Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

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tepples
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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by tepples » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:28 pm

What I'm trying to say is that a Switch port is the most practical route to a Seal.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by rainwarrior » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:50 pm

Drozerix wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:04 pm
rainwarrior wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:09 pm
I don't know what you think the seal of approval is, but no you're not allowed to just put trademarked and copyrighted Nintendo emblems on stuff.
...I didn't think this topic would invoke such animosity -- I didn't mean to offend anyone here.
Sorry, I wrote that in a way that sounds more condescending than I intended. It's an OK question to ask, and what I wrote was really not meant to be read with any anger at all, but the answer is still a very strong no.

What I was getting at is that the seal is really there for Nintendo's benefit, not the game publisher's. Nintendo will never put that seal on anything unless it helps Nintendo.

So, just the way you're asking the question, it feels like you're missing the purpose. It's not there to make you feel good about a game you made. Nintendo isn't going to allow you to use their license for that reason. You have to have an actual commercial purpose in mind that fits Nintendo's goals... which in this context nobody does, and likely nobody ever will.

"It will help my homebrew look more legitimate" does not help Nintendo, so if that's your reason, it's dead in the water. "It will help Nintendo sell more consoles" could be a reason, but your NES homebrew isn't going to do that. If anybody is going to get this seal on an NES game, it's going to somehow be mutually beneficial and also commercially viable. (Someone mentioned blackmail earlier, and to be honest that's maybe the most plausible route to getting an NES game sealed I can think of.)
Drozerix wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:04 pm
On their website, the section on licenses says this:

"This symbol is your assurance that the product has been evaluated and licensed by Nintendo for use with its systems."

I suppose "systems" is a bit equivocal. What does this mean exactly, does it apply to different gaming systems...
They've been using the seal for a long time, and it's been on the games of most of their consoles. "Systems" is all their systems. That description on the Nintendo website is just talking about present and past use of the symbol.

If you publish a Switch game as physical media, Nintendo will be involved in the manufacturing, and will place their seal on your game. Same as they did with Wii U and every other platform. (BTW this also means Nintendo is taking a cut of every game sold, so even hypothetically: consider how much a homebrew NES cartridge manufacturer should cut into their revenue just for that seal.)

Nintendo doesn't manufacture NES cartridges anymore, and they don't manufacture NES consoles anymore either, at least not ones that can take new games. All the patents are expired, and many legal competing clones are available anyway. Unless they get back into this market, they just aren't going to put a seal on any NES games.

In my opinion it's not really worth their time to entertain any homebrew NES developers about sealing their games, and neither is it worth pursuing on the homebrew developer's part. There's just no commercial need for it on either side. The only real reasons I can think of are purely sentimental.

If that's all you've got, you might as well just do the pirate thing and put it on your box without an actual license. The price will be right, and nobody will care either. It's not legal, but probably practical, overall... except everyone will know it's fake, of course.
Drozerix wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:04 pm
...hence why I asked about Retrotainment...
So, I'm not Retrotainment, though I did answer on their behalf because I'm 100% confident in the answer. If they were to publish a physical Switch version of their game, it would automatically have the seal. They will not be given any right to put the seal on their NES cart.

I'd love to be wrong, for the same sentimental reasons that caused you to ask this question, but I don't see any commercial purpose that could make it a reality.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Bregalad » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:27 am

Pokun wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:59 pm
Nintendo didn't want any third party developers at first, but eventually let Hudson and other developers in on the Famicom. [...] This and the fact that the Famicom boomed in Japan, meant that more shovelware appeared for the Famicom.
Did Nintendo allow this or did they just have to accept it because there was no CIC in the Famicom ? The earlies 3rd party games seems to be from arcade manufacturers who made their own PCBs and cartridges (Hudson, Namco, Konami). Only later, I think around when mappers started to exist and when the NES console was released in the US, did Nintendo manufacture PCBs and cartridges for 3rd party developers.

