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I remember seeing a 2 page Alston ad for the Gamate in EGM magazine as a kid and what really grabbed my attention was the MegaMan Me-Tool on the "BOOM!" box cover (EGM issue #38, September 1992, pages 72/73). Over time, that ad faded away in my memory until I stumbled across a Gamate system and a large lot of games sitting in a shoebox at a flea market in the Los Angeles area about 4 years ago. I sifted through the games and didn't see "Boom!" so I passed it up. The lady was asking $30 for the lot, and I thought that was a tad bit overpriced. Guess I couldn't have been more wrong. If I remember correctly, the Gamate console version I saw had an "x" type d-pad, not "+".
I started collecting Atari 2600 games, and some of my favorites were NTSC bootlegs of some PAL games originally developed by a company named Bit Corp. In my search for Bit Corp 2600 games, fate brought me back to the Gamate console. I couldn't believe it, Could the Gamate really be from the same Bit Corp that made these strange 2600 games in the early 1980s? It appears so.
I own a handful of Gamate games these days, and I'd love to discuss the system and games, if any of you want to. I feel very lucky to have found this site, and am very thankful to Taizou for compiling such a comprehensive list of information about this unique handheld. ^^
taizou @ 04:36:01 on 02/06/2008
awesome! glad you liked it. i did feel that there was a general lack of Gamate coverage on the internet, generally just a page here and there with a bit of "failed competitor to the Game Boy" or "funny name lolz" business, and possibly a game list copied from somewhere else.
i'd be glad to talk about the console and its games, anyway - it's not very often you come across someone with a genuine interest in the thing, most owners seem to be collectors who only bought one because it's weird and rare (and, yeah, not to rub it in or anything, but $30 was an absolute bargain - i can't afford to buy Gamate games anymore with the prices they sell for on eBay these days)
Mr. Postman @ 06:43:26 on 02/06/2008
You're completely right about how most people on the internet just call it another failed GB competitor. I will admit, the name is kinda' funny. I have a strange feeling that had the Gamate Color been released, it just may have been marketed as the "GaLover". :p
I'll try to find the time to get you some high res scans of things you don't have. I don't own any of the mystery games, but I do at least have some games that you haven't reviewed. One day if I get the guts, I may just attempt to modify a console to either have an A/V output, or simply install a nicer backlit LCD screen. ^^
Anonymous @ 12:26:12 on 02/06/2008
scans would be brilliant - which games do you own that I haven't reviewed? all the games i haven't reviewed, i haven't played, so i'm always interested to hear more about them.
as for modifying the thing, if i had any knowledge of electronics i would have had a crack at it myself; even on my newer gamate with a slightly better screen, some games are only just playable.
taizou @ 12:26:25 on 02/06/2008
whoops. post above was me
Mr. Postman @ 12:47:20 on 02/06/2008
Games that I have that you haven't reviewed are:
Legend of Dragon Knight
I can also get you lots of box and manual scans. What size and format are you looking for on the images? I already have some 600dpi scans of carts, manual covers, boxes... but those files are pretty BIG. ^^
Anonymous @ 15:59:06 on 02/06/2008
ooh nice. any particular standouts in that lot? Legend of Dragon Knight and Metamorphosiser I've always wondered about, just because I don't even know what genre they are.
i don't mind much about image size and format, i can always convert and resize for the site as necessary - anything that doesn't break the attachment limit on my gmail account is fair game, i reckon. as long as it isn't too much of a pain in the arse to send over or anything.
taizou @ 02:20:12 on 03/06/2008
Mr. Postman @ 05:40:01 on 03/06/2008
I need to get all my stuff together so I can send you everything in an orderly fashion. Each one of my images is about 5mb to 8mb in size, to much of a hassle to email all of those. By any crazy chance you wouldn't happen to live in the Los Angeles area yourself, would you? If so I'd just drop everything off at your house and you could deal with it. :-p
taizou @ 16:36:22 on 03/06/2008
brilliant! i do love gamate boxes. unfortunately most of mine are in italian though, which sort of limits the awesomeness since i don't speak the language.
Mr. Postman @ 07:14:17 on 08/06/2008
Well, I've sat down and played Legend of Dragon Knight a few times today. It sort of feels like a level-based Legend of Zelda clone. When you start the game, you see your character walk up to a house on a map, and you can see there are about 10 or 11 stages. It's a top view game, and you kill enemies to collect coins and keys. There are many little shops scattered about each little level, which give you the option to buy new weapons. The problem is, the second you kill an enemy you have absolutely no time to grab the item they drop unless you kill them at point blank, so newer long distance weapons seem pretty useless. There is a glowing boxed in orb in the center of the stage, that you can access once you've collected enough keys and beat the level. During the level one button lets you attack, and the other seems to do nothing but freeze your character in place when you hold it. You have a life bar, and it seems that you can take about 4 hits before you die.
