Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 17th Dec 2017 19:26 UTC
Games

Back in the 90s, if you had mentioned the names Nintendo and Sega to a kid in America, Japan or Europe, their face would have likely lit up. They'd instantly know what these words represented; the colour and excitement of a game on the TV screen in their front room, and a sense of fun. But if you said these words to a child in Russia, they'd have looked at you blankly. These companies were not present in the region at the time. Say 'Dendy', however, and you'd invoke that same kind of magic.

This was a counterfeit NES console that was released in December 1992 by a Russian technology company called Steepler. It all began when Victor Savyuk, then working at another tech firm called Paragraph, first learnt of 'TV games'; machines that plugged into your TV at home, were controlled with joysticks and let people enjoy video games.

There were no IP protections for games on consoles in Russia at the time, making this entire endeavor possible.

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Poland similar
by zima on Sun 17th Dec 2017 21:27 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

In PL, we had "Pegasus" NES clone ...like in many post Soviet block countries (each seemed to have its own NES clone flavour, but probably most if not all coming from the same manufacturer; and more precisely, those were all Famicom clones - consoles were similar or even identical in apperance to Famicom, cartridges in format compatible with Famicom, not NES).

Similar to Russia, lack of IP protection definately played a role - IIRC, copyright on software was introduced only in 1993 or so; and for some time afterwards, enforcement remained lax (I definetely was able to still buy pirate cassettes for my C64, only after some time legal games have even became available; Amiga games similar, and I think I've never even seen an original one ...and NES clones and counterfeit cartridges are to this day easily available on allegro.pl - our local ~eBay - they even have their own category!)

Edited 2017-12-17 21:47 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Poland similar
by judgen on Tue 19th Dec 2017 10:30 UTC in reply to "Poland similar"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

Did the cartridges from PAL or NTSC work on those clones or did it have to use specific SECAM cartridges to work with the eastern signal system?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Poland similar
by zima on Tue 19th Dec 2017 23:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Poland similar"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

NES PAL or NTSC (US) cartridges wouldn't work since the connector was different, AFAIK, like I said above, that of a Famicom. Famicom NTSC (JP) cartridges perhaps would work (but not the other way around, since the cartridges lacked lockout chip...), though I suppose barely anyone would try when having access to counterfeit ones ...which I think typically contained dumps of NTSC NES/Famicom titles, because for example Contra was named Contra, and not whatever-name-that-game-had-in-Europe/PAL ;) - the clone then somehow outputted those as PAL in the case of Pegasus at least (at least a unit my cousin bought in... 1999 or 2000 (still in normal, legal electronics store), when I was on PlayStation), which wasn't a problem, since PL made the switch from SECAM to PAL in early 90s, though maybe that was different for other clones...

Some more trivia:

The cartridges didn't have battery save feature, so some types of titles were basically out (for example RPGs). They made up for this lack of saving by having ~hundreds of "copies" of the same ~dozen games, just with different starting levels.

There were some nice "bonuses" of the lack of IP protections - the best I can remember: those NES clones came with Tengen/Atari version of Tetris instead of Nintendo one. Tengen version was superior (it had 2-player mode on one console), but it had been withdrawn from western markets due to licensing issues / when it turned out that Atari didn't have the rights to Tetris on consoles. Luckily ;) this didn't matter in Russia etc.

Edited 2017-12-20 00:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Poland similar
by zima on Sun 24th Dec 2017 21:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Poland similar"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

PS. Worth remembering are also, earlier and parallel to NES cloning, ZX Spectrum clones, like Pentagon or Dubna-48K (funnily enough, that name was used in 2016 "Jason Bourne" movie for a computer that's used to hack the CIA ;) ), the Russian demoscene did some insane things with them...

Also, there are NES clones / NES-on-a-chip with... a keyboard; with at least some typing tutorial app built in. As I understand they are relatively popular in India at least, and were the subject of an initiative influenced by One Laptop Per Child, to give them some more capabilities / applications.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by The123king
by The123king on Sun 17th Dec 2017 22:28 UTC
The123king
Member since:
2009-05-28

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iouRVcPaH5E

Apparently the Media Megadrive (NES Clone) contained a few Dendy parts. I think these NES clones were quite popular then, as they are now.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by The123king
by SitrucKram on Mon 18th Dec 2017 00:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by The123king"
SitrucKram Member since:
2013-12-02

Yes. These 'famiclone' consoles were being sold at the same time as the NES/Famicom.

Reply Score: 1

Unrepairable hardware
by wigry on Mon 18th Dec 2017 10:29 UTC
wigry
Member since:
2008-10-09

I saw a broken unit of Dendy Junior 2 on sale couple a months back and having seen NES internals and other 8-bit systems, then thought that it should not be hard to fix this. Just swap out a broken chip and you have a working machine again. Well then googled a bit and discovered this picture.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Dendy_Junior_II_...

The system has one molded blob on the PCB and thats all you got. If there is a fault in there, you are done.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Unrepairable hardware
by The123king on Mon 18th Dec 2017 11:21 UTC in reply to "Unrepairable hardware"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

That's likely a later version optimised for cost-savings

Reply Score: 1

Dendy...
by v_bobok on Mon 18th Dec 2017 15:41 UTC
v_bobok
Member since:
2008-08-01

DENDY IS LOVE
DENDY IS LIFE

Reply Score: 2

You should look at Brazil
by protomank on Mon 18th Dec 2017 17:22 UTC
protomank
Member since:
2006-08-03

Until ~1990, brazil had laws that forbit importing computers, this included videogames. So all we could do it import parts and build it here in small companies.
This led to dozen of Atari 2600 clones in 1983 because there as no official Atari being sold here. This continued a good while and explains the success of Master System and Mega Drive that had a brazilian company (TecToy).
The whole brazilian videogame industry was built upon clone consoles, it is a very rich and fun history.