Also it's just my opinion and I know almost everyone will strongly disagree, but 3rd party games is what makes both the NES and Super NES successful and all the best games are 3rd party. I find Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc... average at best and very forgettable (sorry I'll be murdered...). Fire Emblem series is probably the best 1st party games Nintendo made IMO, but those were unknown outside of Japan before 2003. That's also why the N64 was more of a limited success, and why it's only when Nintendo opened again to 3rd party developpers with the GC and GBA they were successful again.
Also, the way they have dealt with fan stuff in the past clearly shows that they don't give a shit.
In some cases it was even worse, and Nintendo is hostile to some fan stuff. Sega, on the other hand, is quite supportive
Bananmos wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:29 pm
I thought it was common knowledge that stores which sold unlicensed games (Color Dreams etc) would risk having supply shortages, as Nintendo controlled all the distribution. Here's an old random article touching on the subject - where a federal court actually did rule in Nintendo's favor
For us it seems normal but when you think about it, it is clearly a measure of planified economy and goes totally against free market entreprises values, so I'm surprised it was legal for Nintendo to sustain such a system in the long term. After all, Nintendo sells consoles and games but doesn't make the law.
That "Nintendo Seal of Approval" was something that Nintendo really pushed. I didn't really get it much as a kid, but looking back in my life I don't believe I have ever seen a company push a quality seal as much as Nintendo did.
Exactly. Also this is surprisingly easy to fake, and the seal of quality appeared on the worst games (Ghostbusters series...), but at least the games didn't just crash like some bad Atari games would.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Bananmos » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 am

Pokun/marscaleb:

I'm starting to feel this topic of whether the monopoly was good or bad should probably deserve its own thread at this point...

To be fair, I do recognize the argument that stricter control can mean less poor quality products, and that there is some truth that a monopoly *can* have some benefits to the consumer. In the same way the market control in the Soviet Union and their satellite states did have some benefits to the end consumers in those countries as well - less options to choose from means less opportunity to get things 100% wrong... but also less opportunity to get them 100% right.

But in general, I believe the net effect to the end consumer is still negative in all of these cases. And ultimately I'm getting back to point the Rainwarrior has already made: The seal/approval was there primarily for the benefit of Nintendo, not the end consumer. Anything else looks too much like perpetuating corporate propaganda. For me the seal was just a marketing stunt. We never really had the unlicensed developers here either, so every game having the seal no matter how poor I considered it to be meant it was effectively void of substance.

There were plenty of poorly made games released on the system with this "quality" seal, where contemporary ports to other systems are superior. I never paid much attention to the seal of approval as a kid, even then seeing it as mostly marketing ploy. With my limited budget reviews, word of mouth and first-hand testing in game stores were always essential to commit to buying a cartridge. And even though I got an NES in addition to a home computer for the superior gaming library, I was under no illusions that every game on the system would be to my taste or even well-made.

And as someone with an interest in seeing games push the limits of old systems, I am also impressed with how long a life span the NES had, and I do think there's a lesson to be learned in how developers should primarily focus on how to make games fun rather than trying to embrace new technology too quickly. The SEGA debacle with 32X / SEGACD / Saturn systems releasing so closely with questionable added value is a good example of where Nintendo did things right.
But this was a two-edged sword. There were many excellent systems that far surpassed the NES in technical power, and developer exclusivity was one reason consumers never saw their full potential. It's easy to feel nostalgia for how games worked around the harsh limits of the NES. But equally, less restrictions around developer exclusivity could have meant some amazing games appearing on competitor systems and taking advantage of superior hardware. And I don't believe that the star third-party developers would have suddenly started releasing "shovelware" on other systems, had there been a viable alternative. That's giving Nintendo's alleged quality control too much credit in my eyes.
A different company was running distribution in Europe with their own guidelines and rules. (Actually I think there were multiple companies over Europe, but I could be mistaken.)
Actually, in Sweden the distribution was even more restricted. Bergsala AB was the sole distributor, and they would further "cull" a lot of titles that wouldn't be imported, resulting in a once again shrunken game library compared to the US, and making much of the same arguments about quality control even stronger - if you believe them.
But we also missed out on some good games that never saw a Swedish release, because a decision that should be left to the end consumer had already been made from above.
OTOH we also got some PAL-exclusives gems like Ufouria... and also Mr.Gimmick. (one good platformer I overlooked at the time due to its poor reviews)
Gaming magazines wasn't that common during this time as games wasn't that popular yet in Europe. In Sweden we pretty much only had Nintendomagasinet during the NES days, and I think it wasn't fully independent from the Nintendo distributor (Bergsala) (and they were also working with Nintendo Power in America), as it later became the Club Nintendo we all know. Nintendomagasinet had game reviews but they were at the same time game guides with level maps and stuff, and were restricted to subscribers only.
Indeed Nintendomagasinet / Super Power were more in the realm of marketing material for Nintendo / Bergsala, though they did try to uphold some level of impartiality. (note Mr.Gimmick being quite poorly received)

But seeing as you're Swedish, you must have come across magazines like Svenska Hemdator Hacking / Hemdatornytt". It was a cross-platform magazine, quite a fun read. Even had it's own comics making fun of computer hobbys by Johan Wanloo - though nothing like the Nintendo Comics System. It was obviously catering to a slightly older and more tech-inclined audience as well. I have fond memories of typing in BASIC programs from it (and spending hours correcting the typing errors).

