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Nintendo In the Middle East! Info????


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Let me start off in saying that I am a collector who is also interested in knowing about gaming in the lesser known areas of the world. I am now looking at the Middle East. However, info is surprisingly scarce, and I need help knowing about Nintendo in that region from say, early 1980's till the late 90's. I did find some valuable info, although very little. Question is what HAVE I found?

So upon trying to do some research about the matter that we are talking about, I came across THIS!

image.thumb.png.939625e51e5aea56e4adbd240660c536.png

It's meh, it isn't much, but at least it's something 馃槃

Well now we now that Game Boy was at least released there.

Question is, who released it?

So here's what I think. My guess is that it was maybe distributed聽from the UAE by Itochu (what I do know is that they certainly did carry out this job from 1997 till 1998, short break from that year until Nintendo Japan decided to carry out distribution themselves to the Middle East from 2000, I have some sources if you want!) so that's some good info to keep going? Need more info though. So just to recap, I want to know:

1. The distributor(s) involved?

2. A brief history/the beginnings of Nintendo in this area (was the NES actually released in the UAE/Gulf regions?).

3. The fate of their entry into market (failures by clones, etc.)

4. Some more ads hopefully? (I'm a sucker for promotion of old consoles)

Thank you and See ya!

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It is highly likely that they must have also used GPS cartridges for the SNES (and maybe even Game Boy). Thing is, no one knows what this code might suggest, however, what I do know is that this code was used for PAL regions that have a very minimal market for games, some outside of Europe, like in the Middle East. In other words, regions that Nintendo did not care very much about. A very specific number of games used this code,聽mainly games from Nintendo (AFAIK some Konami ones too, eg. Prince of Persia). They are very rare. Here's an example of a GPS cart:

SOCCER-SHOOTOUT.jpg.96baed772daee30b5936bba00c4fa668.jpg
It can be certain that Soccer Shootout was one of the very few games that got that treatment now.
Now, I can nearly be fully sure that SNES was released in that region.
Still many questions in my mind though!
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MemberPosted

What does "GPS" likely stand for?

I have no clue where these might have been sold, but as a potential tip, I have seen a few, vintage collectors that loved Nintendo games as a kid (NES/Gsme Boy era) from Egypt.

So, maybe this is from Egypt?

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4 hours ago, RH said:

What does "GPS" likely stand for?

I have no clue where these might have been sold, but as a potential tip, I have seen a few, vintage collectors that loved Nintendo games as a kid (NES/Gsme Boy era) from Egypt.

So, maybe this is from Egypt?

Some people think it means Greece, Portugal, Spain. However I think the most popular consensus is that it stands for Game Pak System - and was released in various regions that didn't get an official (cart coded) release.

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This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I suspect it's closer to the truth of what the plebs were gaming on, back in the day (very old article, sorry for any mistakes or poor writing. I'm actually dealing with a middle eastern customer now, I'll ask him about it if I get the chance)

https://fcgamer.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/famicom-in-the-middle-east/

Whether Nintendo released official stuff or not I think is irrelevant; this is the sort of stuff that actual people used.

The Majid translation is super popular, Ive had dozens of people from the region wanting to buy that multicart from me over the years.

Then there's the fact that a Taiwanense company actually translated a game into Arabic...a first on Nintendo, aside from the Captain Tsubasa translation and the educational carts.

Thing is, even if they did have their own official releases, it's likely most people weren't playing on those. In the past few years an official polish region was discovered, I showed several Polish collector friends, they all were clueless about it and thought it was fake.聽 It'll likely be a similar situation here.

Edit: so that would make the games extremely rare, but also historically insignificant imo.

Edited by fcgamer
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Here's a box art that belongs to a SNES GPS game, in this case Wario's Woods (SNSP-65-GPS).

