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Famicom Discovery


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With all the stuff about the NES as of lately due to that little box Nintendo put out most people can't get a hold onto still, and with me finding a few titles locally by surprise (very rare in this area to say the least) it got me thinking about it more again.


I know most people are familiar with the ports which were better overseas (Castlevania III) or just the really notable franchise stuff we usually get baked out of like a good many Konami things (Parodius, Twinbee, Wai Wai World, Gradius 2) the Capcom stuff like Sweet Home or that Rockman Board Game. But there are a lot of games that are just as good if not better than some, yet most people just aren't aware, or perhaps they're just solid earlier basic titles really worth a grab locally or off some Japanese guys discounter ebay site.


To start it off I could think of a couple worthy of note that fall into that $10-20 range.


One would be Armadillo. It's hard to put it down to how it fits, but it's like Sonic the hedgehod roll/speed/bounce mechanics to a point crossed more with a Mario style as well (including #3s overworld style map to a point) yet with a wild western type affair going with it. It requires no reading to have fun, you do lose a tiny bit of mostly useless filler on the front and back end you can google that's entire non-essential. It's a fairly well sized game with lots of good game play and strategy involved between jumping, running, dashing, rolling, and using some physics from speed(inertia) to make some jumps or bop off multiple targets. Colorful stages pretty good quality music too.


Another is a basic earlier Namco release Valkyrie no Bouken Toki no Kagi Densetsu which is part of their early numbered cart releases (I think it's #17.) It's an odd one, fairly basic, definitely not easy, but oddly fun and rewarding if you can get a grasp on it. It's like zelda and crystalis before them at a more basic level, pre-battery it is password based so write it down or use a mobile phone. You walk this decent sized little strip of land and basically fairly often a pop up of like 2-4 things appears around you and scatter (some attack right off, some don't) and each kill gets you a little unknown experience and money bags. There's a home in the area, you hop in bed and cash=HP restoration and that's how life works, and if you grease enough things, you go up in level so you can dish it out, take it a bit better, and a little longer life bar. There are specific things not spelled out to do but you find things that help in the quest to beat the game. It's worth a pick up as it's cheap and pretty fun.



Stuff like that is what I was thinking we could do as a group for fun, helps those who like NES era stuff without taking a kick to the teeth buying American. Famicom had like I think 3x the games we did, though of those that were unique there still are hundreds of solid releases we can in fact play without using ROMS+hack translations, stumbling through a faq side by side, or using some other kind of bypass to get by. I think these should be the basic rules of fun here for people to explore with no strings attached.


Anyone game with some favorites?

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Astro Robo SASA - it's a great (only??) physics based shooter for the Famicom. It gets really hard and frustrating in the water levels though. I hear you can't actually beat it unless you use a co-op second player who basically sacrifices himself so you can collect all the powerups and beat the game.


Macross - neat little shooter. Has a transformation mechanic that's a basic as hell but still fun and the game is super cheap.


Ninja Kun series - at least the first three are pretty good, I especially like the third but it's a little hard.


Star Luster - a very simplified but very good cockpit space shooter.


Field Combat - a nice port of an arcade game about combat... in a big field... WITH UFOs!!


Championship Lode Runner - don't be misled by the title. This isn't a modified version of the original, this is a sequel we didn't get.

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"Ninja Kun Series"

-Definitely seconded on that one. It's a fun little run of games. I haven't beat a single one, but I enjoy them.

Daikou no Gensan ("Hammerin' Harry"). Fun bit of sidescroller beat em up. I want to say $30-45

Mighty Final Fight... you can still get this one for a lot less on the Famicom than for the NES ($40-60 last I looked. Bought mine for $42). You don't need to read Japanese to play a sidescrolling beat em up... and who doesn't know the jist of Final Fight these days anyhow?

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti. Trust me, it's cool. Lol. If you really need English, there are translation patches for the ROM, and folks make translated repros of it. It's SD Splatterhouse, what's not to like? I paid $75 for mine complete, but I have seen loose carts in the $30 range.

Over Horizon is a fun little space shooter that will cost you less on FC than buying a PAL cart for the NES. Still not cheap. Unless you find a pirate cart.