The magazine wasn't purely gaming-oriented, but game reviews were a large part of the magazine. They could be quite subjective at times as any reviews... and obviously had the limitation that a review of a game port on one system might not always reflect the state of the game on the one you owned. :)

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Bananmos » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:15 am

Bregalad wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:27 am
For us it seems normal but when you think about it, it is clearly a measure of planified economy and goes totally against free market entreprises values, so I'm surprised it was legal for Nintendo to sustain such a system in the long term. After all, Nintendo sells consoles and games but doesn't make the law.
Well, it wasn't always even legal according to existing competition law, and fines have in fact been imposed. Not so sure about the US but this court case is interesting, in how it fined both Nintendo and their European distributors for going too far in controlling the supply chain: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/public ... 3_1_50.pdf

Such cases take many years to resolve though, and by the time they are resolved the systems are no longer relevant. Even though the fines awarded look big I think overall the strategy worked out for them in asserting their dominance at the time.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Marscaleb » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:53 am

Bregalad wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:27 am
For us it seems normal but when you think about it, it is clearly a measure of planified economy and goes totally against free market entreprises values, so I'm surprised it was legal for Nintendo to sustain such a system in the long term. After all, Nintendo sells consoles and games but doesn't make the law.
It's worth pointing out that what they were striking was NOT competition, but leeches.
This wasn't making stands against Sega or Atari, but against people making products specifically designed to work with Nintendo's products. And in all honesty, that sort of thing can ruin a company's image. If someone makes a product that damages the console, or has illicit content on it, and people buy it thinking it is approved or represents the original company, that can harm their image. Sure today it would be easy for someone to start a lawsuit in that situation, or press charges for trademark infringement if they used your name on the packaging, but the damage could have already been done by that point, and *at the time* Nintendo was still a relatively small company. Big enough to get a product in stores across America, but a couple legal battles could have destroyed them at that point.
Bregalad wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:27 am
Exactly. Also this is surprisingly easy to fake, and the seal of quality appeared on the worst games (Ghostbusters series...), but at least the games didn't just crash like some bad Atari games would.
I seem to recall there was a "seal of quality" and a "seal of approval." But maybe I'm remembering wrong.
Bananmos wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 am
And ultimately I'm getting back to point the Rainwarrior has already made: The seal/approval was there primarily for the benefit of Nintendo, not the end consumer.
I can agree with that. Strictly speaking, the only "real benefit" to the consumer was that protecting Nintendo helped ensure there would still be Nintendo products to buy. (Which is a big deal, if we are going to be honest. Hate not having games on a good system.)

And I apologize if I made it sound like this was something for the consumer. Yes, it was part of a marketing stunt to get consumers to trust the product. (Which is fair, but still for the benefit of the company.) My point in describing how we as consumers felt about that seal was to illustrate the point of why someone today would still be interested in having that seal on their homebrew game. (Also illustrating the historical significance it had to gaming.)
Bananmos wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 am
And I don't believe that the star third-party developers would have suddenly started releasing "shovelware" on other systems, had there been a viable alternative. That's giving Nintendo's alleged quality control too much credit in my eyes.
For proper context: bear in mind that when Atari's popularity was building the market crash, you had video games being made by companies like Purina. That's a pet food manufacturer.
Other oddities included Johnson and Johnson making a game to promote their dental care products. All kind of companies were making games to promote other products and brands.
Sure, there are third-party developers known today for making great games, but not all developers came from Arcade backgrounds. There were plenty of brand-new companies, plenty of people still trying to make a quick buck. The problem wasn't shovelware from Capcom or Sunsoft. The problem was shovelware from hotel chains, restaurants, and who knows what other random garbage. The licensing agreement was a great way to cull those people out.