49394--warios-woods.png.52d1a8848237a8a25a2fa47ba93dd00b.png

I'm not going to turn this discussion to one referring wholly to the GPS code, but again it is highly likely that it was imported to this region.聽

As we can see here this is taken from the German cover (which in turn borrows many elements from the North American one) complete with a column on the bottom referring to the origin of the product (Grossostheim (old address for European headquarters it is now based in Frankfurt), Germany, Nintendo Of Europe, and CE label). Note that everything in the package is in English, including documentation.

So just for reference, I'm going to put up a list of all the countries were GPS consoles and games are known to my knowledge to have happened to be distributed in some way or form. It is most likely missing a few, as it is partly based on recent findings.

In Europe:

*Portugal

*Italy (Some cases)

*Croatia

*Greece聽

*Netherlands (Very minimal instances. A number of them though were said to have been imported, officially or not I do not know. There were copies of the NES game Mario and Yoshi that had this labelling with black and white dutch/french manual and was known to have been sold in this country by the official distributor (Bandai). Own code = HOL or FAH, shared with France. )

*Spain (Again very rare instances where they would just slap in a cheap manual of the countries native language, own code ESP, which most games used).

*Sweden and Scandinavia (Same story as previous two territories, own code SCN)

Outside of Europe

*Australia (Perhaps for one games only, Killer Instinct for the SNES. It is known that the firm Novagroup were in contact with Nintendo Europe to import some of their games into here, which is quite odd considering: A. that the Australian base for Nintendo has been in operation from 1993 and that B. some European games were already being imported by them. Oddly from the looks of it it does not seem to even bear the rating system for the country at the time. That and GPS Game Boy systems are the only two European related items known to have been imported by Nova Group however I think that it is very likely that there are more distributed by them.)

*South Africa (A variant of this code was released for the NES which bears SAF coding. All games, including for other consoles, were GPS though.)

*Egypt (although I'm not so sure about this one)

*Israel

*Middle East/Gulf regions (Presumably)聽

Do hit me up if I'm obviously missing a few.

Edited by RickyTheCollector
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14 hours ago, fcgamer said:

This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I suspect it's closer to the truth of what the plebs were gaming on, back in the day (very old article, sorry for any mistakes or poor writing. I'm actually dealing with a middle eastern customer now, I'll ask him about it if I get the chance)

https://fcgamer.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/famicom-in-the-middle-east/

Whether Nintendo released official stuff or not I think is irrelevant; this is the sort of stuff that actual people used.

The Majid translation is super popular, Ive had dozens of people from the region wanting to buy that multicart from me over the years.

Then there's the fact that a Taiwanense company actually translated a game into Arabic...a first on Nintendo, aside from the Captain Tsubasa translation and the educational carts.

Thing is, even if they did have their own official releases, it's likely most people weren't playing on those. In the past few years an official polish region was discovered, I showed several Polish collector friends, they all were clueless about it and thought it was fake.聽 It'll likely be a similar situation here.

Edit: so that would make the games extremely rare, but also historically insignificant imo.

So now we can conclude that this was one out of the dozen other regions that have had their NES beaten by a low quality bootleg Chinese rip-off. Oh well, I guess price was key at the time 馃槈聽and I'm still not ruling out the possibility that the NES was one of the Nintendo consoles officially released in there.

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Given the Nintendo connection to the CD-i platform, perhaps it's worth noting that CD-i had a presence in the Middle East, at least in the form of at least 103 educational titles developed by the Knowlogy ChaosCon, which even went so far as to make a custom version of the DVS VE 200 CD-i player with a power cord appropriate for that part of the world. How do I know that? I know it because among other gems I've owned the only known surviving Knowlogy player, and the only known example of a Knowlogy CD-i disc. In addition to having a lot of quality DV segments, it also had at least two different mini-games on it. Here's some video of it:

see more here if interested in CD-i in the Middle East:

https://cdii.blogspot.com/2020/10/another-unknown-cd-i-player-this.html?m=1

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Are we really discussing the GPS region again? The first time I read about this region was back on NA probably around 10 years ago.

