The Famicom (the Japanese version of the NES) launched in Japan back in 1983 to huge success. In fact, just last year it sold another 2 million systems. Part of its popularity is due to the large number of video game developers creating games for the console. There are well over 100 games currently for sale on the Famicom, and many of those same third party developers are itching to release games in the United States.
However, there are some hoops that have to be jumped through in order to release games for Nintendo’s new system. In the hopes of avoiding another cataclysmic video game crash caused in part by a glut of awful games at high prices, Nintendo has put in a security chip in the NES that will block unauthorized Game Paks from working. This is a patented piece of code that only Nintendo has the key to. So, for a game to be released on its system, it has to meet the standards that Nintendo sets forth. Japan had no such lockout chip, and although the Famicom is still a success, the market was flooded with unsavory titles that went against Nintendo’s family-centric image. So, just because a game was released for the Famicom doesn’t mean it gets a green light for the NES. Each title must be individually approved to get released in the U.S. market.
At the Summer CES earlier this month we heard rumblings that some third parties are officially opening up business in the U.S., including Data East and Konami. No official word on what games they could be bringing over, but we’re hearing that these third parties want to get some titles on store shelves in time for Christmas. Perhaps we’ll see games like Dig Dug or BurgerTime from Namco make their way over here? Computer Entertainer has heard the same thing and has its full report below. We’ll keep you updated on this exciting development!