Now, let's talk about the labels. What do we see here? Hmm...
We see the title "Ninja Ryukendn" with the Roman numerals for "3" floating above the last letter.
Accompanied by long-haired samurai, stolen straight from the cover of the game "Samurai Showdown" on the Sega Genesis.
And that's an example of the most common type of cartridge 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 time we had these so called "Steepler's cartridges".
These ones were only sold in the official Dendy shops and nowhere else.
Their main distinctive feature was this small cardboard box labeled "for Dendy", inside of which was the cartridge itself.
And that's all there was to differentiate it from other Chinese clones, because inside we see a typical pirated sample with a bunch of logograms on the label.
The only difference being a sticker on the back of the cartridge which had Dendy's mascot on it and Steepler's phone number.
Surprisingly, 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 the cardboard boxes, their only practical meaning was to make everyone who saw them say:
"Look, it's the most awesome original Dendy's cartridge ever because it is in a box!"
...so that nobody would have any doubt that it was a licensed product, despite what it held within.
Speaking of the quality and durability 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 developed huge cracks all over, the attachments and clips for the boards inside were falling off.
They were so fragile that they couldn't even take a weak axe hit.
After all those misfortunes, the only thing you were left with was this.
Every young gamer in our country had crapload of these boards, sometimes even as many as actual cartridges.
In the first half of the '90s the boards themselves were huge, with bunch of chips and capacitors, so they were pretty comfortable to use.
We put them into the console and played them like the normal cartridges without problems.
Later they started to get smaller...
...and smaller...
...and smaller.
Trying to get this fucking thing in and out of the console was a total nightmare.
It's like a crappy one way system. The only thing that helps.
This whole thing is total ass. Just look at the American cartridges. No chance in hell this case will break.
The owners of such cartridges in Europe and the U.S. probably never had to do anything like this bullshit.
Of course Russia is also partly European, 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 cartridge.
Here's another example that was 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, just mind-blowing.
I wonder what games there are?
Here we see two brave guys from "Contra". "Contra" is good.
Here we have "Super Fighter" and the recognizable combatants from "Street Fighter". Hmm, even better.
Also there are four weird creatures who look kinda like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
And in the bottom row are pictures from "Battle City", "Mario", and "Space Invaders".
Well, it's intriguing. Let's start up the game.
Even without starting it up everyone who remember the 1990s in Russia knows that it has neither "Contra", "Street Fighter", or "TMNT",
or anywhere close to 9999 games for that matter.
It contains only six simple games like "Mario" or "Duck Hunt", and all 9999 menu choices are just infinite variations of these few games,
like beginning the game from second, third, 20th, or 50th level.
In fact it's just a plain rip-off.
At first it doesn't seem so bad, but there were tens of thousands of cartridges like this in our country!
And all of them were labeled "9999999 in 1", and had nothing interesting to offer aside from 6 to 8 simple games.
I don't get it, who had the idea to make such cartridges and why?
At first the people were hyped. "Woah, 100000 games in 1, friggin' awesome!"
Later, when everybody had realized that it was a sham, nobody bought them. But still more and more kept coming out...
By the way, the labes on the cartridges that were sold in our shops were mind-blowing.
For Chinese pirates, you know, labeling some game with a picture cropped from a magazine or poster was a common thing.
They also didn't give a shit about typos in the titles.
For example: the "7 in 1" cartridge which every fifth Dendy gamer in our country had.
For 7 titles, only 3 of them were spelled correctly.
"TaleSpin" is "Tale Spir", "Snake Rattle 'n Roll" is just "Snake-2"...
I'm pretty sure that everybody who had this cartridge thought that there was a sequel and wanted to play "Snake-1" for many years, but never could.
"Seicross" became "Setcross", and lastly, the puzzle game "Magic Jewelry" was known simply as "Magic Block".
In addition, at the main menu we also see a typo in the title of the game "Darkwing Duck". Here it's "Darking Duck".
Here is a "4 in 1" game with the same issues. None of the games here are spelled correctly.
Just look: "Tragon", "Marble", "Captain" and "Duck Race".
Let me translate: "Tragon" is probably a Chinese for "Trog", the game about the single-eyed monster.
"Marble" is "Marble Madness", the game where the player manipulates a ball through a convoluted maze.