We've already established it certainly does not mean Greece/Portugal/Spain for multiple reasons. GPS it just for the "global pal region" so-to-speak. This GPS code is also used for the NES and Gameboy, by the way.

On the topic of the NES in the Middle East, I can confirm that the NES was sold in this region officially.

Years ago, I was shown old NES stock from Saudi Arabia. This console was nothing like I've ever seen before, and聽I had never seen this box in the English language (minus the South African version, which is slightly different). The console's box has the code NES-CDSM-GPO. The game has NES-CDSM-GPS. "GPO" is clearly the "console version" of GPS (NES-CDSM-... is the the standard code for the control deck+SMB set that this box is). It is also the only box from Nintendo that includes the text "This product is designed for operation only in designated regions" 鈥 I.E. without specifying the exact region. The console itself has the "HOL" sticker (Holland) on the bottom, and has an incredibly high serial number.

GPS-4.jpeg.19114121fbc325ab88a4847283536055.jpegGPS-5.jpeg.93902facd887d40494ee4cff90b444e7.jpegGPS-9.jpeg.b830ec41c2a1452963ce9e64a78f7f06.jpegGPS.jpeg.77854331db291f73bab3ec58454f80d1.jpeg

Based on my research and conversation with the person selling that old stock, I came to believe the following:
In Saudi Arabia, the GPO console was distributed by Dotts(Alesayi; They seem to have gone by Alesayi United, Dotts-Electronics, and 鈥淒otts鈥. See http://www.smspower.org/forums/4981-AlteredBeastAndOtherGamesInArabic for discussion
and聽http://www.alesayi.ae/profile.html), who was also the exclusive distributor of Sega consoles in many parts of the middle east from 1992 until 1995. Unlike for the Sega products that Dotts released, which included translated Arabic manuals (as well as consoles, specifically for Saudi Arabia, using the non-standard 127V) , the NES games and consoles saw no additions for translated manuals or the like.

Previously, I have been sent this photo, supposedly coming from Egypt (which I have no reason not to believe):Egypt-NES.jpeg.9de59f615ddf113f5d0154174560da69.jpeg

However, I had no further information.

However, a few days ago, my friend sent me this:

NES-Egypt.jpg.628ce88ff99dbcb23598ca6ee8397d33.jpg
This is clearly advertising material for the NES in 鈥 at least 鈥 Egypt.

This photo came from a collector in Dubai. The same collector also has a聽has an English-text "European Version" NES:聽https://www.facebook.com/dubairetrogames/photos/2807714345934162

So, in total, we have seen these NES' in: Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. That's all I know about the NES in these regions for now.

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6 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

Are we really discussing the GPS region again? The first time I read about this region was back on NA probably around 10 years ago.

We've already established it certainly does not mean Greece/Portugal/Spain for multiple reasons. GPS it just for the "global pal region" so-to-speak. This GPS code is also used for the NES and Gameboy, by the way.

On the topic of the NES in the Middle East, I can confirm that the NES was sold in this region officially.

Years ago, I was shown old NES stock from Saudi Arabia. This console was nothing like I've ever seen before, and聽I had never seen this box in the English language (minus the South African version, which is slightly different). The console's box has the code NES-CDSM-GPO. The game has NES-CDSM-GPS. "GPO" is clearly the "console version" of GPS (NES-CDSM-... is the the standard code for the control deck+SMB set that this box is). It is also the only box from Nintendo that includes the text "This product is designed for operation only in designated regions" 鈥 I.E. without specifying the exact region. The console itself has the "HOL" sticker (Holland) on the bottom, and has an incredibly high serial number.

