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Multicarts are usually a single game cartridge that has more than one game on it. Since they are very easy to make, a lot of them are made by various pirate companies. They are most commonly found for the NES/Famicom, but they have been produced for many popular cartridge-based consoles, including the Atari 2600, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and Nintendo DS, among others.

While rarer, "multicarts" (more appropriately called compilation discs) have also appeared on disc-based systems such as the PlayStation.

Basics[]

JY-130

A pirated multicart. The amount of games is exaggerated, as approximately half are repeats and Pokémon never officially had any NES/Famicom games; said game is the bootleg platformer Pocket Monster. The art for Robocco Wars (here spelt "Aobocco Wars") is completely unrelated to the game it represents.

General[]

  • A whole bunch of pictures crammed onto the cartridge's art. Sometimes the pictures are from a more recent game (or possibly an unrelated film), or the official art has been edited.
  • Misspellings of the game names on the cartridge and/or menu.
  • A list on the cart (usually on the back of the box if it's a large number of games) listing the game names in English and/or Chinese.
  • Many multicarts have an unusually high number like 200-in-1, 777-in-1, or even 99999999-in-1.
  • Most of them use a menu system, although multicarts containing 4 games or less (sometimes considerably more for Game Boy multicarts) are sometimes reset based.
  • The carts typically don't hold up their promise, meaning some of the games could be duplicates of the originals, often simply starting at another level within the game.
  • With earlier cartridges, the lower the number of games listed often indicated a better cartridge. Lower counts like 4-in-1 often contained larger, rarer games, and sometimes pirate originals or hacks.
  • Some carts have stolen artwork from any other games in the game select screen.

Famicom/NES only[]

  • The copyright notices are usually removed from the games; occasionally the logo is removed as well, or is replaced with an alternate title rendered in plain text (e.g. Mario Bros. to "Mr. Mary"). This procedure was likely done initially due to there being law protecting trademarks in Taiwan, but not protecting copyright. This loophole of sorts was effectively overturned following the ROC Copyright Law in June of 1992,[1] but the copyright-stripped ROMs are still used on bootleg releases to this day; generally over the official versions.
  • NES cartridges use "mappers"; mappers are special chips used to enhance later cartridge releases. There are over 256 mappers in total, but multicarts often only support mapper 0/NROM (which are cartridges with no mapper at all) and mapper 4/MMC3 (which is used in some late 80s - early 90s releases). To circumvent this, "mapper hacks" were often created to turn less commonly compatible cartridge boards into mappers 0 or 4.
    • Some multicarts also feature mapper 3/CNROM games. Usually there is no support for mapper 3 on the cartridges; the games are heavily modified to run on the multicart's own proprietary mapper.
  • Games like Tetris, TwinBee, City Connection, and Arkanoid are often cut down in multicarts to turn them into mapper 0 games (see above). This causes some graphical glitches, but doesn't render games unplayable.
  • As they are developed for Famiclones, some multicarts will not work properly on a real Famicom, if at all.
  • Many pre-2010s multicarts feature internal DIP switches that can "alter" the amount of games on it, although the extra games are usually repeats.
  • Many more recent multicarts are much larger (16/32/64/128 MB) than usual, and can contain approximately 150 to 800 different games on them without repeats. Certain ones will not work on a real Famicom.

Other Systems[]

