Basically Famicom is Japanese version of your NES. It got two worth mentioning add-ons that were forerunners for future gaming trends.
First one was Famicom Modem. Even if it's quite primitive for today standards it allowed gamers to go online which was pretty revolutionary at the time. It was never used for online gameplay but provided content such as game reviews and previews, cheat codes, news, weather forecasts or even banking transactions and stock trading. Famicom Network idea was later expanded in SNES Satellaview.
Second add-on is rather short lived Famicom Disk System. The biggest issue at the time was with saving your game progress. First generation of cartridges were ROM only and lacked battery-backed memory which was too expensive at the time. Famicom Data Recorder introduced by Nintendo allowed to save content of few games on cassette tapes but it's manufacturing cost was too high. That's how FDS was born. Games that were released for it had a save feature also FDS had additional RAM memory and could generate better sound. Games came in two ways. You could buy pre-written disk or get some blank disks and go to one of those Disk Writer vending machines and choose games by yourself. You could use the same disk and rewrite it again. A lot of games that were released for FDS were cheaper re-releases of cart titles. Many of games that were released first for FDS were later ported to cartridge format when battery-backup memory get less expensive. Outside the Japan they usually came with implemented password system. Game prices were the reason why FDS retained some popularity even after Nintendo abandoned this technology in a favour of more reliable cartridges. FDS even had it's official mascot, Disk-kun (Mr. Disk or Disk Boy in English).
These are the games that didn't quite make it out West, but are still worth checking out. Whether you own a clone system, an actual Famicom, a converter for your NES, or maybe just looking for ROMs, here's the list for you.
The Famicom List
|Box Art||Title||English title||Genre||Description||Translation||Screenshot|
|Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun||Castlevania Special: I'm Kid Dracula!||Platformer||Did you ever want to play Alucard, from Castlevania, as a cartoony kid? Well now you can! An extremely fun platformer goofing off on the Castlevania franchise, you play as "Dracula-kun" aka Alucard in a classic platforming romp. The gameplay is like a smoother 'vania, with a Megaman 4-like charge shot. Has a translation patch for the ROM, but it won't make much sense anyways. Curiously, the final boss cameo'd in Symphony of the Night as a boss! A version of this was also localized for Gameboy as Kid Dracula.||Link|
|Battle City||Battle City||Arcade||Possibly the best co-op game on Famicom. You are a tank. And you should destroy enemy tanks which respawn like bitches over and over again. And if they destroy you base (Yeah, that eagle at the bottom of the screen IS your base) you are a deadman. There a lot of levels and you can do your own levels too! Lots of endless fun with your friend. Had something of a western cult fanbase in the day because versions of this would sometimes pop up in those 50-in-1 NES pirate carts. Also known as Tank 1990 in Poland, on the motherfucking Pegasus console.||Link|
|Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa||Bio Miracle — I'm Upa!||Platformer||This is a great platformer game by Konami where you play as a baby. So much fun it hurts sometimes. A bit similar to Klonoa, but ballooned foes float automatically, letting you hop on them for a brief ride (instead of just double-jumping) and ballooned foes can be bounced diagonally (needed to kill bosses). Be warned that ballooned foes also bounce off of hard-objects, while piercing soft-objects and foes, so don't get hit by ricochet. A bit challenging, but remarkably whimsical. Released on the Wii's virtual console for 600 points, if you'd rather go that route. Disk system version has better music?||Link|
|Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker||Captain Tsubasa II: Super Striker||RPG / sports||You might have heard of this game from the anime series or the blandly translated prequel). This game mixes soccer with an RPG. You run around the field as you would in a normal soccer game, but when you want to pass or shoot you have to call a menu with commands (such as shoot, pass, dribble, super shots, etc). You also have MP (Guts), something you have to watch carefully seeing as every action consumes MP (even running) The game starts pretty easy but gets incredibly difficult incredibly fast. You start with only one player who has super shots, but eventually more super players join your team (that's when the game gets really fun).||Link|
