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The Samurai NES "Indian Version"


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I think I made a thread about this on Nintendo Age but it's probably lost somewhere and I've gained new info since then anyway.

So I finally got a boxed Samurai last year and it could be CIB. There's so little information out there and I haven't come across any other photos of the paperwork/manuals/inserts so I'm assuming CIB at the moment. If anyone has more info please chime in! Here are the pics of everything in the box:

Front and back:

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Top and bottom:

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Sides:

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Styrofoam box:

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Console:

Most consoles have a punctured warranty sticker, most probably for attempted repairs to the 72-pin connector. I'd say only 10-15% of consoles still have the warranty sticker intact.

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Controller:

There is a cheap Samurai sticker covering the Nintendo logo on the back. The sticker has fallen off on most of the controllers I've come across. I'd say this is very rare, perhaps as rare as the box if not rarer. Only about 5-10% of controllers still have the sticker in my experience.

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Power adapter:

Even though the console actually runs on AC all the Samurai power adapters I came across output DC and it works just fine.

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Paperwork:

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I've had at least 20 different Samurai consoles pass through my hands. I mainly got them for research and sold a few but still have most of them. At the moment I have 13 loose consoles. 3 more are still in India but I doubt I'll get my hands on them any time soon because of corona. Most of these will be up for sale soon once I finish documenting and cleaning them up.

5ZvyIZ0.jpg

These are some of my observations:

- The highest serial number I've seen is about 53000. So that's a good indicator for how many were actually sold.

- The lower serial number consoles had a black Samurai font. These seem to be pretty rare. They also have smooth tops. I only have 2 of them. You can see one of them in the picture above.

- The black Samurai logo on the console is actually a sticker covering the original Asian Version branding. I figured this out because the second one I have has a ripped sticker with the original branding visible underneath. What this means is that the initial batches were imported as fully assembled units from Asia. The more common units with the red Samurai logo printed on were imported as parts and assembled in India. The black logo consoles have both a Samurai serial and also the original Asian Version serial on the bottom.

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- The consoles with red logos do not have any metal shielding on the inside. They also have fewer screws holding the console together even though all the original screw holes are present. Seems like a cheap attempt at cost cutting.

 

Now moving on to the games. I've only ever found one game CIB. Everything else is just loose carts. I have a few games with box but no manual. Here are the pics of the CIB game:

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These are all the Samurai carts I have right now. Unfortunately they're all stuck back home in India so I only have older pics. Samurai carts come in different styles. Grey carts, black carts, black labels, colorful labels, etc. A friend of mine actually has a gold Ice Climbers cart! Never seen that before.

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Closer view of the labels with artwork:

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Gold Ice Climber cart (not mine):

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I found 3 of these Samurai branded game protectors. I think they are the equivalent of NES game sleeves but I don't think they were included with each game. These seem to be more like accessories you could buy separately.

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Future update:

A discussion on legit vs pirate Samurai carts. I have some very interesting findings which lead me to a controversial conclusion. Will update soon.

Edited by bowser
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8 minutes ago, GreenKoopa said:

Thanks for sharing. 

During this corona virus period, some people stocked up on hand sanitizer, others toilet paper, but you made the wise choice and stock piled samurai nes - smart choice! 

I recently moved from India and brought most of my Samurai units with me 🙂 

I'm still editing the first post with more info.

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@bowser amazing find with the SMB manual.

"What this means is that the initial batches were imported as fully assembled units from Asia."
This isn't necessarily true. They could have (and most likely did) come broken down from Japan.

In terms of it being similar to the Asian version, this was already known also the price/date too:
QkYOvgj.png

The game protectors probably had nothing to do with Samurai, maybe they had a licensing deal, since Samurai was in a completely different region of India (Samurai was located in Rajasthan)

"A discussion on legit vs pirate Samurai carts. I have some very interesting findings which lead me to a controversial conclusion. Will update soon."
Years ago on NA after I first interviewed the CEO of Samurai about the NES, I was apprehensive to say that Samurai sold pirate carts. These days I am not so much.
1. https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/economy/story/19911015-indian-entertainment-electronics-industry-goes-through-turbulent-times-814947-1991-10-15 "But Samurai isn't giving up. It recently introduced a cheaper model at two-thirds the previous price"
Likewise:
0BbAk6W.png
However, Samurai actually trademarked the term MicroGenius in India in 1990: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IdrxHA9MnCEJ:https://www.quickcompany.in/trademarks/540483-miclo-genius+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pl&client=firefox-b-d

It is known that in at least Russia and Poland, Sega allowed distributors there to sell pirate consoles, because it would create brand recognition for the company and it could still sell software and make some money. Could it have been the same case here? Remember, Samurai once again in 2007 was the distributor for the Wii and DS in India, so it's not like the company has bad blood with Nintendo..

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I have a Samurai Micro Genius, very very poor quality compared to the Micro Genius machines made in Taiwan. (Sorry guys)

On another note, there is a picture circulating around of MG people showing how to point out the differences between a real and a bootleg MG machine. I always assumed this came about because of Chinese market piracy, but maybe it's related to this too?