  • On multicarts for all other systems, the games usually retain their copyrights. Known exceptions include some older Genesis/Mega Drive multicarts.
  • Atari 2600 multicarts are usually Reset-based with no menu system, and can have anywhere from 4 to 128 games (the latter meaning the player would have to ridiculously reset the console 128 times to fully navigate the menu). A handful of later cartridges instead had physical switches sticking out of the cartridge itself to select each game.
  • Several MSX multicarts were pretty common in South Korea, featuring MSX1 games and with lots of repeats. Several of them can reach to 2MB in ROM size, such as Super Game World 126. Their menu is usually in Korean, to make more entries available in the screen.
  • Master System multicarts were pretty common in South Korea as well, many consisting in ports of MSX1 games (including copies with the copyright already altered), some of them including SG-1000 games. In the 90s, unlicensed Master System multicarts were popular in PAL regions as well, including official ones from Sega, albeit the official ones being Reset-based.
  • SNES multicarts usually contain about 7 games without repeats.
  • Genesis/Mega Drive multicarts are similar to those for the SNES, except some of them contain repeats.
  • Mega Drive multicarts released in South Korea are included with Master System games. Most of them include Sega Card / My Card Mark III games, released in 1985 and 1986. This is because Sega Card games are smaller (32 KB) in contrast to official cartridge games (128 KB to 1MB).
  • Some larger Game Boy multicarts are twice as tall as standard carts to accommodate the extra games.
  • Some Game Boy multicarts don't have a boot-up menu at all, and instead, employ a physical button on the cartridge itself which resets the system and cycles to the next one on the cartridge.
  • Game Boy Color multicarts have backwards compatibility for the Game Boy. However, GBC games that don't work on a Game Boy are exempt from this.
  • Game Gear multicarts sometimes have either a small number of games made for it or SG-1000 and Master System ports.
  • With bootleg GBA multicarts, most (if not all) of the games included are for the Famicom/NES. These kind of multicarts were created with PocketNES, a free NES emulator for the GBA.
  • GBA multicarts often list most of the games in alphabetical order, apart from games beginning with one or two certain letters which appear earlier in the list.
  • With GBA and recent Famicom multicarts, there are normally several larger Famicom/NES titles included among the frequently included games.
  • Nintendo DS multicarts typically include DS games exclusively and many of these contain at least 250 different games. Some of them have additional menu options for games from other systems (NES, Game Boy, etc.), but clicking on them does nothing.
  • Many DS carts actually feature a micro SD card shoved inside the plastic (or sometimes just covered up with a sticker). They are likely based on Flash Cartridge hardware.
  • There is one known multicart for Nintendo 64. It features the original Mario Party trilogy and fifteen NES games, which seem to be running on an unidentified homebrew emulator. [citation needed]
  • While not actually cartridges, many multigame compilations were released for disc-based systems like the Dreamcast and Playstation 2. Almost all of these discs exclusively feature various Mario games for NES and SNES, and are often branded as Super Mario All-Stars collections.
  • Some VCD/DVD players (mostly portable; all of them with a specific SunPlus chipset) are bundled with a disc featuring NES games (called the Game VCD) and 2 controllers, The Game VCD claims to have 300 games, but there's only a small number of unique games.
  • Arcade games such as Pandora's Box run certain games mostly Neo-Geo and CPS1 games on an outdated Final Burn Alpha version while some 3D Games such as Tekken 2 and Plasma Sword ran slower than on actual hardware due to them being run on an outdated MAME version as well.
  • PlayStation compilation discs may have some content such as music or FMV ripped out in order for every game in it to fit within one disc.

Common Games[]

Famicom/NES and Game Boy Advance (PocketNES)[]

  • Super Mario Bros. - Probably the most common, and many releases have slight variations such as using graphics from the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, a different logo, or hacked to make something like Pandamar. Some multicarts will duplicate the game as "Fancy Mario" and set its mirroring incorrectly (resulting in glitchy scrolling), labeling it as a separate "game".
  • Mario Bros. - Generally retitled as "Mr. Mary".
  • Galaxian - Sometimes repeated in the menus as "Super Galaxian" with faster shooting speed.
  • Tank 1990 - A Battle City hack; the original Battle City can also be found on multicarts, but is less common.
  • Contra and Super C - Usually the NES versions rather than the Famicom releases; Contra is almost always converted to MMC3 and use CHR-ROM for compatibility.
  • Adventure Island - Usually the Famicom version (Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima). Rather than removing the Hudson Soft copyright, most multicarts leave the part reading "Soft" intact; as removing it sets off an anti-piracy measure.
  • Tetris - most commonly the Tengen version, but BPS' version appears as well, with Tengen's typically referred to as Tetris 2; Nintendo's version is rarely seen, but does appear on some post-2010 releases. The Tengen and BPS versions are usually mapper 0 conversions.
  • Track & Field - Often split into eight separate "games", each of which starts on a different event. Modern multicarts tend to use the two Japanese versions instead (Hyper Olympic and Hyper Sports), hacked to use the standard Famicom/NES controller.
  • Dr. Mario - Often hacked to remove graphic banks; this generally results in the Virus pieces lacking frames of animation. The logo on the title screen is usually blanked out; some releases rename the game to "Space Hospital".
  • Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, and Hogan's Alley - The different modes are sometimes separated as different "games" on the menu. These are usually excluded from GBA multicarts due to the lack of light gun support.
  • Hummer Team games - Common in some 1990s cartridges, but less seen today. The most frequent are Somari (and variants thereof), Garou Densetsu Special, Aladdin, and Dragon Ball Z - Super Butoden 2.
  • Magic Jewelry and Brush Roller (Hwang Shinwei)
  • Xiao Ma Li
  • Most other first-generation Famicom games which are of either 24KB or 40KB in size. Particularly common titles include the Donkey Kong trilogy, Soccer, Circus Charlie, Road Fighter, Pac-Man, Galaga, Mappy, Bomberman, Nuts & Milk, Star Force, and Binary Land.