The game titled "Captain" just kills you dead.
I wonder, when you buy such cartridge, what game would you expect to see titled "Captain"?
Captain America?
Captain Planet?
Captain Ed?
Captain Tsubasa?
How many "captains" are there on Nintendo?
Well, on this cartridge, under the title "Captain" is a game "Captain Sky Hawk".
A fat chance trying to guess that from just the title "Captain"!
Finally, there is "Duck Race", which sounds like a race with ducks.
Personally, I don't know of such a game, but the picture shows is "Duck Tales". How could they mix up the words "race" and "tales" is beyond me.
Naturally when the titles don't tell you anything, you look at the picture instinctively,
and ponder every possibility after that just to guess what games the cartridge has.
But...
Why the fuck do I need to strain my brain so much just to know what games this cartridge has?!
How hard could it be to simply put the title on the label, like in every civilized country?
Once again we had everything ass-backwards, and instead of the normal Japanese or European cartridges
we were given with this Chinese shit with tons of hieroglyphs and fucked-up titles!
Every third cartridge surely had such 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" ["office" in Russian]. We can list them all day.
Not only did we have 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 what original cartridges for the Famicom and NES look like,
but back in the 1990s we were shocked after going to the shop and seeing a cartridge like that.
Just look at it.
"Chip 'n Dale 3"!
Yeah, you're drooling, spending your last cent, grabbing this cherished cartridge, remembering how awesome the first two games were.
Anticipating the awesomeness of the third game you hurry back home, start up the console, put 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 walks around shooting a minigun while blowing crap up with grenades in the middle of the desert.
This is...
well...
wha...?
What the fuck is this?!
Chip and Dale going to Vietnam?!
What the hell is happening?
The first game had Chip and Dale throwing boxes at caterpillars, and the second one had the same thing.
But in third one two chipmunks are throwing grenades and break through the rear of the Viet Cong.
If I was the AVGN, I would say "What were they thinking?!.."
But I'm not him, that's why I say:
"What kind of fuckery is this?!"
Do you know what's pictured on the label of this cartridge?
Some guy with a grenade and a handgun, in a military outfit who has the head of Fievel Mousekewitz from the cartoon "An American Tail".
Next to him is a cowboy with a gun in his hand and a head of a smiling bear.
All this is accompanied by tanks and helicopters in the background, with a "Chip and Dale 3" label on top.
What shit were they smoking?
That's not all. Aside from "Chip and Dale 3" there was another great sequel to another great game based on another great Disney cartoon.
You expected me to say "Duck Tales 2"? No way, 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 disappointed that it didn't have Darkwing's greatest nemesis: Negaduck.
That's why we were all waiting for the sequel, hoping that the main boss of the second game would be Negaduck and we could finally fight him.
Well, the sequel was released. Here it is.
Chinese faggots.
Almost half the Dendy games available for sale in our country didn't have their original titles.
Chinese pirate companies were murdering the game's titles on their whim, probably with a feeling of great delight,
knowing that poor Russian kids won't ever see the real games and original cartridges anyway, that weren't corrupted by their filthy hands,
and will be eating up any piece of crap that was a normal game once, but the kids would never know it.
This process maimed many lives 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, it turned out to be the very same "Battletoads 3".
There was no end to my disappointment, and I, staggered from such a ripoff, have continued my search for the first game.
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 added the option to restore your lives by pressing "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.
Its sequel, "Super Contra" a.k.a. "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 normal version,
hacked it beyond common sense and called "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 the same year for Super Nintendo.
OK, "Street Fighter" characters and Rambo in Contra, we could live with that, but why in God's name did they call it "Contra 6"?!
Why not "3"? It would make at least some sense after the first two games.
But no, they called it "6", dooming us to the vain search for the missing 3rd, 4th and 5th games.
Some time later they suddenly changed their mind, and finally brought the normal version of "Contra Force".
But this just added fuel to the fire, because when it became available in shops, everybody considered it one of the missing three games.
Later it became clear that it is the same "Contra 6", but with different characters.
So, some thought that "Contra 6" was an altered copy of "Contra Force", while others thought that "Contra Force" was an altered copy of "Contra 6",
But the 3rd, 4th and 5th parts of the game were never seen. So they remained mysterious lost parts of the "Contra".
