Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amada Famicom Mini Cards: The Coolest Famicom Thing You Never Knew Existed

Last Thursday afternoon I was in Mandarake, my favorite retro game / toy shop in town. I wasn't actually looking for Famicom stuff on that visit. One of my other hobbies is collecting old baseball cards. They have a glass showcase at the back with a whole bunch of expensive old ones and I went over to take a look at that.

As I was gazing at the faces of Japanese baseball stars from the 70s, something caught my eye at the bottom of the showcase. Vivid in color I immediately recognized the picture as that on the box of the Famicom game Gradius. It is one of my favorite box covers out there.

But what was Gradius doing in a case full of baseball cards? My interest piqued I bent down for a closer look. This revealed that it was not only Gradius, but also Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Kage - all in one box!

"By the gods, what method of madness is this?" I thought.

I always think in the voice of Conan the Barbarian when startled like this.

Then all was made clear. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my newest Famicom related acquisition: an unopened wax box of Amada Family Computer Mini cards!
I had no idea that such a thing even existed, and I'm guessing most of you didn't either as Google searches in both Japanese and English for the phrase "Family Computer Mini Cards" (the full name of these) turned up zilch. So here you go, another blockbuster Famicomblog exclusive!

I love this thing. It is awesome. The individual packs used to retail for 20 yen each back in the day and the box contains 30 packs:
It seems they were released in 1986 and had licenses from Nintendo, Taito, Jaleco, Konami and Sun Electronics Corporation:
Open the box and voila, the packs:
But wait! There is more! The best part is actually hidden under the packs! Look:
I'm not sure why but squirreled away under the packs are three (awesome) boxes filled with even more cards:
I think these are the best part of the whole thing. On one side of them we have Atlantis no Nazo, Argus and Super Mario Bros.:
And on the other side we have Gradius, Super Mario Bros. (its on two) and Legend of Kage:
The cards themselves actually aren't all that exciting. Some of them feature the cover art from the boxes of these games, but most feature screenshots from the game on one side and a little blurb about whatever it is on the back:
But anyway. DAMN look at them boxes again:
So colorful! So cute and small! I probably like these better than my entire Famicom collection put together.

Well, maybe not that much, but they are still great. A must have item for the discerning Famicom collector. If you can find them.

Related Posts:
- Requiem for My Super Mario. Bros. Key Chain
- Super Mario Bros. Bottle Cap Collection by Pepsi


  1. If you can find them being the key, right? :P Still, at least we Famigeeks can gaze in awe at the ones you found :)

  2. LOL, yeah!

    Actually I don't think these things are that rare, I didn't pay much for them (about 20 bucks). Well, either that or they just aren't popular so the price is low.

    This store's site here:

    has some good pics of other cards from similar series (non-Famicom ones). The prices are pretty reasonable.

    I think I might have found a new thing to collect!

  3. Hello Sean!. This is the first time I wrote to you in your blog. I must tell you, your blog it is the most fantastic thing on the internet. As a Famicom lover, here in Argentina, I am truly amazed on your finds and collection, mostly because in this part of the world, Famicom was never released.
    Here in Argentina, we got tons of fami-clones and pirate carts aswell, so this is some sort of "pirate-land", all the pirates you can ask are available here. (Don't ask me why or how).
    Anyway, just wanted to say hi and congratulate you for your amazing blog. It's very entertaining and fun to read. Keep up the good work!

    Go go Famicom!

  4. Thanks, elfamilygame! I am flattered by your kind comment!

    It must be interesting to collect Famicom games in "pirate land"! Do all of the Famicom/NES games have pirate releases in Argentina? I'm curious about what Famicom collecting there must be like!

  5. Those are really cool! These would be something that would find their way into my trading card collection(plus I'm a Nintendo fanboy). These are now on my radar. Hopefully I'll be able to find some.

  6. These are nice, really nice - while the cards themselves are a little dull as you say, their presentation is exquisite.

    Well done on the world first too!

  7. Most famicom games here in Argentina come from Japan, the original ones, and most of them at ridiculous prices, way higher than the real value. It's more frequent to find NES collectors than Famicom collectors. All the original famicom cartridges I have are from other collectors in my country and internet purchases. What you can find here are pirate carts. Most of the NES/Famicom titles have pirate versions or they appear in pirate multi carts. From Rockman to Yo!Noid. You can find most of the titles.
    I am not sure if ALL the titles have a pirate release, since I don't know all the obscure famicom games (I call obscure to Mahjong, poker games, patchinko, etc.) but the most "famous" titles such as FF, Zelda, Castlevania, etc. have their pirate equivalent. Also, for some reason, SACHEN used to be in the 90's a famous videogame company here, so SACHEN releases were pretty common here and same with other "non-licensed" companies.
    It's fun to collect Famicom, the colors, the graphics, the fun of playing all of them. So far, I have 312 carts, like 30 originals and rest are pirate ones, but I will keep hunting and collecting!.

    Again, truly amazed of your blog!


  8. Jason - yes, I think these would make a good addition to your collection. Definitely keep your eyes open!

    Sketcz - Thanks. The beauty is pretty much entirely in the boxes. I've decided to leave the packs "unopened" for that reason!

    Ben - thanks for the overview of the Famicom collecting scene in Argentina, its quite interesting. Sounds like your collection of pirates is quite large too!

  9. Wow, awesome find, I'm jealous! The Gradius cover would've caught my eye too, it's also one of my favourites. I have the superb Engine version but still... :P

  10. Thanks, Simon. That Gradius cover is one of the best, isn't it?