11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Main Menu

unlicensed game magazines?

Started by Arcade-Elite, July 20, 2022, 07:05:09 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


So i have been going through old famicom magazines and i was wondering where are the unlicensed games? I mean there had to be some kind of gaming magazines that advertised unlicensed games, right? how would they know if they would sell? And i know there is hardly no info of games boxes and advertisement art on a lot of games like brush roller, Elf land, lin zexu no smoking and others. Does anyone know if there are unlicensed game magazines?


Japan has a weird series of notions when it comes to copyright and I think it goes back quite far. To that end where outside it then any magazine not officially blessed by the relevant console maker might be expected to note such things, even if only in the advertising listings at the back somewhere, you might have a harder time in anything vaguely above board inside Japan. I have only had glimpses over the years (not reading much Japanese, much less 80s/90s nerd slang, does have its disadvantages here) but there was a fairly serious bbs equivalent scene and a more than respectable zine scene (technically not the same as doujinshi but also something to ponder, as would be whatever doujin soft/同人ソフト falls under). You might also have to move sideways and see other nerdy stuff from around the time/advertisements in such things.

Timeline wise it would probably also have been peak Akihabara so there is also that.

Looking up some of those ( has some nice stuff) you might also want a tweak in terms -- say unlicensed to most in either these circles or old game focused circles and you will have most thinking Tengen where for whatever reason those examples would fall under bootleg (still not sure why the term, though I will note homebrew had not yet been widely adopted -- PD/public domain still being a thing during the N64).


Ok cool and thanks i will look into the link and check on those things. The search continues..


Well, Famitsu was produced by ASCII Corporation and I think one of the other big magazines by Tokuma Shoten. Both companies that had game publishing relations with Nintendo (Tokuma I believe was also involved with the US Nintendo Power and their official strategy "Player's Guides"), so they probably wouldn't want to risk upsetting Nintendo as well.
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018


  Many unlicensed Famicom games (and bootlegs) were manufactured for the 90s-00s Dendy and Subor scenes in Russia and China, which did not originally have the same capitalist trade agreements that Japan, the United States and the EU did. Eventually Nintendo took part in Dendy officially, before the company basically dissolved due to death threats (from organized crime?) ... so maybe you'd find more coverage from those countries.