Super Multi

PGP 256

Posted by taizou at 2014-05-17 01:33:57 Clones, Famicom

Hey, it's been a while! Sorry about that. But I'm back! With one of the countless weird handhelds that are cluttering up my house at the moment... the PGP 256!

With super high game! And Bowser! I do quite like this package design, though. I like purple. And I've always had a soft spot for that font they used for the "256M Handheld Game System" text. Hey and the "256" is in Georgia and it's rainbow coloured, both of which featured heavily in, like, every website I made in the late 2000s. Whoever designed this package is totally after my own heart. Or maybe it was designed by me in 2008 on some alternate timeline and it somehow crossed over into this world in some freak convergence of universes (thus explaining why I've never seen another one for sale). Whoa.

The back... is sadly more generic. Screenshots of games that mostly aren't actually on here, more stolen artwork and some text which mostly actually is true and makes sense (aside from the game counts).

So! If you haven't guessed, this is one of many (many) clone handhelds doing the rounds at present, which each claim to have hundreds of thousands of games built in (all lies, of course) and come with one to three cartridges boasting equally ridiculous game counts.

The history of these is pretty messy; my original understanding is that they were derived from and compatible with the FC-3000 from Jungletac, a handheld capable of playing Famicom games on its own proprietary cartridge format, but (for reasons I'll get into later) this obviously isn't the case, at least not anymore.

One of the earliest such consoles was pretty much a knockoff of Jungletac's OneStation, albeit called the "Digital Dragon system" on the packaging and "MagicStation" on the console itself (although possibly some earlier revisions still said "OneStation"), and the built-in games menu resembled one from a OneStation cart. Later came the GB Station series which resembled the GBA SP, and then the PSP-imitating PVP (Play Vision Portable) Station which set the standard for dozens of P(something)P consoles to follow. To begin with they were all Famicom clones, but later Mega Drive clones were produced in the same format, and there are even a few GBA-based ones doing the rounds now.

This one is a Famicom clone and follows resolutely in the PVP's footsteps, going for the name "PGP" and taking its inspiration more from the PS Vita (although it isn't an exact copy, I'll give them that much) but the manufacturers have also opted to add a cute sticker featuring all manner of copyrighted characters (both it and the screen are covered by a plastic protector with a bad habit of falling off). Other variants are available if this one isn't your bag; you can see a few more on this alibaba page, including a snazzy Tekken vs Fist of the North Star edition.

The screen is actually one of the better ones I've seen on anything; inevitably it doesn't run at the native NES resolution so there's a bit of stretching going on, but it's nice and bright and actually puts the LCDs of considerably more expensive and legitimate hardware to shame. But, sadly, of course, this is a clone, so it can't all be good news, and the fatal flaw here is the sound. Honestly I'm not sure if I have a faulty unit, or if they're all this bad; it's just really scratchy and distorted and unpleasant, even through headphones.

Unlike many similar consoles, this doesn't come with an AV cable and has no TV-out support whatsoever, so you're limited to playing it on the console's screen; it uses a rechargeable battery compatible with Nokia's BL-5C (which has become something of a standard among Chinese console makers lately) and there's a dubious charger included, although fortunately it has a standard Mini USB port so you can charge it from something more reputable. There was also a pouch included in the box, which is, you know, nice.

There was a manual included as well, but it's both for the wrong console (something called a "PYP 3", although the text refers to a "16 bit NBS" as well) and in Indonesian, so it's not too much use to me... except for the sticker on the front, which reveals the company behind this to be "KSD", short for 凯仕达 (Kaishida), short for 深圳市凯仕达高峰科技有限公司 (Shenzhen Kaishida Summit Technology Co., Ltd.), and also provides the URL of their (musical, be warned) website. Kaishida seems to mostly specialise in dance mats, and they don't list anything like this at all anymore, so it's probably fair to say Kaishida had nothing to do with the system aside from maybe the package design.

Who actually did make it is something of a mystery; many of these systems can be found listed on the website of Shenzhen Nanjing Technology, of Famicom RPG infamy, from the common GB Station and PVP lines to more original stuff like the Game Prince and NJ series, plus the amusingly-named "NBS" which shook things up a bit by ripping off Nintendo's DS instead of the commonly cloned PSP family. However many of those consoles also appear on the website of Jncota among other companies, so it's really hard to say where they originated from in the first place; and in any case neither company's site lists anything like the PGP. The company whose Alibaba page I linked to previously, Guangzhou Toycenter Toy Firm (which uses the brands Digiking and Zhanglong), seems to be a distributor for all kinds of handhelds including those known to be from other manufacturers, so I doubt they're behind it; but they may have had something to do with its design. who knows!

