News Article

The Famicom Turns 30 Years Old

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The system that started it all

At the time of writing it may still be 14th July in many countries, but it's 15th July in Japan — that means that the Famicom has now turned 30 years old in its homeland. It would eventually make its way to the West, redesigned, as the iconic NES.

Of course, Nintendo had been a Playing Card company in its earliest years, before the rise of electronic gaming led the company to begin its first steps into the medium, with the Game & Watch series (1980) and the Donkey Kong arcade (1981) bringing success and — as a result — launching a new era of video game history as Nintendo delved into the exciting market. In the same year that many associate with the great Video Game Crash (1983), the Nintendo Family Computer — which would become commonly known as the Famicom — was released in Japan. It would be over two years before the design of the system would be overhauled and re-branded for the West as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but it was largely the same technology — aside from differences in pin numbers on cartridges, for example — in the Famicom that would eventually have such an impact worldwide.

The original model was certainly distinct from those that followed, with red colouring and controllers that were hardwired to the system; the controllers even had microphones, which were used in titles such as The Legend of Zelda.

So a happy 30th Anniversary to the Famicom. We'll be covering the system (and its NES brethren) extensively in the coming week to celebrate its history. In the meantime you can check out our Hardware Classics article on the follow-up AV Famicom; if any of you have an original Famicom, meanwhile, let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (23)

unrandomsam

#1

unrandomsam said:

We should get Crisis Force as a 3D Classic to celebrate. (Very few NES / Famicom games I would still want to play that haven't been re-released loads of times or had a better update (Dragon Quest I&II / III - Crystalis)

Dpishere

#2

Dpishere said:

I wish I could have owned a NES as a kid, but I got my start in gaming with the Sega Genesis. Though I did go over to my Grandparents house often to play Super Mario Bros 1 and 3 on theirs. Had many good times playing Duck Hunt as well.

Shambo

#3

Shambo said:

Time for a Famicom Edition 3DS!

Seriously. Now that I typed that, I can't get the image out of my head. I want it. I NEED IT!

Oh and when I say I need it, I mean OUTSIDE OF JAPAN.

Crimson_Ridley

#5

Crimson_Ridley said:

This is awesome! I've just bought a Wii U and it'll be delivered tomorrow (15th in the UK). This marks the 30th year since Nintendo released their first home console, and the day that I got hold of Nintendo's most recent home console. :)

Happy Birthday, Famicom!

Dpullam

#8

Dpullam said:

I have many fond memories of playing the Famicom when I was younger. Love that system.

Captain_Gonru

#9

Captain_Gonru said:

@feline2 Do you mean in addition to the 30¢ sale they've been running on a game a month on Wii U? I would be down with a one-day sale on all VC titles (at least the NES ones), but that is probably wishful thinking.

retro_player_22

#12

retro_player_22 said:

Nintendo had made lots of improvements with the Famicom (being top loading instead of front loading, had mic support, and was AV compatible), how they decided to downgrade that when they made it into the NES (front loading) and NES 2 (no AV support) is anyone's guess.

Ichiban

#14

Ichiban said:

Nintendo should release limited edition Famicom themed Wii U console, that would be pretty tasty

ogo79

#15

ogo79 said:

yeah me and the famicom seem to have a lot in common...i mean im in my 30's, ive aged well and im still sexy

Yoshis_VGM

#16

Yoshis_VGM said:

Even though I never had the chance to play the Famicom/NES, I wish it a very happy anniversary! And that extends to Luigi, too! 2013 is a good year for Nintendo.

Undead_terror

#17

Undead_terror said:

Untitled
I salute the famicom for starting it all (besides the arcade games)making legendary series that still continue today and will live on for more generations to come!

Hungry-Bear

#19

Hungry-Bear said:

The system that started it all for nintendo. I'm very thankful for the famicom/nes which brought us back our interests in gaming.

Shambo

#21

Shambo said:

@Xtremetdifan Well, I had to import the Famicom GB Micro too... But the Famicom GBA Collection boxes were only available on Japanese Club Nintendo... I got my hands on the first, the other two are somewhat less... 'important'. But they all are expensive...

OnionOverlord

#22

OnionOverlord said:

I wouldn't say the Famicom and the American NES are the same. The famicom was a top loading console which had superior pin connectors that didn't wear out every 5 years. The Famicom also had an add-on while the American NES did not and many of the NES games were inferior the the Famicom versions, usually due to small things like the lack of a save system, some minor graphical differences, and some minor sound differences due to the superior hardware that the Famicom and the Famicom Disk System had.

The US did get a top loader model NES though, and the American NES has much longer wires. Plus I personally think both US NES Models look better.

Henmii

#23

Henmii said:

Happy birthday! My nes still works, though it gets harder and harder to get the system to read the cartridges properly! Strangely enough, the first cartridge (the packed in Super mario bros/Duck hunt combo) still works superbly!!

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