For anyone who's visited Cinnamon Pirate's old blog noticed that he did occasional articles of Chinese/Taiwanese unlicensed games, and actually helped out with the Super Fighter Team release of Beggar Prince. I then remembered him talking about the packaging for Waixing's games and Shenzhen's games, and looking back at the articles, I came across this:
"I have far more Nanjing Technology cartridges than I do Waixing cartridges. I can firmly say that Nanjing’s cartridges are much better produced and show touches of tender loving care. The final page of most Nanjing games is a note from the company telling about why it made the game and some final impressions for the customer, similar to the messages found in the former Working Designs’ game manuals."
I know, old post is old. Still, since it was something I was going to do eventually (and with other companies like Sachen and Waixing) I figured I would share my viewpoint on Shenzhen's products. And to start it off, let me say this about that second sentence...
BULL. FUCKING. SHIT.
Keep in mind, this is not meant to insult Derrick Sobodash in any way, as he does give us some nifty info about these companies and does a pretty good job at it, but to say that Shenzhen's products are made with care is like saying Satan would make an excellent pope: it's pure blasphemy. I consider Shenzhen Nanjing to be the second-worst unlicensed company, only second to Yong Yong (Waixing is third, for anyone who's curious) and being one who owns over a handful of both companies products, I can reassure this.
Let's cover the juicy part first: the cartridges are the flimsiest pieces of crap I've ever handled. The plastic is cheap as all hell and is quite slim compared to even my Waixing carts. Evidence One: when I was playing Samurai Spirits RPG on my FC-Portable (back when the communist garbage was working for a full WEEK.) I had trouble getting the damn thing out. By the way, for some reason, Shenzhen and Waixing's boards are thicker than a normal board. They're thicker than my Power Joy multicart, my legit Famicom carts, everything. It makes it a real pain in the ass to pull stuff out when the slight addition of thickness is there, suprisingly enough.
Anyway, I tried pulling out by gripping the broad side of the cartridge. Big mistake, as I ended up cracking the fucking cartridge.
Now, again, none of my other carts do this. Not Power Joy, not Waixing, especially not my licensed carts. They all can stand the death grip of an adult, yet Shenzhen's break like nothing from everyday use. Evidence Two: this is a more common scenario, and it has happened to half of my collection. One thing that I hate when any company does this is when they try to hold something together using a shitty, thin piece of plastic (even $30 headphones, which is why I only use neckphones anymore, even $5 ones that last longer. Fuck you Sony, Phillips, etc. all). Add to it when someone like SNT here does it using the cheapest plastic imaginable, and you can guess what happens:
See those tiny plastic pegs? Those are meant to hold the board in place. What happens is that the thinner piece (usually, though as you can see, even the thicker pieces aren't safe) snaps because again, the plastic is cheap and flimsy. When that snaps, the board can't sit still, meaning you can't insert the board unless you insert it yourself with the board bare. Imagine trying to pull that out. Now imagine pulling it out when it goes in and out with a struggle due to the extra thickness, with no proper gripping spot to hold. Now try doing that with the fear of snapping the damn thing, because everything else of theirs so far is so damn flimsy and cheap.
This looks so safe, seriously.
That above is a Waixing board, to be fair, but the same argument applies. They're both weird like that. What's worse is that I've gotten my Harvest Moon game with a peg inside already broken, so it's not like I'm being clumsy with them (and I'm not, honest).
The boxes are made of a similarly cheap plastic. None have snapped in half yet, but some tabs (such as the ones that hold the manual in place) have already broken. The boxes use a smooth plastic that's different from the plastic that normal companies use for their boxes. It fells like the kind of plastic you use in a binder or something, that cheap film that you could probably rip with your bare hands. The label is, as you could probably guess with bootleggers like these, lazy at best and confusing at worst. Don't be surprised if you see randomly-photoshopped shit on these boxes. The back shows either more art or, if you're lucky, screenshots for something completely different (and definitely not 8-bit).
The manuals are the best thing in the package, which is rather sad, really. I'm surprised they put the manual together properly rather than putting a fucking staple in the center of the page. I don't read Chinese, so I can't go into the contents too much, but it does outline gameplay and characters, if they bother to. There's images that are of the actual game, so they're a step up from Yong Yong. Some of them apparently have a message on the last page (I've seen this in my copies) that have a short message from the company as well as a reason for making it and stuff, but I'm kinda dubious about that. Unless it says "Thanks for buying out shit and making us filthy rich, fuckers!" it's just lying bullshit at best.
I can only wonder what that bird's thinking, and I can certainly guess.
As for the games themselves...Oh, you should know this already. Try to guess how good they are. The only good thing I have to say about their games is that they actually work when you actually manage to get the board in the system. Saving hasn't been a huge problem and none of them have randomly died on me, so that's something, I suppose...