And besides, didn't they lift their exclusivity requirements after a few years? Like by the time the Genesis was a competitor instead of the Atari 7800?


Wait, did you say releasing shovelware onto OTHER systems? Okay you lost me; I don't even see how that is even remotely relevant to what Nintendo did, or recall anyone ever making that claim.
Bananmos wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 am

Actually, in Sweden the distribution was even more restricted. Bergsala AB was the sole distributor, and they would further "cull" a lot of titles that wouldn't be imported, resulting in a once again shrunken game library compared to the US, and making much of the same arguments about quality control even stronger - if you believe them.
But we also missed out on some good games that never saw a Swedish release, because a decision that should be left to the end consumer had already been made from above.
I wasn't there so I can't comment on it. I don't know what kind of market they really had. Maybe they were going too far, maybe the numbers for how many NES units were even sold showed that releasing more titles would have been a money hole. Remember they are not selling to end consumers, but they are selling to retailers. And if they tell the retailers they should buy copies of all these games, and then those games never sell, then the retailers aren't going to want to buy the NEW games because they never sold the old ones. Bergsala AB may get to choose what gets made, but they don't actually choose what gets put on the shelf. There is a balance that they have to walk where they release enough games to sell but not too much to flood the market. It's not just one developer who suffers because their game didn't sell, but it hits all the developers because stores aren't interested in carrying the product.

I wasn't there so I can't say what the risk really was; I don't have those sales figures. Maybe they were being overly cautious and shot themselves in the foot. But I do know the risk was real.
Also I feel your pain for not getting releases of game you wanted to play. That always sucks, and even if they were right to restrict titles it still sucks to miss out.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by tokumaru » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:08 pm

Marscaleb wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:53 am
This wasn't making stands against Sega or Atari
Nintendo was definitely using dirty tactics to kill off the competition. IIRC, in order to become a licensed Nintendo developer you had to agree to making your games exclusive to Nintendo's systems for about 2 years. This certainly prevented the Master System from getting any real third party support, since it was more profitable for developers to stick with Nintendo's larger user base.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Bregalad » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:01 pm

Marscaleb wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:53 am
It's worth pointing out that what they were striking was NOT competition, but leeches.
This wasn't making stands against Sega or Atari, but against people making products specifically designed to work with Nintendo's products. And in all honesty, that sort of thing can ruin a company's image. If someone makes a product that damages the console, or has illicit content on it, and people buy it thinking it is approved or represents the original company, that can harm their image.
Indeed, it's not surprising it's legal for Nintendo to have a 10NES chip and a license system. This way their consoles and games for their consoles are not associated with hardware damage or offensing content.

But manufacturers should also be free to bypass the 10NES chip and release unlicenced games - this doesn't harm Nintendo if they don't claim their game is licenced by Nintendo. Even if Nintendo is against it this shouldn't be against any country's laws, especially not those who have free market entreprise as a society value.

What is surprising is that they could make contract that made it "illegal" for a developer to port their game to competitor systems, this is clearly against free market. At worst Nintendo could threaten to limit or stop doing business with them, but this hurts both parties. I could see reasons so that such a contract would be illegal.

And to threaten game stores to stop supplying them if they were caught. This is exactly the oposite of what I'd call a free market.

Apparently initially the market was released in Japan but tight in the rest of the world, then by the time the N64 came out it went tighter than before but played against Nintendo since most 3rd developers left them to develop games for Sony and Sega hardware instead.

Also I'm fairly sure there's plenty of games who are both released on Sega and Nintendo hardware. For instance Battletoads has been ported to the Mega Drive, and it's sequel too. But that didn't stop Nintendo from asking Rare to develop Donkey Kong Country...

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Pokun » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:07 pm

Without comparing it with monopoly and dictatorship, can't Bananmos consider that the reduction of shovelware is also part of the same market stunt, as is making the consumers aware of the seal. So it is indeed a quality control thing. This was very common in Japanese companies after the war, and is why the term "Made in Japan" stopped having the meaning of "cheap garbage" and started to have the new meaning of "quality stuff". By raising the quality of the products, you also raise the reputation. No need for trickery.
IIRCC Sega eventually also started their own quality control to reduce shovelware and raise their reputation.

Of course when Nintendo was successful they continued to use their monopoly to their own benefit as much as possible, and it was also due to this that they lost against PS1 and PS2. Their monopoly didn't last.
Yes the net effect of monopoly is bad for the consumer, and bad poor quality products is also bad for the consumer. You need balance, which is what the seal helped doing, for a time.

