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Pocketsize / NOA FAQ

by Devster

Pocketsize LogoPocketsize Logo



Hi and welcome to my Pocketsize / NOA FAQ!

Hopefully I will be able to answer those questions that you always wanted to ask and maybe some that you didn't think to ask!

As with any information site, I would like to think of my FAQ as a works in progress, as there are still many questions that remain unanswered and conflicting views on some points. To this end, when new information is discovered the FAQ will be updated.

So kick back and enjoy! And don't forget, if you notice something that is not in the list or have a different view, don't keep it to yourself, let us know!


Q. What does NOA stand for?
A. Nintendo of America

Q. So what's the difference between NOA and Nintendo?
A. Nintendo Co. Ltd. of Kyoto, Japan is the original company (the daddy), in 1980 they decided it was time to break into the American market place in a big way, rather than exporting their games to America as they had done previously. They created a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc. in New York and started selling the GAME & WATCH product line.

In 1982 they merged the New York subsidiary into Nintendo of America Inc. based in Seattle, Washington which became their Headquarters.

In 1983 they established Nintendo Entertainment Centres Ltd. in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. GAME & WATCH would be sold in Canada as well.

Q. If I want to write to them, what's the address?
A. Nintendo of America, Inc. 4820, 150th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052

Q. So, where do Pocketsize games fit in then?
A. Pocketsize was the name given to the GAME & WATCH released by NOA. Some people call them PS for short.

Q. Right, so Pocketsize games were only sold in American and Canada?
A. No, they were actually sold in the Europe, but this didn't happen untill 1986 and the number of titles was much smaller, only 5.

Q. Were Pocketsize different to the standard releases and how can I tell the difference?
A. Yes they were and the difference was with the box, not the games. The PS range came with colourful boxes, typically with cartoon like characters. As well as the bright artwork they also carried the Pocketsize logo.


Q
. I've heard that they are more collectable than all the other games, is this true?
A. Well, collecting is very subjective, but one thing is for sure, the PS range is very popular because of their colourful artwork. This is one of the main reasons that they have become so collectable, added to that, there was a relatively short timeframe in production, surviving examples are very scarce. So the reasons to collect PS are two fold, they are rare and they are beautiful!!!

Q. So when were the games released?
A. Popular belief is 1983 - 1985 for the US and Canadian releases. Then 1986 - 1989 for the International PS games.

Here is an email from someone at Nintendo that sort of confirms this. It would make sense that the games were only made between 83 and 85, but that does not mean to say that Nelsonic did not continue to sell them after this date. This evidence would also confirm why so few PS exist! - By the way, by import, I would assume they mean Japan.

Hello, Nintendo has not distributed Game & Watch products since 1985, but we authorized another company to import them into the U.S., Nelsonic/MZ Berger, which they did until 1990. We do not have any information on titles, dealers, retailers, and etc.

Sincerely.
Nintendo of America Inc.
Andi Anderson

Q. How many Pocketsize games were there?
A. Including the International releases, there were 25 games in all.

Q. There were 60 (or 59 to some people) games released in the standard versions, so if there are only 25 PS, what series did they release?
A. The PS range covered mainly Widescreen, New Widescreen and Multiscreen games.

Q. I'm getting a little bit bored and I want some action. Can I see the games?
A. Yes, here they are are!


Parachute
Fire
Octopus
Fire Attack
Manhole
Mickey Mouse
Popeye
Mario's Cement Factory
Snoopy Tennis
Donkey Kong Junior
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong II
Oil Panic
Greenhouse
Mickey&Donald
Pinball
Black Jack
Gold Cliff
Safe Buster
Squish
Bomb Sweeper
Zelda
Life Boat
Rain Shower
Mario Bros.


Beside these 25 games, there are a few which don't have the PS-Logo imprinted on the box:

Pocketsize Donkey Kong 3
Pocketsize Donkey Kong 3
Punch Out!!
Punch Out!! (Boxing)
Donkey Kong Hockey
Donkey Kong Hockey



Spitball Sparky
Spitball Sparky
Crab Grab
Crab Grab



Q. I've heard that the games released after 1986 are not really Pocketsize?
A. No, that's not true. They may not be as popular, but they do carry the Pocketsize logo. For that reason they must be included. The first editions did have cartoon type artwork on the reverse of the box, but not anything like the quality of the original, first releases of PS, 2nd editions had barcodes (arrrgh!). This ultimatlely makes them less desirable than the original PS and because there were plenty of them made, you won't have much trouble finding one, which also decreases the value and desirablility.

Q. Did they release every game in the series that you mentioned?
A. No, Egg was never released as this was a game sold in the Oceanic regions instead of Mickey Mouse, which was made into a PS game (Egg and Mickey Mouse is another story altogether!).

Turtle Bridge and Chef were apparently never released either, although it is difficult to figure out why? With all other Widescreen games being released, it seems strange that these two were left out. One explanation could be that the games were not released in the same order as standard releases and then PS production stoped, without these two ever making it to the market. Only the first three games of the New Widescreen versions were released in PS form, whilst all the Mulitscreens got the 'PS treatment'!

One thing is for sure, if either of these two games turned up, they would be worth a pretty penny! And if you have ever wondered what they might look like, Andy Cole a veteran collector, gave us all a taste a while back with this fantastic Chef PS design.

