NES games that reuse their Famicom versions' boxart

Started by adori_12, March 19, 2020, 10:09:22 am

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adori_12

The NES and Famicom, despite being the same console, were sold and marketed entirely different depending on where you lived at the time. Games that were published on both systems had, most of the time, their boxarts redone entirely, in order to appeal to their target audience. Cartoony Japanese boxarts were replaced with big, muscular, realistic-looking people in North America, because that's what American kids liked the best (A famous example of this is the awful Mega Man 1 North American boxart). This was a very common practice back in the day, but not every game had a different boxart overseas. What about those games that were lucky enough to conserve their original Japanese art? This is something that people barely talk about, but I find it quite interesting for some reason.
So, I went and had a look at every NTSC Licensed NES game, and made a list of all NES games that reuse their Japanese Famicom versions' art. No PAL or unlicensed games are included for now.
Note that some games did not reuse the whole art, but rather the main character only, or some other variant, in which that case I specified it. Also, it may have happened that the NES version of a game was actually released first, but that doesn't matter since I only care if both versions have the same art.
If I made a mistake or forgot to add a game, please let me know.
So enjoy this interesting but quite useless list! :-[


Adventure Island
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of The Lance
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons:
Hillsfar
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance
Athletic World (Partially used art from instruction booklet's cover, non Family Fun Fitness versions used the old art alongside new art)
Bandit Kings of Ancient China
Batman(Japanese cartridge art used)
Blue Marlin, The
Bucky O'Hare
Castlevania
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Chip N' Dale: Rescue Rangers
Chip N' Dale: Rescue Rangers 2
City Connection
Dig Dug II: Trouble in Paradise (Partially used art)
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Dr. Chaos
DuckTales
DuckTales 2
Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy
Gemfire
Genghis Khan
Ghostbusters
Goonies 2, The
Gradius
Gyruss
Hudson Hawk
Image Fight
Isolated Warrior
Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper
Karate Champ
Kickle Cubicle
King's Knight
Kung Fu Heroes (Partially used art)
L'Empereur
Life Force
Magmax (Edited to fit in a vertical frame)
Mappy-Land
Metal Gear
Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!
Monopoly
NES Open Tournament Golf
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
Nobunaga's Ambition (Japanese cartridge art used)
Nobunaga's Ambition II
Raid On Bungeling Bay
Robocop
Rockin' Kats
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms II
Section Z
Seicross (Edited to fit in a vertical frame)
Shingen the Ruler
Sqoon
Stadium Events
Star Wars (JVC)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Starship Hector (Japanese art used but with an added character from Star Soldier's Japanese boxart)
Stinger
Super C
Super Mario Bros. 3 (Partially used art)
Tecmo Super Bowl
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Terra Cresta
Times of Lore
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
Top Gun
Top Gun: Second Mission
Top Players' Tennis: Chris Evert and Ivan Lendl (Only Lendl's photo was reused)
Touchdown Fever
Track & Field
Track & Field II
Uncharted Waters (Partially used art)
Wacky Races
Wario's Woods
Wizardry: Knight of Diamonds
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
Zanac


Particular cases:
Ghostbusters 2 (Both Ghostbusters 2 by Activision and New Ghostbusters 2 by HAL use the same boxart, but they are completely different games)
Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (Both Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade by Taito and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade by Ubisoft use the same boxart, but they are completely different games)
Maniac Mansion (Both Jaleco-developed Maniac Mansion and LucasfilmGames-developed Maniac Mansion use the same boxart, but they are completely different ports)

famiac

member #844 and 565

P

In Europe we generally got the Japanese boxart for Nintendo's games. We got none of those North American pixelated box arts for the pulse line series for example, always the Japanese boxart. Asian releases also got those I think. From other makers we generally got the same as North America though. Like the infamous boxart for Megaman games and the scary Mr Gimmick art.

UglyJoe


adori_12

Quote from: famiac on March 25, 2020, 11:42:44 amnice! thanks for your hard work
Thanks! I really appreciate it.
Quote from: UglyJoe on March 25, 2020, 05:52:09 pmNice one!  I added a link to this in our List of lists thread.
That's pretty cool! Thanks for adding my list!  :D
Quote from: P on March 25, 2020, 01:47:24 pmIn Europe we generally got the Japanese boxart for Nintendo's games. We got none of those North American pixelated box arts for the pulse line series for example, always the Japanese boxart. Asian releases also got those I think. From other makers we generally got the same as North America though. Like the infamous boxart for Megaman games and the scary Mr Gimmick art.
Oh I know that, Europe and some parts of Asia had a similar box style, but with the original art instead of the pixelated one.
In fact, when I was looking for all of these boxarts, I realized that they used that approach with all Black Box games, even ones that weren't released in Japan or had a different boxart due to being FDS releases! So that meant they had to make new art (which I think ended up looking pretty cool) because they didn't have a rectangular, early pulse line styled boxart to use. I think Volleyball, Gumshoe and some other games were released that way.
And as for Mega Man games, iirc 1, 2 and 3 had different boxarts for all regions (which now that I remembered it Mega Man 2 had a terrible boxart in Europe, whereas North America had a slightly better one, I guess things reversed on MM2.)
Should I include PAL games into the list, by the way?

P

Yeah I particularly remember the Gumshoe box when we borrowed that game in my childhood. I often remember games to be disappointingly flat and in low resolution compared to the awesome artwork on the box. Ice Climber for example is basically a game of floors of differently coloured bricks that you break through, nothing like how it looks on the box which depicts an ice landscape. Then again excellent games like Super Mario Bros was so fun, that they more than lived up to the anticipation you got from looking at the cool artwork.