Edited by fcgamer
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11 hours ago, fcgamer said:

I have a Samurai Micro Genius, very very poor quality compared to the Micro Genius machines made in Taiwan. (Sorry guys)

On another note, there is a picture circulating around of MG people showing how to point out the differences between a real and a bootleg MG machine. I always assumed this came about because of Chinese market piracy, but maybe it's related to this too?

I have a pic of that. Couldn't find the original high res pic that I had. I'm not surprised with the poor quality. They cut corners and used the cheapest materials possible.

tZvIuzs.jpg

 

  

On 7/23/2020 at 2:19 PM, launchpad said:

Great information.  This is fascinating.  Do you know which years these were sold and what they might've cost when new?

According to the info from Joshua above it was sold for 4800 INR which converts to about $370 at that time. This corresponds to what I heard from a friend that it was sold for around 4500 INR ($345).

Edited by bowser
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16 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

"What this means is that the initial batches were imported as fully assembled units from Asia."
This isn't necessarily true. They could have (and most likely did) come broken down from Japan.

I see. I was guessing based on the differences in the assembly of the console. Judging from the quality, it appears all the parts for the console itself throughout the entire run (except maybe the cartridge flap for the red text models) were imported. The controllers and RF cables were also imported. But if all the consoles were assembled in India, what is your opinion on the differences in the assembly? The initial units with black text were on par with the international versions but the later ones with red text had missing shielding (both top and bottom) and possibly fewer screws on the inside too. I uploaded pics of one of the black text consoles to the first post.

The cartridge shells were entirely made in India. The plastic is of poor quality and the screws also are made of a softer metal that strips easily. The PCBs were imported though. They have the PAL chips on them.

  

16 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

The game protectors probably had nothing to do with Samurai, maybe they had a licensing deal, since Samurai was in a completely different region of India (Samurai was located in Rajasthan)
 

Yes I was of the same opinion because the address on the protector is totally different from the one on the console.

  

16 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

"A discussion on legit vs pirate Samurai carts. I have some very interesting findings which lead me to a controversial conclusion. Will update soon."
Years ago on NA after I first interviewed the CEO of Samurai about the NES, I was apprehensive to say that Samurai sold pirate carts. These days I am not so much.
1. https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/economy/story/19911015-indian-entertainment-electronics-industry-goes-through-turbulent-times-814947-1991-10-15 "But Samurai isn't giving up. It recently introduced a cheaper model at two-thirds the previous price"
Likewise:
0BbAk6W.png
However, Samurai actually trademarked the term MicroGenius in India in 1990: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IdrxHA9MnCEJ:https://www.quickcompany.in/trademarks/540483-miclo-genius+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pl&client=firefox-b-d

To add to this, I have a Samurai cartridge with a legit PCB but windowed ROMs! With this startling discovery, I was of the opinion that the pirate carts were not made by a pirate outfit as claimed by Samurai. I will try to add all my observations on the various types of Samurai carts today.

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For what it's worth, I have multiple game carts that are bootlegs, yet the PCBs / chips are correct. We are talking Famicom here. Konami games mostly, but I even have a Golgo 13 and a Zelda 2 with this awkward situation.

Then there's the Time Diver Eon Man situation.

I'm definitely in the camp that some of these companies allowed piracy for the sake of brand recognition. I even spoke with a local guy once, maybe even Nintendo sold their legit PCBs in fake cart to earn let's say, 70% or 80% profit + brand recognition, despite being "bootleg".

Edited by fcgamer
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Being a guy that started collecting games for dead systems as far back as the late 80's...I started to really HATE what the internet did to my fun little hobby. After being a grumpy old man about it for many years I've now realized cool things like this (samurai) I  would have never known existed  if not for the internet. So, thanks for furthering my appreciating the internet and what it has done for video game collecting 🙂

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On 7/26/2020 at 4:23 AM, Joshua Rogers said:

Remember, Samurai once again in 2007 was the distributor for the Wii and DS in India, so it's not like the company has bad blood with Nintendo..

 

Untrue, Samurai was in the talks of launching Wii and DS in India, however Sunder Electronics (which was backed by Active Boeki KK and MaxSoft) was the one that finally brought these consoles and games to India (indirect imports albeit), Samurai was cut out of the deal and soon after the company wound up.

Source: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/games/features/buy-the-nintendo-switch-in-india-you-need-to-read-this-first-1650812

 

Other industry veterans confirmed that this was the case with the Nintendo Wii as well; further compounded by the confusion that it was to show up via Samurai, a Delhi-based distributor.

 

Edited by Indianvideogamecollector
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19 hours ago, Indianvideogamecollector said:

 

Untrue, Samurai was in the talks of launching Wii and DS in India, however Sunder Electronics (which was backed by Active Boeki KK and MaxSoft) was the one that finally brought these consoles and games to India (indirect imports albeit), Samurai was cut out of the deal and soon after the company wound up.