Reply Score: 4

RE: You should look at Brazil
by Onyx_RE2 on Mon 18th Dec 2017 23:03 UTC in reply to "You should look at Brazil"
Onyx_RE2 Member since:
2015-03-05

I remember a TV commercial in Brazil for an Atari clone from the 80's. I think it had Pele saying "jogo bonito, jogo genial". Don't remember the "brand" but it was certainly one of the 2600 clones.
They used to export those 2600 clones all over South America.

Reply Score: 2

Linux.Fish
Member since:
2017-12-19

Reading your site for many years already,
Registered to post this ;)
Back in Kenigsberg i indeed had a Dendy (and an updated or similar clone Subor). Had a case full of cartriges. I kicked ass at Pro Am II. ;) My first experience of tech support, at age of few years above 10. Was to solder back broken off adapter ports of my friends dendys. ;)

Nowadays im a multilingual linux enthousiast living in Antwerp and supporting SDL Trados Studio at a Vertalers en Tolken school ;)

Thom, we should get a beer some day. Are you ever visiting Fosdem? ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Tue 19th Dec 2017 19:29 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

There were no IP protections for games on consoles in Russia at the time, making this entire endeavor possible.


And of course, the company who took the risk and significant R&D expense of developing and introducing the NES didn't saw any money from all those Dendy sales. Instead, the state-owned monopoly got all the profits. Same deal with the cartridges and the software in them.

And that's why nobody put any effort to invent anything new in Soviet Russia, because the state would either copy it or claim ownership over it anyways.

Edited 2017-12-19 19:29 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by zima on Wed 20th Dec 2017 00:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Uhm, there's an article "List of Russian/Soviet inventions" on Wikipedia. It's a long one...

And seriously, in a gaming related article about Soviet Russia you forgot that the best game of all times, Tetris, is Soviet? ;)

(also, Nintendo simply didn't service those markets, so somebody filled the void...)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Wed 20th Dec 2017 13:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

Uhm, there's an article "List of Russian/Soviet inventions" on Wikipedia. It's a long one...

Where by "inventions" most of the time they mean "push scientists into the design room and tell them to copy what the dirty capitalist pigs did last year"

And seriously, in a gaming related article about Soviet Russia you forgot that the best game of all times, Tetris, is Soviet? ;)

...and the poor smuck who was dumb enough to share his invention with the rest of Soviet society didn't see any money from it. Which is the reason nobody in Soviet Russia had any motivation to invent new things. Even if something got accidentally invented by some poor smuck (like Tetris) it was done by chance, and hence it happened less often compared to motivated societies.

(also, Nintendo simply didn't service those markets, so somebody filled the void...)

Because they weren't allowed to service it, and even if they did, what's the point of entering a market, just to have sleazy state-run companies who didn't drop a penny on R&D make exact clones of your products and undercut you?

Edited 2017-12-20 13:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by zima on Sun 24th Dec 2017 21:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You didn't check the Wiki article I mentioned... (also, you don't seem to realise what an "invention" is - hint: it involves doing something which wasn't done before, in the West or anywhere) much of the Russian-invented stuff is groundbreaking (like for example supermanouverability of jet fighters; or MiG-29 "helmet-HUD/aim" for designating targets for heatseeking missiles without turning whole plane towards enemy, which we copied in latest-gen Sidewinder after getting familiar with East German MiGs-29; or how stealth tech of F-117 was based on... a Soviet research paper from the 60s; they basically keep the Mie┼╝dunarodnija Kosmiczieskaja Stancija ;P / ISS "flying", and are generally ahead in space launcher tech, so much so that two US rockets use Russian main engines, and ESA built in Kurou launch complex for Soyuz rockets; or tokamak, which we "copy" in ITER ...why, yes, I'm an aviation/space/physics buff ;) ...but for something closer to OSNews: Elbrus VLIW architecture of supercomputers ...many of Babayew team would later work on Itanium; or first computer 3D animation, of a wireframe walking (what else? ;) ) cat! ;) ...but go ahead, underestimate our ~foe, that works out really well... )

Tetris wasn't an accident, it wasn't the first game of its creators, and they definately benefitted from it (also, ~academics were priviledged people, living in moderately nice academic cities) - Alexei Pajitnov is well off, leading comfortable life - must he be a billionaire for Tetris? Anyway, who profited the most from Tetris are most likely "filthy capitalists" - Nintendo.
There's a TED talk about motivation (that I can't quickly find now) - beyond covering basic needs, money is not what motivates us; in fact, it causes poorer performance (and that's not some socialist conspiracy, but research funded by Federal Reserve Bank of the US or some such). For great results of not-money-motivated work see for example Wikipedia or large part of Free Software movement.

If Coca-Cola and Pepsi were allowed in, then Nintendo wouldn't have any issues, not in the early 1990s, with Gorbachev's Perestroika in full swing. Fact is, Nintendo didn't want to target "lesser" people...

Reply Score: 2