While talking about cruel pirate jokes with numbers in the game titles, you can't fail to mention one more suffered series.
This is a cartridge with the game "Ghostbusters 3" on Dendy.
You can dig Gamefaqs.com up, but still you won't find this game there.
Because this game is a myth, just like the movie "Ghostbusters 3".
Oddly enough, here it is in my hands, and I'll show it right now.
So, we turning the game on, see the title "Ghostbusters 3",
and few seconds later 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 "Back to the Future 2 and 3"?
Not quite.
Let's start the game again, but now do it this way.
It's a miracle! The game "Ghostbusters 3" became "Ghostbusters 2"!
How so? It's simple.
First of all, people of some notorious Asian nationality took the American "Ghostbusters" game, pirated it and released as "Ghostbusters".
Then they took Japanese "New Ghostbusters 2", pirated it and released as "Ghostbusters 2".
Then they learned that there is another "Ghostbusters 2" game, released in USA long ago.
They took it, pirated, added a "III" to the title screen without any hesitation, and released as "Ghostbusters 3".
Thus, the "Ghostbusters 2" game turned into "Ghostbusters 3", and "New Ghostbusters 2" game turned into "Ghostbusters 2".
We were playing this never suspecting anything. Ten years later, there comes Internet and emulators.
We're going to download all our 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 want to recall that there was "Super Mario 16" game.
You know, no matter how sad it is, that the pirates took the original games, hacked and modified them,
sometimes even making them unrecognizable,
and distributed them on cartridges under some weird titles, it definitely wasn't the worst thing.
After all, we were having fun playing these games, because it was all we have got,
never realizing that the majority of games we played were pirated and hacked fake, that sometimes doesn't even looks like the original.
We were happy anyway, because games worked properly, and could be walked through without any problem.
However, shit happens, you know,
and it happened to me once.
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 hit points,
while performing a super attack was like a slow suicide,
and only the "Down+B" combination could help a little.
Usually you only had a few hit points left for the boss battle, that's where the super attacks came into action.
But when you needed it most, you just couldn't do it right, which led to a life loss.
It was obvious that a full walkthrough would require weeks of training.
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 to get there, 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 attack when he's charging to attack.
Just do it a few dozen times and the job is done.
Then the Shredder comes, and 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 attacks and make him more damage that he did to me.
I gave it my best shot!
Yeah, he started to blink! You can't run...
Just a little more...
You're..!
Wha?!..
He stopped blinking?!
This just couldn't be.
So, blinking again. It must mean just a couple hits left.
You're fucking dead!
What the fuck!!! Are you scoffin' me? You should be dead already!
You!..
You!!!..
Did you see that? This shithead was blinking three times. And then...
then he just stopped blinking!
He just got tired, blinked a little and stopped!
[A mini bottle of vodka]
You're fucking dead!
I'll send you to hell!
Scumbag!
Fuck!
Fuck it!
Who do you fucking think you are!
How many times he must blink? Ten?
Fuck you!!!
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,
tearing your ass apart just to screw that Shredder. And he was just blinking 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 all thought that it is normal, that it just supposed to 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 shit and tell you this is a candy.
And you believe it and enjoying just because you don't see anything else!
This is so egoistic!
Empty.
Ah, so you're asking why Shredder doesn't die in this game? Everything is fucking 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 Konami logo is present.
If there's none, the game started in the ass-tearing ultra hard mode, where the soldiers and the bosses had several times more HPs.
So, considering that fucking pirates usually cut off copyrights from every game they snatched, this game wasn't an exception.
They probably didn't know that there is such a protection,
and shat their hard-mode unbeatable version of "TMNT III" into our market.
But why is the Shredder invincible? I don't know.
Some tell he can be killed if you hit him without any break.
But you have just seen it. How the hell it can 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 things like this.
Where the hell 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 my weapon meter is 0?
Where are these hieroglyphs that fill the sub-weapon meter? Where?
Just great, I made it to the boss, and I've got 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!
Damn, what the fuck.
Fuck...
What the... ah, at last!
Damn, give me something useful.
What's that?
Fucking great!
One shitty 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 you!
Fuck this shit!
Damn, I've got no sub-weapon again.
Uh-huh. Of course. Not a single lantern.
Friggin' fun.
Oh fu...
Fucking awesome.
