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Nintendo in China (8-bit console)

Nintendo in China (8-bit console)
by on (#14161)
It seems that most of the people in this forum don't know much of China. So maybe a short introduction helps for better communication^_^

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Nintendo's 8-bit console, Famicom, is widely called the "Red White Console" in China. But children like to use the term "Ren Tian Tang", the Chinese pronunciation of "Nintendo". Because Famicom has dominated the chinese TV game market for a long time. Only few people have the subsequent consoles of Nintendo, such as SFC, N64,etc. To many people, "Nintendo" stands for "Red White Console"(including me). I will use FC for Famicom in the following parts since it is the most popular term for Famicom on the net(in China).

As far as I know, the first time FC is introduced to China is about 1985, the same year NES released in America. The people who had the opportunity to travel to Japan, bought the first FC and took it back as gifts for their relatives. The FC sold in Japan is NTSC format, while at that time most Chinese TV set is PAL format only. Soon there were pirate FC available in Hongkong and Tai Wan province, and several years later some companys in the south of china could also produce the pirate FC, which was called "compatible FC". Since then FC became more and more popular in China.

One thing need to be mentioned, although most of the FC hardware in China were pirate version, almost all the consumers didn't know the truth. Take me for an example, I have 2 FC and I have thought one of them was the original FC sold in Japan until several days ago. I found the FC is a pirate version made in Hongkong or Tai Wan province!

In the late of the 1980s, the price of FC in China is so high that one FC hardware without any cartriges would cost two parents one month's salary. The game cartriges cost much, too. It didn't like the cheap pirate software nowadays. So many people didn't realize that what they bought was pirate FC until now, as I found in many Chinese FC forums.

There are many kinds of pirate FC in China, such as Subor, Micro genius, Yuxing, Shengtian, etc. I think the number of different "compatible FC" trademarks exceed 20! The most popular "compatible FC" looks like the original Famicom, which color is red and white. There are also FC with grey and white colors, which is called "Grey White Console".

The most popular FC game in China is Contra. The amount of its cartriges is so huge that almost very chinese people heared this name, whether he played FC or not. The popularity of Contra is far beyond your imagination(and mine). It was so crazy that people played this game again and again. It was the absolutely necessary cartrige every FC rental shop must have. For the sake of its success, other two good games were named with contra in China. "Final Mission" is called "Flying Contra" and "The Kage" is called "AquaContra"

By the way, in China, the FC retal shop is the place where children can played FC games in front of the TV set, like the arcade place. The rent was counted for the stages you played. That means if you start a play of Contra, no matter how much time you played, you should pay certain rent after you lost the 3 lives. Of course, several years later when the players could survive much longer than before, the rent was counted for the playing time instead.

In my memory, the top 3 popular FC game in China should be:
1.Contra 1
2.Super Mario Bros. 1
3.Battle City

I seldom hear the name of zelda or metroid on FC nor could I find theie cartriges in China. But they seem to be very popular in America.

My top 3 FC game are:
1.The Gardian Legend
2.Blaster Master
3.Crisis Force

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According to the official data from Nintendo, FC has been sold for more than 60,000,000 around the world. As for China, an unofficial data shows there have been more than 30,000,000 FC in the market. There are still new FC hardware available in China today, but many people are playing FC through emulators. Perhaps China has the largest number of FC fans.

I hope you can understand me without too much difficulty, for I seldom communicate in English. Since 2008 is coming, I think communicating in English is necessary. ^_^

by on (#14163)
Chineese Famicom clones are usually called "Famiclones", by combining the two words "Famicom" and "clone".
Contra is a great game, but there are better game on the NES. It is a shame that Final Fantasy isn't more popular.

by on (#14165)
Interesting history lesson! Have other later consoles had that much success? like the Sony PlayStation.
Re: Nintendo in China (8-bit console)
by on (#14166)
zerof wrote:
One thing need to be mentioned, although most of the FC hardware in China were pirate version, almost all the consumers didn't know the truth. Take me for an example, I have 2 FC and I have thought one of them was the original FC sold in Japan until several days ago.

They say the husband is always the last to know...

Seriously, thanks for the history lesson. It's interesting that Contra is the most popular game in China. Why not one of the Super Mario Bros. games? SMB1 shows up in pirate multicarts almost every time.

Anyway, the first time I had any exposure to the Famicom was a little similar to what you wrote about China: The first Famicom I saw was in a pawn shop run by a man who had lived in Malaysia, and had bought a Famicom, and FDS system for his daughter. Then he moved to Canada and sold some of his housewares in his pawn shop.

by on (#14168)
Which Super Mario Bros 2 is it? The US one, the graphical hack of SMB1, or the Japanese FDS one?

by on (#14169)
Bregalad wrote:
Chineese Famicom clones are usually called "Famiclones", by combining the two words "Famicom" and "clone".
Contra is a great game, but there are better game on the NES. It is a shame that Final Fantasy isn't more popular.


