B1 Intermediate 2113 Folder Collection
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July 15, 1983. Two consoles hit the Japanese market: The Sega SG-1000, and the Nintendo
Family Computer. One was a bit more successful than the other. Sega’s system survived in
its original incarnation for two years and saw the release of about 80 games. The Famicom,
on the other hand, boasted 1,055 titles over the space of 11 years, from Donkey Kong to
Adventure Island IV. That’s a damn healthy lineup for this unassuming lump of plastic.
Seriously. This thing’s barely larger than a single NES cart, slightly wider, a couple
inches longer, and maybe the height of two or three games stacked on top of each other.
We’re here to celebrate the winner of that day’s console war... even if it did take
me 2 hours to get it connected and running on an American TV. Apparently, you have to
use the RF switch from an NES, set that to Channel 3, set the Famicom itself to Channel
1, and then it shows up on Channel 95 for whatever reason. I’m even further confused,
because Felicity in the UK sent this to us, which means she also had PAL issues to figure
out. I salute her diligence.
The Famicom and the NES, despite being effectively the same hardware, are very, very different
systems. As you can see, the Famicom carts are tiny compared to NES carts, though the
size of the circuit board in each is about the same. NES carts also have a 72-pin connection
as opposed to the Famicom’s 60-pins, owing to the presence of the 10 NES lockout chip
that seemed like a good idea for a few seconds in 1985 but ended up just being a pain in
the butt. Also, while the form factor of the controllers are almost identical, the Famicom’s
controller has the wire running out the side rather than the top, and is completely hardwired
into the body of the system itself. The good news is, the controller can’t get lost.
The bad news is, the cord is only about two feet long, so you’ve gotta be hovering right
over the system in order to play it. Weirder still, the second controller lacks Select
and Start buttons of its own, instead boasting a MICROPHONE. Because when’s the last time
you remember using Select or Start in a two-player NES game? At least the microphone served a
purpose in a handful of games, like shouting to kill Pol’s Voice enemies in the Legend
of Zelda and haggling with shopkeepers in Kid Icarus. With hardwired controllers, the
only way to connect another input device - like the infamous Hudson Joycard - is through this
serial port at the front of the machine, which also allows for strange devices like the Hori
Game Repeater. Look it up. It’s nuts. But it speaks to one of the most important aspects
of the Famicom: its expandability. There were dozens of peripherals released, including
- as befitting a system called the “Family Computer” - a keyboard and cassette-based
data recorder, for word processing and BASIC programming (as well as saving Excitebike
tracks). And then there was the Famicom Disk System, which did away with the more expensive
cartridge-based media in favor of rewritable floppy disks. But we’ll save that magic
for tomorrow.
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CGRundertow FAMICOM Video Game Console Review

2113 Folder Collection
阿多賓 published on April 10, 2013
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