Volley Ball and Ice Hockey are both exceptions, I think the Japanese artwork is much better for Ice Hockey at least. For PAL NES Ice Hockey it's just a photo of a hockey player while the Japanese has the three different character types depicted. The PAL Volley Ball one looks a bit uninspired, but the Japanese art is also very simple so I'm not really sure which one is best here.

Oh right I forgot that North America and PAL regions got different bad artwork for Megaman games. American Megaman 1 is a prime example and looks like it was drawn by someone that clearly can't draw, while the PAL version actually looks pretty cool, but miss-leading and he looks way too much human. For Megaman 2 I don't know if the fat and wrinkly spacecop-looking American Megaman (with a lasergun to boot) or if the aged silvery Robocop-like PAL Megaman is worse. Things got better with Megaman 3 which actually used parts of the superior Japanese boxart.

Localizers often took some really bad decisions back then (another prime example is the American version of Dungeon Explorer for PC Engine). Nintendo's decision to keep the artwork in Europe helped them establish a name there (in Sweden, Miyamoto's and his gang's artstyle was already widely known thanks to the great success of the Game & Watch). The outstanding sales numbers the PAL NES had in Scandinavia easily proves that.
Now of course games like Megaman was just so excellent that no bad artwork would keep it from selling.


QuoteShould I include PAL games into the list, by the way?
Yes please do, but I would keep PAL and NA games in two separate lists.

adori_12

I think that's why NOA went with pixelated, relatively close to in-game graphics for the North American NES boxarts: Kids that saw them would have a better idea of what the game looked like, and they wouldn't be disappointed when they came back to home and boot the actual game. The graphics on the boxarts were never identical to the games' and they were always enhanced and/or impossible to reproduce on an actual NES, but they served quite well in representing their games.
Ice Hockey actually reused the NA artwork for its PAL release, maybe that's why it's uninteresting.

Quote from: P on March 31, 2020, 02:46:46 amNintendo's decision to keep the artwork in Europe helped them establish a name there (in Sweden, Miyamoto's and his gang's artstyle was already widely known thanks to the great success of the Game & Watch). The outstanding sales numbers the PAL NES had in Scandinavia easily proves that.
Wait, was the NES actually popular in Sweden? I thought other systems were a lot more popular in all of Europe!
Is that why Mr. Gimmick, Uforia and some Swedish translated games were released exclusively in Scandinavia? I've always wondered why was that.
I mean, all YouTube videos I've watched about the NES in Europe seem to talk about how the system was a huge flop over there, and how other game consoles like the Sega Master System and Personal Computers "absolutely dominated" the European market. I guess they were some exceptions that those people didn't feel like clarifying.
Quote from: P on March 31, 2020, 02:46:46 amYes please do, but I would keep PAL and NA games in two separate lists.
Sure! It'll take some time, but I will update the list with PAL games.

P

Scandinavia is a bit of an oddball in Europe. Actually a bit like how Japan is an oddball in Asia and often not included in many things that are typically Asian, many things considered typically European do not really apply to Scandinavia.
If you look at the videos in the thread I linked above you will learn that Bergsala (a Swedish company that distributes Nintendo games in Scandinavia) drastically overperformed when it came to Game & Watch and NES sales. They where the only ones in Europe interested in video games so Nintendo almost gave us a Swedish version of the red & white Famicom. Meeting a Swedish person in my generation that never played the NES is very rare. It is fully comparable to the boom of the Famicom in Japan (I read somewhere that at some point over 50% of the Japanese households had a Famicom).
I guess that's why we Scandinavians are a bit overrepresented on gaming forums and such, compared to much larger European countries like Germany or France. Especially Famicom/NES forums.

Nintendo sales dropped a bit in the 16-bit era, but I think SNES did better in Scandinavia than in the rest of Europe where the Sega Megadrive dominated (Megadrive did quite well in Sweden as well though, much better than the Master System previously did). Shortly after Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released I remember reading the big news that Sweden had the highest percentile sales of the game in the world, so yeah Nintendo is still quite strong.

Yes that's probably why only we got Mr Gimmick and Uforia. As Owe Bergsten said in the interview, Bergsala released every single game they were permitted to, and they actually wanted to release much more, including games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy that the rest of Europe was totally uninterested in. Scandinavia was a small market though, so even if there were large percentile sales, total sales was not that large compared to all of Europe, so the interest of other countries was in control of what could be released. And since many countries like Germany and France requires translating the games to their languages (in Scandinavia, most games are released in English), PAL releases are not cheap. So like the rest of Europe, FF7 and DQ8 was the first in those series we got. We did get the Phantasy Star games though, so RPGs was not totally non-existence (in fact the JRPG fan culture was probably started by Phantasy Star fans).

I remember there was a big fuss over Shadowgate when it came, and Bergsala even translated the game to Swedish since it was so heavy on text. Finally a roleplaying game they said, although it's clearly an adventure game. People were starving for other genres than the dominating action genre which publishers persisted with. Deja Vu for NES and Shadowrun (a WRPG) for SNES were also both translated to Swedish, but there was a big shortage of JRPGs until the Playstation came and the JRPG genre boomed thanks to games like Suikoden and FF7.

adori_12

I just checked the video, and wow, that's so interesting! I love learning about regional markets, and how they try to introduce a console to a local market.

And, going back on topic, I've started to work on the PAL list but it's a lot more difficult, since I haven't found a list of all of them. The only ones I find are for PAL exclusive games. Do you happen to know of any full lists of PAL releases?