Famiclones? Seems that is the exact term for "pirate FC" (after google),
I never heared this word before, so I used a typical Chinglish expression.^_^

As for FF, I think there are two main reasons that it failed in China:

1:Its heavy dependence on the language. I am sure there was few Chinese people can understand the English sentences in this game in late 1980s even in early 1990s. There are some Chinese RPG on FC platform, which compensated the chinese RPG fans in the FC era.

2:The cartrige of FF was hard to find. I met FF cartrige only once in the past,and the playing time last only 5 minutes. The rest gave to Megaman 1(it is a multigame cartrige).

Fortunately I didn't miss the FF 7,8,9, and became a FF fans later.

by on (#14170)
Dwedit wrote:
Which Super Mario Bros 2 is it? The US one, the graphical hack of SMB1, or the Japanese FDS one?


Sorry, it is SMB1, I misstyped the name.
In fact, SMB2 or 3 is far less popular than 1 in China. I even didn't meet them on a FC.

We usually called SMB1 "Picking mushrooms" and no one said SMB 1.
Re: Nintendo in China (8-bit console)
by on (#14172)
ccovell wrote:
Why not one of the Super Mario Bros. games? SMB1 shows up in pirate multicarts almost every time.


SMB 1 is almost as popular as Contra in our country, but there is only one champion. :wink:

If you read some chinese articles related to FC games these days, you will surprisingly find they always use "Contra" to represent the FC games.

by on (#14174)
Interesting read. It always intrigues me how "bare" Chinese seems when translated literally.

"Hey, want to play Picking Mushrooms on the Red White Console? Or would you prefer to play it on the Electric Brain?"

Heheh.

Quote:
Since 2008 is coming, I think communicating in English is necessary. ^_^


What happens in 2008?

by on (#14175)
byuu wrote:
Interesting read. It always intrigues me how "bare" Chinese seems when translated literally.

"Hey, want to play Picking Mushrooms on the Red White Console? Or would you prefer to play it on the Electric Brain?"

Heheh.

What happens in 2008?


You gave the genuine Chinglish sample. Have you ever been to our country?:)

What happens in 2008? ...hmm...It seems that http://en.beijing2008.com/ will give an answer.

by on (#14178)
hap wrote:
Interesting history lesson! Have other later consoles had that much success? like the Sony PlayStation.

Maybe Sony PlayStation is the second popular console in China. But if we
define a "success score" for each console and the scoring of PS is 10, then the FC will get 100.

Games on PC attract more and more players today, there won't be a second Titan on consoles in China(my opinion).

by on (#14180)
zerof wrote:
You gave the genuine Chinglish sample. Have you ever been to our country?:)


Yes, I travel to China every weekend :P

I wasn't being serious with that example, it was intended as a joke :)

Seriously though, I'd like to go if I ever get around to learning Mandarin. I'm dying to see the new Condor Heroes remakes, but sadly I can't understand any of them.

by on (#14188)
zerof wrote:
2:The cartrige of FF was hard to find. I met FF cartrige only once in the past,and the playing time last only 5 minutes. The rest gave to Megaman 1(it is a multigame cartrige).

There was pirate multicarts with FF and MegaMan games ?? I'd like to know more about it !!

You say there is a popular chineese RPG on the NES ? What is it called ?

by on (#14207)
Quote:
I hope you can understand me without too much difficulty, for I seldom communicate in English. Since 2008 is coming, I think communicating in English is necessary.


Your English is very, very good. I don't think you have anything to worry about with being understood here.

I'm suprised that Contra took the top spot, but it is an incredibly fun game. Its also fun to play more than once, which must have something to do with it.

You mentioned that you think that FF didn't do so well becuase it depended upon language too much. I guess that's another reason why Contra came ahead - the game's premise is pretty much universal.

Contra: "Shoot everything that moves. A lot."

by on (#14280)
nice article
didn't know that Contra was that big game in china :D
over here we got a censored version of it called Probotector where they had exchanged all the humans in the game for robots because they thought it was less violent. ;)

by on (#14291)
byuu wrote:
Seriously though, I'd like to go if I ever get around to learning Mandarin. I'm dying to see the new Condor Heroes remakes, but sadly I can't understand any of them.

