Famicom


REVIEW
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

By Shaun Hatton - March 8th, 2009

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon

If you’ve played Super Smash Brothers Brawl and wondered just who the hell this Marth guy was, you weren’t alone. Marth was the lead protagonist in the Famicom title, Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken, which hadn’t previously been released this side of the Pacific until the recent release of its remake, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon for the Nintendo DS.

As fate and genealogy would have it, Marth is the prince of the kingdom of Altea, which at the start of his adventure had come under attack from the evil forces of Dolhr. Soon thereafter, he realizes his duty to Altea is to lead its forces in battle and reclaim the glory of his kingdom. Though his rag-tag group of followers is initially small, throughout his adventure, he meets new friends and foes, and even meets a few who are both. The growth of his army in the story complements the game-play; new character types are slowly introduced, giving players time to become acclimated to the strengths, weaknesses, and particular quirks of them at a comfortable paces.

Shadow Dragon, like other games in the franchise, is a turn-based strategy role-playing adventure. In many ways, it’s comparable to the much-acclaimed Advance Wars series in that they both feature grid-based battlefields and rich stories. I personally prefer the knights, mages, dragons, and general fantasy setting to the mechanical warfare of Advance Wars, so for me Fire Emblem wins in that department.

Read the rest »


Club Nintendo Members Get Cool Stuff

By Tetris Maximus - April 17th, 2008

2008_04_17_superfamicomcont.jpg

If you happen to live in Japan and are a member of Club Nintendo, you could get yourself one of these! It’s a Super Famicom controller that plugs into a Wii Remote so gamers can play Super Famicom games on the Virtual Console in style.

Oh how we wish this was coming to Canada. But fear not: play-asia.com will be selling them pretty soon. I happen to like the Classic Controller, so I probably won’t be getting this. On the other hand, Shaun will have probably bought four by the time you read this.


The Famiclone You Could Own

By Shaun Hatton - April 15th, 2008

2008_04_15_famiclone.jpg

Our April Fool’s joke about the 25th Anniversary Nintendo Entertainment System went over well and even generated a flood of email asking if it was the real deal or not. Sadly, it wasn’t. And yes, we’d all love to be able to buy a brand-new NES without resorting to the crazy world of online auctions and dealing with the extortion experts selling sealed vintage gaming gear.

As far as we know, Nintendo has no plans of releasing an official Nintendo Entertainment System for the console’s 25th anniversary. After all, the company has arguably been quite unable to meet the supply demand for Wii. I can’t believe it’s still sold out everywhere. Really, I thought everyone already had one.

But getting back on-topic here, there are a few affordable options for people wanting to play their old NES games but not wanting to deal with refurbishing old NES decks. One of these options is the Yobo system pictured above. The thing is obviously not licensed by Nintendo but it is able to play NES games quite nicely. It comes with two controllers that are equipped with auto-fire buttons. The Yobo also accepts regular NES controllers, including the Zapper.

The Yobo is very cheap and also cheaply-made. The thing weighs less than a game cartridge! Still, it’s not a bad device and if I didn’t already have a stack of Nintendos, I’d use it more often.


Nintendo To Release 25th Anniversary Edition NES

By Shaun Hatton - March 31st, 2008

2008_04_01_nesreturns.gif
The Nintendo Entertainment System is the console that revitalized home gaming in the 80s. Get ready to own it again.

As cool as the Virtual Console is, there’s no denying that for all its super emulation, component output, and steady flow of downloadable games, nothing can come close to the feel of the original systems. In particular, I’m talking about the NES.

But there’s good news if you’re among the many who’d love to own a mint condition NES again (or for the first time). For the system’s 25th anniversary (which is July 15, 2008), the Big N will be releasing a “Limited Collector’s Edition” replica of the Nintendo Entertainment System. The console will come with two controllers but as of yet there’s no word on which games will be included.

While part of the reason for the release of this 25th Anniversary console is to commemorate a giant in the gaming world, one can’t help but wonder if Nintendo’s hidden agenda is to help combat the rise in popularity of cheaply-made NES clones.

In its heyday, the Nintendo Entertainment System sold well over 61 million systems worldwide. Unfortunately due to inherent problems with the console’s design, not many of them could withstand repeated use of the front-loading, supposed “zero insertion force” cartridge mechanism. This resulted in undesired wear on the pin connectors: a problem that many tried to solve by blowing on the cartridge contacts.

Nintendo is addressing this problem in the Limited Collector’s Edition by eliminating the press-down part of the cartridge insertion. While this may deter some hardcore old-school gamers, Nintendo’s North American President Reggie Fils-Aime has his own spin on it:

Read the rest »


Ghostbusters VS Ghostbusters

By Shaun Hatton - January 29th, 2008

2008_01_29_ghostbustersdeat.png
We blew our graphics budget on this illustration.

Ghostbusters. It’s a great movie with crappy games. Sure, there’s the upcoming Ghostbusters game for all platforms. But can it top its 8-bit counterparts on Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System? Only time will tell. In the interim, let’s compare the two 8-bit versions. In all cases where screenshots are shown, we’ve depicted the NES screenshot on the left with the SMS screenshot on the right. Most of these screenshots are from Moby Games, which is an excellent video game resource for older material.

Ghostbusters was one of my favourite movies when I was a child. I always daydreamed about getting my own proton pack and I even had a jacket that I taped a Ghostbusters logo to the shoulder of. I’d wear it around the house bustin’ imaginary ghosts from time to time. When I saw that there was a Ghostbusters game for Sega Master System, I was thrilled. I finally got it and played it repeatedly but realized it was not at all like the movie. It was a few years later that I learned there was a Ghostbusters game for the NES, and that it, too, was nothing like the movie.

The main thing that makes the movie so enjoyable is the humour. And this is sorely lacking in both the SMS and NES versions of the game. In fact, there is really nothing funny about the game unless you count the fact that someone probably made a lot of money making it.

Read the rest »


HOW TO
Program the Famicom TV Remote

By Shaun Hatton - December 9th, 2007

2007_12_08_famicomremote.jpg
The Famicom Universal TV Remote doesn’t do much but is still pretty cool.

If you happen to have the Famicom Universal TV Remote but can’t read the Japanese instructions it comes with, you may not be able to figure out how to set it to actually operate your TV. In fact, it can be downright frustrating trying to figure this out. As much of a great conversation piece the remote is, it’s somewhat useless if you can’t get it to work.

Here are instructions, in English, for programming the remote. It’s a lot easier than you might have thought!

Read the rest »