Russians had Dendy and Simba's, Poles had Pegasus.
Hello everyone! I'm writng from Poland to describe you the history of Famicom clones in here. Please forgive me any mistakes, especially those extra commas. This is my first article. All Polish names are written phonetically in "English" (I hope, tested how Google says it). If you read carefully to the end, you'll discover an amazing connection between the famiclones and a cola drink. Let's start!
Pegasus name and history
Pegasus is a name virtually unknown in the whole world, but surprisingly widely known in Poland. All was caused by Nintendo! When they started to sell NES, they forgot about Poland (generally about whole Europe) and the console was here really difficult to get (there wasn't any official sale of NES in Poland), so the best possible way to play computer games was buying a computer. Everything changed in 1990, when one of cheap Far-Eastern clothing importers, Marek Jutkiewicz [read: Mahrekh Youtkyeavetch], went on an usual business travel to Taiwan. While searching for suppliers, he found a cheap clone of Japanese Nintendo Famicom and bought it. Jutkiewicz returned home with this "magical box" and showed it to his old friend, Dariusz Wojdyga [read: Daryoush Voydeega]. They set up a company to bring the first ever game console to Poland. Wojdyga gave Jutkiewicz money and also invented the name: Pegasus. The company (named "Bobmark International") began selling the consoles.
The 1st Pegasus
The 1st Pegasus, MT-777DX, had (of curse both illegally used) Nintendo name on its box and the picture taken from NES box. Look, they forgot to delete NES cartridge and pad from it :D
The other side of box.
What's inside. The actual console had PEGASUS name on the slot cover (compare with the box). The controllers on this photo were taken from Dendy Junior (Russia) - the original ones had "Quick Shoot" inscription above "Start"/"Select" buttons and are shown on the box above.
Pegasus looked similarly to Dendy, Simba's, Subor and all famiclones produced at that time; maybe it was a bit more rounded. It had two gamepads (with turbo buttons!), a zapper (optional/sold separately), a power supply, an RF cable (not shown in the picture instead of AV cable), an antenna/console RF switch and also a game cartridge (optional).
The console was advertised on TV, VHS cassettes, in newspapers and color magazines. The voice says: "Rodzinna gra komputerowa" which means: "Family computer game".
Game cartridges for Pegasus were the Japanese 60-pin Famicom version (you wasn't able to play the 72-pin NES cartridges on Pegasus without a special adapter). They were generally yellow and usually equipped with such games as Super Mario, Duck Hunt, Contra. Almost all cartridges were pirate copies made in China and Russia (see NES in Russia article by OsiaBender). Markets in Polish cities were full of carton boxes filled by yellow plastic cartridges since 90s until even early 2010s(!). (In)famous were these named "999999 in 1", "1000000 in 1" etc., which had 3-6 games, multiplied many many many times with hardly any changes (blue-colored Mario etc.). Some shops were selling pirate cartridges, too.
Two private collections of game cartridges. The rounded ones were made by the same factory which made Golden 5 and 4. The square ones were made by many different companies.
However, we had official, licensed releases in Poland, unlike Russia. The most popular were two multicarts from Codemasters/Camerica:
Golden Four ("Quattro Adventure"): Boomerang Kid, Super Robin Hood, Go! Dizzy Go!, Soccer Simulator
Golden Five ("Pegasus Golden Five"): Bignose Freaks Out, Micromachines, The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy, The Ultimate Stuntman, Bignose the Caveman.
Did somebody misspell "Adventure" or maybe I'm wrong? The 1st cartridge is on the right and the 2nd cartridge is to the left.
The cartridges' game-choice menus. Their on-screen names were just "Pegasus 4 in 1" and "Pegasus 5 in 1".
Both were sold in boxes (1st in paper, 2nd in plastic) and the 2nd had a Polish translation of manual (with an English original in a separate booklet). These were more expensive than typical Chinese bootleg cartridge and were sold in shops only. Single-game carts with these games were also released but were not popular because of their multi-game equivalents sold at double price of one game.