Source: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/games/features/buy-the-nintendo-switch-in-india-you-need-to-read-this-first-1650812

 





Other industry veterans confirmed that this was the case with the Nintendo Wii as well; further compounded by the confusion that it was to show up via Samurai, a Delhi-based distributor.

 

Then, Mahesh lied to me in an email. Also see https://web.archive.org/web/20080918224605/http://samuraiindia-nintendo.com/index.html

also cool video but some notes

region lockout would have been 3196 then 3196A, not 3195/A.

In terms of the 3,000 units per month number, Mahesh said this was the minimum order from Nintendo, which coincides with a number I have from a certain other distributor. But who knows, maybe Nintendo wasn't as cruel as one mayt hink.

There were two companies. Samurai Electronics, which handled assembly of consoles, and Samurai Software which handled assembly of cartidges.

I guess, like you, Mahesh refused to answer as to whether Samurai ever sold pirate games or consoles themselves, given https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/economy/story/19911015-indian-entertainment-electronics-industry-goes-through-turbulent-times-814947-1991-10-15

and

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IdrxHA9MnCEJ:https://www.quickcompany.in/trademarks/540483-miclo-genius+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pl&client=firefox-b-d

Mahesh sent me a similar picture used in the last couple of seconds in your video as well which I thought was amazingly cool, but he never sent that pic of the kiosk.

 

However. Those last two pictures are important (at 11:03 in your video), and I think they clear up the question as the whether Samurai sold pirate consoles/games. It is very clear from the first photo in the video, that the posters have the Famiclone (pictured here:tZvIuzs.jpg on them. NOT original Samurai NES consoles.

This puts any doubt in my mind that to rest, and I can say with certainty that Samurai did indeed sell Famiclones. Did they do it with Nintendo's unofficial approval though, is a good question (like Dendy in Russia.)

Edited by Joshua Rogers
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For reference, this is the photo he sent me (see the attached image.)

Also for reference, in talking about the posibility of Samurai selling Famiclones/pirate carts, Mahesh had this to say:

"Samurai could only source from Nintendo. After 7 years Samurai sold console with one free official cartridge. Rest the grey market [ Parrallel] Market supplied. Most of samurai Distributors and Dealers started stocking and selling Pirated versions and there was no Option for us to do this"

 

"All Games were always from Nintendo.  After about 5 Years Nintendo did allow Samurai to source directly from developers but it was too late and Original cart sale was virtually ZERO. Samurai Consoles were selling with one free cartridge but all consumers purchased extra Catrts from Grey market."

"Samurai initiated several Court cases to stop all this Piracy and misuse of Brands and it did result in stopping use of Samurai with Microgenius but Microgenius all alone was already selling very well due to very low Price and steady quality"

"Nintendo Officials visited India and we took them around to dealers / wholesales selling Pirated Carts in Bulk . Photographs were taken but nothing could be done to stop them "

"Samurai only sold official Nintendo Chips in Nintendo Plastic Shells with Samurai Label"

After 6 years in 1993 Taiwan and China introduced imitation Consoles  at 25% of Samurai Price and multigame cartridges at 10% of Samurai Price resulting in steep drop in Samurai Sales . After 2 years trying to Fight China .  As Mr S.K. Lal had other countries as an agent he always resisted sale of Imitation Consoles in India . No Nintendo did not cancel contract as they could understand that NES can Not sell at the price we had once China came in with Pirated Version. Due to very Poor Piracy law implementation in India at that time no one could do anything and Nintendo sales died down automatically resulting in Huge Losses to SAMURAI  . Microgenius was a Taiwan Brand introduced in India by another parallel Video Game Distributor .

"

"Samurai never moved into Piracy and closed down Operations due to heavy Losses trying to fight Piracy"

Clearly, these were all lies.

Also it's great to see you included the Samurai advertisment

 

But I also would like to now add this

Which, your photo has just confirmed Samurai was indeed behind!

Thank you very much, as this 'closes' the Indian chapter of my book, since the only thing I had left to write in it was an analysis of whether Samurai were selling pirate products. No analysis needed: the answer is yes!

Samurai_NES_Mumbai.jpg

Edited by Joshua Rogers
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1 hour ago, fcgamer said:

I have a Samurai Famiclone, looks the same as the red / pinkish MG clone shown above.

Terrible quality too, I must add, sure I'm probably biased after living in Taiwan for so long, but the thing feels brittle and cheap compared to the real MG machines.

It's possible the plastic was locally molded. What's the inside look like?

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3 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

It is very clear from the first photo in the video, that the posters have the Famiclone on them. NOT original Samurai NES consoles.

This puts any doubt in my mind that to rest, and I can say with certainty that Samurai did indeed sell Famiclones. Did they do it with Nintendo's unofficial approval though, is a good question (like Dendy in Russia.)

Uh oh, looks like Mr Mahesh just shot himself in the foot there with that picture then 😶

By the way, isn't the existence of that Samurai micro genius ad enough proof that Samurai was selling famiclones? Or is it within the realms of possibility for pirate groups to have the audacity to put out ads for their products?

Edited by bowser
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