I recommand the 1983 TVB version of Condor Heroes, it is widely considered as the most classic version. But I am afraid that foreigners can't understand the story very well, it involves too much culture of "Jiang Hu", which I can't find a correspongding word in English. Also it is hard for me to describe the concept in a few sentences.

by on (#14292)
Bregalad wrote:
There was pirate multicarts with FF and MegaMan games ?? I'd like to know more about it !!
You say there is a popular chineese RPG on the NES ? What is it called ?


Maybe I make a mistake again, but I clearly remember the cover of the multicart. It shall looks like the following:

http://nesworld.parodius.com/pirate/20-2b.jpg

Of course what I played is a FC multicart. And the games in it were also different from what are shown on the above picture. I forgot the other games in this cartridge. :(

As for chinese RPG, "Feng Shen Bang", "Jing Ke Xin Zhuan", etc. I don't know how to translate them. The above two games are original chinese games. In the past ten years, some classic RPG games on FC have also been translated into chinese by some groups of FC fans. And there is a company that have released some chinese FC games: Fuzhou WaiXing Computer Science & Technology Co.,Ltd.

by on (#14294)
zerof wrote:
byuu wrote:
Seriously though, I'd like to go if I ever get around to learning Mandarin. I'm dying to see the new Condor Heroes remakes, but sadly I can't understand any of them.

I recommand the 1983 TVB version of Condor Heroes, it is widely considered as the most classic version. But I am afraid that foreigners can't understand the story very well, it involves too much culture of "Jiang Hu", which I can't find a correspongding word in English. Also it is hard for me to describe the concept in a few sentences.

(this post is for byuu or whoever - I just quoted zerof for the thread)

For understanding Chinese movies (including Hong Kong movies), I'd recommend a book called "My Country and My People" (吾国与吾民) by Lin Yutang (林语堂). It was written in 1935 by a Chinese guy who was asked by an American author to explain Chinese culture to foreigners. I happened to read it before watching the "A Chinese Ghost Story" (倩女幽魂) series.. and was grateful because I would have missed a lot if I hadn't. Rather than get too off-topic.. you could check a review here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9971642050/103-1510057-1089402?v=glance&n=283155

I got mine from the "Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press" in China after a recommendation from a Chinese friend. I don't know where else you can get it. There seem to be a few used copies on Amazon. You can easily view the whole version in Chinese with a Google search (true of many books)... but he wrote the original in English.. and the English one is more useful :)

by on (#14296)
augnober wrote:
There seem to be a few used copies on Amazon. You can easily view the whole version in Chinese with a Google search (true of many books)... but he wrote the original in English.. and the English one is more useful :)


There's a scanned version here:
http://www.archive.org/details/MyCountryAndMyPeople

by on (#14298)
Only few multicards have been dumped. There is a 20-in-1 dumped, but this isn't the one.

by on (#14300)
zerof wrote:
I recommand the 1983 TVB version of Condor Heroes, it is widely considered as the most classic version. But I am afraid that foreigners can't understand the story very well, it involves too much culture of "Jiang Hu", which I can't find a correspongding word in English. Also it is hard for me to describe the concept in a few sentences.


I've heard that the Chinese prefer that version by and large, whereas most foreigners enjoy the newer 2003-ish remake more. The reasons for both should be obvious enough. I was able to purchase the entire DVD series of the new version (17 DVDs) for ~$15 on eBay. But of course, no subtitles. Not that I was expecting any. $15 is pretty affordable and I have it tucked away in case I ever do get around to studying. I'd actually like to see both eventually.

Quote:
I'd recommend a book called "My Country and My People" (吾国与吾民) by Lin Yutang (林语堂)


Looks interesting. I'd like to get something a bit more modern as well, as I would like to visit, and I prefer to be more culturally adept if possible :)

by on (#14303)
Quote:
Looks interesting. I'd like to get something a bit more modern as well, as I would like to visit, and I prefer to be more culturally adept if possible :)

Yeah. I started reading it after I'd been in China a total of about a year and a half, so it did a good job of filling in things I was wondering about. I can understand maybe you'd be more concerned about taking something 70 years old and using it as your sole guide to the country :) Personally, I actually wasn't going to read the book until I saw the old date on it, because I worried that a newer book would have too much of an agenda. Maybe there's a good new book out there somewhere.

by on (#14313)
zerof wrote:
byuu wrote:
But I am afraid that foreigners can't understand the story very well, it involves too much culture of "Jiang Hu", which I can't find a correspongding word in English. Also it is hard for me to describe the concept in a few sentences.


This might help, I know that it helped me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiang_Hu

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Return ... dor_Heroes
re
by on (#14368)
fascinating history I almost fell asleep reading it.anyway the multicarts have wierd versions of smb1 like "fast Mario", world 0-1 mario, no title mario,ect.
and I rarely see contra in any multicarts I have.