2nd model of Pegasus
Bobmark International made over 6 000 000 zł (PLN) in first three years. They released also a new model of Pegasus, produced by Micro Genius. Each of 2 next revisions was made worse than the earlier model as they were produced in different factories*. The 1st model (MT-777DX) wasn't known outside Poland. This specific model, however, was sold also outside Poland, by Micro Genius (as Video Game IQ-502), Steepler (Russia, as Dendy Classic 2), Stylandia (as Video Game IQ-502) and probably more, so it was known in the world much better than the 1st one. A similar-looking console is still sold somewhere as Gentry Video Game GT-3300 (in my opinion it's just a newer version but I might be wrong*) and is available also in green, yellow and red color.
Box of 2nd Pegasus (IQ-502). This time with Polish photo (I guess from the clothes and items in family's hands).
The 2nd side of box. Notice that the box had no more Nintendo name.
What's inside. Original AC adaptor, RF antenna/console switch, the console, a cartridge, a zapper, an RF cable and two pads. The picture shows also an AV cable.
Some advertisements from 90s' color magazines.
A beautiful photo of IQ-502 with the famous "168 in 1" inserted in it, the "Pegasus Golden Five" standing in the middle behind it, two gamepads connected to it, a zapper not connected to it because of lack of ports (should be connected to "Player 2" socket) and the yellow cartridges all around in the background.
The 3rd Pegasus The 3rd model was MT-888DX. It was designed to resemble SNES but was still a clone of 8-bit Famicom. It was also known as SP-60 (written on the console above the eject button).
Its box. According to the medal-shaped sticker, the console has a built-in "500 in 1" cartridge which turns on when the games' port is empty.
How it looks like. This particular one doesn't have the "SP-60" text but has "Eject" written instead of it.
Super Pegasus - the 4th model
When the new Pegasus was sold out (or just when the company wanted to increase their income…?), they released another model: "Super Pegasus" with the same design. Or rather they just changed the box and the prints on the console but it was still the same 8-bit Famicom clone; produced by Subor or Micro Genius or another Chinese factory…
The box and what's inside. "B. in 300 games" means that it had built-in games.
This one and the previous model were not very popular. Everyone who wanted to own a Pegasus, have already bought it. Many companies started to import cheaper famiclones on their own and if there was still someone who needed a Pegasus, he chose the cheaper one from the market. In this situation, Bobmark International had to do something new in order to subsist.
Pegasus Game Boy
Pegasus branded Game Boy also existed. It had no game link, no headphones output and no diode. It wasn't known widely, because in that time Nintendo discovered Poland on a map and the original console was also sold here, officially! which didn't, of couse, help Bobmark to survive.
Pegasus Game Boy had the exact Nintendo Game Boy appearance. It had "Dot Matrix Stereo Sound" inscription moved to the centre and a 3V DC power socket.
The last Pegasus
In 1994, Jutkiewicz signed a contract with Sega and registered a new company - AGES s.c. [AGhEhS, not 'centuries'!] which became an official SEGA seller in Poland (notice the similar names). He released Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) clone under Pegasus brand. It had a different case, but was still compatible with Sega Genesis games.
Power Pegasus box from both sides.
It was the last released model before the end of brand. The console was very rare and as of now, it is difficult to find any further informations about it or any good pictures. Bobmark International had no more possibility to earn money when AGES existed. Power Pegasus was, unfortunately, a catastrophe and Jutkiewicz didn't make money on it (to be honest, he lost). It was the definitive end of Pegasus. Nobody did use this name anymore.
What Pegasus became in Poland
Pegasus was a very popular 90s children's gift for any occasion, especially on Christmas. Nowadays, many consoles still work. Sometimes you can see in the Internet a sale offer where someone sells a Pegasus console.
