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Was the NES 5 game/yr rule good or no?


Nintegageo
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I'm kind of divided on this.  On the one hand, it didn't stop us from getting true stinkers as part of what was released.  On the other hand, given the huge volume of what was available on the Famicom, it likely did stem the flow of absolute crap from the shovelware companies of the day, even if it did stifle the releases of better developers/publishers.

As history showed, that limitation wasn't really a true limitation to anyone with the desire and drive to produce more than Nintendo's artificial limit, as Konami/Ultra proved.  I'm guessing that most companies in the industry were satisfied enough with the performance they got out of their constrained corral of titles each year, and potentially benefited from it as well, as less releases from a respected developer/publisher probably meant higher sales numbers for each of their games, as it wasn't diluted, leaving sales for even their lesser games comparatively strong.

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4 hours ago, darkchylde28 said:

I'm kind of divided on this.  On the one hand, it didn't stop us from getting true stinkers as part of what was released.  On the other hand, given the huge volume of what was available on the Famicom, it likely did stem the flow of absolute crap from the shovelware companies of the day, even if it did stifle the releases of better developers/publishers.

As history showed, that limitation wasn't really a true limitation to anyone with the desire and drive to produce more than Nintendo's artificial limit, as Konami/Ultra proved.  I'm guessing that most companies in the industry were satisfied enough with the performance they got out of their constrained corral of titles each year, and potentially benefited from it as well, as less releases from a respected developer/publisher probably meant higher sales numbers for each of their games, as it wasn't diluted, leaving sales for even their lesser games comparatively strong.

This is basically the perfect answer.

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Looking back (and I'm thinking it was 6 games wasn't it?) it was largely a good idea.  I think lists work why.

- Nintendo paranoid over Atari and friends collapse of the US market
- Nintendo research showed incompetent/uncaring quality control
- LOTS of crap released, not always that cheap by the days standard either
- Market was flooded so much the good was drowned out by the garbage, far more garbage

So you have 1985, and they want to test launch and do some PR/research on that then too.

- Retail scared due to garbage above costing them space money and time
- Retail no longer trusts gaming dedicated consoles
- Nintendo basically gives 100% money back payback guarantee
- They also pitch it as a TOY hence...ROB and launching with Zapper so a robot game and a duck shooter(safe) in box
- Also put a line of black box sports games (largely) also safe, along with a genius platformer (SMB) and a few arcade style things (clones, ports, etc.)

They find their strategy works of... control, fairly decent(robust for then but laughable now) QC on such things, and are kind of dicks to licensees on what they allow, censorship, being family friendly, and limiting titles.

Doing all that, they helped along with your huge marketing push in 1986-88 years grew the brand largely and found making people choose what to make from scratch or largely push from Japan worked through intimidation of choice.  Do you push Turtles or some untested anime game?  Do you push an arcade port of Trojan or some weird backwater Japan only arcade game port?  You get where it's going.

Did it suck some actual GOOD games got deserted?  Yes, but largely it wasn't due to the lack of X a year allowed, but also the censorship, or just regional reasons so we didn't get some stuff like Holy Diver from Irem or Bio Miracle Upa from Konami.  Later we did get one bad burn, the stupid controlling of cart releases with chips, kept the nice higher ball Konami, Namco, Sunsoft mappers out so we didn't get the nicer Castlevania or Gradius II, and so on.  So that's the one real negative of it, select good games that should have sold but got hosed...but I don't think it was the 6/yr thing but being control freaks about carts too if not more.

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I think it was a negative situation, tbh.

As we discussed in the thread about whether the NES and Famicom are the same machines or not, they honestly weren't, and this policy was likely to blame for it, partially.

As a whole, a large portion of the NES's game library was made exclusively for the NES, and so many of those games sucked hard. Similarly, there were tons of great games that never left Japan due to publishers having to be choosy, and limitations as Tanooki mentioned above with the chips.

Yeah, the famicom did have it's share of crap, but stuff like mahjong games would never have arrived in the States, whether the rule was in place or not.

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I've always wondered if the limitation was not just to keep away shovelware, but for consumer financial reasons as well. NES games were $40-$50 back then which was alot of money. If publishers pumped out a bunch their games it might result is poor sales because people couldn't afford to buy several games a month.

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Nintendo was *really* loose with that rule though. Even if you give or take one for "January" and "December" releases you still have some rule breakers (ignoring Konami/Ultra, Acclaim/LJN, Activision/Infocom, Virgin/Arcadia, Broderbund/1st Irem release, Mindscape/Software Toolworks, CSG Imagesoft becoming Sony Imagesoft, and Nexoft becoming ASCII

1989

  • Bandai had 6

1990

  • Sammy, Kemco, Hi-Tech, GameTek, and Data East had 6
  • Acclaim had 7
  • Capcom had 8
  • Mindscape had 9

1991

  • Taito and Jaleco had 7

1992

  • THQ, Konami, and Capcom had 6
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1 hour ago, ThePhleo said:

Nintendo was *really* loose with that rule though. Even if you give or take one for "January" and "December" releases you still have some rule breakers (ignoring Konami/Ultra, Acclaim/LJN, Activision/Infocom, Virgin/Arcadia, Broderbund/1st Irem release, Mindscape/Software Toolworks, CSG Imagesoft becoming Sony Imagesoft, and Nexoft becoming ASCII

1989

  • Bandai had 6

1990

  • Sammy, Kemco, Hi-Tech, GameTek, and Data East had 6
  • Acclaim had 7
  • Capcom had 8
  • Mindscape had 9

1991

  • Taito and Jaleco had 7

1992

  • THQ, Konami, and Capcom had 6

I think the rule may have been based on fiscal years, rather than by calendar years.  We'd have to know what Nintendo considered a fiscal year in the NES era, but I'm sure if adjusted for that the numbers check out.  Try October 1 to September 30 as the fiscal year (that's the fiscal year for the US federal government).  It's a best-guess though, since every business can set their own fiscal year, and as such the dates can vary significantly.

