Friday, October 21, 2011

Famiclone Wars Part 2: the Next II

The Next II is one of the more common Famiclones floating around out there. You can buy them at the major retailer Don Quixote for a little under 2000 yen and used ones pop up at retro game shops from time to time.

Like the Famulator it retains the color scheme of the original Famicom, but other than that there isn`t much attempt to make it look like the Famicom. It is kind of just a generic looking box:
As you can see from the photo on the box in the top photo of this post, they come in two versions, basically just reversing the same color scheme on each.

Size-wise it is about the same as the Famulator and with a cart inserted it looks quite small:
This Famiclone comes with 9 games built into it. If you turn it on without a cart inserted you go directly to the game select menu:
I gave each of these a try and almost all of them are complete rip-offs of officially released Famicom games. You`ve got Lode Runner, Super Star Force, Circus Charlie (twice - they made a different game for two different levels of that one), Tennis, Mappy and a couple others that I didn`t recognize but assume they are also stolen. The names are changed and they made some basic changes to the graphics, but the games are instantly recognizable. The sound effects are directly lifted from the originals. This is what the Mappy clone looks like:
I find this very surprising since these things aren`t black market finds and are sold at major retail chains throughout the country. As someone with a bit more than a passing knowledge of copyright law, I can confidently say that these are all massively illegal and I am surprised that Namco, Hudson Soft, etc haven`t sued the makers (and Don Quixote) for producing and marketing them.

Anyway, that is just an aside that doesn`t really have anything to do with the Famiclone itself. The controller on the thing is designed similarly to the Playstation controller:
In terms of functionality it works fine. The buttons are reasonable quality, though it does make a rattling sound when you shake it.

I don`t particularly like this sort of design though. It works fine on a Playstation, but when I play Famicom games I want a controller that at least looks like it was made in the 1980s.

A lot of Famiclones try to copy the design of modern consoles like this and I wish they would stop. It is just so.....nouveau riche. It is to video game console design what Greco-Roman decorative fountains are to suburban American home gardens. This trend must be stopped.

Related Posts:
- Famiclone Wars Part 1: The Famulator
- Fukuoka Famicom Shops V: Don Quixote and Village Vanguard
- Mahjong Famiclone


  1. Technology is changing. Personal computers are now much, much stronger than the 360 ​​or PS3. WiiU is scheduled for release in 2012. Now most of the adults thrown such type of controller and still buying PS3 and Xbox.

  2. I'll +1 the use of modern designs for clone hardware - I'd rather it look like something offbeat or even more retro than the original system. I'd love to see a Famiclone rocking a acid-tripped fluro orange plastic box/bubble thing. That would be ace.

  3. Grow Light - Yup, some people, eh? :)

    Sean - Acid tripping orange fluro would be an awesome look for a Famiclone!

  4. Heh love the Little Nemo Dreammaster menu for the clone. Nice work once more!

  5. First, I didn't realize that the menu for the clone's built-in games was ripped from Little Nemo. Great catch, FF!

    Second, the last line of your review of this particular clone really nailed it, Sean :)

    Third, I don't really like the design of this one. It's both cheap looking and kind of ugly. And that controller? Ugh.

    Are the two extra buttons used for auto/rapid-fire, by the way, or are they just a second set of A and B buttons?

  6. Good eye, FF! That is kind of neat.

    Thanks, Bryan! Totally agree - this one is quite cheap looking and ugly. They really skimped on design. So far as I can tell the two extra buttons are just a useless second set of buttons that don`t do anything! I could be mistaken though.

  7. The shape of the console itself resembles the Panasonic version of the 3DO, to my eye at least. Not the colour though, of course! I agree about the controller - it should be a basic square shape. I was also going to ask why it has so many buttons but Bryan beat me to it! :P

  8. It *does* look like a tiny, maroon 3DO, Simon!

    As for the controller buttons: How weird is it if two of them don't work??

  9. I actually noticed that resemblence to the 3D0 too, though in person it is much smaller!

    I`m not 100% sure that the extra buttons are always useless, but on the games I tried (just the built-in ones) they served no fuction!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.