Saturday, July 2, 2011

Famitsu turned 25, and the top Famicom games of 1986

I scored a rather interesting piece of Famicom history today, a copy of the very first issue of Famicom Tsushin.

As kind of an interesting coincidence, this was published in June of 1986, making it almost exactly 25 years old.

Edited to add: at least it would have been. Reading the fine print I realized that this was actually a reprint of the first issue. Very cunningly disguised as the real deal, even the ads are all the same as in the original (as is the publication date). On the bottom of each page in small print, however, it states that it is a reprint and tells readers not to call any of the phone numbers in the ads as they don't work anymore. Guess that explains why it only cost 500 yen! And why it came with a towel celebrating the 800th issue, which I didn't notice until getting it home. This must have been made as part of some sort of commemorative promotion or something:
Anyway, Famicom Tsushin, for those who don't know, is a biweekly video game magazine in Japan that now goes by the abbreviated name of "Famitsu". It is another testament to the power of the Famicom back in the day that this magazine - which is not published by Nintendo and is a general video game mag - was named after the Famicom. It is far and away the most famous gaming magazine in Japan.

Anyway, despite being a repro, there is a LOT of interesting stuff in this thing which will provide me with ample material for a whole bunch of posts. I thought I'd start off with the info on pages 8 and 9 here:
On the left are the results of "reader surveys" in which respondents ranked their favorite games for the Famicom and Famicom Disk System. I put "reader surveys" in quotation marks since I find it hard to figure how they could already be displaying the results of a reader survey in their first issue. But anyway, I thought it was kind of neat just to see what people liked 25 years ago.

Here are the results in order.


1. Goonies
2. Legend of Zelda
3. Gegege no Kitaro
4. Gradius
5. Ninja Hattori Kun
6. Twin Bee
7. Super Mario Bros.
8. Dig Dug II
9. Nazo no Murasamejo
10. Mighty Bomb Jack
11. Kage no Densetsu
12. Atlantis no Nazo
13. Spy vs. Spy
14. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
15. Tag Team Pro Wrestling
16. Argus
17. Son Son
18. Hydlide Special
19. Obake no Q Taro Wan Wan Panic
20. Gyrodine

Famicom Disk Writer:

1. Nazo no Murasamejo
2. Super Mario Brothers
3. Baseball
4. Tennis
5. Legend of Zelda
6. Soccer
7. Golf
8. Mahjong

On the right page, they display the top ten most popular games for the NES in the US at the time, based on sales. It provides for an interesting comparison:

1. Super Mario Bros.
2. Spartan X (Kung Fu)
3. Baseball
4. Excitebike
5. 10 Yard Fight
6. Golf
7. Soccer
8. Pinball
9. Tennis
10. Wrecking Crew

They even have a little featured article about the NES in there:
The caption under the picture reads

"The console is high class, but unfortunately for some reason they made the cartridges big, so Japanese Famicom carts won't fit it."

An early (perhaps the earliest?) example of somebody noting that it was too bad the NES carts didn't follow the Famicom pattern!

Related Posts:
- 1985 Famicom High Scores


  1. Wow, the results of that so-called reader survey is *interesting*! Twin Bee more popular (supposedly) than SMB at the time? Also, Wrecking Crew coming in lower than Baseball and Tennis on the NES list is kind of depressing to me :)

  2. I thought so too. Also Dig Dug II is on the list, but the original Dig Dug (way better) isn't?

    I suspect that readers were probably heavily biased towards the more recent releases at the time of this survey.

  3. Yeah, me too. I agree that the first Dig Dug is the best, but the sequel is nice, too. Which reminds me that I still have to get it...

  4. Nice, I love looking through old mags. I still have my old Sega and Speccy mags buried in my wardrobe at my parents house! :P Can you read Japanese well enough to read a magazine like this? I wish I could...

  5. Cool you should do some blog posts about those!!

    I can read Japanese pretty well so these aren`t a problem (my spoken Japanese is crap though). A lot easier than academic journals and texts that I have to read in my regular life! :)

  6. Very interesting! If you can post or scan some pages of Fami Japanese mags, I for one will surely appreciate it.

  7. Thanks, PDT. I will probably put some more posts with stuff from these mags up in the future!

  8. Sorry for the late comment, I just came across all this recently. :)

    I am really intrigued by the character on the cover! Certainly not the look of a "nerd" like we'd have in the west in the 80s, but he certainly has a kind of retro otaku vibe to him. I wonder about the decision to have him as a mascot (was he a mascot?), and how many issues he lasted? Famitsu has been using Necky for so long that it's really surprising to find out they didn't always have him!

  9. Yes, definitely a nerdy sort, isn`t he? I`m not sure if he was a mascot for very long, I haven`t seen him anywhere else (but then I haven`t read any other early issues of Famitsu either so I`m not sure)!