Menace Beach, and Sunday Funday. One's a Color Dreams release;
the other is a Wisdom Tree release.

Formed in 1989, Color Dreams was one of the first companies after Tengen to produce unlicensed games for the NES. With their robin's-egg blue carts and cocky rebellious attitude, they caused something of a stir in the industry... a stir that died down quickly when everyone realised how bad the company's games were. Nintendo had nothing to worry about from Color Dreams.

The company (along with its Bunch Games label) produced around twenty games, including one Atari Lynx game. Unreleased games included a whole line of Genesis carts, as well as the mysterious Hellraiser. Touted as using a special chip to get 16-bit quality out of the NES, the game was cancelled in the early stages of development when it was realized that the cost of the chips would make the game nearly $100.

Like many small NES licensees, Color Dreams had trouble staying afloat, bouncing paychecks every now and then. So, the company called no lesser a person than the Supreme Being for help...

Someone came up with the idea of doing a Bible-based game and people didn't really take it seriously... about six months later, work actually started on one. No one knew it was going to take off, but it took off like crazy."

- Vance Kozik, Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree programmer

That first game was Bible Adventures, a cheap Super Mario Bros. 2-like game which occasionally printed Bible quotes on screen. There were eight other games for the NES (as well as ports to other consoles); the best being the actually somewhat respectable Zelda clone Spiritual Warfare.

The company is actually still in existence, and are STILL selling their NES games (if you really, really feel like spending $40 on them). Give them a call if you'd like at 1-800-722-4253.

Most of their NES games are rather shoddily coded, as the Color Dreams games were.. in fact, some of the Wisdom Tree games are actually the exact same as Color Dreams games released before, with some graphics added or changed to make the game more religiously-oriented. For example, Exodus is Crystal Mines with changed graphics, and Sunday Funday is actually Menace Beach with a few changed enemies and graphics.

They also have the honor of making the last NES game ever released in the US - Sunday Funday has a copyright date of 1995 on the title screen.

All of the Wisdom Tree NES releases can be considered fairly rare. Certain games like Bible Adventures can be found in both light-blue colored carts (from when Wisdom Tree was using their leftover Color Dreams carts) and black colored carts. Also worth noting is that certain games have some paper-based documentation that is needed to play the game effectively.. for example, Bible Buffet comes with a fairly hefty Bible quizbook that the game uses to quiz you on stuff. It's not necessary to play the game, but it's still a neat item to have.

About the "religious" slant... Many Wisdom Tree games give you occaisional Bible quizzes as a way to give bonus items (King of Kings, Bible Buffet, Spiritual Warfare) or simply quote scripture occaisionally (Sunday Funday, Bible Adventures). Still others aren't so overt about it and simply give the game an overall Biblical theme.

Although none of these games are really all that good, they are interesting to look through because of their Christian slant and their general oddness. After playing the games, one can understand why Nintendo didn't pursue legal action against them for producing unlicensed games. One can imagine the headlines: "NINTENDO SUES ACTS OF GOD"..

Besides their NES games, Wisdom Tree produced versions of their games for Genesis, Game Boy and the PC. They also made a version of the King James Bible for the Game Boy, as well as the only unlicensed SNES game ever made - Super Noah's Ark 3d. This game is basically a Wolfenstein 3d clone with changed graphics - in fact, it is Wolfenstein 3d; the maps are exactly the same. There's been a rumor that id Software, in retaliation for how Nintendo treated them during the SNES port of Wolf3d, gave the engine code to Wisdom Tree so they could produce this game..

The strangest thing about Super Noah's Ark 3d is that it's shaped kind of like a system adaptor or Game Genie - you have to stick a cart on top of it in order for it to work. This is needed to get around the SNES lockout technology. Why wasn't Wisdom Tree able to circumvent the lockout themselves? In a way it represents Wisdom Tree's general game philosophy - as long as the Bible theme is there somehow, don't worry too much about the rest of the game.

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