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Tectoy (known as Tec Toy before late 2007) is a Brazilian video game and electronics company. They are best known for producing, publishing and distributing Sega's consoles and video games in Brazil. The company stock is also traded at Bovespa. The company is headquartered in São Paulo.
The main video game consoles released by Tectoy in Brazil are:
- Master System (1989, from Sega)
- Mega Drive (1990, from Sega)
- Sega Game Gear (1991, from Sega)
- Sega Saturn (1995, from Sega)
- Dreamcast (1999, from Sega)
- Zeebo (2009)
Tectoy also made various Master System and Mega Drive derivatives targeting the low-income market. Those consoles don't have the cartridge slots, and games are recorded directly on internal memory. The most recent notable of those ones is the Mega Drive Portable.
Tectoy was founded in 1987 by a group of former Sharp engineers led by Daniel Dazcal, with the purpose of making electronic toys, a niche that other Brazilian toy manufacturers had failed to notice. They quickly struck a deal to become the exclusive representative of Japanese video game giant Sega Enterprises Ltd. Consequently, their first product was the Zillion infrared toy gun. In the coming years they would release all of Sega's game machines, from the Master System to the Dreamcast. Their success in the gaming field was so notable that toys became a minor part of their business.
With Tectoy, Sega had a huge advantage over rival Nintendo in the Brazilian market; although there were countless Nintendo Entertainment System clones there, Nintendo had no official representatives until 1993. This way, the Master System was a massive success there, and Tectoy even made some game versions not released anywhere else. During the 1990s, Tectoy had 80% of the official Brazilian market.
Tectoy translated several games to Portuguese, such as the first three Phantasy Star games (but not IV, which only had a fan-made translation in 2004's Shining in the Darkness and Riven (which also had its voices dubbed).
They also modified some games to replace characters with local licenses; that way, Teddy Boy became Geraldinho of Glauco, certain Wonder Boy titles became Monica's Gang games and Ghost House also starred El Chapulín Colorado ("Chapolim Colorado"), a Mexican character very popular in Brazil.
More interestingly, they have made unique ports and even developed original games. Some of these are: Sonic Blast for the Master System, Duke Nukem 3D for the Mega Drive and an original Woody Woodpecker game for the Mega Drive and Master System. More recently they released two Mega Drive titles based on Show do Milhão — a TV game show hosted by Silvio Santos in the same vein of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
However, the company faced major financial hardships in the late 1990s. With the liberalization of imports and the overvaluation of the real, local companies were facing a flood of cheap Chinese toys and electronics; and the Sega Saturn was faring poorly against the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 - especially since Nintendo finally had an official representative in Brazil. In late 1997 the company underwent a concordata (similar to a chapter 11), and closed its toy business. It was hoped that Sega's upcoming Dreamcast, to be released in 1999, would perform better than the Saturn. However, it did poorly as well. Also, by that time, Tectoy had to face the opposite problem as before: the dollar skyrocketed, making the Dreamcast very expensive to import.
Around that same time, Tectoy started diversifying, at first with karaoke devices, and later selling DVD players and MP3 players. They also manage the Brazilian servers for Ragnarok Online. Also, their Tectoy Mobile division, founded in 2005, is the Brazilian publisher of cell phone games by companies such as Sega Mobile, In-Fusio and Bandai.
However, they still make older Sega consoles, especially variants of the Master System and the Mega Drive with dozens of built-in games.
Besides the video games, Tectoy's most successful toy was Pense Bem ("Think well" in Portuguese): using books (themed history, geography, mathematics, etc.) with questions, the kids clicked the buttons with alternatives in a machine. The toy responded if it was right or wrong. Some Pense Bem books included famous characters like Monica's Gang, Sonic the Hedgehog, Dinosaurs and Donald Duck. Beside the books, Pense Bem had 10 built-in programs. Pense Bem-themed games are included in the new Super Mega Drive 3 and Master System 3 Collection.