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August 11, 2008 - Matt Phillips
One of the best things about collecting video games is the times when something odd or unique comes unexpectedly across your path. I unearthed one such “gem” at, of all places, the Canfield Fair. A couple of years ago one of the vendors was selling an interesting plug and play video game called the Superjoy Power Player.
The Superjoy is a pirate video game system contained entirely in the controller, which looks like a Nintendo 64 controller. It is preprogrammed with a number of classic 8-bit games, including Contra, Super Mario Brothers and many others. The system comes with a second controller and a light gun. On the reverse side of the system has a cartridge port (the sales person had no clue what it was for when I bought it) that takes original Famicom (Japanese version of the Nintendo NES) games. The box is the funniest part of this unlicensed product. It features a number of pictures that in no way relate to any game included in the system. The box actually has a picture from Star Wars Episode One displayed prominently on the front!
The actual product is cheaply made. The plastic is low grade, and it is generally not put together well. The games are not bad. They are actual NES and Famicom games. Most are classic arcade ports like Donkey Kong and Burgertime, but some are Famicom games that were never released in the US like Macross (the Anime that was called Robotech in the US). The control pad is also cheaply made. This makes some of the games more difficult until you get used to it.
Once I got it, I had to try the cartridge port, so, I went on ebay in search of a good, cheap Famicom game. I found one that was never released in the US that looked interesting. Holy Diver (not featuring Ronnie James Dio) is a side scroller that resembles Castlevania. It works like a charm. The only problem is the game cartridge will reset if you bump it while playing.
The Superjoy is just one of many pirate video game systems. It is very hard to believe that the companies selling them get away with such blatant bootlegging. The low quality of construction makes it not practical for healthy use, but it is an interesting addition to a classic video game collection.
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