GPS-4.jpeg.19114121fbc325ab88a4847283536055.jpegGPS-5.jpeg.93902facd887d40494ee4cff90b444e7.jpegGPS-9.jpeg.b830ec41c2a1452963ce9e64a78f7f06.jpegGPS.jpeg.77854331db291f73bab3ec58454f80d1.jpeg

Based on my research and conversation with the person selling that old stock, I came to believe the following:
In Saudi Arabia, the GPO console was distributed by Dotts(Alesayi; They seem to have gone by Alesayi United, Dotts-Electronics, and 鈥淒otts鈥. See http://www.smspower.org/forums/4981-AlteredBeastAndOtherGamesInArabic for discussion
and聽http://www.alesayi.ae/profile.html), who was also the exclusive distributor of Sega consoles in many parts of the middle east from 1992 until 1995. Unlike for the Sega products that Dotts released, which included translated Arabic manuals (as well as consoles, specifically for Saudi Arabia, using the non-standard 127V) , the NES games and consoles saw no additions for translated manuals or the like.

Previously, I have been sent this photo, supposedly coming from Egypt (which I have no reason not to believe):Egypt-NES.jpeg.9de59f615ddf113f5d0154174560da69.jpeg

However, I had no further information.

However, a few days ago, my friend sent me this:

NES-Egypt.jpg.628ce88ff99dbcb23598ca6ee8397d33.jpg
This is clearly advertising material for the NES in 鈥 at least 鈥 Egypt.

This photo came from a collector in Dubai. The same collector also has a聽has an English-text "European Version" NES:聽https://www.facebook.com/dubairetrogames/photos/2807714345934162

So, in total, we have seen these NES' in: Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. That's all I know about the NES in these regions for now.

Dude that is spot on. This pretty much covers most of my curiosities regarding the NES in that region.

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7 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

Are we really discussing the GPS region again? The first time I read about this region was back on NA probably around 10 years ago.

We've already established it certainly does not mean Greece/Portugal/Spain for multiple reasons. GPS it just for the "global pal region" so-to-speak. This GPS code is also used for the NES and Gameboy, by the way.

On the topic of the NES in the Middle East, I can confirm that the NES was sold in this region officially.

Years ago, I was shown old NES stock from Saudi Arabia. This console was nothing like I've ever seen before, and聽I had never seen this box in the English language (minus the South African version, which is slightly different). The console's box has the code NES-CDSM-GPO. The game has NES-CDSM-GPS. "GPO" is clearly the "console version" of GPS (NES-CDSM-... is the the standard code for the control deck+SMB set that this box is). It is also the only box from Nintendo that includes the text "This product is designed for operation only in designated regions" 鈥 I.E. without specifying the exact region. The console itself has the "HOL" sticker (Holland) on the bottom, and has an incredibly high serial number.

GPS-4.jpeg.19114121fbc325ab88a4847283536055.jpegGPS-5.jpeg.93902facd887d40494ee4cff90b444e7.jpegGPS-9.jpeg.b830ec41c2a1452963ce9e64a78f7f06.jpegGPS.jpeg.77854331db291f73bab3ec58454f80d1.jpeg

Based on my research and conversation with the person selling that old stock, I came to believe the following:
In Saudi Arabia, the GPO console was distributed by Dotts(Alesayi; They seem to have gone by Alesayi United, Dotts-Electronics, and 鈥淒otts鈥. See http://www.smspower.org/forums/4981-AlteredBeastAndOtherGamesInArabic for discussion
and聽http://www.alesayi.ae/profile.html), who was also the exclusive distributor of Sega consoles in many parts of the middle east from 1992 until 1995. Unlike for the Sega products that Dotts released, which included translated Arabic manuals (as well as consoles, specifically for Saudi Arabia, using the non-standard 127V) , the NES games and consoles saw no additions for translated manuals or the like.

Previously, I have been sent this photo, supposedly coming from Egypt (which I have no reason not to believe):Egypt-NES.jpeg.9de59f615ddf113f5d0154174560da69.jpeg

However, I had no further information.

However, a few days ago, my friend sent me this:

NES-Egypt.jpg.628ce88ff99dbcb23598ca6ee8397d33.jpg
This is clearly advertising material for the NES in 鈥 at least 鈥 Egypt.

