Console Clones

Spanner | 25 Oct 2005 08:00
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Philips made an effort to take their business to Brazil personally, but the majority of subsequent developers never bothered, so the other systems' identities were never properly established. This completely turned the tables on the way Brazilians perceived their game playing experience as compared with the rest of the world. The software was already there, available in vast and diverse quantities, and would play in almost any console bought, so the buyer's quandary came in the form of deciding exactly which NES or Atari compatible clone offered the features they wanted.

Software wasn't a concern; it was the hardware that mattered.

What is particularly unusual is that no licensors, such as Atari or Nintendo, ever bothered to hunt down developers of pirate systems and software, which was just as contrary to their personalities then as it is now. Why did they leave Brazil alone when most executives at these companies would beat their own grandmother with a bag of sand for not handing the OEM a cut at every turn? Perhaps this was a 'pocket money' market that they knew would disappear overnight if their legal weight were to descend upon it, or perhaps they were aware this was not a trade war they could win.

A society that has the strength of will to resist sparkling new consoles until the manufacturer concedes to providing a strong enough games library to support it is, in my opinion, not at the back of the sophistication scale, but a guiding light to those of us buried in the future and unable to find our way toward video game paradise. The current manufacturer of Brazil's line of Sega licensed clones, which contain up to 100 built-in games as well as the cartridge slot for all your eBay purchases, is apparently drowning in requests from all corners of the globe as to the availability of these magnificent machines. People do want hardware, just not in a way that is palatable to the seventh generation giants.

It's a remarkable notion that Sega, who pulled out of the hardware market due to their inability to compete with the original Playstation, may quite seriously pose a threat to the PS3 and Xbox 360 with a fifteen year old games system - hardware that is affordable in a second world country which has spent the last three decades being ignored by the industry. Maybe we should all heed the wise Brazilian player who has been shouting above the white noise of insipid video game exploitation since the early '80s: "Who cares what new hardware is coming out? There's nothing left to play."

Spanner has written articles for several publications, including Retro Gamer. He is a self-proclaimed horror junkie, with a deep appreciation for all things Romero.

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