Availability: 15th, July, 1983
Price: ¥14,800 ($186) $432.15
In the early 1980’s Nintendo had a very successful arcade line of games including among others Popeye, Mario Bros and of course the Donkey Kong games.
Nintendo had produced other home gaming consoles in the late 1970’s as part of their TV Game systems which were essentially Pong clones. It was because
of the success of the arcade games that Nintendo decided to port many of their arcade hits to the home consumer market, and in doing so created the
The Nintendo Famicom (named meaning “Family Computer”) was released on July 15th, 1983 and retailed for ¥14,800 or $186 USD. Initially when the Famicom
was released sales were very slow, and many of the consoles had a faulty chip in them. Nintendo soon recalled the first batch of Famicoms and quickly
addressed the issue. Shortly thereafter, the Famicom became the best-selling game console in Japan in 1984. It was because of the success of the Famicom
in Japan that Nintendo decided to export the system to North America and the rest of the word, and re-brand it as the “Nintendo Entertainment System”,
better known as the NES.
The Famicom was designed by Masayuki Uemura and varies significantly from the NES counterpart. The Famicom is cream white in color with a dark red
boarder, eject button, and power and reset buttons.
The Famicom isn’t region locked per say, however both the Famicom and NES had different pin sizes for the cartridges, so you can’t play each games on the
other without an adapter. The Famicom has a 60 pin cartridge design, while the NES has a 72 pin cartridge design. Since the Famicom only has a 60 pin
cartridge design, the games are much smaller, approximately half of the size of the NES game cartridges.
The Famicom also features a cartridge slot at the top of the console where the cartridges plug into, unlike the NES “Toaster” models where the games
slide in from the front of the console. Also, unlike the NES the Famicom doesn’t feature the 10NES lockout chip. The 10NES lockout chip was built into
the NES to avoid third party companies from making pirated games.
The original Famicom features an RF cord, however later on Nintendo released the redesigned AV Famicom console (looks a lot like the NES model 2 top
loader) that featured AV cables.
Similar to the NES controller, the Famicom Controllers feature a “B” and “A” button, a directional pad, and “select” and “start” buttons in the middle.
The controllers are dark red with a gold plate finish, and unlike the NES, are hardwired into the console. The player 1 controller has a very unique
built in mic that can be used in games including The Legend of Zelda when a player yells into the controller.
The Famicom main competitors were two other 8-bit consoles. The first was the Sega Master System. Released in the U.S. in 1986, it was a superior gaming
experience with a higher processor that allowed for better graphics and sound. While it sold in the United States and Japan, the Sega Master System’s
only real success was in European markets. Nintendo’s other competitor was Atari. The company had originally reached out to Atari with the interest of
reviving the video game industry together. However, Atari did not comply and released its own console to compete with Nintendo. Atari’s 7800 intended
to right the company’s prior failure with their 5200 console. However, the console was first released during the video game crash. It was re-released
in 1986, but the NES was so popular by this point that it stole all of Atari’s sales. There seemed to be no place for Atari’s system. Both the Atari
7800 and the NES were built with a chip (Nintendo’s was called the 10NES) that prevented unauthorized software from being played on their consoles.
Nes and Famicom Differances:
There are countless differences between the Famicom and the NES. The color scheme is perhaps the most notable. While the NES is mostly gray, the Famicom
was white with red buttons and controllers. It was also much smaller than the NES. The game cartridges were of different shapes and sizes, but they did
tend to be smaller than the consistent gray boxes that all U.S. titles were presented in. Also, the controllers on the Famicom each had a microphone built
Top Games :
1) Mario Bros
2) Super Mario 3
3) Dragon Quest
4) Duck Hun