Joy Mech Fight is a fun little 8 bit fighter. I think this one will cost you under $15.


Mario Hacks. These are out there. They're silly. Some of them are fun. $10-35 depending. There's a wiki list somewhere. Mario 4 is a hack of Armadillo (mentioned above). 11 isa hack of Adventure Island 3. Super Bros 6 is a hack of Tiny Toon Adventures. There's M.C. Mario, which is a hack of McKids. Lots of goofy stuff.


Famicom has its grails, and expensive carts. Recca, Punch Out! Gold cart, Holy Diver has shot way up in price (can get these as repros as well in NES format). These aren't even really mega rares (I'm still not sure what the top dollar carts are, and I don't really worry about that, I play for fun). I've been collecting FC stuff since 2005/2006 I think. Off and on, I buy in waves.


One thing to consider about the Famicom is that it does have a swath of pirate carts and hardware clones. There are some seriously collectible pirate carts, and pirate versions of rare games almost always seem to sell fast on forum marketplaces. Hell, there are some guys on ebay who will sell you 3 for $40 shipped and you pick the titles from a drop down menu (and there are some really fun/rare titles on those menus). There are some guys that collect exclusively pirate stuff. There are some that avoid it like the plague. All a matter of what you are into. One of the more notorious fighting games for the Famicom is a pirate game. It's a little pervy, but other than that catch, it's actually pretty fun, and probably has the better controls given the engine it is built off of (the game is roughly translated to AV Pretty Girl Fight). Another fun pirate fighter is Kart Fighter, which is also one that is commonly available as a repro (that one is usually around $35 from what I have seen, and is both 60 and 72 pin).

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Exerion is one of my favorites. It's a caravan shooter where your ship has some inertia to it, you can't change directions on a dime. It almost feels like you're on ice. The other gimmick is your weapons. You have either a double shot that fires at a slow rate, or a single shot machine gun that has limited ammo. You gain ammo for the machine gun by destroying enemies with the double shot. The background and sound effects are trippy. Just a really nice game that doesn't get talked about, likely due to its arcadey simplicity that Nintendo fans have an aversion to. Also available for the MSX and SG-1000.

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Good suggestions so far I like this.


I had considered putting Daiku no Gen San up already in that first post but didn't, and yeah $30-40 is accurate and entirely fair too as it's a very good game. There is a sequel too, costs more, and more of the same more or less.


Mighty Final Fight you're right, want the big kiss off middle finger to the US hoarders? Bonk aka FC Genjin. $300 US copy, $20-25 JP copy. If you're into pictures the sticker on the NES sucks, the FC one is a pretty drawn cartoon image and on a cool yellow cart. I replaced mine doing that and used the $300 to chip into buying my pinball table a couple years back. Your other price guesses are correct as well on those games. And yes some of the stuff sucks now some don't. Panic Restaurant on FC can still be a $40 game or more if idiots battle on it. Yet Lickle was under $100 not too long ago, now it's a $250 cart because of that dumb $1000 US version. Recca was always limited so that one makes sense, as does Moon Crystal as well (check the animation on it, it's insanely fluid like it's animated), and Holy Diver is solid (hard as hell) but oddly gone up sadly too which is one I'd still like to get.


Namco has some really solid stuff with their earlier numbered releases like the Exerion game pointed out. Star Luster was named too and it's a solid first person space shooter which is rare for the system.



Another one with a mascot we know that's actually a trilogy of titles would be Ultraman Club. I have the first one, it's like a $25-30 game. It's a classic standard side scrolling platformer and it's not really all that easy but it's fun as you can use your Ultraman kicks, punches, limited flight and blasts against all the kaiju attacking in each stage.


A cheap one, and if you can deal with Hello Kitty I think some of you could enjoy is Hello Kitty World. It's a size for size conversion of the Gameboy game Balloon Kid (aka Balloon Fight 2 basically.) Should be in that $10 range price wise.

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Oh... other ones worth a good mention...

Galaxian... I am pretty sure that was an FC exclusive. I got mine for cheap (like $4) because the label was naff. Probably sub $15 otherwise. Best guess. Can probably find Galaga cheaper as well.

Quarth... an early Konami title, before they got their hole through cart design. It's like a combo space shooter and Tetris. Really fun silly game. I would also say under $15.