|Chaos World||Chaos World||RPG||Chaos World is one of the better and most underrated RPG on the system made by Natsume. Some cool features are how you choose how your main character grows in terms of class and abilities and another is that you can send off allies from guilds to do jobs, and they'll return with gold and gear as rewards. A translation patch for the ROM can be found here and it also includes the fucked up original patch for hilarity's sake. The new one is legit, but the original has notable errors, mostly in the menu, along with a weird one that has an NPC spout machine code, then attack you as an army of powerful soldiers for no reason.||Link|
|Chōjin Sentai Jetman||Birdman Squadron Jetman||Platformer||Yet another short, easy, but fun action platformer for the system. Some characters have a sword, some others a gun. This game seems to share the same or an earlier engine of Shatterhand. Even though this is solid it's not quite as good as Shatterhand. The TV show it's based on ain't half bad either.||Link|
|Cocoron||Cocoron||Platformer||A very unique platformer with customizable characters, great graphics, great music, and overall a great game to own. You can give your character different body parts and weapons, which affects their stamina, power, speed, and jumping ability, among other factors. Neat worlds, weird bosses, and a nonsensical narrative.||Link|
|Cosmic Epsilon||Cosmic Epsilon||Shooter||A cool rail shooter in the same vein as Space Harrier. Given the hardware, its detailed pseudo-3D stages and smooth framerate are truly impressive.||Link|
|Crisis Force||Crisis Force||Shmup||Simply said, one of the best shmups on the system. The graphics and sound are wonderful, but the real kicker is the gameplay. You can change the shape of your ship at any moment (3 shapes different) to shoot different types of missiles. It's also great for 2-player co-op, as you can experiment with different support formations and the ships can fuse for a short while and kick extra ass.||Link|
|Devil World||Devil World||Arcade||Miyamoto's take on Pac-Man, basically. You're a dragon who has to kill the Devil by collecting bibles in hell and destroying skull boxes. Awesome. It doesn't really differ too much from Pac-Man other than the screen moving whenever the dickhead of a Devil points his fingers. It's definitely a challenge since the screen movement can smash you against the walls and the enemies like to be sneaky and stalk you into a corner. Not only that but the game gets faster and faster with each stage. Thankfully though, by getting a cross or bible, you can shoot out "HOLY FIRE" to make enemies retreat. Was released in Europe, but that version suffers from the old PAL issues.|
|Dig Dug||Dig Dug||Arcade||Sadly, the most faithful port of the original Dig Dug never even made it out west! Definitely worth picking up by any means, it shouldn't even cost a lot.||Link|
|Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki da yo Zen'in Shūgō!||Downtown Special: It's Kunio-kun's Period Drama, Gather Everyone!||Beat 'em up||The true "sequel" to River City Ransom, this time the action takes place in a very scenic feudal japan with Kunio/Alex's ancestor, Kunimasa. You still take on rival gangs, but the exploration is more non-linear. Getting stronger depends on a few new factors in addition to the old, but easy to re-figure out. As you can see to the right, you always have a buddy helping you, even in single player. Very "sugoi", so to say.||Link|
|Dragon Ball Z: Kyôshū! Saiyjin||Dragon Ball Z: Assault of the Saiyans!||RPG||It's a pretty interesting rpg with a weird card-based battle system. The low point is that battles are REALLY FUCKING SLOW, wich becomes really tedious since the bosses are ridicously strong and you are forced to grind a lot, but this problem can be easily solved when playing on an emulator. The game follows the story of the manga/anime, starting the moment you fight Raditz and it ends with the battle against Vegeta.||Link|
|Dragon Ball Z II: Gekishin Freeza!||Dragon Ball Z II: Freeza the Planet Destroyer!||RPG||Same as the first game, this time the story picks up right after the battle against Vegeta. You have to travel to planet Namek and collect the dragon balls to revive all the people who died. (Are they still on Namek?!)||Link|
|Dragon Ball Z III: Ressen Jinzōningen||Dragon Ball Z III: Hot Battle! Artificial Humans!||RPG||Now it's the time to fight Cooler, the androids and motherfucking Cell.||Link|
|Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Saiyajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku||Dragon Ball Z Side Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans!||RPG||This time the card battle system has been changed a bit and the battles seem to flow faster. Also the story has nothing to do with the anime/manga, but was adapted into a OVA. Watch that after beating the game. There is a translated ROM available||Link|
|Final Fantasy II||Final Fantasy II||RPG||Haters gonna hate, but its still worth a play. Quite different from most Final Fantasy games. Has a pretty enjoyable story and mythos like most FFs, -BUT- It has many curious elements such as the "password", where you learn secret info to progress, and "stat progression" systems, where you get stronger based on your actions in battle. There are some ROM patches that fix the stat system and make it more balanced. This growth style was first perfected in Square's later SaGa series on Game Boy, also known as the Final Fantasy Legend series. So if you like this, be sure to check that out. There is a translated ROM available and a prototype that has originally going to be released in America. Also on GBA with FF1 and PSP. Both have a cool extra story, "Dawn of Souls", which contains spoilers, but is very damn cool (and hard!).||Link|
|Final Fantasy III||Final Fantasy III||RPG||This game needs not be introduced. One of the best RPGs on the system, and the first to bring the Job System full swing vs FF1, where you just chose a party to stick with until the end credits. Different in some subtle, but notable ways from its remake on DS. As a result, you may like one over the other, but both are quite solid.||Link|
|Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi||Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light||Tactics RPG||The very first. MANY things are different from later entries. No weapon triangle, limited jobs, and some jobs can't promote! But, it's still a GOOD game with a lot of content. Oddly, due to the lack of some elements, it can be exploited to become rather easy. Has an SFC remake with a second story, both of which have DS remakes which bring the gameplay to that of modern entries and are the best ways to experience the stories, now fleshed out for a much richer experience. Fun Fact: Sakurai of Kirby and Smash Bros. fame is a huge fan of the series.||Link|
|Fire Emblem Gaiden||Fire Emblem Side-Story||Tactics RPG||The "black sheep" of the FE series. It plays quite differently than all other entries, even the first. A number of elements were added that were used in later entries though. It feels like a traditional RPG, but with a tactics control-system. Despite that, it still has the series spirit, remains an entertaining and surprisingly long and in-depth game, and is one of the few Japanese-only FEs with a full fan-translation. This is NOT the game to get into the series with (most prefer FE7 on the GBA), but it is still worth playing whether or not you've beaten any of the others.||Link|
|Fuzzical Fighter||Fuzzical Fighter||Shooter / RPG||A shmup with many RPG elements. There is experience, etc but also a small overworld in top down view where you control your character and where you get to go to an INN, a shop, etc. All of this happening in a medieval fantasy setting.||Link|
|Getsu Fūma Den||Legend of the Lunar Wind Demon||Action-adventure||A good action/adventure game. The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game was based on the engine of this game, except this game is made much more sensibly. It plays kind of like a cross between Castlevania and Gargoyle's Quest.||Link|
|Gradius II||Gradius II||Shmup||8-bit conversion of Konami's 1988 arcade sequel. While arcade purists may overlook this version in favor of more accurate ports available on other platforms, this Famicom rendition has enough of a unique flavor to stand on its own. Very similar to the Famicom Salamander, graphically and mechanically, but was made on a more advanced mapper chip that allows for both, vertical and horizontal scrolling, at the same time. Absolutely no Japanese literacy is required to play.|