This photo came from a collector in Dubai. The same collector also has a聽has an English-text "European Version" NES:聽https://www.facebook.com/dubairetrogames/photos/2807714345934162

So, in total, we have seen these NES' in: Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. That's all I know about the NES in these regions for now.

But what about the Gameboy and the SNES? Can you also hit me up on the ad I posted earlier, I reckon聽 must have come from the one of the distributors in the countries mentioned. Also you seem to have some precious information regarding Israel, which is technically a part of the Middle East?

Do you also have an archive of the seller you talked to and his reply for reference?

Edited by RickyTheCollector
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25 minutes ago, The Count said:

I find this type of information interesting. Neat to see games/systems/boxes we are all familiar with, but in countries we know little about. I like the Indian Samurai stuff, too.

I recently discovered an official SNES released by Media in India. I just made a thread about it.

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Country Single-Phase Voltage (Volts) Three-Phase Voltage(Volts) Frequency (Hertz) # of wires (not including ground wire) Plug Type
Abu Dhabi 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 3, 4 G
Afghanistan 220 V 380 V 50 Hz 4 C/F
Algeria 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 C/F
Bahrain 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 3, 4 G
Dubai 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 3, 4 G
Egypt 220 V 380 V 50 Hz 3, 4 C/F
Gaza 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 C/H
Iran 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 3, 4 C/F
Iraq 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 C/D/G
Israel 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 C/H
Jordan 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 3, 4 C/D/F/G/J
Kuwait 240 V 415 V 50 Hz 4 G
Lebanon 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 C/D/G
Morocco 220 V 380 V 50 Hz 4 C/E
Oman 240 V 415 V 50 Hz 4 G
Qatar 240 V 415 V 50 Hz 3, 4 G
Saudi Arabia 230 V 400 V 60 Hz 4 G
Syria 220 V 380 V 50 Hz 3 C/E/L
Tunisia 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 C/E
United Arab Emirates (UAE) 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 3, 4 G
Yemen 230 V 400 V 50 Hz 4 A/D/G


Middle East is pretty much all 50Hz except for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian infrastructure was built by America so we could get the oil. The electrical grid in Saudi Arabia operates at 60Hz.聽

Edited by phart010
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I do not know anything about the SNES or Gameboy in the Middle East. No I no longer have the exact correspondence, this was nearly 6 years ago I guess.

The advertisement of the GB you posted is not "proof" it was available there at all; any importer could have been re-selling Gameboys unofficially from other countries, and that sort of advertisement does not look like an official Nintendo one.

In terms of the Israeli NES, it seems that there were multiple distributors., I haven't looked enough into it. Here's some images I have though (which indicate the SNES was sold there too, but I don't know whether they had hebrew boxes).

On one of the advertisements, it says there's only four games available with Hebrew-translated manuals (i.e. Donkey Kong, Excitebike, Ice Climber, and Super Mario Bros.)聽
BTW, there's an ISR version on ebay at the moment:聽https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/401956554249

Also, please do not spam my email again or I will simply stop responding.

ISR-NES-1.jpeg

ISR-NES-2.jpeg

Israel_NES_Ad.jpeg

israel-nintendo.jpeg

IUMFU-r0.jpg medium.jpeg

NO2bkOrR.png small.png

VXuc1kKj.png medium.png

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Thank you for all of this. I have a strong feeling though that Alesayi/Dotts could have distributed GameBoy and SNES into the countries though. I also sense that they started bringing in the NES in around 1993. I can also be sure that Itochu at some point started bringing Nintendo products as well, when they started doing so I'm not sure though. See: https://web.archive.org/web/19980205072054/http://www.nintendo.com/corp/companies/middleeast.html And after that, apparently Nintendo's Japanese office started importation into the region: https://web.archive.org/web/20010330121610/http://www.nintendo.com:80/corp/companies/middleeast.html followed by Nintendo Of Europe: https://web.archive.org/web/20011211041558/http://www.nintendo.com:80/corp/companies/middleeast.html Nowadays the distributor for this region is Active Boeki, who have a mixed distribution system of importing both European and U.S. products, and in some rare cases Asian products, in the following countries, UAE, to which the Active Gulf branch is situated, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Also regarding the Gameboy ad, you just never know the story behind it, chances are that it is official, for which I think it is.