Gradius 2. Famicom exclusive (ie: No NES port). Fairly hard by comparison. The PC CD version seems to play easier. I would wager betweewn $18-30 depending on condition.

If you don't have an FDS, you can get pirate port of SMB2j on cart. I've seen that as low as $18.

Star Wars...different than the US counterpart. It's gone up a bit in price, but I would still expect to find it for $20 and under in good shape. Fun, but strange.

Chip and Dale 2. I paid $20 for a pirate cart of this one. I am sure the authentic one can be found for MUCH less than the US counterpart.

Snow Bros. Same case as Rescue Rangers 2. Paid less than $20 though.

Metal Storm. See above.

Little Samson. See above.

Rainbow Islands. Yep.

Bubble Bobble Part 2. Same.

Gun Dec. This is Vice: Project Doom in the US. I've seen it going for $50+, I think I paid $10 for FC cart.

Parodius Da! Was released for Famicom. It was also released for SFC, and I know also on PSX. Fun shooter. I am guessing sub $18.


If you keep your eyes peeled through various sources, you can land physical copies of a lot of good titles, while saving a stack of cash. Some of them are also late console life, and yeah, some of them are titles that are en vogue right now (the difference being they're still quality, there are a number of hyper rare games that are just trash).



I'm fine with middle fingers to the secondary market. They're video games. They're fun. Fun to collect, fun to play. They're not a retirement plan (unless you mean entertainment value). No one should go broke to indulge this hobby.

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Hey nice one. I just happened to be popping back in to add something to this for people looking for something of an interesting list.


Galaxian was only on Famicom just like Mappy was too. I got a CIB Mappy at a local store here for $4 along with a few others (same price) and they've never had famicom at all before so I went for it even if some were US stuff too (Rambo, Dragon Quest 4, Tennis, and Super Famista (aka RBI Baseball more or less on NES.) There are other arcade conversions Japan only got too US people would know of like Dig Dug for one and Space Invaders for another. A lot of those old numbered NAMCO/NAMCOT released FC titles are super cheap.


I've had Star Wars from namco, game is brutally hard just as a fair warning.



Anyway for you and the others, plus browsers it's a known that Hardcore Gaming 101 is a great place to read up on the classics whatever the system. But they also run some blog or have in the past, either way. Back in 2012 they ran this interesting story about a Top 100 Famicom games list that was created back in 2003 in the Japanse Famitsu Magazine before most anyone cared, nerded over, or hoarded Nintendo stuff oil and stock commodities. You could place this as an honest list, not so much of a (it's cheaper than the US) or fanboys unite type list either. Might be worth a browse to see the list and perhaps find something interesting off it. http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net/2012/02/top-100-famicom-games-as-voted-by.html


Odds are a lot of them you'll be like what? And then have to right click and search through google for what it is, but there are quite a few notable solid titles on there. Even that Valkyrie game from Namco I brought up hit the #69 spot.

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7 of the first 10 you'll have a hard time without reading Japanese.

There's a ton of games in the Kunio series, some require more reading that others. RIver City Ransom came out of that series (Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari). So 11-20 has 6 titles you need to read Japanese for.

21-30 much more playable without a knowledge of the language. Wai Wai World 2 is often touted as the better of the series (I like it better).

31-40 has 4 titles that need language skills. Pretty much any visual novel is going to be a challenge to a non-Japanese reader (like me). Ganbare Goemon is one of those "you can mostly figure it out." games. There's a good sequel on SFC, and translated "repros." out there.

41-50 Pretty standard list type stuff. With the exception of Dai 2 Ji, and Fire Emblem Gaiden. Both are well regarded, but also going to be language heavy (translations are out there).


Ran out of steam on it. I quick ran over the last 50. It's a pretty solid list, but to anyone just jumping in... research the titles. Some games can be had dirty cheap... and some of them will be mad cheap because of language requirements. I personally can't read Japanese, so to someone list me, a good 30-50% of the list isn't usable. There's still some great games to be had out there for not a lot of money.