Regardless of who made it, they were generous enough to bundle the console with three tiny cartridges:

Of course, they don't have anywhere near the stated game count (and neither does the console itself) but it's nice that they were included, right? Here's a hastily shot video of one of the menus (and yes the sound really is that bad, it's not a problem with the video):

The other menus have different graphics but identical music and animation. And there's a reason for that! A reason that will become apparent if you take a look inside the cartridges:

...but there's... nothing here?

that's right! These so-called "cartridges" are nothing more than a trigger for different, already-built-in sets of games! Are you shocked? I was shocked. No wonder they're called "Exclusive Card"s - if you tried to use them with another, ostensibly pin-compatible console (of which there are many), nothing would happen! Or rather, they might trigger other sets of built-in games on those consoles, but you aren't going to be playing the PGP's games on your PXP or PZP or P☆P, because they are forever trapped within the confines of the PGP. And I always wondered why no one was selling cartridges for such a seemingly prevalent bootleg gaming format; because the cartridges are all LIES, that's why.

I actually have seen cartridges sold separately labelled as "GB Station", so it's possible some earlier, similar systems really did have real cartridges containing honest-to-god ROM chips before they resorted to this kind of trickery; hell, maybe the newer ones still have this functionality, and real carts just use different pins to the fake ones. Probably not, though.

So, now we've established Santa isn't real... but we can at least take a look at the contents of his sack. And by that I mean the games on here. Of course. I'll list the unique games built-in and those "on" each "cartridge", but obviously I'm not listing the 100,000s of repeats each time, because that would just be silly.

  1. SUPER MARIO 3
  2. ANGRYBIRD
  3. PLANTS VS ZOMBIE
  4. CROSSFIRE
  5. SUPERMAN
  6. JACKIE CHAN
  7. WARRIOR
  8. 10 YARD FIGHT
  9. 90 TANK
  10. ANTARCTIC ADVEN
  11. ARABIAN
  12. BALLOON FIGHT
  13. BASE BALL
  14. BINARY LAND
  15. BIRD WEEK
  16. BOMBER MAN
  17. BOMB SWEEPER
  18. BRUSH ROLLER

So the "666666 in 1" games built in turns out to be a more modest 18; of interest here are Nice Code's ports of Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies, plus one other random game of theirs, "Warrior" (which I can't find a video of but it's basically a reskinned version of this one). Super Mario Bros 3 is the hacked version which lets you give yourself any item, which makes it considerably easier; we also have CrossFire, an obscure old Famicom game by Kyugo which has gained a sudden resurgence in bootleg popularity lately thanks to the identically-named online game, and homebrew game Bomb Sweeper which seems to have made its way into multicart makers' romsets probably thanks to its close stylistic resemblance to early Nintendo titles.

  1. CONTRA 1
  2. CONTRA 2
  3. FINAL MISSION
  4. BAYOU BILLY
  5. BATMAN
  6. ISOLATED WARRIOR
  7. BURGER TIME
  8. CHACK AND POP
  9. CHESS
  10. CIRCUS CHARLIE
  11. CLU CLU LAND
  12. COMBAT
  13. DEFENDER
  14. DEVIL WORLD
  15. DIG DUG 1
  16. DONKEY KONG 1
  17. DONKEY KONG 2

The "777777 in 1" (real count: 17) is more standard, although Bayou Billy isn't often seen on multicarts. "Chess" is really Gomoku Narabe and "Donkey Kong 2" is Donkey Kong Jr, if anyone was wondering.

  1. P.O.W
  2. DARKWING DUCK
  3. SUMMER CARNIVAL
  4. POWER BLADE
  5. POWER BLADE 2
  6. TURTLES 4
  7. GALAXIAN
  8. GOLF
  9. RAID ON BUNGELIN
  10. HYPER OLYMPIC
  11. HYPER SPORTS
  12. ICE CLIMBER
  13. JOUST
  14. KARATEKA
  15. LODE RUNNER
  16. LUNAR BALL
  17. MACROSS
  18. MAGIC JEWELRY

The "888888 in 1" really has 18 games and WHOA HEY IT'S RECCA just sitting there in the list as "Summer Carnival" like it's nothing. That game alone totally makes this thing worthwhile.