Couldn't they put it even higher? Who is it hanged for? Maybe Baloo will fly on the plane?
Fuck, why the hell did they made 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 freezed.
I wonder, what it is?
Maybe it will grant me something really cool?
If you pick this thing, the game freezes.
How to play this then?!
The game is fucking 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 want to know, how difficult this game is, you can watch his review.
But he could pick weapons and lives at least.
And we played this! That's all we had!
I wish these motherfucking Chinese pirates to burn in Hell!
That's not all the games that became unbeatable because of you-know-who.
Many of you probably remember an amazing NES game "Shatterhand",
and surely can't forget its Japanese version, "Tokkyuu Shirei - Solbrain",
that has been titled "Robocop 3" by the pirates, while a real "Robocop 3" game has been presented as "Robocop 4".
This version is remarkable not only for its animated cutscenes that were cut out in NA release...
but for the fact that it was absolutely impossible to beat because of a nasty bug on the second level.
Due to this bug, 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.
When you beat this boss, there is a battle with the same boss.
And when you beat this boss...
the battle repeats again!
You get the message saying "Area F cleared" after every battle.
You have to beat this scum again and again until it fucks your brain up completely, making you throw the gamepad into the TV screen.
However, this can't help you to go to the next level, because the next level will never appear.
Because it is 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 owners of 8-bit consoles were so lucky, with no Genesis or SNES available.
There were a lot of them in our country, and they were the ones to whom pirates made 8-bit ports of 16-bit bestsellers.
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",
"Boogerman",
"Mortal Kombat",
"Toy Story",
"The Lion King",
"Aladdin", and many more.
Some of the ports were playable and even beatable.
Some were great for a pirate port, "Aladdin" for instance.
And some of them were really 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 entertainment 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 video games produced, everything was brought from China or like.
It may not seem like a problem, the majority of games are primitive, everything is clear, sure.
If you're playing a plotless game like "Battle City", everything is clear. But I played "Kiyatto Ninden Teyandee",
and "Ninja Ryukenden III", damn it.
Developers spent a whole lot of time, efforts and console resources to implement a real cartoon-like cutscenes,
that would allow players to kind of like get into the movie and "live through" it.
And dammit, they could!
But we couldn't.
We sat in front of the TV screen having no clue what happened in the cutscenes.
Well, after all, you could just skip cutscenes and play like that, and never care about the plot.
But when the lack of foreign language skills terminates the possibility to beat the game, this is awful.
Here is a bright example. Excellent game called "River City Ransom". When I play it in Japanese, it enrages me.
You are low on HP, so you enter a store and think "What should I buy?"
Hmm...
Well...
What to buy... This?
Or maybe this?
OK, I'll eat this.
Excellent! No health replenished.
Alright, what if I'll buy this?
And this?
OK, this!
No, the lowest one is better, at least it's more expensive.
Let's see...
So?
One HP? One lousy HP?
Fantastic!
And I've got no money. Good buy, come again.
Surprisingly, some games were translated into Russian. But it was almost impossible to buy them.
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, besides of consumer electronics production, also pirated Nintendo's Game & Watch games,
adapting them for a Russian market and distributing under their own label.
I was shocked to find that our "Nu, pogodi!" ("You Just Wait!") game was a Nintendo's Game & Watch "Egg" rip-off.
Besides the "Prince of Persia", "Electronica" translated few other games.
For example, "The Little Mermaid",
"Duck Tales",
and "Contra". "Duck Tales",
and "Contra".
These translated games were so rare that only a few people saw them.
In the 21th century, thanks to the Internet, we had got handymen, who learned to translate dumped ROMs into Russian.
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, "Video-Ass Dendy" magazine was launched.
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 there regularly.
At the beginning the show was running in the capital region only,
but several months later it was moved to 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",
"Somari",
"Double Dragon 4".
All this pirate shit was openly 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 NES cartridges,
and paid attention for a few of Famicom cartridges that somehow got in there.
Among them, he found and showed a pirated "Duck Tales" cartridge,
and wondered why the heck there is 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 host of the "Dendy - Novaya Realnost" show advertises this cartridge nationwide!
...that means "tales about ducks" or "duck stories" as we got used to call it, based on the cartoon of the same name.
This is "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 a 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,
when Nintendo had officially stopped the production of 8-bit consoles and cartridges.