On more recent multicarts (post-2010), some additional games are commonly included; these games are often larger in size. Some of these are:

  • Contra Force - The bootleg Super Contra 6 hack is also common; many multicarts will include both versions.
  • Super Contra 7 - The "Super Contra 8" title hack is also common; many multicarts will include both versions.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series - Most regularly the original TMNT game and TMNT: Tournament Fighters, though the second and third games are also common.
  • Kunio-kun/River City Ransom series - Usually listed as "Hot Blood", and generally uses the Japanese versions. All 11 Famicom titles in the series are common on modern multicarts.
  • Snow Bros. - Usually the Japanese version; the player has more lives than the original.
  • Bubble Bobble Part 2 - Often removes the two-player mode; the player has more lives than the original.
  • T&C Surf Designs - Often mislabeled as "Tenage Hutant", possibly a misspelling of the unrelated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.
  • Street Fighter VI ("12 Peoples" version)
  • Mortal Kombat 4
  • The King of Fighters '99
  • Adventure Island II, III and IV
  • Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 1 and 2
  • Chip & Dale 3 (Heavy Barrel hack)
  • Double Dragon II and III
  • Double Dragon IV (Target Renegade hack)
  • Mega Man III and V
  • Ninja Gaiden 2 and 3
  • Robocop 1 and 3
  • Tiny Toon Adventures 1 and 2
  • Guevara (Japanese version of Guerilla War)
  • Kero Kero Keroppi 2
  • Various later Mario titles
  • Bootleg Mario "numbered" hacks - The most common on modern multicarts are Mario 6, Mario 9, Mario 10, Mario 12, Mario 14, and Mario 16; which are hacks of Tiny Toon Adventures, Adventure Island II, Jackie Chan's Action Kung-Fu, Yoshi's Cookie, Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 3, and Joe and Mac, respectively.
  • Many CNROM-like games which are 64KB in size, which are generally converted to run on the multicart's proprietary mapper.
  • A wide variety of games from Inventor and Nice Code

Notably, there are also games that are uncommon for various technical reasons:

  • Any games that are difficult to convert to the MMC3/mapper 4 format.
  • A handful of NROM/mapper 0 games are much less common than others, particularly games which are rare in their official cartridge format (e.g. Igo Meikan and Igo Shinan). Oddly, many modern multicarts skip Wrecking Crew in favor of an Inventor hack of the game, "Destroy I".
  • Games which read graphics data off of CHR-RAM rather than CHR-ROM (e.g. Megaman I and II, The Legend of Zelda). Only some multicart types can support this format, and those that do may have the opposite issue (i.e. they cannot support CHR-ROM games); mapper issues would also affect this. Contra is normally a CHR-RAM game, but multicart bootlegs extensively hack the game to run using CHR-ROM.
  • Games which use 8K (or more) of PRG-RAM (e.g. Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, Kirby's Adventure). More commonly supported than CHR-RAM titles, though still rarer than most other games.

