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Inventor (深圳市亿万德软件有限公司) was a Chinese developer of various original games and hacks, believed to be responsible for the majority of hacks found on Famiclones dating from 2000 onward, such as the Arcade Action II. Its original games and some advanced hacks use Sunsoft's sound engine.

Although Inventor itself is believed to no longer exist, many of its games and hacks appear to have passed to other companies, including Waixing, Cube Technology, and Nice Code Software. For particular, its graphics appear to have been copied and reused by Shenzhen Nanjing in at least three games so far.

Other names used by Inventor or related companies include Shanghai Paradise & BBG (Bitter Brain Group - not to be confused with BBK Electronics, which also went by the name BBG on earlier products).

Original Games[]

Shanghai Paradise originals[]

These games can usually be identified by a Shanghai Paradise (天苑软件) logo found in the game tiles, although it is displayed in only the original versions of them. Certain redistributions remove all mentions of Shanghai Paradise, remove any instance of (presumably) Chinese, give title screens new graphics, or even cut down the whole game severely.

Out of all the original Shanghai Paradise releases, only Blood of Jurassic has been dumped properly, due to the copy protection that lies within each Shanghai Paradise board.

  • Blood of Jurassic (獵殺侏羅紀) [GD-98] - An advanced, first-person lightgun game where the player hunts dinosaurs. A cut-down version was released by Waixing as Jurassic Park.
  • Monkey King - An action game based on the "Journey to the West" novel. Later re-released by Waixing.
  • Underground Mission - An action-puzzle game where the player must rescue a kidnapped soldier. The game appears on several Power Joy plug & plays.

Others[]

  • Cha Cha Amigo - A game included with an obscure "Jazz Samba" Famiclone system, which uses wireless maracas as controllers. The game is credited to "eMAR" and dated 2000; some assets are reused from Street Dance, while others are custom (including a character loosely resembling Donkey Kong).[1][2]
  • MusicBox - A karaoke game with three songs; features graphics of Pikachu and a penguin holding pom-poms during gameplay. An "INVENT" credit sometimes appears in the background; some graphics are reused from Street Dance. The third song was also used in 2002 World Cup P.K. by Nice Code.
    • The game features a copyright of 2002 on the title screen, but it is cut off by the TV overscan.
    • It is possible that MusicBox is some sort of "demo" ROM for the VT02 hardware, as it is not known to have actually been released. Its ROM was seemingly leaked online in the early 2000s by Maxzhou88, labeled as a "karaoke demo"; however, the original file is no longer archived.
  • Pingpong Qiu - A first-person ping pong game, with multiple characters and game modes. The game was also released as just Ping Pong and Table Tennis; these variants were seemingly published by Nice Code. A cut-down version was released by Waixing as Table Tennis 2006, which adds an intro showcasing a Chinese table tennis tournament.
  • Street Dance - A Dance Dance Revolution clone. The original version was released in 2000 (credited to "INVENT") and uses standard NES music (with the Sunsoft sound engine). An updated version was released in 2008, which adds PCM sampled music of actual songs; the 2008 release was possibly published by Nice Code Software, though the copyright notice still says "Invent". A combined game pack with the 2008 version of Street Dance and Hit Mouse also came bundled with certain third-party dance pads.[3] Infamously, one of the dancers is Jar Jar Binks from the Star Wars series.
    • A further hacked version titled Dance Gangnam Style was released in the early 2010s, which features Gangnam Style as the only song; some of its graphics are reused from Cha Cha Amigo.
  • Tennis Ball - Seemingly only published by Nice Code Software, but uses the same music as Pingpong Qui on the title screen; dated 2001. Also released as just Tennis.

Hacks[]

Shanghai Paradise hacks[]

  • Alienis - An advanced hack of Battle City with scrolling levels. Nice Code and Waixing both republished Alienis, with the former producing a series of further hacks of the game (such as Pulveration and Bugs).
  • F-22 - A very advanced hack of 1943, to the point it is often confused for an entirely new game. A variant was published by Nice Code under the name Navigator; a cut-down version was released by Waixing, which only has 3 levels (as opposed to the original's 16 stages).
  • Power Boat - An advanced hack of Road Fighter; the game appears on several Power Joy plug & plays.
  • Super Hang-On 97 - A fairly comprehensive hack of Highway Star, also known as Rad Racer. Many later hacked variants were also released, such as Alps Skiing and Rallye [sic].

Other hacks[]

After the initial Shanghai Paradise releases, Inventor would release a massive amount of further ROM hacks based on commercial Famicom/NES releases. Some of these hacks feature popular characters of the time period: including Pikachu, Harry Potter, the Teletubbies, and Shrek. The larger majority of them, however, were designed to "hide" copyrighted material from the games; this was done by altering the games' titles, graphics, sounds, and any other potential copyrighted/trademarked factor (a notable example being Pandamar, a Super Mario Bros. hack). Surprisingly, this strategy seemingly worked; as no known legal action has ever been taken against Inventor's bootleg hacks.

Inventor's hacks usually change most (if not all) of the original game's graphics, and may modify the music slightly. Some Inventor hacks are notably more primitive than others; likewise, others can be more elaborate (though often not to the extent of the Shanghai Paradise releases). In total, well over 100 different Famicom/NES games have an Inventor-hacked version; with many hacks having further variants, sometimes upwards of 5 per game. These hacks commonly appear on "plug & play" consoles, and occasionally multi-cartridge releases.

