Well this is certainly a weird way to break up the slow news cycle, with more legal news and the amusement business. Per usual, all suspects are innocent until proven otherwise.
Six Charged With Producing Counterfeit Pac-Man Games
Just the other day we had a story of some businesses in California being shut down due to running arcades as fronts for gambling ops, today we have another story out of Cali that involved counterfeiters. The main
surprise about this story is why it has taken so long for something like this to see some enforcement – it is pretty easy to come across these multicade machines with tons of IP on them that the seller obviously doesn’t have the rights to repackage and sell. I’ve never condoned selling such games as it’s not legitimate, particularly when selling to businesses. But given the pricing you tend to find out there, piracy is always lurking about somewhere.
This case involves a family who was operating a business out of
Milpitas Santa Clara called CoinOpStore. They actually had attempted to sell machines in my state of Utah on some local classified boards but those listings have all disappeared now; Craigslist ads in the SoCal area had their machines too. The story over at SFGate states that the family was arrested after selling machines that included “Galaga, Tank Battalion and five different versions of Pac-Man.” Admittedly, I find it amusing that Tank Battalion was singled out there…in all of the many inquiries I’ve received over the years regarding classic games, I’ve never heard of someone specifically looking for that game.
Anyways, the group faces 14 felony charges and the potential for all of their assets valuing at over $1 million to be seized. It probably will be a while before it comes to trial but we’ll keep our ears open for any news.
AH reader Michael Louie lives in that area and did some research to find out that CoinOpStore and Bandai Namco Entertainment America (they would be the console division instead of the arcade one) both operate out of the same area. This is why the Namco games are specifically mentioned, Namco likely found out what was going on and put things in motion.
For anyone out there looking to get a machine with a bunch of games on it, keep a couple of things in mind. The number of officially licensed multicades out there is very small – limited to Arcade Legends 3 by Chicago Gaming and Pac-Man’s Arcade Party by Bandai Namco. PMAP is the only solution for commercial use and it has a really small selection given what Namco has in their line-up; Arcade Legends has some great Atari, Data East and Taito classics on it but they don’t allow it for commercial use. I personally think it would be great if Sega would do something like the Sega Forever concept in arcades since they have a huge game roster to pull from but so far the company has shown no interest in that market.
Then, if you see anything that has a variety of big names on it like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Frogger (like the cabinet above), and it is coming from some no-name game maker, that’s very likely to be an illegal counterfeit. Companies like Nintendo and Konami have not licensed their arcade titles out for these things in a long time and Namco keeps Pac-Man to themselves for obvious reasons.
Thief Makes The Space Between Arcade Machines His Headquarters And Home
Now for a weird one out of Japan. Rocketnews reports that a 30-year old homeless man in Kobe, Japan has been arrested after he was discovered to be making the space between arcade machines his abode while he carried out break-ins of local schools and offices. He allegedly stole around $11,000 worth of cash and other items although the story doesn’t mention where he might have kept the student P.E. kits.
The story discusses how someone might get away with such a thing and as it mentions, such things are possible. Particularly in large, dimly lit game centers. While my arcade isn’t big enough for someone to get away with such nefarious living, I have done a second check many times just to be sure that someone isn’t hiding out after I close. So far I’ve never found anyone but you never know.