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Lock 'n Chase - Licensing Explained?


Denicio
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Okay, i have seen it mentioned from time to time that the reason Lock 'N Chase was never included on the Flashback consoles or other formats was due to Licensing. Has there been a full explanation of why this is? It WAS a game Officially released under Mattel with their packaging and graphics splash screen on start up. How is it they have no access to it?

 

Can someone fill this old dude in on the reasons why there was a licensing issue with this game?

All the D&D games i TOTALLY get because they are using the D&D name. But Lock 'n Chase? Color me confused.

D

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lock_%27n%27_Chase

 

Data East released the original Arcade game, Mattel licenced it and few others from Data East.

 

No freaking kidding? I had NO idea it ever had a life in an arcade. To me it always seemed like Mattel's cheap Pac Man knock off. Thanks for showing me this.

I spent a LOT of time in arcades back in its hayday....and NEVER saw it in an Arcade Cabinet.

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No freaking kidding? I had NO idea it ever had a life in an arcade. To me it always seemed like Mattel's cheap Pac Man knock off. Thanks for showing me this.

I spent a LOT of time in arcades back in its hayday....and NEVER saw it in an Arcade Cabinet.

I never saw it in an arcade, either ... I bought the Playstation Mini version many years ago, and was kinda disgusted by how it looked. Like Burgertime, I prefer the Intellivision version of this game to the original.

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECO_Cassette_System

 

 

Several other Deco games were on the Intellivision, Burgertime, Bump N' Jump, MissionX and Disco #1 which became Thin Ice

Yep, I own one of these. Truth be told, you pretty much mentioned all the ones worth playing (although Treasure Island is fun too). The TI-99 got a bunch of Deco ports too, although many never made it out the door.

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No freaking kidding? I had NO idea it ever had a life in an arcade. To me it always seemed like Mattel's cheap Pac Man knock off. Thanks for showing me this.

I spent a LOT of time in arcades back in its hayday....and NEVER saw it in an Arcade Cabinet.

 

Same here. I had already known that it was an arcade from reading the BSR web site, but I never actually saw nor heard of the game in the field when I was a kid. It actually was Data East's cheap Pac-Man knock off.

 

My understanding (and I don't recall right now where I got this from, but I believe it came straight from Keith Robinson, either in an interview, talking panel, or his web site) is that a Mattel was too late in getting licenses with major arcade publishers (Atari and Coleco having taken the cream of the crop), and were stuck with licensing with the rather obscure Data East company. Data East, on their end, were sort of desperate to break into the American video game market, so they forged a partnership with Mattel in which they would influence each other: Data East would design video games for arcades, and Mattel would get exclusives for its home consoles. Thus, Mattel had a contract in which it had rights of first refusal to convert any Data East arcade game into an Intellivision port.

 

This sounds like a great partnership, except that most of the games suck or were not really known. Some turned out to be classics on the platform (if not very famous on the Arcade circuit), like BurgerTime and Lock-N-Chase, others had to be completely altered in order to increase their appeal (did you know that Thin Ice started life as some weird "Disco" game in which a disco-skater danced around chicks in order to trap them?).

 

-dZ.

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I found a scanned advertisement for the DECO Cassette System where Data East mentioned they had 25,000 such systems installed in Japan and more than 60 full time developers, thus it would be a rather future proof system for arcade owners. Too bad the micro tapes supposedly demagnitized and the EPROMs in the dongles went bad after a while.

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Same here. I had already known that it was an arcade from reading the BSR web site, but I never actually saw nor heard of the game in the field when I was a kid. It actually was Data East's cheap Pac-Man knock off.

 

My understanding (and I don't recall right now where I got this from, but I believe it came straight from Keith Robinson, either in an interview, talking panel, or his web site) is that a Mattel was too late in getting licenses with major arcade publishers (Atari and Coleco having taken the cream of the crop), and were stuck with licensing with the rather obscure Data East company. Data East, on their end, were sort of desperate to break into the American video game market, so they forged a partnership with Mattel in which they would influence each other: Data East would design video games for arcades, and Mattel would get exclusives for its home consoles. Thus, Mattel had a contract in which it had rights of first refusal to convert any Data East arcade game into an Intellivision port.

 

This sounds like a great partnership, except that most of the games suck or were not really known. Some turned out to be classics on the platform (if not very famous on the Arcade circuit), like BurgerTime and Lock-N-Chase, others had to be completely altered in order to increase their appeal (did you know that Thin Ice started life as some weird "Disco" game in which a disco-skater danced around chicks in order to trap them?).