Mr. Postman @ 10:04:59 on 08/06/2008
taizou @ 09:06:18 on 09/06/2008
ah, i was sort of expecting dragon knight to be something like that. i bet more than a few gamates were broken at the hands of frustrated kids in the 90s playing stuff like that and Myth of Asamia. Probably could have been a good(ish) game as well, if it'd had a bit more time spent on its development.
:D thanks! i just found the exact same images on yahoo like, yesterday, as it happens. but i'm lazy and stuff. i guess the seller must have accounts on both sites. interesting that i can still access images on img.ruten.com.tw even though www.ruten.com.tw constantly times out for me.. my ISP and router are both a pain in my arse, I'm not sure which one to blame this time.
ha! love it. at least they actually knew the difference between a squirrel and a chipmunk :o
Anon @ 05:24:57 on 10/04/2009
Very nice site. I just found it again after a format and losing the address. I love Genesis pirate games and it was nice seeing the boxes. Do you have any what Super Magican (Ling Huan Dao Shi) is btw? It's the one game that I don't recognize at all. Would be interesting if it turned out to be some RPG that is unheard of still to the western world :)
taizou @ 19:29:23 on 16/04/2009
it's nothing new, unfortunately. the rom has been around for ages, it's called "elf wor" (which is the name in the rom header - "super magican" and the chinese name only appears on the title screen, which is broken in most emulators). glad you liked the site though!
taizou @ 04:30:22 on 28/05/2009
i just realised that this game is a pretty blatant clone of lucasarts's "zombies ate my neighbours", a game i've heard a lot about over the years but never actually played myself. so, uh, there. and all this time i thought it was original. ah well.
You know which font I'm referring to... the rounded, art-deco-ish one that seems to show up in every single one of Gamtec's games.
Well, anyway, I actually discovered its actual origin today.
It's not, in fact, an original creation of Gamtec, as I had also assumed.
Rather, it's from a 1989-era DOS paint program called "PC Paint". And it just so happens that this program was released as legal abandonware by the author himself:
I've noticed a couple of the other built-in fonts in PC Paint showing up in other unlicensed ROMs, for that matter. The "Bold" font also seems to be particularly popular amongst bootleg game developers.
taizou @ 17:51:08 on 07/12/2008
bloody hell. so that's where it came from. the other day I chanced upon an MSX game called "Kempelen Chess" by Pony Canyon which also used the font, so I was pretty sure it wasn't Gamtec's own creation, but I was no closer to finding its actual source until now.
Just stumbled across your YouTube collection. I love these sorts of bootleg game playthroughs, for some reason that even I'm not sure of.
Anyway, I have a very strong suspicion that Lion King II and Super Bubble Bobble are also the work of Gamtec and/or Sun Team. (Same fonts, similar sounding music, etc.) Any interest in doing a playthrough of either of those?
taizou @ 20:19:32 on 24/06/2008
yeah, I've been thinking about doing those two along with a few others (pending laziness), and I'm pretty sure you're right about them being by Gamtec - Lion King II in particular I played through a while back, and some of the credits seem to match up with Squirrel King's.
Legend of Sayuki(3)
tenshi @ 15:26:57 on 25/04/2008
It's going to be released by 505 Gamestreet (in Europe), and I can't work out whether this is a previously released Japanese game or not. Any ideas? It's a full-price game, rather than a budget release, and it's for PS2 and wii. So I'm guessing it's not a Simple series game this time...
tenshi @ 15:31:21 on 25/04/2008
Oh, scrap that, I just caught it on your homepage. Sorry! BTW keep up the good work... your info is really useful.
taizou @ 20:14:33 on 25/04/2008
yeah, that one took me by surprise - i thought it might be that Journey to the West Simple2000 game making a belated appearance until I saw the cover art. never expected this to come to Europe, and on the PS2 as well.. and for full price! you have to wonder what the fuck 505 Games are playing at sometimes. or all the time.
Keep Up The Good!(5)
synkro @ 12:10:00 on 17/09/2006
Especially on the Simple 2000 Series! This list is Handy!
ah i'd buy some of those, but i don't have any money. in fact i could do with selling some of my own gaming shite, but most of it is either (a) worthless or (b) weird taiwanese stuff that you might not find again in a million years, but still would only sell for a tenner on ebay
Something Fake @ 12:44:00 on 02/03/2006
Hey! I stumbled upon here via Gaming-Age somehow. thought I was the only one out there that gave a shit about these PAL Simple 2000 releases. Your site's come in handy, thanks!
yeah, which has now moved. also damn leaving it on SJIS mode.