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Administrator · Posted

@ThePhleo Fix how exactly? They display as tables, and you can scroll through the content.

A forum isn't the place for big tabular data like that. In fact it lags my computer to quote you (and crashes the browser on my phone) because of all of the styling associated with the HTML that it translates to. It's not ideal to be posting stuff like that here. It'd be far more ideal to share a Google sheet link or something to that effect, and let that software handle the display of the data.

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Well, a cursory examination shows an October to September fiscal year would fix most, but also leave a few other outliers.  I'm guessing a few of the bigger companies may have been able to work a deal out, or perhaps a few dates are off, but a 5 per fiscal year makes more sense overall.  Whether each company had their own fiscal year or they were using Nintendo's calendar, I couldn't say.  But there are far fewer issues by manipulating what period constitutes a "per year" basis.

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@Gloves pfft...fine.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vSejypglRdmqfM88c46cB-x--550bS0GLJ2aoJlW47usUcJBkG5VpB5_3YpkW7glxye6RBtinI2TpYl/pubhtml

You heard it here first folks. No "magical solutions" for large tabular data.

I GUESS your site can't handle a measly 8769 highly stylized table cells. Pfft.

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Administrator · Posted
1 minute ago, ThePhleo said:

@Gloves pfft...fine.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vSejypglRdmqfM88c46cB-x--550bS0GLJ2aoJlW47usUcJBkG5VpB5_3YpkW7glxye6RBtinI2TpYl/pubhtml

You heard it here first folks. No "magical solutions" for large tabular data.

I GUESS your site can't handle a measly 8769 of highly stylized table cells. Pfft.

Pf! Tch! Sh! Pf! Tch!

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10 minutes ago, the_wizard_666 said:

Well, a cursory examination shows an October to September fiscal year would fix most, but also leave a few other outliers.  I'm guessing a few of the bigger companies may have been able to work a deal out, or perhaps a few dates are off, but a 5 per fiscal year makes more sense overall.  Whether each company had their own fiscal year or they were using Nintendo's calendar, I couldn't say.  But there are far fewer issues by manipulating what period constitutes a "per year" basis.

Dates are most certainly off, since there are hardly any known actual hard release dates for the NES. Games didn't exactly *have* release "dates" back then, more like release timeframes.

Few exceptions of course, October 18, 1985 for example (Happy -almost- 36th Birthday US NES)

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8 minutes ago, ThePhleo said:

Dates are most certainly off, since there are hardly any known actual hard release dates for the NES. Games didn't exactly *have* release "dates" back then, more like release timeframes.

Few exceptions of course, October 18, 1985 for example (Happy -almost- 36th Birthday US NES)

The October launch also lends credence to a fiscal period of October-September.  However, other options might be August-July (the first third-party releases were in August), or March-February (to incorporate the numbers from the Christmas season).  It's hard to say what the term actually was without documents, but all of those minimize most of the issues with the 5-game rule not adding up.  Mindscape 1990-91 is screwing everything though.  Acclaim as well to a lesser degree.

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10 minutes ago, Tulpa said:

When did they relax the rule? What year was the last Ultra release?

1992. Nightshade and Star Trek 25th Anniversary.

 

But LJN disguised Acclaim games ALLLLLLL the way to the end in August 1994 with Incredible Crash Dummies. However there's one caveat, and that is that the first few games by LJN aren't Acclaim games pretending to be LJN.

In March of 1990 the company was purchased by Acclaim. That means for LJN you have "LJN Independant" games and "Acclaim disguised as LJN" games.

LJN Independant Games

  • Back to the Future
  • Friday the 13th
  • Gotcha! The Sport!
  • Jaws
  • Karate Kid
  • Major League Baseball
  • NFL Football
  • T & C Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage
  • Uncanny X-Men
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Acclaim disguised as LJN

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Alien 3
  • Back to the Future II & III
  • Beetlejuice
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure
  • Incredible Crash Dummies
  • Pictionary
  • Punisher
  • Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball
  • Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six
  • T & C Surf Designs: Thrilla's Surfari
  • T2 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • WWF King of the Ring
  • WWF WrestleMania Challenge
  • WWF Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge
  • Wolverine
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17 hours ago, CasualCart said:

Nintendo's 5 game annual limit per publisher certainly seems like a net positive as far as reducing shovelware. Less is more when developers focus on quality over quantity.

Now I'm wondering how much larger the NES library would've been without this restriction...

-CasualCart

Possibly smaller, not larger. If publishers kept pumping out crap shovelware titles early on, NES could have been received by the consumer as Atari 2.0.. It’s possible that the system would have not taken off.

Yes there were some revolutionary games early on like Mario 1, but they could have been squelched out by all the noise from other titles.

Without strong focus titles creating the foundation and selling massive quantities of systems, you’d have a smaller user base. This would mean less growth and less momentum for the NES developer and publisher ecosystem 

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