They are like long lost brothers. So similar, yet so different. Raised in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language, the Japanese Nintendo Famicom controller sure has a unique character to it. But is it better than it’s North American NES counterpart? In my opinion, yes. Here’s 6 reasons why (plus a bonus reason on why they suck).
1. Round corners
Seriously, my hands are finely tuned pieces of art – they can’t be compromised by jabby, sharp controllers. The rounded corners of the Famicom pad fit into the contours of my palm like a %100 all-beef frank into a Wonderbread bun.
2. Crazy color scheme
Burgundy and gold? I haven’t seen colour schemes that fly since Dennis Rodman’s hair. Gold fronts beat out that grey and black monotone get-up any day.
3. Built in microphone
Some might call this a gimmick, but just you wait. The next indie wonder band is going to emerge with a full album recorded through the microphone built in the player 2 Famicom controller. Pols Voice, I think they are called…
4. Lack of Start/Select on P2 – gives you control
Sure, in games like Contra and Life Force it’s called two player co-op. I think that’s more wishful thinking, because it is definitely uncooperative when player two pauses the game right when I’m mid air over a mega-canyon jump. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I’m simply dead after the unpause. The Japanese understood that Player one has the authority – and thus only they have control over the Start and Select buttons. The way it should be.
5. Hard-wired cords
I love playing two player, but I honestly don’t have enough friends that can keep up. So when the P2 controller is not in use, it gets coiled up and tucked away. Unfortunately, the few times a year someone joins me for a round of Ikari Warriors, that controller is either nowhere to be found, or tangled up in some black spaghetti cord bullshit under the bed. Hard wire it to the system, and that bad boy ain’t going anywhere!
6. Controller holder slot on system
This builds upon the previous point of controller convenience; the Famicom has built in slots to hold the controllers when not in use. What more needs to be said? That’s the coolest thing in a video game system, and hasn’t been seen in a console ever since. Sure, the Colecovision had controller holders but… Colecovision was a lot less fun. Sorry, Coleco fans.
And a negative;
Japanese houses are small, for sure, but seriously. 18 inches worth of cord is a joke. You know how your mom always said “don’t sit so close to the TV!”? She would have straight kicked your ass if she saw you playing this thing. Unless you pull the system across the room towards you, your maximum range from the TV is microscopic at best.
What side would you pick? What’s your favourite controller?
Grab your own Famicom on eBay and Amazon today, and see for yourself!
Following a recent post on my Instagram account comparing a Neo Geo MVS cart to a Nintendo NES cart, someone asked “how big is the system?” It was a fair question, no doubt, and while a simple photo would have been an efficient response, I decided to make a video.
Enjoy below the “unfair comparison”. Despite being on the market at the same time (from 1990 onwards), the Neo Geo outclassed the NES in almost all aspects – most notably in size! See the comparison in carts, systems, controllers and graphics in the below video.
Don’t forget to subscribe to The Game Kun on YouTube, and stay up to date in all the classic retro video gaming goodness!
Want your own Neo Geo? Check out current prices on eBay. And don’t forget about the Nintendo NES!
Bandai is more well known for their anime properties like Digimon and Gundam than their video games (except maybe Stadium Events on the Nintendo NES), but that may be due to the relative obscurity of the WonderSwan outside of Japan. Developed by the Father of the Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi, the WonderSwan was released in 1999 with a colour version released in 2000. Thanks to its low price and solid collection of licensed games based off of anime properties, the WonderSwan received moderate success within Japan. However, it wasn’t enough to justify an international release, and production was ceased in 2003.
I own a WonderSwan Color, and I love the thing. It’s light, compact and just a blast to play. Check out the video review below to see for yourself!
Have you ever played a WonderSwan? Would you have bought one if they released internationally? Let me know your thoughts below!
Get your WonderSwan on eBay or Amazon.
You may have seen it floating around my Instagram feed with little explanation, so here it is – a video review of the Nintendo Game Boy Light! Released only in Japan, you don’t see these things very often. Nintendo’s first internally back-lit screen is kind of average in its performance, but hey… it sure looks cool.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy. And then subscribe if you like it! Or not.
What’s your favorite Gameboy? Have you ever tried one of these bad boys?
Find the Gameboy Light online at eBay and Amazon.
Let’s face it, I’m a fan of the old. Forget your PS3s and XBOX360s, I like my games old school. And that means controllers to. That’s why I love this thing.
I was rummaging around a junk bin at a recycle shop this week when I saw the familiar glint of gold on red. The unmistakable image of a classic Famicom controller. What was it, a Hudson turbo controller? I traced the cord all they down to the business end and was equally surprised and confused when I saw what sort of connection we were talking; USB.
USB? But what can I do with… Oh. OH!
That’s right, it is a PC gamepad styled after the beloved Famicom controller! It turns out these were produced in 2007 by Buffalo, who actually received license for the design from Nintendo. They even produced a Super Famicom version as well. They sold for about $35 new, but I’m happy to say that I paid much less.
Anyhow, after a few hours of dicking around with some software (these were designed for use with PC only – not us Mac users) I finally got the thing to work. The secret was some free software called Controllermate. I have it set up now to work on my NES emulator as well as PCSX, to allow me to play Playstation disks on my laptop.
I don’t use gamepads that much, but this thing does the trick. It feels solid and the buttons have the right amount of give to provide accurate feedback. The controller itself is responsive, and the turbo option definitely helps in some games. It even has L and R shoulder buttons, so almost any system is fair game. Oh, and the cord is generously longer than the original Famicom pad (but that’s not saying much…). Overall it’s a familiar feel and a nice touch if you feel the need to play some games on your computer.
Next time I’m going travelling, I can throw this bad boy in my laptop case and get my share of retro gaming anywhere I might be.
Have you seen anything like this before? Do you use gamepads for anything? What do you think of the 4 button interface meets classic design?
Buy your own Buffalo USB Gamepad on eBay or Amazon.
I’ve finished a mini-collection of my Famicom collection, I call it the Tris’ Trio. I’ve always had a love for puzzle games, from Dr. Mario to Picross. But Tetris is just the quintessential puzzle game. I mean, who didn’t own at least one copy of this game for the NES, Game Boy, or LCD keychain (if you catch my drift. This game was everywhere!).
Tetris, Tetris 2 + Bombliss, and Hatris – three quality puzzle games from Bullet Proof Software, and all complete in box. Kind of makes you want to cry a silent tear of joy.
Tetris: Textbook Tetris. Downside? Down on the d-pad rotates the piece instead of dropping it. Who came up with that? Many a four-row move has been lost as a result of this asinine control scheme.
Hatris: Tetris, but less fun and with hats instead of tetriminos.
Tetris 2 + Bombliss: Finally, two player Tetris! Not to mention, they fixed the ridiculous control scheme present on the first Famicom version. Oh, plus another game that’s alright, I guess.
What do you think; is Tetris boring or awesome? What’s your favourite puzzle game?
Buy Tetris online at eBay and Amazon.