Archive for November, 2009

Restoring a Nice Famiclone Part 2


Finally! Here’s Part 2 of the Restoring a Nice Famiclone Saga. Go read Part 1 if you haven’t done so yet.

The NTDEC Family Game is a nice discrete Famicom clone which was probably manufactured around 1990. It’s very sturdy in comparison with later Famiclones, and thanks to its discrete design it can run software like Castlevania III and the Famicom Disk System with no problems at all. Unfortunately it suffers from the incorrect sound syndrome that plagues the vast majority of Famicom clones. Two of the duty cycle registers are swapped inside the audio generator unit, producing different sounds and music.

Unfortunately the audio processing unit is inside the CPU die, which means that it’s uncorrectable short of replacing the entire CPU (something you cannot done on NoAC based Famiclones), and it’s really annoying when you know how the games are supposed to be like. In this case I’ll replace both the CPU and PPU chips on the Family Game console with original Ricoh parts to turn it into a 100% accurate, 100% compatible Famicom system.



Dream Mary on a Budget


Dream Mary (also called Fancy Mario) is a “special” version of the 1985 NES/Famicom classic game Super Mario Bros. It can be commonly found on pirate Famicom multicarts as Fancy Mario, and rarely on single game cartridges as Dream Mary. It has a bizarre scrolling effect in which the screen splits in half: the right half is unchanged but the left half of the screen displays what’s way ahead of you, on the next screen.

This gives for an interesting and bizarre gameplay experience. Every element that appears on the left half of the screen isn’t solid – you can fall down into ghost pits, seemingly stand up in midair, inside pipes or knock on invisible blocks.

Mario's having a bad dream, and it's not because of Wart.
Mario’s having a bad dream, and it’s not because of Wart.