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Weirdness: This Footage Of The Famicom Disk Writer Kiosk Is A Bit Awesome

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Bored of a game? Turn it into another one...

For gamers in the West the NES came in one basic form. There were alternative models with a tray or a top-loader, but it was a cartridge based system that fired up those famous carts over its whole generation. Some retro fans reading this are more than likely aware of the Famicom Disk System, however, which was released as an expansion to the original system in Japan.

The disk media, despite some flaws with reliability, did hold advantages at the time with extra memory and capabilities, with some games having save slots in those iterations that were restricted to password systems on standard cartridges. In Nintendo's homeland some iconic games, such as The Legend of Zelda, even arrived on the disk format first.

As those that remember the days of floppy disks and their like can attest — the Famicom's media was proprietary — they could be easily overwritten. Naturally Nintendo wouldn't allow gamers to start messing around with their games by themselves, hence the proprietary status, but it did roll out Famicom Disk Writer Kiosks around retailers in Japan. As renting games wasn't allowed — and still isn't in the region — it became an affordable way for young games to shake up their collection in a sort of trade-in. For 500 Yen — as opposed to a typical 2600 Yen for a full game — Famicom Disk owners could take in a game they didn't want, hand them to the store's staff and choose another game they'd rather have instead. Using the Disk Writer (pictured below), the store would then take your disk and hook it up with a master cartridge containing the new game.

The original game would be wiped and the new one would take its place; just like that, a fresh game was purchased for far less than the standalone option. It would hardly be conducive to building a sizeable collection, but on tight budgets it must have seemed like the perfect option; it's a neat twist on the current trade-in market, while this is also a nice physical alternative to the current realities of being stuck with download games with no hope of switching them for a discount on something else.

Even better, the video below shows the animation you could watch of Mario and Luigi transferring the new game to a disk — it certainly gives a fresh outlook on the neat Pikmin-themed animations for transfers on 3DS and Wii U. Check it out and let us know what you think.

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User Comments (18)



BestBuck15 said:

I remember reading about this years ago. Nintendo always dreamed of a game download service, no more distribution problems.



Gioku said:

That's pretty interesting!

...but what I mostly got out of that, is that you can't rent games in Japan??? What is this nonsense...?



Darknyht said:

If I remember I saw that the disks didn't have a cover on them like floppies here, so they were very easy to mess up. But outside of that, I would have been a happy kid to be able to get games by disk instead of cartridge at a discount. I was already well versed in floppies thanks to a C-64.



AshFoxX said:

@Gioku That came as a surprise to me as well, though I haven't rented a game in about 10 years thanks to downloadable demo's.



Agent721 said:

So this was the inspiration for the animation when you transfer your Wii data to the Wii U. Very cool...never seen this before!



TruenoGT said:

Man, I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing this, can't believe I haven't seen it before.



aaronsullivan said:

No, no, no! NO NO!
Mario and Luigi can NOT do that just because they are carrying a disk!
They can NOT walk beside pipes, blocks and the castle.
I will NOT be reprogrammed! Aaaaaagghhh!



ULTRA-64 said:

Any chance they could do a modern one as a system replace for Wii u/3ds owners that have lost content saved to their Nintendo Id. Would be some kind of effort to deal with the account system!?!



Linkuini said:

That is some adorable 8-bit animation.

Wait, Luigi, what are you doing with that magnet? No, put that down! No! OMG NO! OMG NOOOOOOOOOOOO!



LJay said:

Thanks for that! Never saw that before,vintage nintendo is beautiful!



OMC79 said:

This video is not that vintage nor rare, it's a track from the Famicom 20th Anniversary Soundtrack DVD released in 2003. The wierd thing about this video is that Mario and Luigi carry an NES cart.



mikeyman64 said:

Vintage? If by vintage you mean old, then the Disc System is just as old as the NES (1986). Relative to the history of Nintendo gaming consoles, that's pretty old.

And where do you see an NES cart?



PepperBug said:

I like how detailed the sprite work was for the Famicom. It could also be the disc writer graphics. I don't really know. I also like the music too.



OMC79 said:

This video is a fragment of the track I mentioned, after Luigi demonstrates the proper handling of the disk cards, they show another procedure at the disk writter. That's when they carry the NES cart, I thought it was the whole track, not this fragment. I wish they could have put the commercial where that still with the girl and the writter was taken from. Now, that will be vintage.

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