 

-dZ.

Very Intresting , thanks for sharing that DZ

 

Around where I lived ,

Lock n Case and Burgar Time where pretty common, I remember playing them. But then again I was a huge PAC Man , Ms PAC Man

Junkie. Lol ?

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Its not that Mattel was too late getting licenses; its that they could not compete with what was being paid by their competitors. Atari, Coleco, Parker Brothers were paying license fees in the millions of dollars per title. Mattel would never pay that. The other publishers were only interested in the popular names that will sell their games. So their was little interest in the obscure Data East games Mattel got. They also got Konami's Loco-motion. Mattel got lucky with Burgertime as Midway later licensed Burgertime and it got wide distribution in the USA. I saw the trademarks in Mattel pamphlets and catalogs back in 1982/83 and was specifically looking for them in the arcades. I was able to find and play all the original arcade versions at the time (wasn't looking for Disco No 1); they were hard too find. I found Burgertime, Mission-X, and Loco-motion at Canada's Wonderland (some of you may remember the huge arcade they use to have). I luckily found LockNchase and BumpNjump in my travels at convenience stores . In the end it turned out better, Mattel made more original games rather than the lousy conversions their competitors did.

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Its not that Mattel was too late getting licenses; its that they could not compete with what was being paid by their competitors. Atari, Coleco, Parker Brothers were paying license fees in the millions of dollars per title. Mattel would never pay that. The other publishers were only interested in the popular names that will sell their games. So their was little interest in the obscure Data East games Mattel got. They also got Konami's Loco-motion. Mattel got lucky with Burgertime as Midway later licensed Burgertime and it got wide distribution in the USA. I saw the trademarks in Mattel pamphlets and catalogs back in 1982/83 and was specifically looking for them in the arcades. I was able to find and play all the original arcade versions at the time (wasn't looking for Disco No 1); they were hard too find. I found Burgertime, Mission-X, and Loco-motion at Canada's Wonderland (some of you may remember the huge arcade they use to have). I luckily found LockNchase and BumpNjump in my travels at convenience stores . In the end it turned out better, Mattel made more original games rather than the lousy conversions their competitors did.

I sure do remember.

The Key around where I live were the convinence stores. A lot of them had little rooms at the back with arcades and pinball.

 

Do I miss those days. Lol

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Its not that Mattel was too late getting licenses; its that they could not compete with what was being paid by their competitors. Atari, Coleco, Parker Brothers were paying license fees in the millions of dollars per title. Mattel would never pay that. The other publishers were only interested in the popular names that will sell their games. So their was little interest in the obscure Data East games Mattel got. They also got Konami's Loco-motion. Mattel got lucky with Burgertime as Midway later licensed Burgertime and it got wide distribution in the USA. I saw the trademarks in Mattel pamphlets and catalogs back in 1982/83 and was specifically looking for them in the arcades. I was able to find and play all the original arcade versions at the time (wasn't looking for Disco No 1); they were hard too find. I found Burgertime, Mission-X, and Loco-motion at Canada's Wonderland (some of you may remember the huge arcade they use to have). I luckily found LockNchase and BumpNjump in my travels at convenience stores . In the end it turned out better, Mattel made more original games rather than the lousy conversions their competitors did.

 

I knew I saw this before:

 

 

FROM THE AUDIENCE: ...well I was wondering about the reluctance to use arcade games. Because ColecoVision came in and started doing arcade games. Was there a decision, "Let's never do arcade games"? BurgerTime was great, of course, and it was very successful, but I was just wondering why more weren't done sooner?

ROBINSON: That was just money. That was just what Mattel was willing to pay...

DAGLOW: And they beat us to them. The licenses were mostly gone before we got to them.

ROBINSON: We tried. Mattel got in there and tried to fight for some of the licenses; we just lost. We didn't put up enough money; we didn't fight. See, the thing is, that was a way for any company to get into the market. Parker Brothers or SEGA who came in late into the home market, that was a way for them to get in there: just drop a whole lot of money on a license. No money left over to do actually a good game with it...

 

So it was a bit of both. Also, from the above, it doesn't necessarily look like Mattel was a cheapskate, but more like they believed the others were spending much too much money on licenses and leaving very little money to actually produce the games. They probably thought they could get away with getting lesser licenses but making much higher quality games. As far as I can see, that didn't turn out to be such a good move, since the market was enamoured with big brand names.

