Sunday, August 21, 2011

I've got those Famicom Disk System Blues....

Are you the type of person who just doesn't have enough frustration in life? Do you enjoy disappointment? Thrive under annoying circumstances?

If you answered "yes" to all three of the above questions, a Famicom Disk System would be perfect for you!

Alas, I answered "no" to all three. I was so happy when I just had my Famicom carts to collect and play with. Good old Famicom carts. They almost never break. If they do, all you have to do usually is blow on them. Easy solution. And if the game label says "Super Mario Bros." then that is what game you are going to get.

Since I got my functioning FDS a few weeks ago though things have changed, man (may I call you "man"?). As the above photo indicates, I now have three copies of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Famicom Disk System. Until this morning I only had two. Neither one of which worked. Error 27 all the way, baby.

I found another copy of it for 100 yen at Omocha Souko today. For 100 yen I figured what the hell, even if there is only a 1 in 10 chance of it working, its still worth the shot.

I just got it home. Guess what? Yup, it doesn' t work.

Link I tried and I tried and I tried and I tried....I can't get NO (duh duh duh da duh duh)....FDS Satisfaction!

Sigh. At least I can probably boast the largest collection of non-functioning copies of Super Mario Bros. 2 out there. I guess that is something!

But not to worry, I also bought a Kinnikuman game for the Disk System which was also 100 yen!
See, it even says Kinnikuman on the Disk label (er, that bunch of Japanese writing in red says "Kinnikuman"):
Cool, so I'll just pop that in there and enjoy a cool game of....
Scramble Wars? What the hell is that?

Ah, some kind of Gundam themed game. Oh well, better than nothing!

I remember watching an episode of Famicom Dojo once where the discussed this problem - FDS disks that were re-written with other games. But you know, buying one yourself is just one of those things you never think will actually happen to you - until it does.

So remember: unless you answered "yes" to the three questions above, be very wary about purchasing a Famicom Disk System. And don't do drugs. That's all the advice I got.

Related Posts:
- I Nearly Died Getting a Twin Famicom Today
- 80s Girls and the Famicom: Miho Nakayama's Tokimeki High School Idol Hotline


  1. Since when did you find a working Disk System? I must've missed that post... anyway, good luck finding games that work... and are what they say they are. Also, I have some Disk System recommendations for you: Sword of Kalin (Kalin no Tsurugi)... and pretty much ANYTHING by Konami. Some of their best retro games were on that thing.

  2. Well, that sucks! I wonder why gamers would overwrite a perfectly playable game with another. Couldn't you buy blank disks for that purpose? Anyway, I hope you find a playable copy of SMB 2 soon :)

  3. I picked up a stack of FDS games for cheap in a junk bin at a Japanese store, and I'm really surprised that all of them work perfectly so far. On the other hand, I'd actually picked up a standalone disk system at a garage sale (here in NJ of all places) that came with "Famicom Grand Prix II"...which ended up being Volleyball (boo) and Zanac (much better!) So I guess until the disk belt on my Twin Famicom goes, I'll have been pretty lucky!

  4. Skyrunner - yup, I got a working Twin Famicom a few weeks back! Thanks for the recommendations too, if I find working copies I will look for some Konami titles!

    Bryan - yeah, it is kind of strange isn't it? Maybe Kinnikuman just isn't an interesting game or something!

    Discoalucard - man, you are lucky. I have about 15 FDS games (all from junk bins too) and only 2 of them work. Not sure if the problem isn't with my FDS and not the disks as that must be an unusually high fail rate. And that is amazing that you found an FDS at a garage sale in NJ, I guess its true what they say - you never know what you'll find!

  5. Amazing that disks got over-written, but only because I don't recognise the floppy disks the FDS uses:P

    I'm assuming there were either pirate carts used to allow that kind of thing, or Japanese PCs used the same type of floppy disk?

  6. Grrr, pesky copy-overers! (>_<) Is there any particular reason why so few FDS games work? Other retro systems with magnetic discs don't seem to have anywhere near the fail-rate the FDS has. I want to play Otocky, have you played that? :)

  7. Sean - Actually the FDS were designed to be written over by Nintendo. Back in the 80s they had little kiosks where you could take your old disks and have new games written onto them. It was much cheaper than buying a regular new game, so when people got bored with their old games they would do that. The legacy of that is a lot of FDS games that still have their original game's label but are actually a completely different game.

    Simon - I'm mystified by how many of my FDS games don't work. The majority I got from one source, and they were all in a junk bin, so I wonder if they weren't stored next to a big magnet or something by mistake. :) I've never tried Otocky unfortunately, but I look forward to reading a review of it on your blog!
    Simon -

  8. Haha, I'll give it a go! Can I emulate FDS games? I've not even tried yet, actually. I think Otocky might take a bit of time to learn too and there's probably no instruction in English. Challenge accepted! :P

  9. Oh yes, it's possible. How do you think I've played them? Disk Systems are expensive on eBay, and with a chance it doesn't work? I'm all for playing on the original system, but with odds like those in this day and age it's easier to play on an emulator. As for the Famicom itself... I like the actual system any day. Maybe one day I'll get a working Disk System and games...

  10. Glad to know that it is possible to emulate FDS games, though like Skyrunner I prefer to use the actual system :)

  11. Thanks for the info Sean - I remember reading elsewhere that Nintendo offered disk-copying kiosks back in the day, I just assumed that there were blank disks for that kind of thing and that any FDS disk would do the job!

  12. Yeah, I thought so too but after doing a bit of research it seems you could overwrite any Disk. Not sure why anyone would have done so though, seems kind of sacrilegious:)

  13. At first I was wondering why everyone was surprised that someone wrote over the Kinnikuman game. But then I realized that it wasn't THAT Kinnikuman game.

    Actually, reminds me of today. One of my favorite retro YouTube gaming shows is "Continue?" (search ContinueShow) on YouTube. And on just the video released today, one of them bought what he thought was Gauntlet on NES for $2, because although the label was removed, someone wrote "Gauntlet" in sharpie on it. When they put it in, they discovered it was actually a terrible Captain Planet game.

  14. Yup, not THAT Kinnikuman;)

    And oh man, I had Captain Planet on my Apple IIC back in the day. Actually, I also had Gauntlet. If I were to by a copy of Gauntlet and find that it is actually Captain Planet ---- yes, yes I would be sore about it. Great TV show that Captain Planet was, but not much of a game!

  15. I actually have a cartridge copy of that Gundam game, I think.
    (Also, tough luck with SMB2 XD
    I have a working SMB2 disk, it's pretty cool but 2P mode is replaced with "Luigi Game" where you play as Luigi who jumps higher and might be faster but has very slippery controls)