Game Boy (Color)[]

  • Tetris
  • Super Mario Land (sometimes using the Super Pika! Land hack)
  • Super Mario 4
  • Alleyway
  • Battle City
  • Puzzle Boy I and II
  • Sokoban
  • Sonic 3D Blast 5 (and/or other Makon Soft games)
  • King of Fighters 96 (at least in the more recent carts)
  • Many other first-generation Game Boy games

Mega Drive/Genesis[]

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sunset Riders
  • Rambo III
  • Tetris
  • Flicky
  • The Flintstones
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
  • Ms. Pac-Man
  • Shove It!
  • Streets of Rage (more often than not, it will be referred to as its original Japanese name "Bare Knuckle")
  • Many other games which are 512KB or less

Super Famicom/SNES[]

  • Super Mario World
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (hack of Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos)
  • Tom & Jerry
  • F-Zero
  • Top Gear
  • Mega Man X

Notable Carts[]

Uncmelody sequence

10000000-in-1 Multicart Menu, notable for its rendition of "Unchained Melody".

  • 11-in-1 Ball Series - By J.Y. Company, this cartridge was released throughout the world and subsequently re-released during the 90s. It is one of the most known multicart in countries where the Famicom was not available officially.
  • Super 45-in-1 - By J.Y. Company, this is the only cart known to have the full version of the Famicom Super Mario World. As well as this, many J.Y. and Ka Sheng multicarts in general usually contain a small number of Famicom games about 256KB in size and/or at least one pirated game, usually by Hummer Team.
  • 260-in-1 (and variants) - Includes many of Hwang Shinwei's games, many of which are known to have been unreleased on their own.
  • Super Game's multicarts usually contain at least one pirated port of a game such as Earthworm Jim 2. This was probably done to include more space on the cart for the game. (They usually include a few more games to fill up the rest of the cart.)
  • Action 52 - Known for its original games but also infamous for the poor quality of them. The menu is stolen from the Supervision 52-in-1 and modified somewhat.
  • Maxivision 15-in-1 - Unlicensed NES games made by various game companies such as Color Dreams, Sachen, and American Video Entertainment. Distributed in North America and Australia by AVE and HES respectively. An updated version replaces the Sachen titles due to a licensing issue that prevented AVE to put Sachen games on multicart.
  • Caltron 6-in-1 - Includes six games made by NTDEC. Also sold as Myriad 6-in-1.
  • Asder 20-in-1 - Update to the Caltron 6-in-1 that adds some of NTDEC's other early releases and includes Benico and Top Hunter, which don't seem to have got stand-alone releases.
  • The 9999999-in-1 multicarts that were frequently bundled with Famiclones and usually had Unchained Melody (original track performed by The Righteous Brothers with the above image as the background) or Can You Feel The Love Tonight (originally performed by Elton John, had Super Lion King's graphics used as a base, but the music seems to be covered from scratch) as the background music. The first type is known to exist in several variations, including the undumped ones, such as the one bundled with Haili LM-888. (neither animations nor music are present, includes four unique games)
  • Super New Year Cart 15-in-1 - This multicart is known to have only games developed by Hummer Team, and some exclusive games that latter appeared in Samuri/ZDog,re-releases of games previously published by ABAB Soft, like Rings (Panda Adventure hack), War, and Titenic (but a lot of stuff were cut), and hacks of their other games, like :

The Hummer (Somari hack), The Legend (Street Fighter IV hack) and pink jelly (panda adventure hack).

  • CoolBoy 400-in-1 Real Game - this multicart is known to have a lot of games in it, and with no repeats of other ones (like the majority of multicarts), the size of this multicart is 32 megabytes, and some variants of it have plus 3 games.
  • Super 24-in-1 - this multicart was published by J.Y. Company contains both unlicensed games and licensed ones, 2 Rex Soft games, 5 Hummer Team games, 1 Cony Soft game, the other unlicensed game is Rockman 7 (NES), a hack of Mega Man 6
  • Super 68 in 1 - an oversized cartridge for the Game Boy released in early to mid 1992, containing a large selection of games, no duplicates, including some (at the time) recent big releases such as Adventure Island II and Tiny Toon Adventures: Babs' Big Break.
  • Crash Bandicoot Collection 1, 2, 3 - a collection of the first three Crash Bandicoot games on one disc for the PlayStation, long before the official release of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Unlike most compilation discs, all content in this compilation are intact due to the games being small in size by PlayStation standards.

References[]

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