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

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
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In PL, we had "Pegasus" NES clone 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 - 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 in reply to "Poland similar"
judgen Member since:

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 Parent Score: 1

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

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 Parent Score: 3

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

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 Parent Score: 2