|Heracles no Eikō II: Titan no Metsubō||Glory of Heracles II: Titans' Downfall||RPG||Sequel to Tōjin Makyō-den Heracles no Eikō (aka. Glory of Heracles), Easier and more conventional than the first. This is the first GoH game to be translated which set patterns for its later sequels. You're a mortal Greek soldier who must find the hero, Heracles, so he can prevent the Titans from resurrecting. On your journey, a centaur and sentient statue join your cause and you also meet mythological figures as NPCs and enemies. Plays like a Greek cross between Dragon Quest 2.5, but without the annoying OPEN DOOR and CLIMB STAIRS. Pretty hard early on, but there's a few neat elements to this that make it worth finishing. There is a translation patch available.||Link|
|Holy Diver||Holy Diver||Platformer||A total Castlevania rip-off/clone that is inspired and sponsored by 80's heavy metal act Dio, based on his hit song 'Holy Diver'. What a fucking priceless game. While hilarious in concept, the game is actually really good, and is definitely a must-own. The only problem is, finding it proves to be extremely hard. Even if you're just looking for the rom you'll find yourself googling for quite a while. So imagine how hard it is to come by the cart. Made by irem, the guys behind R-Type.||Link|
|Joy Mech Fight||Joy Mech Fight||Fighting||This game is weird. Imagine Vectorman-like characters fighting on the Famicom. Yup, a fighting game with robots on Famicom. I guess that says everything. A lot of fun, just strange. Made by Nintendo themselves.||Link|
|Kaijuu Monogatari||Shell Monsters Story||RPG||4 Heroes fight the Demon Fat Badger and get their asses handed to them, they are then scattered to the 4 corners of the world. Reunite them and defeat the Demon. Difficult as it is quite grindy, uses keys to unlock certain doors and characters have limited inventory space. Has 2 sequels on the SNES.||Link|
|Konami Wai Wai World||Konami Wai Wai World||Platformer||A Konami platformer that features some of their early game characters including: Konami Man and Konami Lady, King Kong, Mikey Walsh (Goonies), Goemon, Simon Belmont, Twinbee, Moai, Vic Viper, Pentarou and Fuma. You can swap out between characters once you find them. The last level is oddly inspired by Twinbee, despite pretty much everything else being a platformer. "Wai Wai" is a bit hard to translate, but more or less means "crazy"/"fracas"/"noisy ruckus"/etc.||Link|
|Konami Wai Wai World 2: SOS Paseri Jou||Konami Wai Wai World 2: SOS from Parsley Castle||Platformer||Sequel to the above. Fewer characters, arguably better music and graphics, with much improved gameplay. Playable characters include: Simon, Bill Rizer, Upa, Goemon, Fuma, Vic Viper, Twinbee, and Rickle the new robot exclusive to this game.||Link|
|Kyattou Ninden Teyandē||Samurai Pizza Cats||Platformer||A platformer based on the anime. Another sort of typical good, short, rather easy, and simply fun platformer on the console (unless you use the Hard Mode cheat). You have to switch different characters who all have their own abitilies. Special weapons can be powered up two additional tiers, each weapon being different among the characters. Only one of the three mains from the show can be used at a time, but the 4 supporters are always used. Meowzma/Gotton by the way, tunnels through soil by holding the d-pad against it. All 4 sub-cats are useful for both reaching the stage goal, but also finding extra goodies in side-areas, such as 1-ups and life/energy refills.|
Has an English translation patch.
|Lagrange Point||Lagrange Point||RPG||Konami's sci-fi adventure puts you in the shoes of Jean, an upstart pilot that investigates the reason behind a space-station assault. The fighting system is comparable to Dragon Quest's first-person view. This game utilizes the unique VRC7 co-processor which grants the Famicom soundboard 6 FM-synth channels - making the audio comparable to the Sega Mega Drive! The game has been fully translated.||Link|
|Layla||Layla||Platformer||It's a sci-fi platformer in a bizarre world. You're Layla, a sort of space soldier and you have to rescue your partner, Iris, from an evil scientist (about half-way in the game). Similar to Psychic Force on other platforms, but instead of powers, you find several weapons like Machine guns, grenades, flamethrowers, etc. but they have limited ammo, so it's best to stick to your upgradable pistol (infinite ammo) for stages and save the big guns for bosses. Note that jumping higher requires running fast, but press down before jumping to jump even higher, even without running.|
Be warned that music is a bit tinny and there's no invincibility frames on Layla, which makes killing foes for life-boosting food a must. Also note that after getting Iris, you use twice as much ammo, since she also fights. Also, don't stay in one screen too long, or a space-tornado (?) will come in and obliterate your lazy ass.
