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CREATED XXX.XX.XXXX
UPDATED DEC.01.2007
RICHARD FRICK INTERVIEW
PROFILE
Name Richard Frick
Profession
NES Reference American Video Entertainment

Welcome to NES WORLD's second interview. With great feedback on the Vance Kozik I decided to start searching for other people working for one of the unlicensed companies. In a search on Hotbot I ended up on a personal page for Dave Ashley, who turns out to be a friend of Richard Frick who ran American Video Entertainment.

Today Richard Frick works for "My Software" where he is Director of the Information Technology section. He's a very busy man, so it took awhile before he was able to answer my questions, but here they are, so have fun :)

INTERVIEW
RICHARD FRICK:
Here it is so far, sorry for the delay. I haven't thought about these things for several years so it has taken three or four hours of time to collect my thoughts regarding your questions. As I answered these questions, a lot of memories returned, many favorable, many frustrating. I think the mix of games AVE did were of good value. Some much better than others. We had good pricing and good support from the retailers up and until the compatibility became a real problem.

NES WORLD:
When was AVE formed?,

RICHARD FRICK:
Around February 1990.

NES WORLD:
By whom?

RICHARD FRICK:
Macronix Inc.

NES WORLD:
How many employees did AVE have?

RICHARD FRICK:
It varied. Macronix had 60 employees but we contracted out manufacturing. American Video (AVE) used Macronix for shipping, purchasing, accounting, etc. AVE had 3 dedicated people, Myself, Phil Mikkelson, and Fred Hoot.

NES WORLD:
What exactly was American Game Carts Inc (AGCI)? a subsidiary of AVE?

RICHARD FRICK:
ACGI was a wholly owned subsidiary of Share Data of Arizona. ACGI was formed in 1988 or 1989 by Share Data. Share Data was the company that first created the "Budget" line of software based on the TV game shows "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune". I was with Share Data before ACGI and produced "Chiller". Share Data had approximately 60 employees.

NES WORLD:
Wouldn't it have been easier for AVE just to get an official license from Nintendo? I mean, it would've caused a lot less trouble right?

RICHARD FRICK:
Macronix was a "ROM" (Read only Memory) manufacturer, and Nintendo didn't purchase any ROM's from Macronix. 60% to 70% of all ROMs went to video games and Nintendo would not approve any manufacturer of ROM's other than Japanese manufacurers. To try to get some of the Video Game business, Macronix tried to get uncommitted to Nintendo, video game companies to purchase their ROM's along with the "NintendoCompatible" (NINA) chip. The problem of upsetting Nintendo was outweighed by the better profits they (the uncommitted game companies) would get by purchasing Macronix ROMs and (NINA's). Unfortunately, Macronix was unable to convince any Game companies to use their technology and thus American Video Entertainment.

NES WORLD:
AVE couldn't have had original NES development kits, did you reverse-engineer the NES and make one yourself?

RICHARD FRICK:
We didn't program any of the games internally. Our developers did their own reverse engineering. We never made a development kit.

NES WORLD:
What exatly happened to AVE? Why did they dissapear?

RICHARD FRICK:
With Nintendo constantly changing of the base unit's internal workings. We could not come up with new compatibility chips fast enough. We would be 100% compatible, and Nintendo would change a few thousand units and ship them to the US. We could not blame Toys R Us for being uncomfortable selling a cartridge that may or may not work. The changes Nintendo made violated the Anti-trust laws of the United States. We hired Joseph Alioto (the famous and best Anti-Trust lawyer in the United States) and sued Nintendo for anti-trust. Unfortunately due to the judicial appointments made to the Federal Courts by Ronald Reagan and the changing business "climate" it went from 95% to 45% we would win. This happened during the three years we litigated the lawsuit. Without sufficient revenue from the Nintendo based products we could not get into the SEGA based units. Dave Ashley would have been our source of development systems for the SEGA.

NES WORLD:
Where are the remains of AVE today? Prototype cartridges and such....

RICHARD FRICK:
I have some of the prototypes to this day. The rest of AVE inventory was sold off as scrap or to discounters.

NES WORLD:
Color Dreams' game Menace Beach is on AVE's Maxi15, did AVE buy the rights for the game?

RICHARD FRICK:
Yes we bought the rights for multi-game cartridges.

NES WORLD:
Which game was AVE's last release?

RICHARD FRICK:
The last release was a pool game that was never sold at retail.

NES WORLD:
What were the relations between Sachen, Hacker International and AVE? Because two releases were Tiles of Fate and Mermaids of Atlantis, both made by Sachen and both seem like "censored" versions of 2 hacker titles.

RICHARD FRICK:
The Sachen games we sold were "Double Strike" and "Pyramid". As I recall the other titles came from TXC which and made the "censored" versions for Hacker International.

NES WORLD:
Did you ever plan to make more multicartridges than the Maxi15?

RICHARD FRICK:
If it had been successful, we had enough games to do a second 15 in one.

NES WORLD:
Are AVE games freeware today or are they still copyrighted?

RICHARD FRICK:
Most of the games are owned by the original creators. We usually had world wide rights to sell them but the game concept and re-use on other platforms was owned by the creator.

NES WORLD:
Did Nintendo often sue AVE for one reason or another? :)

RICHARD FRICK:
No. Only once, and only as a result of our suing them first.

NES WORLD:
Did you ever plan to sell games in Europe?

RICHARD FRICK:
Yes, we actually sold some games in Europe, but the incompatibility in Europe was worse than in the US because Europe got machines later in the production run. We had distributors in Germany, France, UK, Austria, and Holland. The most successful distributor was in Austria. He sold several cases of products.

NES WORLD:
Do you know anything about AGCI's unreleased game Crossbow? (there was an add for it in AVE's game Wally Bear) if so, which type was it. Why wasn't it released? Did a prototype even exist?

RICHARD FRICK:
Share Data licensed the entire catalog of EXIDY coin operated games. "Chiller" was chosen as the first title due to it's uniqueness compared to any other Nintendo game. Crossbow never really existed in any other form other than screen shots of various backgrounds.