Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Famiclone and a Nintendo Sting Operation

tl;dr The NES-styled Grand Arrow Electronics Hot Boy GA-6000 famiclone was released in 1989. Not long after, in 1991, the managing director of Grand Arrow was arrested in the US for counterfeiting Nintendo games

Famiclones are very common in Taiwan. Most modelled after Nintendo’s iconic red and white console – From a distance it’s impossible to tell the difference. It’s this kind of famiclone that I usually avoid. The GA-6000 uses the same physical design as the Famicom, but it’s the styling that caught my eye.

Grand Arrow GA-6000 Hot Boy

Labelled in English as “Hot Boy”, the Grand Arrow GA-6000 looks just like the other Famiclones that model themselves on the Famicom, but with NES styled controllers and color scheme.

Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone front-side view
Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone

The Mandarin name is 紅孩兒 (Hóng hái ér) “Red Boy”, which also happens to be the name of a character from the classic Chinese novel, Journey to the West.

I bought this console at a local second-hand shop. It came with a selection of games, all of which are also bootlegs. The nice thing is they are all labelled from the same shop. A video game shop on the other side of town. I’ve basically bought someone’s video game collection from the 80s.

光宏電子專賣店 Guanghong Electronics Store
Label for 光宏電子專賣店 Guanghong Electronics Store still stuck to the console

The shop has been closed for years, but the shop sign can still be seen above the door in Google Maps.

I really love the design of this console. It could be because I’ve never felt nostalgic for the Famicom, since I didn’t have one growing up, but seeing one styled as a NES gives me something to attach my memories to. The controllers look and feel great.

Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone side-view player 1 controller
Side view player 1 controller
Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone side-view player 2 controller
Side view player 2 controller
Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone motherboard
Inside the GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone

Like all famiclones of the era it’s a full hardware clone and not a NOAC (NES-on-a-chip) like cheap modern clones.

Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy famiclone bottom view
View of GA-6000 Hot Boy base

The bottom of the console actually has the company’s name – Grand Arrow Electronics. Most famiclones that physically model themselves after the Famicom don’t show the company name. They might have branding of some sort, but usually not the name of a manufacturer’s name.

Nintendo Vs Grand Arrow Electronics

I Googled “Grand Arrow Electronics” (in quotes) and all of the results are about a 1995 court case between Nintendo of America and Taiwanese citizen Danny Chu of Grand Arrow Electronics and Aeropower Company, Limited.

Nintendo sued Danny Chu for copyright infringement, selling multi-game carts, and trafficking in counterfeit goods. There’s no mention of clone consoles, though, and this case was solely about creation and distribution of counterfeit game carts.

“Nintendo Agents”

Most interesting is that the defense in the case argued that they only violated the law “as a result of …a private ‘sting’ operation carried out by Nintendo agents“. Did Nintendo pose as potential buyer/distributor for the counterfeit games in order to catch them doing a deal within the US?

This defense was rejected by the court, however, and they “found that the Chu defendants had imported …infringing cartridges, and had exported (them) to Canada and Mexico …with the knowledge that they ultimately would enter the United States.

It seems that Grand Arrow might not have been importing games into the States, instead selling them in Mexico and Canada. When these games started to turn up within the US Nintendo set up a sting operation to catch Grand Arrow red-handed. As they were caught in the US they could be sued on Nintendo of America’s home turf.

Ultimately, Nintendo won the case, and Danny Chu was ordered to pay damages of £330,000US minus $45,000 Chu’s company had already paid for another criminal proceeding (I’m not sure what this was).

Whether or not Nintendo received their money, and what happened to Danny Chu after the case, is unknown.

Other Arrests

The arrests that led to this court case happened in 1991 (not long after the release of the GA-6000 Hot Boy), when seven people from Taiwanese companies were arrested for “manufacturing and exporting counterfeit Nintendo video games“.

In addition to Danny Chu, the other arrests where:

“Patrick P. Yu and George Yeh of United Microelectronics Corp.; Uen Fu Wong and Jimmy Yao of NTDEC; King K. Huan and Alice Chang of King Hwa Industrial Corp.; and Joseph Benmeleh of Galaxia Overseas …and Tina Huang of Rainco Man International Co. Ltd. of Taiwan.”

After some more research into Grand Arrow and Danny Chu I found this business listing for Grand Arrow with the company’s name in Mandarin 箭鴻電子股份有限公司 along with Danny Chu’s Taiwanese name 朱銀龍. Using this I found the company info on datagovtw.com.

Grand Arrow was founded in September 1989 and was dissolved in December 2003. The areas of business are listed as including “the manufacture and trading of video game consoles, accessories and parts”, “fitting printed circuit board connectors” and “import and export”. Everything you need for a bootleg video game business under one roof.

Unfortunately Danny Chu (朱銀龍) was not listed. Presumably he stopped working there after the court case. It’d be interesting to know the full story, and if a sting really did take place that would make a great movie. I wonder if Danny Chu was the fall guy, and if not why would he personally attend such a risky deal. Maybe we’ll never know.

Hot Boy in Korea

Amongst the search results for Grand Arrow Electronics was a post by a Korean gamer who drew the same conclusions as me about the design of the console. From the bad Google translation it looks like he had this console as a child.

Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy with "Family Computer" branding
Grand Arrow Electronics GA-6000 Hot Boy with “Family Computer” branding

Note that the front label actually says Family Computer in the same font as Nintendo’s Famicom. His console is unit #80513 and mine is #67844, so it’s possible later models were all branded this way.

Hot Boy in Brazil

Ultimate Console Database has a listing for a Brazilian NES/Famicom compatible console dated as 2005. The Hot Boy logo is exactly the same as my famiclone, and the controllers look almost exactly the same.

Dual Famicom/NES clone from Brazil
Dual Famicom/NES clone from Brazil

Other sightings

A post on The Famiclone Shelf mentions a “third-party NES controller” that looks very similar to the GA-6000’s controllers. Maybe Grand Arrow Electronics was also producing NES peripherals?

Top Right: 3rd party NES controller from The Famicom Shelf
Top Right: 3rd party NES controller from The Famicom Shelf

Originally I thought it was impossible that the Brazilian clone could have been released in 2005, since Grand Arrow ceased trading in 2003. Though, according to this February 2008 photo. A GA-7000 model was being sold in Japan.

At the time of writing there’s also an eBay listing for the GA-7000, which states the manufacturer as 箭鴻電子股份有限公司 (Grand Arrow Electronics) and has “Made in Taiwan” printed on the box and console. Maybe they were still operating into the late 2000s.

This model is no different from countless other famiclones that look exactly like the Famicom. Given this was a late 2000s clone it’s also undoubtedly a cheap NOAC.

Here’s some photos taken from the eBay listing before they disappear:

GA-7000 box front
GA-7000 box front

GA-7000 box back
GA-7000 box back

GA-7000 console
GA-7000 console

GA-7000 console back
Note the lack of RF modulator