Q. Turtle bridge and Chef must exist, where is the proof that they didn't?
A. Well, we can't say for sure, but there are no pictures to be found anywhere of those two games, no mention of them in any literature and no collectors old or new that have thus far, been able to verify their existence. Also we know NOA continued to release other series, so it would be strange to go back to that series. But it still doesn't mean they don't exsist. So if you find one, let me know!! :)

Q. Literature, what literature?
A. NOA produced a leaflet/brochure with the games listed inside, two versions exist. It is not known if these were in the box at the start or given out when the game was purchased. A lot of games sold on eBay come with them, but it's hard to tell how they were come by. For example, there have been some factory condition PS sold on eBay without the leaflets. They also showcased other NOA releases.


1st Version (Outside)


1st Version (Inside)


2nd Version (Outside)


2nd Version (Inside)




Q
. Did the PS games come with anything else?
A. NOA supplied a warranty card with the games. Again, it is not certain if these came with all of the games and at what point they were given to the customer. If you think logically, a warranty is normally given out by the shop that you purchase the goods from (although it is common for warranties to be in boxed goods as well), so my guess is that the shops provided the warranty cards. Another thing is that they do not fit into the Widescreen games!

So, either they didn't come with the Widescreens, got given out at the shops, or got given out at the shops for the Widescreens and put in the boxes of the others (confused - I am!).

One other point, these Warranty cards came with other NOA releases, so it was a NOA thing, rather than a Pocketsize thing!

Three versions are pictured here.

A B

 


C


A = All in one Warranty Card, included Warranty, Registration Card and Questionnaire.
B = Registration Card and Questionnaire Only.
C = Warranty Card Only


A had a tear off slip that you sent back to NOA and you kept the rest.
B+C came together and you kept C and completed B and sent it back to NOA.

Q
. How about the contents, were they the same?
A. Yes, except for the box, leaflet and warranty card, everything else was the same as the regular versions.

Q. I'm sure I've see a different Donkey Kong PS to the one in your list, is there another?
A. Yes, there was another edition before the one you see in the list above. The other one did not have the Pocketsize logo on the front or a picture of the game on the right hand side as the subsequent PS releases did (excluding the 5 releases after 1986, which just had the logo). Different views are held as to why there are two PS versions of Donkey Kong. One is that the card on the first one was not very strong and the ink on the box came off easily. One could be that they just didn't like the design and settled on the 2nd version to follow through with the rest of the series.

Oddly the 2nd version (in the above list) is a lot rarer than the other version and is rarely seen on eBay. Maybe due to the fact that when they changed the design, other games were coming out, so they only did a small run of DK in the new box? Maybe they tested the market with the new box and it was a hit so they stayed with it. Any more ideas? !!!!!! :)

Here is a picture!

Nice!

Q. So what happened to NOA, did they go bust or did they just stop producing games?
A. At the end 1985 it is believed NOA stopped production of the PS boxes. At the same time that production stopped, NOA gave a company called Nelsonic rights to distribute their exsiting games. NOA continued to produce other games but no longer in the fabled PS box!

In 1986 NOA released the additional 5 PS games in the new style boxes.

Q. Were there any other games ever produced that had such colourful boxes?
A. Yes (praise the lord!). NOA stuck to the artwork theme on some other GAME & WATCH releases, but not all.

The Super Color series was given a facelift and once again we were shown what can be done with a bit of creativity!!! Here are the pictures.

Crab Grab
Spitball Sparky Crab Grab


Q
. So what were these games called?
A. They didn't have a name, but they are commonly referred to as NOA. Although this is inaccurate as NOA was the company and they did produce standard games. But if you ever hear someone ask, is it a NOA version, they mean the above type of box.

Q. Was that it or was there more?
A. Oh yes! The final series to get the 'treatment' was the Micro VS system. A totally boring set of games and standard boxes (as were the Super Color actually!). However, NOA pimped my GAME & WATCH in 1985 and produced an alternative to Boxing and called it Punch Out! For many years it was thought that only Boxing had been given the facelift from the Micro VS series.

But then a never seen before version of DK Hockey was discovered!! So that's 2 out of 3 Micro VS games found. I'm no Einstein, but I'm not the only one that now thinks that there is a NOA pimped DK III Micro Vs out there somewhere!

Update December 25th 2010: Finally a Donkey Kong 3 from the Micro vs. System Series has been discovered. This means, all three games from this series exist as Pocketsize!

Here they are....


Punch Out!! (vorher Boxing)
Donkey Kong Hockey
Pocketsize Donkey Kong 3
Donkey Kong 3


No other games were produced in this style as far as we know.

Q. So are NOA more collectable than Pocketsize?
A. Another tough question. Each to his own really, but in my opinion if you collect PS, then NOA is a natural follow on, as they were created by the same company and in the same vein. Some collectors group all PS and NOA together, where others separate them as PS and NOA. A lot of people concentrate on PS due to there being more games to collect. Also getting all of the NOA verisons is nigh on impossible!!

As for rarity, the NOA versions are right up there with Pocketsize and in DK Hockey you probably have the rarest game of all!

Whatever you think, the Pocketsize and NOA releases were a great addition to the already great GAME & WATCH series and are very beautiful things. They are very rare to find full stop, in any condition, let alone c10! They will always be held in high regard and desired by many and will, I guess, always demand the highest premiums of all the GAME & WATCH releases.

Q. Is there anything I have missed?
A. Probably, but then that's where you come in! If you have anything that you think should be added, then let me know. I will be adding bits and pieces as we go, for example I will produce a rarity chart (open to debate of course!) shortly.

I hope that this Q&A has been of some help to you and has given you an insight into what makes PS/NOA so special.

Good luck collecting and look out for that Chef!!!

Special thanks to Torsten Lindh who allowed the use of some of the photographs in this FAQ (his homepage). And to And to Andy Cole for the use of his PS Chef design (his homepage).

 


The Devster

'Come Play My Game & Watch, I'll Test Ya!'