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The 7800 ports of Donkey Kong, DK jr, and Mario Bros.


empsolo
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I have always been a little confused on how Atari Inc initially got the rights to these games since Coleco had the home console rights. (at least to the DK series) I am even doubly confused as to how Atari Corp, under the Tremiels, were able to release versions of these games for 7800 as late as 1988, even as the NES versions had been released 2 years earlier as part of the black box games for the system in the Summer of 1986. So what is the story behind these ports? Who did the port job and what was the nature of the original Atari inc deal? Was Atari the exclusive distributor of the game(s) or did Nintendo reserve the right to manufacture thier own version as they saw fit? (IE opening the door to release DK by themselves as they did in 1986.)

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Tramiels got the rights to all the LICENSED games when they bought the home division, Joust, Pac-Man, Dig Dug Donkey Kong, etc. Atari got rights to all of the Nintendo games up to 1983 and all future games. Coleco only had rights to DK & DKjr for a short time. That is why you only see Mario Bros on Atari systems. Atari only got the computer rights to DK & DKjr for release at that time. Apparently the rights to home game systems came later after Colecos license expired. Explains why the 7800 versions came out later. But the final agreement to all Nintendo's games & hardware fell through in 1983. Hard to say when the licenses expired as none of these games appeared on the Jaguar! How cool that could have been!

 

That's the problem with all these Flashback units NOT having the games we want! They have to be re-licensed to be used in them.

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So what is the story behind these ports? Who did the port job and what was the nature of the original Atari inc deal?

 

nternational [T]echnology [D]evelopment [C]orporation is the developer of Nintendo games on the 7800.

 

Located in Santa Clara, CA in the mid-late 1980's, founded and headed by Roderick Macleod. Considering the relatively little resources being spent on the 7800, ITDC had a subsidiary called Shanghai Software Consortium (SSC), which utilized low-cost Chinese programmers; therefore, it's possible the ports were handled (cheaply) in China. Enter the horrendous handling of TIA sound among other things.

 

 

Was Atari the exclusive distributor of the game(s) or did Nintendo reserve the right to manufacture thier own version as they saw fit? (IE opening the door to release DK by themselves as they did in 1986.)

 

Atari had the license contract rights to the disk/computer ports of Nintendo owned titles.

Coleco had the license contract rights to the cart/console ports of Nintendo owned titles.
Coleco showcasing a port of Donkey Kong on the ADAM computer was one of the factors in the stalled (and ultimately fell through) relationship of Atari distributing (a redesigned) Famicom.
Nonetheless, Coleco was well out of the video game business by the time the 7800 ports came around. Consensus, and more importantly, definitive proof, of Atari leveraging or gaining Coleco's contract rights has been difficult to track down, although appears likely.
Additionally, the original copyright holder of an Arcade game was not bound by the restrictions Nintendo placed on companies for making a competitive version after creating an NES port.
The original copyright holder was able to license out rights of an Arcade game to multiple platforms. We see Ikari Warriors, Commando, Kung-Fu Master, Rampage, Xenophobe, on the 7800, in part, for that reason.
There was a long legal dispute regarding the rights of Donkey Kong between the (co-)developer Ikegami Tsushinki and Shigeru Miyamoto/Nintendo that also involved Donkey Kong Jr. as well. It may have played a part too, as it did not pan out until ~1990.
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