TDE continues a series of posts concerning various aspects of the Famicom and NES, leading up to the 30th anniversary of the ubiquitous Japanese video game system. This time, we look at Nintendo’s first cautious steps towards online connectivity with the Famicom.
Just the Fax
In America, video game companies have tested the waters of console-based online services, such as PlayCable for Mattel’s Intellivision in 1981, and 1983’s Gameline for the Atari 2600. Nintendo starts its own flirtation with online services for the Famicom in 1987, with the development of the Disk Fax System. Used in conjunction with the Family Computer Disk System, the scheme allows players to purchase special blue-coloured disk versions of games, onto which they can save their high-scores. They can then take these to Disk Fax kiosks in participating stores, where their high scores are read and sent to Nintendo via phone line to be entered in contests run by the company. Games used in the competitions include the two versions of Family Computer Golf: Japan Course and U.S. Course, as well as 3-D Hot Rally and Famicom Grand Prix F1 Race. Top scorers receive awards such as gold versions of disk cards, ensconced inside of elaborate packaging.
As part of our celebration of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Famicom, the Japanese video game system by Nintendo that was later adapted for the North American market as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), I’m posting my review of The Wizard. It’s a 1989 Fred Savage vehicle that many consider as simply a 100 minute commercial for Nintendo. I made this initially for Ten Point Review, where we rate a movie according to four criteria, and then add and/or subtract points as we see fit in order to come up with a numerical rating between 0 – 10. Time to watch people play games!
The 30th anniversary of the Famicom is nigh! TDE is celebrating with Updates posts concerning various aspects of Nintendo’s hugely important and influential game console. We’ll also cover details of the NES, the North American version of the Famicom, released two years later in 1985. These posts will lead up to the full Famicom and NES Bitstory articles that will be published here in mid July. As had happened before with the Atari VCS, a console that helped create the video game market in the first place, the NES becomes a cottage industry for peripherals and other products associated with the console. Today, we’re looking at an integral part of the immense and long-lived success of the NES. Today, we’re playing with Power!
This picture comes from the first issue of Nintendo Fun Club News, a newsletter sent out to NES owners that was the precursor to Nintendo Power magazine. Here we see a 14 year-old Wil Wheaton and his younger brother Jeremy, winners of the first ever Super Mario-A-Thon in 1987. I think it’s terrific that celebrities pitched in to raise money to keep kids off drugs, and I’m impressed that Wheaton scored 239,400 in 10 minutes in Super Mario Bros.. Especially with that demonically possessed Mario looking on. He stares into my soul and whispers “Mama mia, it’s game over for you, pisan”. That’s the look you get after washing the guts of the 10,000th Goomba you’ve squished the life out of from the sole of your work boot. Yes, it’s-a me. Your worst-a friggin nightmare.
Work continues on the next instalment of the Bitstory section here at TDE. There will be two entries, in fact, and they represent the first coverage of “modern” consoles on this website. Modern, compared to PONG and Atari, that is. For a taste of what’s in store, here is a video for your enjoyment.
If it’s Monday, it must be another video game retomeme:
Yesterday we posted an image of the massive open-world RPG Skyrim as an Intellivision cart. That was pretty silly, heck a standard Intellivision cartridge only holds 4K of memory. No, such an old system could never have run a Skyrim game. Now, the NES on the other hand, there was an advanced console…