I received my NES pretty late. I got it as a gift at Christmas when I was 9 or 10. For the longest time, I only had Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt to play with. As great as those games were it eventually became boring. I beat both games pretty regularly.
Then there were rentals. I would rent these games from a local second hand shop. They had a whole counter with only NES games. I was able to rent these games for 1.00$ for 1 day. That was not very expensive by today's standards. However when you are ten, that was part of my allowance. I could not do it all the time.
A couple of years later, my neighbour was working at a factory and they would make cartridge containers for the games. They must have spoken to my parents as I received for Christmas, a multi-cartridge with many games on there. I was so excited. My collection of games went from 2 to 84, as I received a 82 in 1 NES cartridge. Back in the day, I always heard that they were illegal, but I never really thought about it.
Before getting into the legality of the games. I wanted to talk about the games themselves. Nowadays we call these games, ROMS. Back in the day, we called them knockoffs. The games themselves felt like they were incomplete. Some of them were games only found on the Famicom in Japan. Others were beta releases of games. At least it felt that way.
An example of this is the Mario Brothers game that was included. The title screen was bare with only Player 1 and Player 2 displayed. The logo was missing. In other games, you could not complete them as there was a bug where, it stopped you from advancing. This was the case with Karateka. You could get to the last level. However when you got to the last panel, the game looped. It was a known issue at the time, but there was no way of fixing it. There was no internet and no update to the game itself.
The list of games may be impressive at first. On my 500 in 1 that I have, these are just some of the games.
Sample Games on Cartridge (Tetris and Kung Fu (Spartan X in Japan))
Some of these are even named incorrectly. For example, the name in the menu is the game Tank 1990, but the actual game is Battle City.
Now that I look back on it, some of the games were really bad. But when I think of when I was a kid, I did not care. I just had games to play. Nowadays, I am not sure that this would fly with today's generation. The standards for games is so much higher nowadays, it just would not work. You can see my Retro Bit Generations review for more on that.
Are these Multi Carts Legal?
Some are and some are not. As I mentioned above, some of these games are beta versions of the actual game. I am not sure that Nintendo would be willing to have these hacks on the market. However, you can buy them on Amazon for about 20$. Someone must be leaking them and making them. In most of these large cartridges, the licensing is removed. I guess this is how they get around the legal stuff.
Mario Brothers (No Logo on Menu Screen)
Some multi carts are licensed. In most cases, the cartridges with 2, 3 or 4 in 1 are usually legit. The bigger the number, the more sketchy it becomes.
Although I only mentioned NES games here, there are some multi carts for various systems. They exist from the Atari 2600 to the Dreamcast. They are essentially ROMS on the chip. From what I can gather from my research, it seems that they are pretty cheap to make.
Examples Multicarts (Licensed and Unlicensed)
Are any of these games good? Yes there are some. But for the volume of games that you can get, the ratio of good games to bad is about 1 in 10. Some of these games are hidden gems like Battle City or Urban Connection on NES.
If you still have an older console and you see one of these cheap, pick it up. If anything it can give you a few hours of wonder as to what these games are. Sometimes you get classics like Nintendo Tennis and Baseball.
Do you own any of these multi carts? Do you like them or hate them? Let me know at the coordinates below.
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