Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Famicom Console Wars

Pictured above are the five distinctly different types of Family Computer console that I own. From left we have:

AV Famicom
Square Button Famicom with Famicom Disk System
Regular Round Button Famicom
Red Twin Famicom
Black Twin Famicom

There are a lot of other variants that I don't have and probably don't know about but anyway, these are the five that have fallen into my hands over the years.

I'm a little torn about which one I like the best. The one I use the most is the AV Famicom:
My preference for it is purely functional though. It gives a clearer picture and is easier to hook up than the old RF switch-dependent Famicom, so I use it more.

I like the look of the old Famicoms much better than the AV Famicom though:
The AV Famicom is much sleeker than the old red and white, but I don't view that as a positive thing. Aesthetically the two versions are worlds apart. The AV Famicom, in terms of its design, shares much more in common with the XBox 360 than it does with the original Famicom, even though they are the exact same console on the inside.
The Twin Famicoms for their part are very much the dark horse candidates of my Famicom consoles. I've been so frustrated by the fact that I still can't play them (lacking the necessary AC cables). Chronologically their release falls in between the original Famicom and the AV Famicom, though the overall "feel" of their design makes me categorize them with the old school Famicom rather than the AV one. They look nothing like the old school Famicom, but they share with it a certain "clunky and colorful" appearance that I find very endearing. Give me clumsy over sleek any day - at least so long as it doesn't affect the console's performance.

I feel that if I ever get them working they'll probably be the ones I'll rely on and like the most....but I'll never know for sure until I get a bloody AC adapter for them. Oh, and then I may find I'm in need of a new belt for their disk systems, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

One curious thing that really separates the Twin Famicoms from the others, as Bryan at the Gay Gamer noted recently when he got his, is their size. They are basically only slightly smaller than a regular Famicom and an FDS put side by side:
Obviously that is because inside they are a regular Famicom and FDS put side by side. Still though, I kind of wonder why they chose to orient them like that instead of stacking them, like you do with a regular Famicom/FDS combo:
It would dramatically reduce their profile and save a lot of shelf space - which readers of this blog will know is one of my over-arching concerns in life. I'm sure they had some valid technical or cost related reasons for doing it the way they did, but still. Would have been kind of nice.


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Sean!

    As much as I love my recently acquired Twin, I would have bought the original Famicom if had the AV outs that are the highlights of the AV Famicom and the Twin. There's something very pleasing about the design of the original FC, in my opinion.

    Like you, I'm not a fan of the AV Famicom. Honestly, it doesn't look like a system designed by the masters at Nintendo, who usually are spot-on when it comes to system design.

  2. Yeah, the "AV" in "AV Famicom" is the only reason to get one in my opinion. It is hard to love something that plain and gray.

    As a piece of useless trivia, I should mention that even in Japan the old school Famicoms are difficult to hook up to TVs these days. Not just the newer TVs themselves, but the antenna connections in apartments and houses are no longer compatible with the old RF switch. And when this country switches from Analogue to digital broadcasting next year it'll become even further muddled I'm sure.

  3. Oh, that's too bad.

    BTW, what game is in the FC that's atop the Disk System? I can't quite make it out.

    Also, I like that you have Sky Kid in one of the other systems. I've been playing that a lot lately and really enjoying it (even though I can't yet get past level three!).

  4. That is "City Connection", not a bad little game.

    I like Sky Kid too. Its fun, but I also have trouble getting past level 3. Level 2 is pretty hard too actually:)

  5. Oh, City Connection! I remember that game. I don't think I've played the Famicom/NES version, though -- just the arcade version. Now I'm going to have to look it up :)