  1. DOUBLE DRAGON 2
  2. CHIP & DALE 1
  3. GUERILLAWAR
  4. TINY TOON
  5. GUN DEC
  6. ROBOCOP
  7. GUIFWAR
  8. TOP GUN
  9. KILLER TOMATOES
  10. DARKMAN
  11. ADVENTURE ISLAN
  12. DONKEY KONG 3
  13. DONKEY KONG JR
  14. EXCITE BIKE
  15. EXERION
  16. F1 RACE
  17. FORMATION Z
  18. FRONT LINE
  19. GALAGA

Finally, the "999999 in 1" (real count: 19). "Guifwar" is an Iraq war-themed hack of Silk Worm I've mentioned before here; everything else is pretty standard. (Donkey Kong Jr is DK Jr. Math, by the way.)

So, that's the PGP! A slightly unusual variant in a sea of generic PSP knockoffs, and probably not something I'd recommend buying - unless you really really want to play Recca on the cheap - but it's cute and interesting (you know, just like me) it's just let down by its piss-poor sound and inherent lack of expandability (again, just like... me?). Next up: something else!

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Famicom 198 in 1 & 218 in 1 multicarts

Posted by taizou at 2014-02-09 19:47:28 Famicom, Multicarts, Nice Code

Multicarts! For the Famicom! If you have any experience with these things, you no doubt know the perils of high stated game counts, where just about anything above a 50 in 1 is likely to contain repeats, and anything above 10 frankly could still be suspicious. But not anymore! A welcome trend coming out of China recently has been to release Famicom multicarts with game counts running up to the 100s that actually have the stated number of games on them! (more or less) And I have a couple of them here - let's start with this 198 in 1:

This one was released under the CoolBoy brand (酷孩); some previous carts (including other high-capacity multicarts and reissues of Waixing games) were released by a company called Fuzhou Coolboy Electronics Co., Ltd (福州酷哥电子有限公司) but the Chinese name is different (酷哥 kù gē rather than 酷孩 kù hái) and seemingly this is not the same outfit, because when you turn it on you see:

The menu credits "深圳市仁顺科技", Shenzhen Renshun Technology - a different company doing very similar things under a very similar brand. Presumably either they're connected somehow or one ripped off the other.

A piece of paper was included with the game list in Chinese, which is nice, if you can understand it:

for those of you who can't, here's the full game list in English, as it appears in the menu:

  1. CONTRA 1
  2. CONTRA 2
  3. CONTRA 3
  4. CONTRA 6
  5. CONTRA 7
  6. CONTRA 8
  7. KAGE
  8. FINAL MISSION
  9. DOUBLE DRAGON 1
  10. DOUBLE DRAGON 2
  11. DOUBLE DRAGON 3
  12. DOUBLE DRAGON 4
  13. CHIP & DALE 1
  14. CHIP & DALE 2
  15. CHIP & DALE 3
  16. ROBOCOP 1
  17. ROBOCOP 2
  18. ROBOCOP 3
  19. ROBOCOP 4
  20. TINY TOON 1
  21. TINY TOON 2
  22. TINY TOON 3
  23. NINJA GAIDEM 1
  24. NINJA GAIDEM 2
  25. NINJA GAIDEM 3
  26. HOT BLOOD WRESTLE
  27. HOT BLOOD STORY
  28. HOT BLOOD SOCCER 1
  29. HOT BLOOD MARCH
  30. ADVENTURE ISLAND
  31. ADVENTURE ISLAND 2
  32. ADVENTURE ISLAND 3
  33. ADVENTURE ISLAND 4
  34. NINJA TURTLES 1
  35. NINJA TURTLES 4
  36. STREET FIGHTER 201
  37. KICK MASTER
  38. MIGHTY FINAL FIGHT
  39. STREET FIGHTER
  40. MORTAL COMBAT 4
  41. ASTYANAX
  42. THREE EYES BOY
  43. SNOW BROS
  44. SPIDERMAN
  45. BATMAN
  46. KYUUKYOKU TIGER
  47. POWER RANGER
  48. GULF WAR
  49. BUBBLE BOBBLE 2
  50. DARKWING DUCK
  51. KERO KERO KEROPPI
  52. ARABIAN
  53. GUERILLA WAR
  54. DEAD FOX
  55. POWER BLADE 1
  56. ZIPPY RACE
  57. LUNAR BALL
  58. GALAXIAN
  59. MAHJONG 2
  60. TETRIS 2
  61. NAITOU
  62. TANK 90
  63. F1 RACE
  64. CHINESE CHESS
  65. SOCCER
  66. LODER RUNNER
  67. CIRCUS CHARLIE
  68. MACROSS
  69. SUPER MARIO
  70. EXCITE BIKE
  71. MACH RIDER
  72. ARKANOID
  73. LEGEND OF KAGE
  74. DR. MARIO
  75. TENNIS
  76. STAR FORCE
  77. 1942
  78. PINBALL
  79. SKY DESTROYER
  80. POPEYE
  81. MIGHTY BOMB JACK
  82. ROAD FIGHTER
  83. MUSCLE
  84. GALAGA
  85. ALADDIN 3
  86. ICE CLIMBER
  87. BOMBERMAN
  88. MAPPY
  89. HARRY POTTER
  90. TWIN BEE
  91. SPARTAN X
  92. PIKA CHU
  93. GRADIUS
  94. DONKEY KONG 1
  95. DONKEY KONG 2
  96. DONKEY KONG 3
  97. DONKEY KONG 4
  98. AQUARIUM
  99. ARENA
  100. AIR ALERT
  101. AWFUL RUSHING
  102. AIMLESS
  103. BURBLES
  104. BURROW EXPLORER
  105. BUG'S WAR
  106. BOMB KING
  107. BASEBALL NEW
  108. BUBBLE
  109. CANNONADE
  110. HITMOUSE
  111. COAST GUARD
  112. CUB ADVENTURE
  113. DEPTH BOMB
  114. DEVILDOM DOOM
  115. DIAMOND
  116. DUNE WAR
  117. FIREBASE
  118. FIRST DEFENDER
  119. FIVE DAYS
  120. FRANTIC MOUSE
  121. FRUIT DISH
  122. GALLAGANT
  123. GARDEN WAR
  124. GATE
  125. HALLIHOO
  126. HEXAPOD NEW
  127. HEXAPOD WAR
  128. LABYRINTH
  129. LUNARIAN
  130. MAD XMAS
  131. MOTOBOAT
  132. PANZER ATTACK
  133. POBBLE
  134. POLAR BAT
  135. RURALGOBLIN
  136. ROBOT
  137. SEASON GARDEN
  138. SHREW MOUSE
  139. SNOWBALL
  140. STAR FIGHTER
  141. STRAFE
  142. SMALL DINOSAUR
  143. SILENT HUNTER
  144. THE ARCHER
  145. TWIN CARDS
  146. UNDERSEA ARENA
  147. WARRIOR
  148. ABSCONDEE
  149. AETHER CRUISER
  150. AIM CRUISE
  151. P.O.W
  152. JUNGLE BOOK
  153. ABARENB
  154. ZOOM
  155. TOM AND JERRY
  156. AIR WOLF
  157. ALIEN 3
  158. SUPER SPY HUNTER
  159. SUPERMAN
  160. SWORD MASTER
  161. TAITO BASKETBALL
  162. ALL-PRO BASKETBAL
  163. SUMMER CARNIVAL'9
  164. INDIANA JONES
  165. RACE AMERICA
  166. BRUCE LEE 2
  167. BANANA PRINCE
  168. SHATTERHAND
  169. SAINT
  170. ROCKIN KATS
  171. JUUOUKI
  172. NINJA CAT
  173. GUNNAC
  174. IKARI 3
  175. PANIC RESTAURANT
  176. WHOMP'EM
  177. WOLVERINE
  178. THE LEGEND OF PRI
  179. TOP GUN
  180. TALESPIN
  181. SQUASHED
  182. NEWZEALAND STORY
  183. MISSION IMPOSSIBL
  184. MONSTER IN MY POC
  185. GUN DEC
  186. CONQUEST OF THE C
  187. MARIO 10
  188. MARIO 12
  189. MARIO 14
  190. WAR WOLF
  191. HOT BLOOD BASKETB
  192. HOT BLOOD ICE HOC
  193. HOT BLOOD NEW REC
  194. HOT BLOOD SOCCER
  195. HOT BLOOD VOLLEYB
  196. JACKAL
  197. LIFE FORCE
  198. RUSH'N ATTACK

The games listed in italics above are Chinese originals by the developer Nice Code Software; they're mostly fairly simple (their later games are better but sadly far less common) and I think most of them are dumped by now, but a couple of the more interesting ones that aren't (as far as I know) dumped are Season Garden and Zoom:

Season Garden is mostly your typical whack-a-mole game, Nice Code have certainly covered this territory before, but (as the name possibly implies) the seasons change and there are some cute touches like how the dude in the top left changes along with them.

