|CREEPINGNET'S FAMICOM ADVENTURES
Exploring Imports on Actual Hardware
You might be wondering why the Nintendo Family Computer is being listed in the "MISC" Section, when it's technically the NES. Well, the reason why is because I'm limiting my exploration to "Foreign Only" releases. Looks like I was a bit late to the party on this one, oh well, that's kind of the usual for me in life anyway.
See, I started getting interested in collecting for the Famicom, or "Nintendo Family Computer", really starts with a amaglamation of multiple things...
However, years of collecting cartridges like a greedy bastard and then recouping some nice chunks of change from it (not the reason I was collection I might add, it was curiosity what was behind all the games, I've got so many favorites for the NES at this point it's hilarious). So I re-released many of those seldom touched carts and controllers and stuff into the wild, and decided to set some ground rules before taking on this Famicom collecting expedition. This time, I'm following logic, ethics, and trying NOT to drive prices up as much as I can.
First off, I'm a married man with a wife. I don't have time ot be dicking around with Japanese hardware with variacs and weird TV channels I might not get to just to play games on the original Famicom hardware. I also don't need the microphone because I don't plan to be collecting anything like The Legend of Zelda that requires it. Which comes to the next part. My wife is already farily pissed at me every time I do another massive MS-DOS load or another 5 hour afternoon with a soldering iron trying to hotrod some old piece of tech to do something the original designers never intended it to do. So I'm sticking with my trusty "Franken-NES" I've had since 2003...it's got the NES10 disabled and runs like a champ. I also have a Retron AV in Turquoise and Fuschia as well. My TV setups are a nightmare enough with a retrogamer and a movie buff with an appreciation for old media under one roof.
I'm ignoring all games that were released in the United States, even under an alternate title, except in VERY special cases. Very Special being a situation like Castlevania III/Ajumajou Densetsu once I mod my NES to take audio expansions. There's just no point. So I'm going to rob someone in Japan from the opportunity to a SMB3 cart just because Mario shrinks when hit every time? Nah, I think I'll pass. Dragon Quest MIGHT be another example too, since I'm tempted to learn Japanese, even if a little (I listen to a lot of Japanese rock music like P-Model and Hikashu so it might be nice to actually listen without having to resort to Google Translate on Hirapedia or somewhat), and I'm also a HUGE 8-bit era Dragon Quest fan anyway.
The only releases I'm interesting in importing in their natural format are releases that don't require a lot of text reading. There's a lot of good lists and YouTube videos for this, I've even found some (and rediscovered a few) through the sup-400-in-1 I got last year for my 39th birthday.
However, I might take a dip into reproduction carts for the same reason - Holy Diver would be one of these, as would Gimmick. They are just too expensive for me to justify as a native Famicom release. Other cases might be translations, like Sweet Home, or maybe Dragon Quest, because that could mean foregoing learning a second language as I go over the hill (but hey, what's stopping me, as I quite well like the lyrics as they are translated).
But overall, the goal for me is to get my hands on some games I like for the fun of it that I can't get on regular NES, as I prefer actual hardware, and I have 2 converters. These converters also limit me to "standard sized" carts and maybe Akumajou Special.
Christmas of 2022 I asked for a Famicom adapter I'd found on Amazon, because I was stretching for ideas for xmas presents for myself, and figured "ya' know, I see lots of Famicom import carts on E-bay for dirt cheap, some of them I'd really like, maybe I'll ask for that, and if I get it, it gives me something to look forward to". But then began the ardious process of deciding what Famicom games to import, which brings me to today.
See, I'm not exactly your average "gotta' catch' em' all" "collector" type anymore, I'm more of a refined, mature, 40-something retrogamer who is very discerning and thoughtful about what I want to snag for my collection these days. All too often I would end up with piles and piles of carts I don't want or play. And I don't want to make a nasty impact on the Japanese market or markets elsewhere by snaging their local releases and lessening the pool for nostalgic gamers everywhere else in the world. After all, if it were not for the exclusives in other countries, this page would not exist.
One thing I have that many people looking into this side of retrogaming don't, is a mocodum of electronics skills (IE, I know where to find the mods and how to install them to allow the VRC4 and VRC6 sound expansions on an American NES-001 console so if I chose to get Castlevania III for for Famicom or one of those VRC4 titles - I can have the AWESOME music (not to mention easier playability of the Japanese CV3 release)). So I'm at a benefit. One thing about me and my vintage devices is I like to push them to their limits - consoles included, and the NES has a lot of GREAT potential, including mine becoming a Globetrotting beast. Plus mines the perfect vintage example to do this to, because it's truly a "Frankentendo" anyway, I used THREE NES consoles to build the one I'm currently using, and it's technically only my third NES I've owned in 30 years.
Another thing is I'm tempted to learn at least a little Japanese possibly. I know it's harder, but I was watching a lady on YouTube This morning that explained some of the verbal/pronuounciation differences, and I dunno, despite being of Scandinavian/Scottish/German descent, it made sense to me to see "clipped vowels" as a verbal function in a language. So maybe I could learn this, that'd be nice, I'd LOVE To replay Dragon Warrior in it's original Dragon Quest incarnations (though I'm at a point I could play at least I and IV blind without reading at all, lol). Of course, I always make lofty goals like this and fail - just being brutally honest with myself, but who knows, I end up feeling like I'll do nothing, and then go all-in on it. Go figure. Besides, I have a good teacher in those old P-Model albums I like to listen to.Anyway, let's move on to talking about Games, and how/what/why/why-not I would procure them. I'm going to start with one's I've played, and move into the ones I have not.
So, Famicom imports are not all Japanese Exclusives. Of course all the usual suspects existed their, albeit some in altered forms. Things like Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Urban Champion, and whatnot are pretty much the same game we got in the USA. The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros USA/Doki Doki Panic: Dream Factory, Dragon Quest (the first one), Metroid, Castlevania III, and others were released here but in Japan they were either different in a big way (Dragon Quest with it's directional talk menu, uni-directional character sprites, no shoreline, a password system rather than battery backed save, and a racier storyline), The Legend of Zelda on Famicom Disk System with enhanced music and yelling into the 2nd controller microphone to startle an enemy, a double release of Doki Doki Panic: Dream Factory created for some kind of FCI sponsored event in Japan for the Famicom Disk System, later adapted to Cartridge as Super Mario Bros. USA - which we got in the United States as our version of Super Mario Bros. 2 - which speaking of Super Mario Bros. 2......
Now we get the Japanese/Foreign-in-general exclusive games. These are games like Holy Diver (oh hell yes!), Akumajou Special, all the Hello Kitty series games, Star Luster, Milk N' Nuts, Door Door, Shigeru Miyamoto's Devil World, and the list goes on and on and on. But of course, you only need to import SOME of these, and some of them can be quite expensive, like Holy Diver, and some of them are really cheap, like Antarctic Adventure or Star Luster.Note that I'm reusing some screenshots from my "Sup' 400-in-1" Console here, so if the colors look off or a little goofey, that's why, as I was introduced to even more exclusives on that console! So without further adeiu, let's get this table started......