Marscaleb wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:54 pm
Yeah, and all the licensing restrictions that you're upset about were only a US thing. The "Nintendo Seal of Quality" was from Nintendo of America. Japan had their own requirements that were much different. A different company was running distribution in Europe with their own guidelines and rules. (Actually I think there were multiple companies over Europe, but I could be mistaken.)
No it wasn't strictly a US thing, the seal of quality was in PAL land as well. And yes, Nintendo sold their games to independent publishers like Mattel at first. Later Nintendo took over and eventually formed Nintendo of Europe (Scandinavian Bergsala is basically the only independent publisher that they didn't discard and is still working with Nintendo today).
But I guess Nintendo did push the quality seal harder in the US than in Europe after all. I didn't look for the seal when I bought games or anything. It was in every Nintendo game anyway.

Bregalad wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:27 am
Pokun wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:59 pm
Nintendo didn't want any third party developers at first, but eventually let Hudson and other developers in on the Famicom. [...] This and the fact that the Famicom boomed in Japan, meant that more shovelware appeared for the Famicom.
Did Nintendo allow this or did they just have to accept it because there was no CIC in the Famicom ? The earlies 3rd party games seems to be from arcade manufacturers who made their own PCBs and cartridges (Hudson, Namco, Konami). Only later, I think around when mappers started to exist and when the NES console was released in the US, did Nintendo manufacture PCBs and cartridges for 3rd party developers.

Also it's just my opinion and I know almost everyone will strongly disagree, but 3rd party games is what makes both the NES and Super NES successful and all the best games are 3rd party. I find Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc... average at best and very forgettable (sorry I'll be murdered...). Fire Emblem series is probably the best 1st party games Nintendo made IMO, but those were unknown outside of Japan before 2003. That's also why the N64 was more of a limited success, and why it's only when Nintendo opened again to 3rd party developpers with the GC and GBA they were successful again.
Nintendo picked the 6502 as a CPU partly because it was virtually unknown in Japan at the time, just to prevent 3rd party games from being made. But they later enlisted Hudson to make BASIC for the Famicom because of their experience in making Hu-BASIC for Sharp MZ-80K computers (this of course eventually became Family BASIC). To do this they had probably already let in Hudson (and Sharp) on every secret there was in the Famicom, and Hudson was also the first real 3rd party maker with Nuts & Milk, Lode Runner, Raid on Bungeling Bay etc.
I guess Nintendo just realized that 3rd party games is a good thing that makes the system thrive. I'm not sure if Nintendo ever disallowed 3rd party makers from producing cartridges in Japan for the Famicom since there are so many types of them, both boards and shells. They probably did with the Gameboy and later systems though. The exception is the FDS where Nintendo made all disks and the license agreement was also much more strict than for cartridges.

What you say about third party games is fact and not something to disagree on. Third party games is generally what makes a gaming system. Nintendo have a very large amount of good games that they make themselves, that's one reason why they have been so successful with most of their consoles, but for a console to be truly successful you need third party support. Sony have almost no good first party games besides Granturismo, yet they have been more successful than Nintendo at times (PS1 and PS2). Ironically this was partly because of Nintendo's licensing scheme which was quite expensive, while Sony didn't charge that much for licensing games for their PS1, and therefore winning the 32-/64-bit console war by releasing more games.

But yeah I strongly disagree that Nintendo's games are average. I consider Mario and Zelda series to be up there on the all-time best games list together with Dragon Quest, Mother, Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, Metal Gear, Pokemon, Tetris, Panel de Pon etc.

Bananmos wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 am
seeing as you're Swedish, you must have come across magazines like Svenska Hemdator Hacking / Hemdatornytt". It was a cross-platform magazine, quite a fun read. Even had it's own comics making fun of computer hobbys by Johan Wanloo - though nothing like the Nintendo Comics System. It was obviously catering to a slightly older and more tech-inclined audience as well. I have fond memories of typing in BASIC programs from it (and spending hours correcting the typing errors).

