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Let’s Play Famicom Games!

Do you know Nintendo Family Computer/Famicom?

Famicom was launched in 1983 and its popularity skyrocketed, which led many people to enjoy playing video games at home. It was called The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in other countries.

Now I am 47 years old and I was 8 when I first saw Family Computer and my parents bought one for me as a birthday gift. I enjoyed early video games such as Super Mario Bros., Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, etc., those of which have been serialized so far.

Later on, new consoles including Super Nintendo, Sony Playstation, etc. with high functions, quality, and capacity were released. Not only the contents of games but also the graphics and sounds were advanced.

One day, when I went to a second-hand store to sell my old clothes and electric appliances that I did not use anymore,

I found a console for Famicom games on sale.

That was a game device called "a compatible machine", which was not the type that we used to play with, but it was possible to play Famicom games by inserting a cassette. Its price was about JPY2,000-3,000 and the console strongly reminded me of my old days. Then I bought it on impulse.

On a side note, many types of compatible machines were on sale when I searched "ファミコン 互換機 (famikon gokanki: Famicom a compatible machine)" on Rakuten Ichiba.

I also found game cassettes for Famicom in the second-hand shop.

Each of them was about JPY100-200, but some rare ones were priced over JPY1,000.

I looked around to find games that I used to play and there were some, so I bought them.

They were in a better condition than I expected. The price used to be JPY5,000 for each, but I paid JPY750 for five of them.

Then I started playing the games.

The controller design was partially different, but the D-pad, A, and B buttons were the same.

(It had TURBO buttons but I could play Famicom games without using them.)

My favorites out of the ones I bought are as follows:

1. Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. is a worldwide popular game that immediately put Famicom on the world map. This game is called a platform game where a player handles and makes a character avoid obstacles and beat enemies.

I was thrilled at the platform where the screen kept scrolling and kids were so excited at various hidden commands called "urawaza"

The blocky and pixelated characters are so irresistible.

Japanese in Hiragana and English are mainly used for captions.

I could not read those English captions at all when I was a child.

2. Mario Bros.

Mario Bros. is the earliest version of the game with the name, Mario, released before Super Mario Bros. The original goal of this game was to exterminate enemies and gain scores.

Children in those days were crazy to survive as long as possible rather than gaining scores and reached to create a new way of playing by making Mario and Luigi interfere with each other.

3. Family Stadium

Family Stadium is an original video game of a current professional baseball video game. The best feature was that the names and characteristics of actual Japanese baseball players at that time were incorporated into the characters.

The baseball players bustling around in the game are now good old men.

Baseball was extremely popular among boys in Japan those days. So Family Stadium became a smash hit and toy stores shamelessly started making a tie-in sale which was prohibited by the Antimonopoly Act.

4. Front Line

Front Line is a military-themed game where a solider only with a hand gun and grenade attacks the enemy from the frontline.

As a kid, I was playing thinking I would lose in a second if the enemies came to attack all at the same time.

5. Ninja Jajamaru-kun

In this game, a kid ninja, Jajamaru, beats monsters with shurikens and save a princess.

Since Jajamaru-kun was such an adorable character, this game was popular among girls at that time.

Jajamaru-kun becomes invincible by collecting items and riding on a huge frog, Gamapakkun.


I am afraid it takes forever to write about everything, so I should stop around here.

Many other games are available at second-hand shops.

Why not playing retro games from the 80's once in a while?

For your information, these are the stores and services where retro games are available:

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