This image is taken from an offer where the seller priced this working Pegasus from 90s to… 1 000 zł (~$250). PS3 Super Slim 500GB costs the same (at the moment of writing this, 2015) and is not an 8-bit console from 90s! Original price of IQ-502 without cartridge: ca. 110 zł.
The word "Pegasus" is widely used in Polish as name for all famiclones. Many people thought that the NES is a clone of Pegasus, and the Pegasus is the original console :) Pegasus made people want to buy the original NES to see if it differs. Probably, without Pegasus, nobody in Poland will even try to buy NES from Western Europe. Millions of Polish children used to be playing games on Pegasus. It became the most popular game console ever. Now is a bit forgotten, but children who lived in 90s-00s will never forget what means the word: Pegasus. Cheap modern clones are still available on markets (usually they're models: Ending-Man Terminator BS-500AS, PolyStation, Funstation/Flinstaation 3). The resellers still have some yellow 999999999999[…]9 in 1 cartridges for sale! The "original" Pegasus-branded consoles were high quality products with thick plastics and long cables. Consoles produced nowadays (these not Pegasus-branded) are far worse than even the worst, 3rd revision of IQ-502. They have thin (toxic?) plastics and really short controllers' cables (sometimes even shorter than 1 meter). Their plastics are so much elastic that you can break them while trying to remove a cartridge (but this is a thing you might know, the black stinking Ending-Man Terminator BS clone is sold worldwide). Thanks to Marek Jutkiewicz and Dariusz Wojdyga, Polish language has a new word: Pegasus, which will be used since 90s for decades.
Curious facts about Pegasus
"Pegasus" word in Polish language is: "pegaz". The console was sold under English name to boost its sale.
English texts on Pegasus boxes were put there on the same purpose as above. The distribution company was registered in Poland and the console was sold mainly in Poland, too. So they could put there Polish words, but they didn't.
Pegasus logo had the ® sign, however the trademark was not registered! Bobmark International applied to Patent Office but they refused to register the name.
There were also models which had different appearance, sold also as Pegasus (…MT-555DX, MT-777DX, MT-888DX…). They were probably clones of clone :D and sold by a different company. But! they could be prototypes of a new models sold by Bobmark because they had the same images on boxes as the popular Pegasus-branded consoles.
The same pictures as on MT-999DX box (look above). By the way, nice carpet.
Is it a real Pegasus or not? Who knows!?
Another model of MT-888DX? The huge console on the photo suggest that they covered the Pegasus covering the NES. There are some pictures showing the same as Pegasus' boxes with different brand names: Thompsonic, Nobels or even "Nintendo Compatible" brand :)
How Marek Jutkiewicz met Dariusz Wojdyga? When Jutkiewicz returned from Switzerland where he… was cropping berries. He earned 700$ and bought 100 pairs of trousers from Wojdyga. The same day he sold all of them earning 1400$. Soon, they become good friends.
Marek Jutkiewicz now is the owner of Hoop company. He produces… a CLONE of Coca Cola ;) named Hoop Cola. Bobmark International survived as a drink seller/distributor. AGES still exists as a computer shop in Warsaw (i guess from the address).
Thank you for reading my article. I hope it wasn't waste of time. Yes, I'm not good in writing, but I added many (more precisely, twenty three) pictures to make a good impression… So the article become an image stock - but there's still some text. All the images were found on the Internet. Have a nice day :)
This article was created with help of Ralphwiggum. Thank you!
*Most of people think that Micro Genius, the company which produced the original IQ-502 console got closed down during production of this model and the later IQs were made in different factory. However, there are pictures taken in Vietnam showing a GT-3300K console (the modern one with the same appearance as IQ-502) originally foiled in box with original Micro Genius power supply, which may suggest that the company continued production under name "Gentry" and this caused the opinion of those people. Is it true? I don't know. Do you? [Your answer] - That's exactly what I thought ;)
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