Zoom is basically a fly-upwards-avoid-the-obstacles type of deal which later received a graphical overhaul and an extra "ing" in this VT03 version.

A few other things that aren't immediately obvious:

  • "Street Fighter" is inevitably the "Fighter Street VI 12 Peoples" version, which is one of the worse Street Fighter ports out there, but also the most common on multicarts :(
  • Super Mario Bros runs waaayy fast, I think too fast to even be the PAL version; it might be hacked somehow
  • Donkey Kong 4 is actually Donkey Kong Jr. Math; don't get your hopes up about it being the Hummer Team one or anything
  • "Pika Chu" is the Pokemon-themed Tetris game by Nice Code, also known as "Poke Tetris"
  • Harry Potter is the hack of Magic Carpet 1001 with really really really bad music
  • Gulf War is just the regular version of Silkworm
  • and Superman has had his copyright screwed around with:

(If there are any others listed you aren't sure about, post a comment!)

All in all, it's a pretty great compilation, really. Almost every Kunio game! Recca! Banana Prince (the German version, no less)! A nice combination of popular games and obscure stuff, plus a selection of Chinese originals (which, okay, is probably of more interest to me than most people). One thing I could fault it on is that they saw fit to include a bunch of Mario hacks but not Super Mario Bros 2 (either version) or 3, but still. It's a good cart!

Could it be improved, though? Someone certainly thought it could, because here we have:

The JF2181 218 in 1 Super Game! Basically the same cart again, but with twenty more games added to it. The manufacturers in this case are unknown - there's a big space where Renshun Technology's name used to be in the menu, so presumably it wasn't them, but other than that it's mysterious. And blue. And made of cheaper plastic.

I won't bother with a full game list this time as it's so similar to the cart above; a few have been rearranged as well as new games added, so the first 10 now looks like this:

  1. CONTRA 1
  2. JACKAL
  3. LIFE FORCE
  4. RUSH'N ATTACK
  5. TOP GUN
  6. WHOMP'EM
  7. KERO KERO KEROPPI 2
  8. PLEASANT GOAT
  9. ANGRY BIRDS 2
  10. SAINT

The new games here are all pretty interesting: we have Kero Kero Keroppi 2, actually the English fan translation (version 0.9, no less) of that game, "Angry Birds 2", an Angry Birds-themed hack of New Zealand Story, and... Pleasant Goat!

Yep, it's a hack of the German version of Banana Prince featuring the popular Chinese cartoon character. Of course it is. The new sprites are actually pretty cute; unfortunately they have slightly ruined the game by attempting to pull the standard hacker tactic of making it start on level 2-1 (to make it look less obviously like the original game), because it actually sends you back to level 2-1 every time you die, meaning you effectively have to complete the whole game in one life or reset and go back to the password screen each time. Which is a shame :( If it's ever dumped I'd quite like to hack the hack and try to fix it. Still, at least the original Banana Prince is on here too.

Everything from there on is the same as the 198 in 1 (aside from those games that were plucked out and moved to the first page), until you reach no. 202, where we find the remaining 17 extra games tacked onto the end:

  1. SILK WORM
  2. SD FIGHTER
  3. CHASE H.Q 2
  4. FERRARI
  5. TEMCO WORLD CUP S
  6. MARIO 16
  7. MARIO MISSING
  8. HOME ALONE 2
  9. MICKEY MOUSE 5
  10. DISNEY 2
  11. GOLF
  12. PACMAN
  13. JOUST
  14. NUTS AND MILK
  15. POOYAN
  16. BALLOON FIGHT
  17. KUNG FU

"Silk Worm" here is actually the untitled 2003 Iraq War-themed hack of that game (featuring George W. Bush, naturally); SD Fighter is just Mighty Final Fight again, Mickey Mouse 5 is Mickey's Adventures in Numberland, Disney 2 is Doki Doki Yuuenchi and everything else is what it says it is.

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