The magazine wasn't purely gaming-oriented, but game reviews were a large part of the magazine. They could be quite subjective at times as any reviews... and obviously had the limitation that a review of a game port on one system might not always reflect the state of the game on the one you owned. :)
Well a review is supposed to be a subject thing, as it's the opinion of the reviewer.
Yeah I know there where a bunch of home computing magazines, and magazines was very popular in general before the internet. But home computers were still quite obscure at the time. Was there any real gaming magazine before Nintendomagasinet and Super Power?
Yeah Nintendomagasinet actually did have quite fair reviews (unlike the later Club Nintendo magazine), and I think Super Power (which was started by former Nintendomagasinet employees) was totally independent from Bergsala and Nintendo.

Marscaleb wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:53 am
Bananmos wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:56 am
Actually, in Sweden the distribution was even more restricted. Bergsala AB was the sole distributor, and they would further "cull" a lot of titles that wouldn't be imported, resulting in a once again shrunken game library compared to the US, and making much of the same arguments about quality control even stronger - if you believe them.
But we also missed out on some good games that never saw a Swedish release, because a decision that should be left to the end consumer had already been made from above.
I wasn't there so I can't comment on it. I don't know what kind of market they really had. Maybe they were going too far, maybe the numbers for how many NES units were even sold showed that releasing more titles would have been a money hole. Remember they are not selling to end consumers, but they are selling to retailers. And if they tell the retailers they should buy copies of all these games, and then those games never sell, then the retailers aren't going to want to buy the NEW games because they never sold the old ones. Bergsala AB may get to choose what gets made, but they don't actually choose what gets put on the shelf.
Bergsala only distributed Nintendo products in Scandinavia, they couldn't decide what games to be made into PAL, only show interest, and Scandinavia's low population means it's a small market even though the NES was thriving in Scandinavia. If we are to believe an interview of Owe Bergsten of Bergsala they have always released every single game that was available to the PAL region. I'm not sure I believe that entirely though. But considering how big the success was with NES in Scandinavia, it wouldn't surprise me if they really wanted to release more games than they were allowed to. I know there were several games (like the Final Fantasy series) that they were interested in releasing in Scandinavia but couldn't because the rest of Europe wasn't interested in the genre (mainly RPGs).

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by strat » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:31 pm

Bregalad wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:01 pm
What is surprising is that they could make contract that made it "illegal" for a developer to port their game to competitor systems, this is clearly against free market. At worst Nintendo could threaten to limit or stop doing business with them, but this hurts both parties. I could see reasons so that such a contract would be illegal.
Atari Corporation (i.e. the Tramiel-owned console maker) sued Nintendo over the licensing-deal, claiming it was unfair competition, and lost. I don't know if a similar case would've succeeded in Europe.
Also I'm fairly sure there's plenty of games who are both released on Sega and Nintendo hardware. For instance Battletoads has been ported to the Mega Drive, and it's sequel too. But that didn't stop Nintendo from asking Rare to develop Donkey Kong Country...
Nintendo probably had to relent on exclusivity with SNES because Sega was making inroads with the Genesis in the US (sold 7M units by 1992). So Interplay, Virgin Interactive, LJN, Acclaim, etc. all put more-or-less identical versions of the same game on both consoles. Though interestingly, Konami published on both systems while making completely different games for the same franchise (Hyperstone Heist vs. Turtles in Time, Bloodlines vs. Super Castlevania IV, even Tiny Toons got two different games).

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Marscaleb » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:01 pm

Bregalad wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:01 pm
What is surprising is that they could make contract that made it "illegal" for a developer to port their game to competitor systems, this is clearly against free market. At worst Nintendo could threaten to limit or stop doing business with them, but this hurts both parties. I could see reasons so that such a contract would be illegal.
...
Apparently initially the market was released in Japan but tight in the rest of the world, then by the time the N64 came out it went tighter than before but played against Nintendo since most 3rd developers left them to develop games for Sony and Sega hardware instead.
I was under the impression that their exclusivity agreement was something they dissolved even before the NES's run was through; they only did that for like the first half of the NES's life. The reason they "lost" their third-party developers to Sony was because of the hardware. Most prominent, the CD format made it easier to make a profit.

I agree that the exclusivity clause was against the practices of a free market. I agree that it didn't help anyone except Nintendo. But even Nintendo agreed that it was a bad thing, as evidenced by the fact that they discontinued it. They don't do it anymore. Why are you still holding on to this animosity as if they were still being scumbags?

