Things are really starting to heat up over at Nintendo. It has officially announced its licensing program for the NES, which allows independent software developers to create games for its machine. We already reported that Data East and Konami had signed on, but we have just learned that Capcom and Bandai are also releasing games in the near future as well.
As part of the licensing agreement, these third party licensees cannot bring the same games to competing systems. They must meet Nintendo’s rigorous approval process in order to carry its Nintendo Seal of Approval. In addition, limits are placed on how many games each publisher can release in a given calendar year. These policies are in place to help prevent another video game crash like we experienced just a few years ago. Part of the reason for that, in Nintendo’s view, is that the market was oversaturated with mediocre games, thus burning the consumer and turning them away from purchasing new software. It’s also important to note that Nintendo hopes to keep average game prices higher by offering superior software and game experiences that won’t appear anywhere else.
Of course, with these new licensees come new game announcements! Some of these are already approaching release in the next few months, so don’t be surprised to see some of these Game Paks on store shelves in time for the holidays. We already knew that Gradius was on the way from Konami. It’s a side-scrolling space shooter, sort of like Defender, but with more detailed graphics and big challenging bosses to fight.
Capcom is set to bring out Commando, 1942, and Ghosts’n Goblins. Commando is an overhead arcade action game that has your army dude blasting his way through waves of enemies and artillery. 1942 is a self-scrolling overhead shooter that has you taking control of a plane during World War II. Last, but certainly not least, is Ghosts’n Goblins, a side-scrolling action horror game that pits an armored knight against hordes of zombies and other paranormal entities. All three of these games show potential and I’m eager to try them out!
Bandai will introduce Ninja Kid (a cartoony action game starring, you guessed it, a ninja), M.U.S.C.L.E. (a wrestling game that is based on a line of toys from Mattel), and Chubby Cherub (an adventure game that looks a little bit like Super Mario Bros.). Data East will debut Tag Team Wrestling. It looks like there won’t be any shortages on fighting games on the NES!
Nintendo is in negotiations with even more third party licensees and we should expect the number of titles to increase dramatically in 1987. By the end of this year there should be about 35 games available. Keep in mind that well over 100 have been released in Japan for the Famicom, so we can expect a steady flow of software over the next few years – assuming the NES continues to sell well.
[Source: Computer Entertainer – October, 1986]