One I forgot to mention... Devil World.... silly fun maze chase game. Hear it referred to a lot as a Pac-Man clone. It's similar in approach, but way more fun in application (and I like Pac-Man plenty). That would probably run up to $30. I can't remember what I paid for mine (pulse line cart). I want to say $18-20, but that was back in 2005-2006. Cocoron is pretty fun too. Not sure what that runs these days.


Not an expert by any means, but I've been collecting Famicom for a little bit, I find it enjoyable... and generally take most opportunities to shoot the breeze about it (and NES, they're the same thing. I never understood the people who would act like it was some supercharged piece of weeb magic. Lol).

Edited by madhatter667
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I've gone over it now too, there are a bonus 20 on the back end but much of it was US based too if I recall right. Devil World was made by Miyamoto, and it's like a $10-15 game as I looked it up in the last week as I was poking at stick at an ebay users account looking at stuff to round out a purchase. I dropped it for Armadillo and with that was the Ultraman Club title but also a really cool many machines/big ass robot vertical shooter I never heard of that's quite fun Taiyou no Yuusha Firebird which is a solid game worth looking into.

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Lol. 2001 in 1.

Some multicarts are good. Some, not so much. I've got one that I put into a more traditional sized shell, just so it wasn't such an odd duck in the collection (decent 142 in 1 or something like).

They're a quick way to get a number of games, for generally not a lot of money. A lot of them will have similar content. Occasionally you get some special ones.

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Someone should compile a list. Game title, Japanese original (if the label is not in English), type of game (shoot upm rpg, etc), and whether Japanese language knowledge is needed to play game. Many RPG requires extensive Japanese understanding to play.

By no means at all (quite small really) but this does that at this site: http://www.videogameden.com/fc.htm


You get the game and a neutral write up. Below you'll find screen shots. For some games which are mostly english friendly other than say a few menus or pop up boxes they'll supply a translation right there, and at the very bottom a small paragraph review with a 1-5 star rating. I was going through it earlier as I remembered the site from the past and popped a few games on my look out list for Famicom stuff from it.

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I dropped it for Armadillo and with that was the Ultraman Club title but also a really cool many machines/big ass robot vertical shooter I never heard of that's quite fun Taiyou no Yuusha Firebird which is a solid game worth looking into.

FYI, "Firebird" is not the proper title; the word in the title of the game (and the original anime series) is "Fighbird," as in "fighting bird." "Firebird" probably came from English speakers who looked at the katakana ファイバード and 1. didn't notice the absent ヤ ("firebird" rendered in katakana would be ファイバード); 2. thought it was left out by accident; or 3. thought it was left out for stylish pronunciation's sake but was meant to be romanized as "firebird" anyway. The official English title of the show, as shown on Japan's DVD box sets and the series' official website, is "The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird." The direct translation of the kanji part of the title, FYI, is just "[the] brave of [the] sun" (yes, "brave" the noun, a common translation choice for "yuusha").


For some context (and the reason I'm familiar with the show), Fighbird was the second in animation studio Sunrise's Yuusha series of TV robot anime shows, which consisted of a different show each year from 1990 through 1998. The only one of these which ever got an official English localization was the last one, The King of Braves GaoGaiGar.


Incidentally, Fighbird also had a Game Boy game, which I played maybe 18 years ago in an emulator.


Here's one of the anime Fighbird's opening titles. Burnin' Fighbird Fighbird Fighbird!



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Yeah I know I wrote it that way. I guess I just found the spelling of the name odd. I do have a basic understanding of Japanese as I took it in college a long time ago. I've had an interesting off and on again history with screwball Japanese anime big robot series over the years such as the stuff most know like Voltron and Dairugger, Mazinger, little Astro Boy, and then the stuff that spun off that Shogun Warriors line of toys, also 8man, and then in later times we did end up with some of the Gundam stuff on tv like Wing.


I've been poking around some, found a few games I hadn't heard or before really or just a name and they look like they might be worth adding to the shelf with a little more research or a ROM test drive. Stuff like Astro Fang, Family Pinball (pac-man pinball basically), Fuzzical Fighter, Layla, Over Horizon, the known Puyo Puyo original release, Time Zone, Uchuu Keibitai(sadly not cheap), and then I think I remember one called Pizza Pop too that had a colorful sticker on the cart.

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