Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Famicom Cart Storage: My Long Nightmare is Finally Over

Finding a good way to store my Famicom carts has been a problem that has vexed me ever since I got my first carts. My general way of keeping them has been to simply stack them on shelves like this:
This looks good but is wholly impractical. For starters I have no way of determining which game is which. The lack of labels on the sides or top of the cart is probably the only area where I think that NES carts (which have them on the top) are superior to their Famicom counterparts.

A second problem is that even if I know which game I want, if its on the bottom of the stack I've got to move all the other ones to get to it. About 1 time in 5 I'll end up knocking a whole bunch of them off the shelf in the process, resulting in the issuance of a stream of profanity unfit for the dignity of these lovely carts.

Long have I dreamed of a better way to keep them. Imagine me, looking pensively out the window on a rainy day, scattered pile of recently knocked over Famicom carts littering the floor behind me. An 80s love ballad plays softly in the background. My gaze wanders upward to the sky as I wonder: Will there ever be a rainbow (of Famicom storage)?

Yesterday, my dreams were answered. As usual, inspiration came at a time and place you'd least expect it: while wandering the dishes section of a 100 yen shop. My eyes alighted upon a vision of excellence: Dish drying racks.
A bunch of these were haphazardly piled on a shelf under the cold glow of fluorescent light, just below the placemats. I realized at once that these things were exactly the right size to hold a Famicom cart.

I bought a basket-full of the things and headed home to make my Famicom cart storage dreams a reality.

They required a bit of alteration before putting them up. I bought a pack of skewers at the same 100 yen shop:
And glued them to the sides of the racks to prevent the carts from falling off once I put them on:
Then I just hung them on the wall and put my Famicom carts on them. Simple as that:
These things are perfect. At a stroke they instantly took care of all my Famicom cart storage problems. Take a look. The pegs are spaced apart the exact right amount. Just enough so that you can see the front label of the game, but not so much that it would constitute a waste of space:
And whenever I want a cart I can just pick it off its little shelf without disturbing the rest. Its the perfect solution.
I was so impressed that I went back and bought a few more to put my favorite Super Famicom carts on:
In addition to their convenience, I think they look good too. In the past I've seen racks made of plastic that could have fit my Famicom carts, but I don't think they would have done a good job of displaying the games in an attractive way. These wood racks are perfect. They are small and unimposing enough that you barely notice they are there. The carts themselves dominate the visuals, both at night with the lights down:
And in the light of day:
My living room is transformed:
Of course I've got way more carts than can fit on these shelves. But I keep the ones I like to play a lot on there. I can now calmly approach them on a quiet evening, glass of brandy in hand, and peruse the selection without the headaches. My dream come true.

So if you are in Japan and wondering how to store your Famicom carts, get your ass over to your nearest 100 yen shop ASAP!

I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to end this post by noting the passing of opera legend Enrico Pallazzo yesterday.
I take solace in the comforting thought that somewhere up therein that crime scene in the sky he is backing over drug dealers with his car.

Related Posts:
- Famicom Cart Storage Mark II: The Kitchen TV
- Wall of Famicom

15 comments:

  1. Very nice! And such an economical solution, too :)

    BTW, I couldn't help but notice a few of the carts on display in these new photos -- especially Dig Dug and Mappy. I just bought these games, along with a few other Namco classics, on eBay for a nice price. This is funny to me because I always turned my nose up at these ports as a kid. It wasn't until I played through them again (via emulator, admittedly) a few weeks ago that I realized I actually liked them quite a bit :)

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  2. Thanks, Bryan! It all cost about 1000 yen, not bad.

    I love Dig Dug and Mappy. I never played them as a kid, but they are addictive. Arcade style games with relatively simple concepts really appeal to me. Most of those early Namco classics are great (Sky Kid, Galaxian, Pac Man, etc) are on my "play" list!

    You certainly are putting together a nice Famicom collection, be sure to keep putting pictures of your new purchases on your blog!

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  3. I'm with you, Sean -- I'm really getting into old, pick-up-and-play arcade-style games as I get older, probably because I just don't have the attention span I used to when it comes to games.

    As for my collection, I'll definitely be posting images shortly after I receive everything.

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  4. Wow neat way to store the collection sir. Great work! I love how the Famicom carts look awesome all together with their different colors...hmmm I'm thinking an art project now :)

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  5. Bryan - Looking forward to seeing the next set of pics. And of course of your Twin Famicom when it arrives!

    Famicom Freak - thanks! The carts do look nice, don't they? I think that is why I made this a "Famicomblog" instead of a "Super Famicomblog" or "N64blog": their gray carts just don't look as good!

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  6. oh man, this is so adorable :D
    I see how much you care of your cart's in the same way i did.
    I make a compromise whit myself to guardian my memories of when i was young. And for experience, the most simple ideas can come right from an unpredictable manner, and amazing you "hey... wait a minute :D"
    Keep em' coming gamer, these carts are the most valuable history that you can have

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  7. Thanks, Mario! I do indeed love these carts! And you are right on, figuring out these racks was one of those "hey...wait a minute" moments:)

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  8. Congrats on the perfect famicom storage shelves! I have to agree, they are indeed perfect. The spacing in between the pegs is neither too wide nor too narrow and the vertical height is just perfect too, just enough to display the titles on top. And they are easily available at a very low price too and at a very unexpected venue too indeed I must say. It is also very clever of you to fully maximize space by utilizing ur walls. Wall space is often untouched and that leaves a massive amount of space that is left unattended for a very long time. Now not only are you able to retrieve any favorite famicom title without knocking the entire row over, you are also able to have a little decorations on those bare walls of yours, making your room more exciting.

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  9. Such a creative and very useful idea that you have got there! I agree that ideas often pop up when you least expect them to. Nonetheless, you did an awesome job and all the famicom carts are now neatly stored away on the walls, making gaming more organized and stress-free. I think this storage system that you have created can also be used for other things around the house like magazines, VCD, TV remote, and maybe even toiletries? I hope the drying racks come in various sizes so we can customize according to what items we are going to stack up. Thanks for sharing this great idea with all of us so we can all benefit from having extra space on the under-utilized walls!

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  10. Thanks Edward and Cameron.

    Sadly this excellent wall storage system no longer exists. I moved last year and it was one of the things that I had to dispose of when we left. For a good 2 years it did a great job of housing my Famicom carts though, so I highly recommend doing so if you have some kicking around (or other stuff of similar dimensions). They probably do have other sized dish racks, but I was only looking for Famicom sized ones so I`m not sure what else they could be used for. A bit of imagination goes a long way though....:)

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