By the way, not many 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,
provided that the "Steepler" will not support the distribution of Sega consoles in any way, and will never sell Sega Mega Drive consoles and cartridges.
It was November. And then, Sega consoles and games suddenly disappeared from the "Novaya Realnost" show and from the "Dendy" magazine,
and SNES became highly advertised on the TV.
"Do you want to control the world? Your world, where 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!"
However, 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.
Why not? Super Nintendo license is obtained, so screw all the rest!
"Steepler" purchased all the Sega goods from the Chinese sellers anyway, not from Sega itself.
So the Nintendo contract technically 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 Super Nintendo.
However, these licensed had a fucking high prices into Russian money, so they stood on a store shelves for months.
In addition to Dendy, Sega Mega Drive and SNES, you also could buy a real Nintendo Game Boy in the middle 90s.
It was released in Japan and US in 1989, but got here only five years later.
I must say, a few ones bought it, because it was expensive, had a high battery consumption, required cartridges.
We already had our own portable game system at the time.
The one that required no cartridges, had a way lower battery consumption, and few games were 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 two AA batteries, and could turn you into a nerd in a week, gazing into this little screen every day and night!
And, after a couple of years of playing "Brick Game", here comes a Game Boy...
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, when 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 websites 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) [a pun]
got stuck in any 8-bit game, their only hope was a VG magazine "Video-Ass Dendy".
You could not always find a solution even there.
At the last pages, there was a "No problems" section, where our gamers shared their findings.
But it took only a few pages, while there were thousands of questions!
That's why a bunch of cheat books came into market, filled with cheat codes, secrets and tips.
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 would you think, how many Batman games are there on NES?
We are familiar with "Batman", "Batman Returns" and "Batman: Return of the Joker". So, there is three.
Let's check the book.
Seven Batman games!
Where did they get so much?
Let's begin with "Batman & Flash" is a hack of "Monsters in my Pocket".
Do you think that pirated hacks aren't mentioned in an official cheat book? You're wrong.
"Batman Forever". This is a Genesis and SNES game, it does not exist for NES! How the fuck did it get here?
"Batman 2" and "Batman 4", what games are these?
If "Batman 2" is "Batman: Return of the Joker", according to the release timeline, why they are separate here?
But wait...
...passwords for these are all the same!
Why the hell they wrote the same passwords twice?!
Oh my... It can't be...
"Batman 4" has the very 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"...
for "Dendy", uh-huh.
"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"?
Blow me down, is it possible to play as Splinter in "TMNT 2"?!
Wow, let's check it out!
So, "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 fucking hoax!
Alright, let's see what else is in there.
OK...
"Auto weapon select".
"In the "Choose a player" mode press D+Select. After every life loss, a recommended weapon will be chosen automatically".
Recommended weapon? But every turtle has only one, doesn't it?
OK, let us try.
D+Select.
Few minutes later.
What the crap? Nothing changed!
Spoofed again! What the scumbags wrote it?
Alright, last chance!
Here is 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.
Let's try.
So?
So?..
Come on!
Doesn't work.
Damn, what an asshole wrote this codes, where did he get them, 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 book?
What?
"Tested by professionals"?..
Epilogue
Yeah, that's how the story goes.
That's what this little gray elephant made here in 90s.
In fact, it's not only him.
First of all, it is depressive economy, fallen by the moment of USSR dissolution,
that made most people of new Russia barely being able to afford cheap Chinese consoles.
Demand is high, but money is low.
When licensed SNES was appeared here in 1995, it had cost of my parents two-month wages.
It is 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 newer consoles, that were released all over the world in the mid 90s, but appeared here about six years later,
like the first PlayStation that became popular in the early 2000s.
Well, that's another story.
I'm grateful to this little elephant Dendy. Yes, damn, I am!
This little gray brute fed us with shit, but he gave us possibility to play great Nintendo games that became an all-time hits.
We had black-and-white picture, crazy bugs, hacked games, continually breaking gamepads, consoles, and AC adapters...
cheats and codes that'll never work, invincible Shredder, no Select and Start buttons, but we played!
That's the power of Dendy!
And that's the curse of Dendy.
Despite all of this crap, we played! And rightly so...
Created, Edited and Directed Paul Grinyov
Camera work: 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 edited by koitsu & Shiru