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7 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

I do not know anything about the SNES or Gameboy in the Middle East. No I no longer have the exact correspondence, this was nearly 6 years ago I guess.

The advertisement of the GB you posted is not "proof" it was available there at all; any importer could have been re-selling Gameboys unofficially from other countries, and that sort of advertisement does not look like an official Nintendo one.

In terms of the Israeli NES, it seems that there were multiple distributors., I haven't looked enough into it. Here's some images I have though (which indicate the SNES was sold there too, but I don't know whether they had hebrew boxes).

On one of the advertisements, it says there's only four games available with Hebrew-translated manuals (i.e. Donkey Kong, Excitebike, Ice Climber, and Super Mario Bros.)聽
BTW, there's an ISR version on ebay at the moment:聽https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/401956554249

Also, please do not spam my email again or I will simply stop responding.

ISR-NES-1.jpeg

ISR-NES-2.jpeg

Israel_NES_Ad.jpeg

israel-nintendo.jpeg

IUMFU-r0.jpg medium.jpeg

NO2bkOrR.png small.png

VXuc1kKj.png medium.png

Thank you for all of this. I have a strong feeling though that Alesayi/Dotts could have distributed GameBoy andSNESinto the countries though. I also sense that they started bringing in theNESin around 1993. I can also be sure that Itochu at some point started bringing Nintendo products as well, when they started doing so I'm not sure though. See:https://web.archive.org/web/19980205072054/http://www.nintendo.com/corp/companies/middleeast.htmlAnd after that, apparently Nintendo's Japanese office started importation into the region:https://web.archive.org/web/20010330121610/http://www.nintendo.com:80/corp/companies/middleeast.htmlfollowed by Nintendo Of Europe:https://web.archive.org/web/20011211041558/http://www.nintendo.com:80/corp/companies/middleeast.htmlNowadays the distributor for this region is Active Boeki, who have a mixed distribution system of importing both European and U.S. products, and in some rare cases Asian products, in the following countries, UAE, to which the Active Gulf branch is situated, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Also regarding the Gameboy ad, you just never know the story behind it, chances are that it is official, for which I think it is.

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16 hours ago, Joshua Rogers said:

I do not know anything about the SNES or Gameboy in the Middle East. No I no longer have the exact correspondence, this was nearly 6 years ago I guess.

The advertisement of the GB you posted is not "proof" it was available there at all; any importer could have been re-selling Gameboys unofficially from other countries, and that sort of advertisement does not look like an official Nintendo one.

In terms of the Israeli NES, it seems that there were multiple distributors., I haven't looked enough into it. Here's some images I have though (which indicate the SNES was sold there too, but I don't know whether they had hebrew boxes).

On one of the advertisements, it says there's only four games available with Hebrew-translated manuals (i.e. Donkey Kong, Excitebike, Ice Climber, and Super Mario Bros.)聽
BTW, there's an ISR version on ebay at the moment:聽https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/401956554249

Also, please do not spam my email again or I will simply stop responding.

ISR-NES-1.jpeg

ISR-NES-2.jpeg

Israel_NES_Ad.jpeg

israel-nintendo.jpeg

IUMFU-r0.jpg medium.jpeg

NO2bkOrR.png small.png

VXuc1kKj.png medium.png

Does a simple importation sticker make the game go from European version to middle eastern version?聽

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24 minutes ago, Joshua Rogers said:

If the sticker is placed on it by a company with an official contract with Nintendo, then, yes.

Thanks.聽

Asking, as the same logic should also be applied to the game situation in Taiwan 馃檪

edit: for the record, that's how I viewed it as well, though many wouldn't (at least regarding the situation here)

Edited by fcgamer
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