Many of the hacks are of rather low quality; frequently having nonsensical titles and concepts, and infamously poor "music" (which is merely corrupted notes from the original games). Some Inventor hacks flat-out break their original games; such as Goodhand, a hack of City Connection that uses the same colored graphic for painting over the road, making it effectively unplayable.

Inventor is only explicitly credited in a small number of hacks, however, so the full extent of its involvement is unknown, and most of the hacks attributed to them are only assumed to be their work due to similarities in style and appearance alongside other Inventor hacks.

Common factors[]

  • As aforementioned, the game's music is often heavily corrupted; seemingly as an attempt to hide copyrighted material. In some cases, the music cues are swapped around (i.e. swapping what area of the game that a song plays in).
  • Games with extensive amounts of Japanese text are (poorly) translated into English (e.g. Raider, a hack of Saint Seiya: Ougon Densetsu Kanketsu Hen).
  • Several of Inventor's hacks were based on already existing Funtime "Y2K" hacks (e.g. Penguin is reworked from Milk Nuts II). The Y2K series was likely not Inventor-developed, however, as there is no direct connection between the two companies.
    • Many games feature a specific, generic character wearing a red bandana over his eyes, commonly referred to as "Conte". This character is seemingly modified from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sprite seen in two "Turtles" Y2K hacks of Lode Runner and Donkey Kong Jr. Inventor re-hacked these titles to create Conte Enegy and Rescue Kuck, both of which feature "Conte".

Advance Bright versions[]

Advance Bright Limited (ABL) produced their own variants of numerous Inventor hacks; often with different titles, and occasionally entirely different graphic sets. Some games appear to only exist in ABL form.

ABL generally copyrighted the multicart menus themselves rather than the individual games. Because of this, the ABL hacks originally only appeared on two systems: the N-Joypad and the Vs. Maxx Maxxplay (95-in-1), alongside several regional variants of said consoles. Beginning in the mid-2010s, however, the ABL hacks began occasionally appearing on new plug & plays.

The ABL hacks seem to have game titles indicative of a better grasp on the English language, resulting in many pun-like names (e.g. renaming Donkey Kong to "What's Up") and uses of alliteration (e.g. "Down Deep", "Bird Brain").

"Advanced" versions[]

A few more advanced Inventor hacks feature more elaborate graphic alterations, and fully replace the music with brand-new tracks. While often released as a "set", some games seem to considerably predate or postdate others. The hacks seem to be connected to Nice Code Software and/or Waixing, though the exact link is unclear.

Some notable examples of "advanced" hacks include Bolt Action, Computer Hospital, and Firmanent; hacks of Star Force, Dr. Mario, and Gradius, respectively. Some games in this set are credited to affiliates of Nice Code Software, namely Atomic Blast and Fishwar. Furthermore, there are three games in the set that are hacks of Nice Code's Intellivision plug & play ports: Exist, Orchard Kavass, and Trooper. The majority of Super Mario Bros. hacks are also rather advanced, though they are not a direct part of this "set".

An additional series of hacks, possibly affiliated with Waixing, is mostly comprised of more advanced versions of preexisting Inventor hacks. These versions often remove all sound effects, and replace all music tracks with a single new track. Examples of these games include Bug, an original hack of Donkey Kong 3, and variants of Bitha, Coin Tetris, and Conqueror.

A majority of the "advanced" titles are notably less common to find than their more basic hack counterparts. Examples of releases featuring the unknown set include two HenSheng 36-in-1 consoles (with differing game lists) and a "Game 500 in 1" cartridge.

Timemax versions[]

In 2022, a company known as Timemax registered (potentially illegitimate) copyright to various Famiclone plug & play games, many of which are Inventor (or Inventor-like) hacks.[4] Some hacks are only known to exist in Timemax form; despite that the hacks themselves were likely created 20+ years prior. Timemax also developed versions of preexisting Inventor hacks that utilize a vibration motor, built into the game console or its controller.

Currently, three consoles are known to actually use Timemax ROMs: the Subor Q6, a Chinese handheld released in late 2023, and 2 Family Pocket systems (A Game and Watch esque handheld with 198 games [GW-2008] and a variant of the GV300S Mini TV famiclone). Additionally, some famiclone handhelds from Amazon US seem to use the Timemax set too (ex. a OneStation shaped famiclone with the "Childbase" branding).

Cube Technology hacks[]

A very similar set of hacks was created by Cube Technology, with their titles occasionally being mixed with the Inventor hacks in multicarts. Some of these titles are merely Inventor hacks with removed title screens and/or altered colors. For more information on these games, see Cube Technology/List of hacks (VT02 games).

VT01 versions[]

Several Inventor hacks were converted to VT01 hardware, an uncommon type of portable Famiclone that uses an STN display for its screen; resulting in it supporting less colors than the standard Famicom/NES. As the colors are adjusted to suit VT01's limitations, the games run with strange color palettes if played on more conventional hardware. At least one Inventor hack - a version of Conte Enegy using the levels from Championship Lode Runner - appears to be VT01-exclusive.

The only known VT01 console featuring Inventor hacks - which is also the only known VT01 device in general - is a rare "Portable FC-LCD" system. However, a number of non-VT01 consoles mistakenly use VT01 conversions of the Inventor hacks; this most commonly occurs with Bandits, Bounce, and Porter.

Subpages[]

List of standard hacks

Less advanced hacks that were produced by Inventor.

References[]

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