Aladdin Deck Enhancer

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Aladdin Deck Enhancer
Aladdin Deck Enhancer, with Dizzy the Adventurer, cartridge for the NES by Camerica
Developer(s) Codemasters
Publisher(s) Camerica
Platform(s) Nintendo Entertainment System
Release date(s) 1992
Distribution Compact Cartridges

The Aladdin Deck Enhancer, produced by Camerica, and developed by Codemasters, is a cartridge based system that allows software on Compact Cartridges to be played on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is similar to the Datach system for the Famicom, but without the Barcode feature. It was released in November 1992, with its planned library to reach a total 24 games by the end of 1993.[1] However, only seven games were actually released.

Hardware[edit]

Aladdin Deck Enhancer connection and switch


Invented by Richard Darling,[2] the Aladdin Deck Enhancer contains a bypass Security Circuit Chip, a Memory Control Chip, and a Graphics Chip,[3]:side B which would work with the lock-out chip and other features inside the Nintendo Entertainment System. First the Compact Cartridge would be inserted into the Aladdin Deck Enhancer, which is shaped the same as a standard NES cartridge, and then this would be inserted into the Control Deck. Inside the slot where the Compact Cartridge is placed there is a recessed switch, which changes the Security/Region settings from position A to position B.[3]:side A The device contains 8 kilobytes of RAM for graphics use, much like 24.7% of all other NES games released in the US.

The idea behind the Aladdin Deck Enhancer was to provide a cheaper means with which to make the game cartridges[4] mainly because each cartridge requires its own 10NES lock-out chip, RAM and extra circuitry. Camerica was one of the major purveyors of unlicensed NES games, so the Deck Enhancer was a logical creation for them. Also, since the slot for the actual game was much smaller, less material was needed to produce a cartridge. However by the time the product was released the Super NES and Mega Drive/Genesis were already released and the product never had a large installed base to warrant a large amount of software. Camerica never recovered from the release and shortly was forced to close down. This led to a small amount of game systems produced, which in turn made it a valuable collectible to many collectors that can be sold for a good price.

Codemasters' game Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk designed by the Oliver twins was enhanced for the NES this release and retitled Dizzy the Adventurer and originally bundled with the Aladdin released in November 1992, it was the only Aladdin game not released on a normal sized NES cartridge.[5] Only another six titles were ever released, all primarily from Codemasters' library. More titles were listed as "Coming Soon",[6] but never released as Aladdin cartridges. CJ's Elephant Antics wasn't released as a standalone game at all but was part of the Quattro Arcade NES cartridge which contained three other games. Aladdin games were typically identical to their standalone counterparts with a few exceptions. The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy was the only one to receive any improvement, having a faster character, changed items system, 250 instead of 100 stars to collect, and other smaller changes. Baseball Pro's on the Quattro Sports Aladdin cartridge seems to have a small problem; it always plays ten innings regardless of the score, rather than ending after nine when the score isn't tied.

Aladdin Deck Enhancer games[edit]

Each game for the Aladdin comes in a small cardboard box with a punched out hole at its top for it to be hung on a peg;[7] inside instead of having the typical instruction booklet with many pages stapled together, they had instructions like a fold-out brochure or poster.

Big Nose Freaks Out: This is the second of two games starring Big Nose, the other being Big Nose the Caveman. Both are platform adventure games. In this adventure he rolls along on his wheel board, which is somewhat like a skate board but with only one wheel, holding his trusty club and the occasional rocks. Bones are considered money in his time and Big Nose has gotten all his bones stolen, and must journey through this prehistoric land and get them back.

Dizzy the Adventurer: Dizzy is an egg-shaped hero with red boots and gloves, and in this sixth game in the Dizzy series, Dizzy and Daisy were tricked into entering an old castle by the Evil Wizard Zaks, there Daisy pricks her finger and fell into a mysterious sleep, while Dizzy is imprisoned. He must escape and find a way to wake his girlfriend, but along the way he must solve many puzzles by bringing the right item to the right place.

The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy: An award winning game by Codemasters, and seventh game in the Dizzy series. This time Dizzy must rescue his kidnapped girlfriend and help the rest of the Yolkfolk, along the way he must face numerous dangers, collect stars to get into the castle, and solve various puzzles.

Linus Spacehead's Cosmic Crusade: This is Linus's second adventure for the Aladdin Deck Enhancer, the other is available on the Quattro Adventure cartridge. Linus is home at last on his own planet Linoleum and must get a car and camera and go back to Earth and take pictures then return home. It is part a click-and-move adventure/puzzle and part side-scroller platform game.

Micro Machines: This is a licensed product of the Micro Machines toy line. It is a racing game where the player controls miniature cars that drive over tables, along the floor, in a sandbox, a bathtub, and other such places.

Quattro Adventure: This is a cartridge of four adventure-platform games.

  • Boomerang Kid, has tossed away all the boomerangs of his town and now must go after them.
  • Super Robin Hood, Robin hood must save his beloved Marion by searching the Castle for keys and switches while avoiding guards and other obstacles.
  • Treasure Island Dizzy is the second game in the Dizzy series Dizzy the hero goes sailing one day gets lost in a storm and finds himself on a mysterious island, he must discover all the coins, located on the island and then how to get off the island, while solving various puzzles.
  • Linus Spacehead while in a race, has crashed his space ship into the Earth and needs to get back home, he must pick up the pieces of his radio so he can signal home. He is only able to jump and duck while he moves through the various levels, while being attacked by fish, birds, coconuts, bats, and other such things.

Quattro Sports: This is a cartridge of four sports games.

  • Baseball Pro's is a world wide baseball game where the player competes against teams from around the world. One or two players.
  • Soccer Simulator is a top view soccer game where the player competes against teams from around the world. One or two players.
  • Pro Tennis is a tournament based game with two player option.
  • BMX Simulator is a licensed product of the BMX sports bike line, where the player controls a bicycle rider in a top view looking down at the track, similar to Super Sprint.

Unreleased games[edit]

The following games were announced, but were cancelled.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NES 8-bit gains Aladdin enhancer." HFD-The Weekly Home Furnishings Newspaper 4 Jan. 1993
  2. ^ http://patft.uspto.gov/ U.S. Patent Office, Patents 5,395,112 Memory cartridge, and 5,599,232 Memory cartridge with interface having graphics co-processor
  3. ^ a b Aladdin Deck Enhancer's instructions brochure, inside packaging
  4. ^ Classic Home Video Games: 1985-1988, by Brett Weiss, page 255
  5. ^ http://www.atarihq.com/tsr/odd/aladdin/aladdin.html
  6. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/587233-dizzy-the-adventurer/images/box-46910, scan of the 'Aladdin Deck Enhancer's box, front and back side
  7. ^ The Video Game Bible, 1985-2002, by Andy Slaven, page 132
  8. ^ http://search.ign.com/product?query=Aladdin+Deck+Enhancer List of Aladdin Deck Enhancer games, both released and cancelled. IGN.com, page 1 of 2.