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Bregalad
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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Bregalad » Fri May 01, 2020 2:48 am

But I guess Nintendo did push the quality seal harder in the US than in Europe after all. I didn't look for the seal when I bought games or anything. It was in every Nintendo game anyway.
It's actually written to look for the seal of quality on games before buying them on the box, but it's written in English and we didn't understand the language as kids. We just understood "lives" "game over" and the like.
Bergsala only distributed Nintendo products in Scandinavia, they couldn't decide what games to be made into PAL, only show interest, and Scandinavia's low population means it's a small market even though the NES was thriving in Scandinavia. If we are to believe an interview of Owe Bergsten of Bergsala they have always released every single game that was available to the PAL region. I'm not sure I believe that entirely though.
Since you had PAL-B systems, it would seem to have been very easy to go buy the missing game(s) in Germany isn't it ? But yeah back then it's unlikely your parents would have gone on a trip just to buy a game.

But even back then, it would have seem strange that company could prevent people to import games - there wasn't a Schengen zone yet but I'm fairly certain the border controls were already quite loose. Just imagine the scece; the cops asking "Do you carry weapons ? No. Drugs ? No. Alcohol ? No. NES games ? Errr.. yes... Ok you're under arest !"

The most bizzare thing is Italy and U.K. (and possibly Ireland too ?) being alone in the PAL-A zone. This makes absolutely no sense. If they split the PAL into actual geographical regions such as Europe and Oceania it would have made sense, but the way they did it makes no sense. Especially since the games are the same, the systems the same, just the CIC differs.

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Pokun » Fri May 01, 2020 4:59 am

Bergsala actually translated all manuals to Scandinavian languages so I could understand what was written on the seal. I looked at the worst possible games I knew (don't remember which ones) and thought that this kind of piece of crap at least shouldn't have passed the quality check. But all games I checked always had the seal, so it meant very little to me. Just a mark that it's an official game for the system, and since bootlegs and clones were illegal and no where to be seen in Sweden, I never saw any unlicensed games either.


I was way too young to even think of importing games during the NES era. The farthest away from home I had ever been was Denmark. Besides I didn't really know what games I was missing during that time. I did in the SNES era though. I was very angry on Nintendo for not letting us have games like Super Mario RPG, but that still was games not released in PAL land at all. Although I don't believe Owe's PR talk entirely (for example Bergsala would probably never import baseball and American football games to Scandinavia since those are not very popular sports), but I don't think Scandinavia really got less games than other PAL regions.

Marscaleb wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:01 pm
The reason they "lost" their third-party developers to Sony was because of the hardware. Most prominent, the CD format made it easier to make a profit.

I agree that the exclusivity clause was against the practices of a free market. I agree that it didn't help anyone except Nintendo. But even Nintendo agreed that it was a bad thing, as evidenced by the fact that they discontinued it. They don't do it anymore. Why are you still holding on to this animosity as if they were still being scumbags?
Although Nintendo's high licensing and cartridge manufacturing charges backfired on the N64 (and even more with the Gamecube), they did other trickery than monopoly, that artificially raised the prices of games in some countries (especially Europe). In 2002 the European Commission sued both Nintendo and Bergsala (and possibly other Nintendo distributors) for $147 million by cartel formation. The distributors had an agreement to not sell the products to buyers from other European countries. For this reason, games for Nintendo systems were very high in the affected countries up to the N64 days, and Nintendo and Bergsala earned millions thanks to this. I actually bought most of my N64 games second-hand, because new games were so ridiculously expensive. Nintendo games are still generally expensive, but ever since the Gamecube era (after they were sued) they have at least been reasonable.

The the European commissioner responsible for it was named Mario Monti. I still remember the news headline: "Mario sues Nintendo" :lol:

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by Marscaleb » Fri May 01, 2020 1:36 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 4:59 am
For this reason, games for Nintendo systems were very high in the affected countries up to the N64 days, and Nintendo and Bergsala earned millions thanks to this. I actually bought most of my N64 games second-hand, because new games were so ridiculously expensive.
Wow. Sucks to be Eu.

(www.instantrimshot.com)

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Re: Has anyone tried to obtain an "Official Seal" from Nintendo for their game?

Post by ndiddy » Tue May 12, 2020 1:59 pm

Nintendo had an even tighter grasp on the supply chain in Japan during the NES and SNES eras. Nintendo franchised game stores received at least 10 times as much stock as independent stores in exchange for letting Nintendo dictate pricing, game placement, signage, etc.

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