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In video game parlance, a multicart is a cartridge that contains more than one game. Typically, the separate games are available individually for purchase (such as Sega Smash Pack) or were previously available individually (such as Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls). For this reason, collections, anthologies, and compilations are considered multicarts. The desirability of the multicart to consumers is that it provides better value, greater convenience, and (in the case of portable games) more portability than the separate games would provide. The advantage to developers is that it allows two or more smaller games to be sold together for the price of one larger game, and provides an opportunity to repackage and sell older games one more time, often with little or no changes.
Multicarts are distinct from minigame series such as Mario Party, Game & Watch Gallery, or WarioWare. These games are made up of several minigames specifically created for the overall game experience. In contrast to this, the NES multicart Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt contains two full-version games, each of which were available for purchase individually.
Although most commonly associated with NES and SNES, multicarts, both authorized and unauthorized, have appeared for many cartridge-based systems, including the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Odyssey 2, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis and Game Boy. As storage capacity on cartridges continues to grow and become less expensive, the popularity of multicarts has seen a resurgence on the only remaining cartridge-based systems, those of Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and DS. Since launch, these systems have seen an increase in the number of “2-in-1” and “3-in-1” games, with some re-releasing popular titles previously seen on the same platform such as Konami's Castlevania.
- 1 Pirate multicarts
- 2 Unlicensed multicarts
- 3 Official multicarts
- 4 References
Among pirate Famicom games, multicarts often advertise an inflated number of games on their labels, calling them "x-in-1" (x can be any number greater than 1, such as "76-in-1," "200-in-1," "1200-in-1," and even "9999999-in-1"), but in reality usually only have anywhere from five to one hundred truly unique games. The list is padded by different variations of these games, hacked to start at different levels or to start a player with different power-ups. The games are usually first-generation Famicom titles, several of which were never officially released in America, and in typical pirate fashion have either had their names deliberately misspelled, their copyright notices/logos removed, or both.
Other popular video game systems also have their own share of unique pirate multicarts. Unlike the Famicom, the Nintendo Game Boy multicarts have a variety of different, innovative multicart designs. Standard-sized Game Boy multicarts have either a game selection menu like the NES multicarts, or require quick toggling of the Game Boy power switch to select through games. Most of them incorporate an external soft reset button (not available on any original cart), so you can reset the game without powering off the system. To overcome the storage limitations of a standard-sized pirate cart, huge pirate carts were created. These unusually large and thick carts, more than two times the height and depth of a standard Game Boy cartridge, were able to store many of the larger new games, such as Donkey Kong Land easily. One drawback of these carts is they lack any battery backup, so saving games on these carts is impossible. Most of these carts were produced in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
More recently there have been Game Boy Advance multicarts with several GBA games and several or even hundreds of NES ROMs. These carts are known to include some bootlegs, hacks or variations of games, advertising them as different games and giving them incorrect box arts on the main boxart.
These multicarts were published with the consent of the owners of copyright in the games themselves, but without the console maker's consent:
- Action 52, from Active Enterprises. This ambitious project attempted to put 52 unique games into a single cartridge, but shoddy programming and heavy code reuse between games, combined with a hefty $200 (USD) retail price, resulted in this game often being considered one of the worst multicarts.
- Caltron 6-in-1 - Rare vintage NES multicart, later re-released as the Myriad 6 in 1
- Maxivision 15-in-1, which contained fifteen games from unlicensed NES manufacturers such as Color Dreams and American Video Entertainment.
- The North American versions of the Quattro series by Codemasters, published by Camerica
- Wisdom Tree compilations:
- Bible Adventures - This three-in-one Game Boy cartridge featured Noah's Ark, Baby Moses, and David and Goliath.
- King James Bible - This included the King James Version Bible in e-book format, plus Bible Word Match and Bible Shepherd.
- King of Kings: The Early Years - This three-in-one NES cartridge featured The Wise Men, Flight to Egypt and Jesus and the Temple.
- NIV Bible & the 20 Lost Levels of Joshua - This included the New International Version Bible in e-book format, plus Bible Word Match, Bible Shepherd and Joshua: The Lost Levels. The latter is a port of Joshua & the Battle of Jericho for the Game Boy, featuring 20 levels not available in the NES version.