 

On a personal note, I remember BurgerTime in my local arcades, but it just wasn't as big as its contemporaries. Bump 'N' Jump and Mission X light a spark of recognition, but I can't be sure it's actually a full memory of the time or just a corrupted one from playing MAME games for the past decade. Disco No. 1 and Lock 'N' Chase I'm actually quite positive I never saw until the Intellivision versions came around.

 

As I suggested above, Data East was simultaneously struggling to break into the large American video game market, and like every one else, the arcades favoured the big name brands.

 

-dZ.

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No doubt, had Mattel got the Donkey Kong license, for example, they would have sold millions more Intellivisions and I would have bought a copy of the cartridge. But in the end, today, we and Intellivision Productions are better off having more Thunder Castles and Shark Sharks in the Intellivision library. Today I can play Nintendo arcade Donkey Kong anytime I want. I would never play Colecovision Donkey kong except to see how bad it is. Bad is relative of course, as I'm sure many people enjoyed their home versions of Donkey Kong. As a kid I could see the flaws in the Atari 2600 conversions. Why were the Asteroids only moving vertically. Why were the Missile Command missiles parallel and how can you play Missile Command with a joystick. It was obvious compromises had to be made. They sold well regardless and people did enjoy them. I played Intellivision LockNchase and Burgertime and Bumpnjump only to get high scores. And when I could no longer do that I stopped playing. The games are well done but have flaws. I played LockNchase with memorised patterns. Some burgertime levels were like puzzles that could only be solved with lots of peppers. I played BumpNjump for the bonus points rather than bumping. To me the arcade style was good for generating quarters until the operator turned a nice profit. At home I liked games with winnable endings that did not go on and on, and where I could choose the skill level.

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No doubt, had Mattel got the Donkey Kong license, for example, they would have sold millions more Intellivisions and I would have bought a copy of the cartridge. But in the end, today, we and Intellivision Productions are better off having more Thunder Castles and Shark Sharks in the Intellivision library. Today I can play Nintendo arcade Donkey Kong anytime I want. I would never play Colecovision Donkey kong except to see how bad it is. Bad is relative of course, as I'm sure many people enjoyed their home versions of Donkey Kong. As a kid I could see the flaws in the Atari 2600 conversions. Why were the Asteroids only moving vertically. Why were the Missile Command missiles parallel and how can you play Missile Command with a joystick. It was obvious compromises had to be made. They sold well regardless and people did enjoy them. I played Intellivision LockNchase and Burgertime and Bumpnjump only to get high scores. And when I could no longer do that I stopped playing. The games are well done but have flaws. I played LockNchase with memorised patterns. Some burgertime levels were like puzzles that could only be solved with lots of peppers. I played BumpNjump for the bonus points rather than bumping. To me the arcade style was good for generating quarters until the operator turned a nice profit. At home I liked games with winnable endings that did not go on and on, and where I could choose the skill level.

I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you said, except for your comments on Coleco Donkey Kong. For all the hate it receives, it's a rather decent arcade-action game, if not a faithful conversion of its original.

 

There are certainly much worse games in the Intellivision canon. While Donkey Kong is still playable in its ugly and somewhat awkward style, I can never figure out the motivations and mechanics of Space Battle; Tutankhamen seems even less playable; and in my opinion, Vectron is just some bizarre surreal mess. Then, of course, there some of the boring "educational" games, and the strange existence of Horse Racing: a game too frail, awkward, and pedestrian for the gambling aficionado; and just too weird, seemingly inappropriate, and just plain lame for the video game-obsessed 8 year-old.

 

dZ.

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My Donkey Kong comment was on the Colecovision version not the Intellivision version. The reason the Intellivision version gets dumped on so much is because of the huge expectations. Same thing with Atari 2600 Pac-man. Those games had massive marketing and hype and so were the expectations. So the dissappointment was just as huge. If the Intellivision Donkey Kong was called something else it would have gone over better. Its like getting frozen yogourt when you were expecting ice cream. Nothing wrong with frozen yogourt.

 

Space Battle is a great game. Its the first game we bought and one I constantly went back to after getting tired of games like burgertime.

 

The gaming (gambling) network seemed like a good idea. People could practice at home before going out and gambling real money. The Intellivision is not a toy, it says so on the back label. I guess they were trying to appeal to adults. Even the learning games were targeted to parents. Dzjay is right, those games did not work out very well, their market was not adults.

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I am so glad i posted a question about this one game. This thread has given me a MBA in Mattel Games! Thanks guys n geeks!

