NES/Famicom thread

We have threads for all sorts of consoles, but not the one that really made games what they are today. I‘ll use the name “Famicom” to refer to all regions because I’ve always thought it's a nicer name, though feel free to call it whatever you want.

One of the lesser known games I've seen mentioned on here and promptly fell in love with is Matendouji/魔天童子. It has wonderful music and crazy good background art that evokes far larger worlds than could ever exist on a Famicom cartridge.

I'll also leave you all with a question: What Famicom games have the most ideas in them that have yet to be fully developed/explored by later games? What Famicom games offer peeks into other alternate histories for what video games could have turned into? Another way to think about this question might be: what are some seemingly innovative games from later generations which actually have their roots entirely in some (perhaps Japan-only) Famicom game? What are things we associate with later consoles that already have fully developed examples on the Famicom?


@“saddleblasters”#p113917 What Famicom games offer peeks into other alternate histories for what video games could have turned into?

Great thread! For me this is why I love River City Ransom. It's both great for what it _is_ (simple but tight beat em up with fun rpg elements and even a little exploration) and what it _evokes_. It feels like a very realized world to me. The "side scroller with planes of depth" thing often feels pretty limited in beat em ups, mainly because you can only go in one direction. When RCR lets me traverse back AND forth AND some times other directions like into the background or up to new almost feels like a 3D world, much more so than all the large-world games that use a top-down perspective (Zelda, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy). To my mind, it's one of the best games in several generations at creating a sense of place. To me it feels like a weirdly small jump from this game to stuff like Shenmue, Yakuza, etc. It even kind of reminds me of stuff like Boku and ChuLip (Maybe part of what works here is the world is big but not that big. It feels full. It's like the original "city block" RPG).

Also, I like the little touches of realism. I LIKE that most of the items in this game are just regular foods and everyday object and that most of them are not very useful to you!

Definitely my favorite game on the system.

Hooray an NES thread! I love the NES for a lot of reasons but to name a few:

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    Other than the VCR style side loader bending a few pin connectors these things are tanks. The games and the consoles will withstand basically anything, and are trivial to repair when something does go wrong.

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    It has the best library of any console, and I don't think it's particularly close. And unlike say the SNES which has an RPG focus, the NES's library is extremely broad as well as extremely deep. Shmups, RPGs, platformers, sports games, beat em ups, top down action games, name a genre and at least a third of the top 10 best games in that genre are NES games. Heck, even fighting games! Show me a better console exclusive fighting game than Joy Mech Fight.

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    The hardware! Goodness, the hardware. Smooth scrolling! Up to 64 simultaneous sprites on screen! A sound chip capable of realistic voice samples and gorgeous chiptunes! Light gun support! Memory mapped IO to allow for the system to keep growing and adapting to this day! The smallest and largest commercially released NES games are 40 kilobytes and 1 megabyte respectively, and unofficial carts are even larger. Action 52 is _50 times_ the filesize of Super Mario Brothers. If you made a PlayStation game that was 50x larger than another PlayStation game you would need 50 CDs. The NES has hardware capable enough and flexible enough to support a very active homebrew scene a full _40 years_ after its initial release. And it's so easy to develop on that even I can figure out how to make games for it. God bless the 6502.

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    It single handedly saved video games. I'm not going to repeat the whole story, you know the story, and it's mostly true haha

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    @“saddleblasters”#p113917 What Famicom games have the most ideas in them that have yet to be fully developed/explored by later games?

    Two that immediately come to mind are Gimmick and Sweet Home.

    Gimmick has got to have the highest skill ceiling of any platformer. High level Gimmick isn't just about figuring out the perfect angles to throw stars at and riding them across the screen, it's also about manipulating your score at all times to spawn particular items to let you tank through damage boosts or quick kill problematic enemies. I can't think of another platformer that has as large a possibility space. Sure there's like Super Mario World hacks and what not, but that game has a certain plumber attached to it that guarantees a scene large enough to support an infinite supply of new levels to show off its physics engine. If we had a bunch of homebrew Gimmicks floating around it would be no contest. Oh wait, [we do](

    Sweet Home experiments with RPG mechanics in a way that still feels novel 35 years later. It gives each of its characters a unique overworld puzzle solving tool and allows you to move all of them independently on the world map, but it also has character permadeath which makes splitting your party too thin dangerous. That combo creates a ton of interesting decisions and adds a ton of replayability, and to this day there aren't a lot of games playing around with these mechanics.

    The Famicom/NES is where the shift from arcade-style gaming to longer form console gaming takes place. Jeremy Parish often touches on this in his excellent NES Works videos. Tecmo Super Bowl comes to mind for me in this regard. Not only is it one of my all time favorite games, it also shows developers taking a somewhat basic concept and adding just enough to keep the arcade speed and simplicity while adding depth and improvements that still hold up today. This is a game that gets yearly community roster and team updates. Its also a game that hasn‘t been improved upon in later sequels. There are several additional games on Genesis/SNES/PSX that don’t change much beyond the graphics. On the shortlist of greatest American Football games.

    The Metroidvania (ugh) idea also kicks into high gear on the system and once again Parish's videos can do a much better job expounding on that than I could.

    Hi, it‘s been a very long time since I last logged in. I’m glad I still can.

    That being said, I love my Famicom, even though currently it is on my closet shelf with the games. When I went and did a massive sale of my game library last year, the Famicom and Disk System were one of the most important part of the library to stay. So many fantastic games, neat little perephials, and more made it seem like such a hi-tech system for its time.

    I even have bought an Everdrive for it, but I keep the carts for all of the shapes and colors of each individual game, some of my favorite games having some absolutely vibrant or unique colors associated with it. (Salamander anyone?)