- Sunday Funday - The last NES game released commercially in the United States for several years, this three-in-one cartridge featured the title game (a graphics hack of Color Dreams's old Menace Beach), Fish Fall (a previously-unreleased puzzle game), and a karaoke program featuring a Christian pop song, "The Ride," by 4Him.
- 32 in 1: Only released in Europe (PAL systems) contains Atari's early hits such as Blackjack, Boxing and Combat 
- 2005 Minigame Multicart: Published by AtariAge well after the end of the 2600s lifespan, this collection includes seven entries of the 2005 MiniGame Competition 
Due to the relative ease of duplicating Atari 2600 cartridges, a large number of pirate multicarts were developed for the system. Most of these were released outside the US and EU (most commonly Brazil).
Nintendo Entertainment System
- Donkey Kong Classics: Contains Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior
- Final Fantasy I-II
- Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt
- Sesame Street A-B-C and 1-2-3
- Short Order/Eggsplode
- 3-in-1 Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet
- Super Mario Bros./Tetris/World Cup Soccer (PAL)
- Super Spike V'Ball/Nintendo World Cup
- Dragon Warrior I & II: contains remade versions of the NES titles
- Galaga and Galaxian: contains the two arcade classics.
- 4-in-1 Funpack, Volume 1
- 4-in-1 Funpack, Volume 2
- Bo Jackson: 2 Games in 1: Contains football and baseball games
- Centipede & Millipede
Game Boy Advance
- 3-in-1 Sports Pack: contains Paintball Splat, Dodgeball: Dodge This!, and Big Alley Bowling
- Board Game Classics 3-in-1
- Capcom Classics-Mini Mix: contains nes "Strider", "Mighty Final Fight", and "Bionic Commando"
- Candy Land/Chutes & Ladders/Memory 3-in-1
- Castlevania Double Pack - Aria of Sorrow/Harmony of Dissonance
- Centipede/Breakout/Warlords 3-in-1
- Dora the Explorer: Super Star Adventures/The Search for Pirate Pig's Treasure
- Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls: contains Final Fantasy I and II.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords
- The Game of Life/Yahtzee/Payday
- Looney Tunes Double Pack
- Madagascar and Shrek 2
- Majesco's Rec Room Challenge: contains Darts, Roll-a-Ball, and Shuffle Bowl
- Marble Madness & Klax
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga; contains the title game and Mario Bros.
- Mother 1+2; contains the first two games of the Mother series (known as Earthbound in the United States).
- Namco Museum: contains Pole Position, Galaga, Galaxian, Ms. Pac-Man, and Dig Dug
- Pac-Man Collection: contains Pac-Man, Pac-Attack, Pac-Man Arrangement, and Pac-Mania
- Paperboy and Rampage
- Phantasy Star Collection: contains Phantasy Star I, II, and III.
- Rayman 10th Anniversary: contains Rayman Advance and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
- Risk/Battleship/Clue 3-in-1
- Scooby-Doo: 2 Game in 1
- Sega Arcade Gallery: After Burner/Space Harrier/Out Run/Super Hang-On
- Sega Smash Pack: contains Ecco the Dolphin, Golden Axe, and Sonic Spinball
- Shark Tale & Shrek (Video)
- Spy Hunter/Super Sprint
- Super Mario Advance: contains Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros.
- Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2: contains Super Mario World and Mario Bros.
- Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3: contains Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3: contains Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mario Bros.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Double Pack: contains Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus
- Tony Hawk's Underground / Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Double Pack: Reshef of Destruction & The Sacred Cards
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Double Pack 2: Destiny Board Traveler & Dungeon Dice Monsters
- ATV: Thunder Ridge Riders/Monster Trucks Mayhem
- Battleship/Connect Four/Sorry!/Trouble
- Clue/Mouse Trap/Perfection/Aggravation
- Kirby Super Star Ultra
- Namco Museum DS: contains Xevious, Galaga, Galaxian, Pac-Man, Dig Dug II, The Tower of Druaga, Mappy, Super Xevious, and Pac-Man VS
- Puzzler Collection: contains Crossword, Sudoku, Word Search and Fitword
- Uno/Skipbo/Uno Free Fall 3-in-1
- Sonic Classic Collection /Sonic 1/Sonic 2/Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles/Knuckles in Sonic 2/Sonic 3 and Knuckles
- Mega Man Zero Collection /Mega Man Zero/Mega Man Zero 2/Mega Man Zero 3/Mega Man Zero 4
Sega Game Gear
Sega Master System
- Arcade Smash Hits: includes Atari's Centipede, Breakout and Missile Command
- Hang-On/Safari Hunt: Dual cart bundled with Sega Master System sets.