 

Lock 'n Chase has a special place in my heart. It was THE game that my late mom adored. We'd play it endlessly and then there were days i'd get home from school and she was already neck deep in LNC! She was a country bumpkin from the sticks of Arkansas, but damn she loved her some Lock N Chase!

 

Knowing the back story (more than just licensing) gives me a much better appreciation for the game.

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My Donkey Kong comment was on the Colecovision version not the Intellivision version. The reason the Intellivision version gets dumped on so much is because of the huge expectations. Same thing with Atari 2600 Pac-man. Those games had massive marketing and hype and so were the expectations. So the dissappointment was just as huge. If the Intellivision Donkey Kong was called something else it would have gone over better. Its like getting frozen yogourt when you were expecting ice cream. Nothing wrong with frozen yogourt.

 

Space Battle is a great game. Its the first game we bought and one I constantly went back to after getting tired of games like burgertime.

 

The gaming (gambling) network seemed like a good idea. People could practice at home before going out and gambling real money. The Intellivision is not a toy, it says so on the back label. I guess they were trying to appeal to adults. Even the learning games were targeted to parents. Dzjay is right, those games did not work out very well, their market was not adults.

 

As a kid i played a TON of Blackjack :-) It felt a bit sinister coming from a southern baptist background that i was able to play one of the Devil's gambling games! HA! I enjoyed it quite a bit as a kid. Oddly the learning games seemed like kids toys and i had zero interest in any MATH fun....i sucked at math and i sure as hell was not gonna play it on my game.

 

As for Space Battle, i loved it! Combined with the fact the local TV station had "Pow 5" where you filled out a card, the local TV station would draw a name and you could "Pow" your way to winnings....all via Space Battle. I never got the call but my BFF back in those days did call and i was glued to the TV set listening to him yell "POW, POW".

 

Space Hawk was one that gave me the brain pain. I recall getting it at the local K mart and RUSHING home because the name...and the box seemed amazing. Imagine the disappointment i had when i was just floating around ...and jetpacking around....and spinning around....and sometimes shooting stuff with no real 'game' to it.

 

Now burger time i loved. I suppose the fact that it moves slower than you'd like is part of the game play. Creating angst!

 

Now, those Imagic games got a TON of play. Me and my brother 'beat' (for lack of better words) the Dragon in Swords & Serpents. I think i lost weeks of my life to Beauty and the Beast. And for me (Back in the day) the best graphiced game on intellivision was Demon Attack! Plus the sounds from that game were really UN-intellivision.

Now, Microsurgeon is like Space Hawk to me. I was like WTF is this??

 

Never even knew about that Tutankhamun game till joining this forum.

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It probably has been discussed to death before, but with strong brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels as part of Mattel, where were the Intellivision games based on those IPs? For sure it must have been cheaper for Mattel Electronics to get licenses from the mother company than getting equally big names elsewhere? Eventually Epyx made games based on those brands for home computers, so it was not entirely unthinkable. Mattel also had published a huge number of board games. Surely some of those could be translated to video games with just as much playability as e.g. Horse Racing?

 

For instance, Mattel in 1981 released a board game based on the TV series Dallas, in which the JR character is represented by a handheld computer which generates dice rolls, negotiates deals, handles blackmailing and cheats. I suppose the board game license wasn't directly transferrable to making a video game, but perhaps it had been within reach, and could have been an as iconic resource management game for the Intellivision as e.g. M.U.L.E. became two years later (except that there is no blackmailing going on on planet Irata).

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It probably has been discussed to death before, but with strong brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels as part of Mattel, where were the Intellivision games based on those IPs? For sure it must have been cheaper for Mattel Electronics to get licenses from the mother company than getting equally big names elsewhere? Eventually Epyx made games based on those brands for home computers, so it was not entirely unthinkable. Mattel also had published a huge number of board games. Surely some of those could be translated to video games with just as much playability as e.g. Horse Racing?

 

I nave NO facts in this...but. Here is what i'd take from it all. It was a MUCH different time back then. I dont imagine the Big Wigs at Mattel thought to kindly of ANY competition to their board games. Where as today a publisher will do a Printed Book (paperback & Hard), Kindel version and an audio book. Back then they would have scoffed at the notion of such things. I assume the same mentality applies to the board into video game mentality.

 

All this talk about buying licenses...takes me back to the essence of your question. Mattel CLEARLY had some DEEP pockets. So you have to wonder whey they did not pony up the $$ for licensing games like DK, Pac Man and others. Mattel Electronics must have been a red headed step child to the overall company.

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