The Aladdin Deck Enchancer
Aladdin was first displayed at the Winter CES in 1992,
and once again got mega amount of press and praise. The
Aladdin's carts, when plugged into the Aladdin, made the
thing the exact same shape as a regular NES cart.
Everything looked set for its release... and then
Camerica went out of business. Doh! Codemasters announced
that it would take over Camerica's business in North
America, but it still didn't bother much with releasing
the Aladdin, which in its end state did not have any of
the SuperChip style features hyped up in the press (it
was just the same hardware Camerica used in all its games).
The Aladdin and its games got a very limited release in stores, as well as being hawked on the Home Shopping Network. The six games announced as "Available Now" for the Aladdin were manufactured and sold in very small numbers. The twelve or so announced as "Coming Soon!" never saw the light of day (some interesting screen shots on the back of the Aladdin box though..)
It was going to have an extra 64k of memory, a built-in battery to let you save games like you can on the TG16, and some kind of graphics SuperChip like Color Dreams announced earlier. All this was going to sell for $30, with "Compact Cartridges" to go with it to be priced for around $15-20. The Aladdin was first displayed at the Winter CES in 1992, and once again got mega amount of press and praise. The Aladdin's carts, when plugged into the Aladdin, made the thing the exact same shape as a regular NES cart. Everything looked cool for its release... and then Camerica went out of business. Doh! Codemasters announced that it would take over Camerica's business in North America, but it still didn't bother much with releasing the Aladdin.
Anyway, as far as I or anyone else knows, the Aladdin itself, with the pack-in game Dizzy the Adventurer, was sold only through the Home Shopping Club on TV (which had been selling Camerica games for a while by then). The six games announced as "Available Now" for the Aladdin were manufactured to some extent, but never released for sale to anyone. The twelve or so announced as "Coming Soon!" never saw the light of day (some interesting screen shots on the back of the Aladdin box though..)
The Aladdin system is kinda like a cartridge split up in two in two parts. All the chips which are the same in every NES cartridge has been put into a seperate cart (called the Deck Enhancer) and the game rom (the game itself) on it's own cart. It would be possible to sell games for the Deck Enhancer cheaper than original cartridges because of this.
When you want to play a game, you simply just plug the Compact Cartridge (Cartridge with the game rom) into the Deck Enhancer part (the part with all the standard chips) and then finally insert it into your NES system. Deck Enhancer fits both US and European NES consoles because of a small switch on the Deck Enhancer part.
Dont feel bad about not having a Aladdin Deck Enhancer in your collection, because all of the Deck Enhancer games, except Dizzy the Adventurer, are available on "normal" cartridges, unlicensed ofcourse. In The US these cartridges were released by Camerica while Codemasters releaed them in the UK themselves.
|Six games were also manufactured for the Aladdin:|
Adventures of Dizzy,
Bignose Freaks Out,
and Linus Spacehead's Cosmic Crusade.
These carts were released in the standard Camerica golden cartridges as well, but the Aladdin versions of these games are quite a bit harder to find. The distribution of the Aladdin was spotty at best due to Camerica's financial problems at the time. Most of the carts were packaged in boxes similar to the regular-cartridge Camerica ones, except that there was a little cardboard thingy on top that had "Aladdin Compact Cartridge" written on it. All of the six games were the same as their regular-cartridge counterparts, with some weird exceptions.
The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy almost seems like version 2.0 of the cartridge game. Dizzy walks a lot faster (thank God, I really hated how slow he was in the cart), the item system is made a little better, there are now 250 stars to collect (as opposed to 100 in the original), and some of the layout of the game has been changed, as seen below (this is the section just to the left of Dizzy's house). Also kind of worth mentioning is that "Baseball Pros" on the Quattro Sports Aladdin cart has a weird bug that makes you play ten innings each game no matter what the score is. Hey, not that it can make the game any worse...
|The Non-released Games:|
|Here are all the games listed as "Coming Soon" on the back of the Aladdin box, but never released: Go! Dizzy Go! (seen on Quattro Arcade ) Team Sports Basketball (weird 45-degree overhead perspective basketball game) Bignose the Caveman Metal Man (looks like a generic shooter, with you playing a guy with a jetpack) Bee-52 Stunt Kids Mig-29 Soviet Fighter F16 Renegade (another overhead shooter) CJ's Elephant Antics (seen on Quattro Arcade) The Ultimate Stuntman DreamWorld Pogie (wow!!!! this looks totally mega dizzy-clone!)|