- Hang-On/Astro Warrior: Dual cart bundled with Master System "Base System" sets (those without the Sega Light Phaser gun).
- Marksman Shooting & Trap Shooting: Contains two games for the Master System light gun, the Light Phaser. A third game, Safari Hunt was included in the European release.
Sega-released Master System multicarts were labeled "The Combo Cartridge" on the box, as opposed to the "Mega Cartridge" and "Two-Mega Cartridge" labels placed on single-game cart boxes.
Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
- Arcade Classics: - features Atari's Centipede, Missile Command, and Pong.
- MegaGames 3 in 1 - Vol 1: Includes Columns, Super Hang-On, and World Cup Italia '90. Released in North America as Triple Score: 3 Games In 1
- MegaGames 3 in 1 - Vol 2: Includes Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, and The Revenge of Shinobi
- MegaGames 3 in 1 - Vol 3: Includes Super Thunder Blade, Alien Storm, and Super Monaco GP
- Classic Collection (MegaGames 4 in 1): Includes Flicky, Gunstar Heroes, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, and Altered Beast
- MegaGames 6 - Vol 1: Includes Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, The Revenge of Shinobi, Columns, Super Hang-On, and World Cup Italia '90
- MegaGames 6 - Vol 2: Includes Super Thunder Blade, Alien Storm, Super Monaco GP, Super Hang-On, World Cup Italia '90, and Columns
- Mega 6 - Vol 3: Includes Columns, The Revenge of Shinobi, Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Super Monaco GP, and Sega Soccer
- Mega Man: The Wily Wars: Includes remade versions of Mega Man, Mega Man 2, and Mega Man 3, as well as an unlockable exclusive bonus game called Wily Tower.
- Menacer 6-game cartridge: Included with Sega's lightgun accessory, contains 6 original shooting games
- 6-Pak: Includes Columns, Golden Axe, The Revenge of Shinobi, Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, and Super Hang-On
- Sonic Compilation: Includes Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Released in North America as Sonic Classics
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Super Mario All-Stars: Includes remade versions of the three Super Mario Bros. games on the NES, as well as the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (retitled Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels). These games featured remixed soundtracks of their NES/Famicom counterparts. A later version, bundled with some SNES consoles, also included Super Mario World.
- Ninja Gaiden Trilogy: Contains the three NES Ninja Gaiden games with an improved color palette and a remixed (and slightly reordered) soundtrack.
- Super Scope 6: Contains six games for the Super Scope.
- Tetris & Dr. Mario
- Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits: Contains Defender, Defender II, Joust, Robotron: 2084, and Sinistar
- Kirby Super Star
- Namco Museum 64: Contains Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Pole Position, Galaga, Galaxian, and Dig Dug
- Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits: Contains Defender, Sinistar, Robotron: 2084, Joust, Spy Hunter, and Tapper
- Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition: Released for the Kirby series' 20th anniversary. The "Classic Titles" section contains Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby Super Star (which itself is a multicart), Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.
- "This cartridge claims to have 400 games on it. If you’ve done much research in multicarts, you’ll know that most cartridges that say they have a huge number of games usually have just a few games repeated over and over again. Well, let’s turn it on and see what we have. Well, let’s turn it on and see if it lives up to it’s promise: ... Well, that’s the 400 games, as promised. That’s pretty uncommon with multicarts promising large numbers of games." - FamicloneBlog
- Action 52 at MobyGames; most, if not all of the user reviews are critical of the games.
- Active Enterprises article on Atari HQ; the site states that the company had "far more wild dreams than actual talent", leading to their sudden demise in 1993.
- "...all small companies with big mouths usually go out of business. They tend to promise far, far more than they can actually deliver and end up choking themselves." - Atari HQ on Active enterprises