Sfida @ 11:19:32 on 07/06/2006
Some U.S. companay needs to get to localizing the Simple 2000 games to the U.S. -- it's a travesty that's we're missing out on such gems as The Zombie vs Ambulance.
Anonymous @ 13:41:16 on 07/06/2006
>>4 It'll probably happen after the PS3 comes out, and SCEA drops their standards a bit.
QS2T @ 20:11:38 on 10/06/2006
So the news just broke that a websiteless publisher called Essential Games might localize EDF2 under the title Global Defence Force but your list claims that this is actually the upcoming Tactics games and also that 505 Game Street is the one localizing EDF2 under the title Monster Attack: Invasion. Where'd you get that name from? The 505 Game Street page doesn't list it and a google only leads to domains with *.nl endings :)
And there's also the release date discrepancy:
Global Defence Force: July 28th
THE Chikyuu Boueigun Tactics July 27th
Anyway, keep up the excellent work, these lists are very useful.
QS2T @ 20:12:32 on 10/06/2006
>> Essential Games (D3P Europe)
QS2T @ 20:19:37 on 10/06/2006
Christ, I should've read the front page. Disregard my previous babble.
The thing with these games is, quite frequently all I have to go on is a name and a release date. The first one I found was 505's "Monster Attack: Invasion" on one of the .nl sites, which I assumed to be Chikyuu Boueigun 2. But Essential Games' listings started appearing on amazon.co.uk, and since Invasion had only appeared on the Dutch sites I though 505's release had been cancelled and it had gone to Essential instead, as Global Defence Force.
Then a cover for GDF was posted on Amazon featuring art from the Japanese Tactics cover, and some of the .nl sites updated the release date for Invasion to later in July - they must have got that date from somewhere, indicating that Invasion was still on. So it seemed to make sense that Invasion is Chikyuu Boueigun 2, and GDF is Tactics.
Still, though, I really have no idea if any of that is true, and I won't really know until one of the companies releases a description or some screenshots - it's possible that, since Essential is actually D3 Europe, they have access to all of D3's art library and just chose to use the Tactics art for CB2. And it's equally possible that Monster Attack Invasion actually isn't anything to do with the Chikyuu Boueigun, and it's just another of 505's generic names (like "Space War Attack"). It's even possible that Invasion was Chikyuu Boueigun 2, it was cancelled and the Dutch distributor just didn't know about it.
So, yeah, basically I have no fucking clue.
Werewolf2000ad @ 18:56:47 on 18/56/2006
hmv.co.uk has the Essential games listed for release, with descriptions, and Global Defence Force does seem to be EDF2.
taizou @ 20:37:02 on 16/06/2006
ah, so it is. excellent.
QS2T @ 15:09:07 on 18/06/2006
>>10 Fantastic. Plus I've never heard of HMV and they seem to have a pretty nice shipping policy for international customers.
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Kevin @ 18:01:00 on 21/06/2006
Hey everyone! go to my Oneechanbara Fan site
the first and only english Oneechanbara fan site!!
Lace & Steel
and support the game by buying the slighly updated sequel like the new Simple 2000 vol. 101 the Oneechanpon!!! lol
and Zombie Zone, even if you own vol 61 and 80
hell, its only 20 bucks!! :-P
taizou @ 19:06:00 on 21/06/2006
Always thought Oneechanbara was vastly overrated, myself. Seems like Tamsoft spent all the development time working on the tits and blood, and not so much on the actual game.
QS2T @ 02:18:00 on 22/06/2006
They've changed the release date for GDF. It's 6-7-2006 at HMV and July 28, 2006 at Amazon. Bummer.
Oh, and taizou, you have a small spelling mistake in the Simple 2000 list. The English title of EDF2 is Global Defen'c'e Force, not Defen's'e.
taizou @ 06:46:00 on 22/06/2006
>They've changed the release date for GDF. It's 6-7-2006 at HMV and July 28, 2006 at Amazon. Bummer.
that's a bit of an arse. hopefully it won't slip again... they usually do, though.
>Oh, and taizou, you have a small spelling mistake in the Simple 2000 list. The English title of EDF2 is Global Defen'c'e Force, not Defen's'e.
This site is great. I'd recently found out lots about the Simple 2000 games due to seeing a great customer review of 'Simply 20 Party Girls' on amazon.co.uk (which amused me to the max), followed shortly by finding out about Oneechanbara after seeing the 360 version screenshots.
I spontaneously ordered four of the so-called 'Simply 20' games today, and this site sure helped in finding out the changes in game names between the Japanese and European releases!