    I could go on, but it's late, glad to be back.


    One of my favourite videos from the days where Youtube had not yet disabled annotations was Insert Credit's own Frank Cifaldi annotating a playthrough of Gimmick!. In it he provides some cool historical facts and shows you how to get all the secrets in the game. Thankfully, someone recorded that playthrough with all annotations intact and uploaded it, albeit with an SEO-unfriendly title:

    Something I’ve always loved about the NES/Famicom is developers’ willingness to go with wild and unaesthetic colour combos, probably out of necessity. Case in point: I know I’m not the only person who loves the bizarre colour palette used for Jason in the Friday the 13th NES game…

    …because there’s a pretty expensive Jason action figure that uses the same colourway. I know I’ve played the game before, but I have very little recollection of it, and do all that’s left for me are these wild colours!

    Anyone else wish GameFreak was famous for making Mendel Palace instead of Pokemon??? Like if the beloved franchise that connected with generations of children wasn't pocket monsters… instead it was about flipping over floor tiles in order to kill hoards of enemies in the mansion of Gregor Mendel, father of genetics.


    @“Tradegood”#p114882 god, back twenty years ago you could go like “i wanna play this nes game i don't have” and then go to funcoland and usually find that exact game, my girlfriend at the time brought up mendel palace, which i hadn't heard of, so we went to funcoland and grabbed the game pak. played the crap out of it for ages, excellent unique weird lil game


    @“saddleblasters”#p113917 I’ll also leave you all with a question: What Famicom games have the most ideas in them that have yet to be fully developed/explored by later games? What Famicom games offer peeks into other alternate histories for what video games could have turned into?

    10 cool Famicom games that try and overshoot their luck, feat. my new husbando [Famidaily Channel](

    oooh guardian legend is such an all-timer

    there was something so magically captivating in it for me as a kid, i first saw it in nintendo power when that was the hot new thing (i think it was the first issue of that i ever had?) and the stitched-together photos of a tv screen (you can even see the player in each lil screen in that link!) and the very japanese 80s-ass sci-fi anime style was totally new to me and hit so good. also nice is that the game is super fun and unique and still feels good to play and move around inhaha

    ugh that just reminded me that I was pointed to a really nice print of the japanese hr gieger-esque box art (I miss being able to just go on Twitter and message the original creator about stuff like this and actually get a response) and I still have the bookmark for when I have the money… and the store shut down a couple weeks ago :persevere:

    One of the things I love about the NES / Famicom is that it keeps pulling me back to it. I might never need to touch the classic catalog again, but between rom hacks / translations / homebrew there I end up firing some way of playing those games multiple times a year.

    Even then its the system that most allows me to kind of mentally time travel back to the 80's. I am generally profoundly anti nostalgia, but a NES on a small CRT on a rainy day, it pulls up some ancient feelings.

    I've been thinking about how to contribute to this thread for quite a while.

    If you're a certain age, you know that "Nintendo is the real video games". Even as someone who had access to a family IBM 8086 clone and a bunch of shareware, it was a fact. Even though you could play your cracked version of _Arkanoid_ that you got from a friend of a friend and play it with a mouse and have it be as good as it could be in that era.

    But your friends and their friends are always talking about Mario and Zelda, and you keep wondering if _Mega Man 2_ is as good as Nintendo Power says it is, and yeah, it is. And you excitedly get the DOS version of _Mega Man_ from your distant cousins and it is baaaaaaad man.

    There are many games for the NES that still hold up quite well today out of the box. There are even more that have aged just fine thanks to the fact you can save your progress (_Mario 2_ and _3_ come to mind specifically because of their length) or save scum (_Kid Icarus_ and _Zelda 2_ come to mind here).

    It may not be my favorite retro console, but based on the fact we game-touchers keep talking about it and how I literally have a Deflemask file behind this web browser that has the draft of DJ Tent Mode's hot new spring track: it was the most important.


    @“◉◉maru”#p114897 this channel is so good and it's so wild how few people seem to have found it!! thanks for the heads up, excellent find. also I kept forgetting the name of it and so with your husbando comment kept calling it “famidaddy” in my head

    NES is the biggest collection I have for any one console. I bought most of them in the good old days of $1 garage sales before everyone was on ebay.

    My console is pretty wonky and needs a tune-up to make it reliably usable.

    I still own an NES, a pristine one that a former coworker gave me instead of paying back the $20 he owed me in 1997 or so. I think I‘ve got a few games for it, but I’ll have to go take a look in my spare room to confirm. We‘ve also got my partner’s in-box copy of Zelda II on the gold cartridge.

    But my biggest NES memory is mentioning to my first college roommate that I wished I could afford an NES, and taking the bus with him to the mall so he could buy one. I didn't know it at the time, but he was a successful local heroin dealer, so 17 year old me was kindof freaked out when he peeled a bunch of twenties off of a gigantic roll of cash to pay for it and a copy of Super Mario 3.


    @“phylaxis”#p114954 this channel is so good and it’s so wild how few people seem to have found it!!

    Today’s video on a Character Soft title from late 1991 reminded me of **Sanrio Cup Pon Pon Volley**, released a few months later (1992). Similar to Windjammers, it’s basically an evolution of Pong. For my money, it is the best competitive multiplayer game on the Famicom. It even received a fan translation, deservedly.

    @“◉◉maru”#p115060 Thanks again for recommending the Famidaily channel, I've been binging his videos all weekend. What a herculean effort!! I hope he gets some media coverage as he nears the end of the catalogue (possibly by the end of this year!?).