|Mad City||The Adventures of Bayou Billy||Action||Be not-Crocodile Dundee in New Orleans, fight the local thugs, rescue your girl. But with a twist: rather than stick to a single style all the way through, as usual for the time, Mad City alternated beat 'em up, driving, and rail shooting stages. Pity the US release was ruined by an insane increase in difficulty that made it almost unplayable.||Link|
|Magical Kids Doropie||The Krion Conquest||Platformer||Feels like... holy shit you're playing Mega Man. Vic Tokai, makers of Clash at Demonhead and Decap Attack made this for anyone who wanted to play classic Mega Man with a witch-girl (who can actually shoot upward!). Released stateside as The Krion Conquest, with lots of content cut/censored and cranked up difficulty, so get the fan translation instead.||Link|
|Moai Kun||Kid Moai||Puzzle||A puzzle-platformer by Konami. This game is pretty much the Adventure of Lolo sidescrolling version. You have to go around pick up your friends while solving little puzzles with the help of your headbutt and bombs. You can headbutt enemies too but be careful not to trap yourself by destroying the wrong blocks!||Link|
|Moon Crystal||Moon Crystal||Platformer||A pleasant and colorful Prince of Persia-like with an actual plot (told through Ninja Gaiden-esque cutscenes) and fluid sprite work. The action is deliberately slow-paced and never unfair, but some bosses can be hair-tearingly cheap. (Hint: the best strategy is usually to get there with full hearts and wail on them.) Nonetheless, it's short enough to be worth seeing to the end. Very cinematic!||Link|
|Mother||EarthBound Beginnings||RPG||If you can read moonspeak, you really owe it to yourself to play the game that started Earthbound/Mother. It's different from its two sequels, but it's still quite amazing. (If you're only looking for a rom, there is a dump of the English prototype that was never released. It's usually labeled Earthbound Zero; if you want an authentic experience,this website sells reproduction copies). Earthbound Zero differs from the original, but is pretty much better. It was even used as the basis for the remix in Mother 1+2 for GBA. Got a Virtual Console re-release for the Wii U under the title "EarthBound Beginnings".||Link|
|Radia Senki: Reimeihen||Chronicle of the Radia War||Action RPG||Surprisingly good narrative from Tecmo (!), with a real-time RPG gameplay that's like a mix of Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger. Your party grows to 5 members, but only the MC is player-controlled and the rest are AI. You can give 'em commands and tactics via menus, and they can also be told to cast spells once they learn them with scrolls. If you position them well, you can gang-up on an enemy and beat the shit out of it. The MC never learns magic, but his sword-arm is strong and he's the only one who can use items and items which have magic-like effects. The aesthetics of this game are just lovely. There is a translated ROM available.||Link|
|Summer Carnival '92: RECCA||Summer Carnival '92: RECCA||Shoot 'em up||If you thought you knew ANYTHING about shmups before playing this masterpiece, then you're clearly mistaken. Recca is not only one of the best Famicom shmups, but probably makes the list of top five shmups ever. This game is hard, and fast, and has little to no slowdown or clipping. It's a fucking technical achievement for a Famicom game, and an achievement in game-design. The game is easily the best space shooter on the NES/Famicom, however, it's extremely hard to come by in cart form, and is thus, expensive. Rom is easy to find. Perhaps the first bullet hell shooter. A must play!||Link|
|Spartan X 2||Spartan X 2||Beat 'em up||The sequel to Kung Fu! A simple but fun beat'em up. The game is basically a straight line, you can only go forward or backward (you can jump, but you can't go up or down). Most enemies only take one hit to die but there are WAVES of them. Difficulty is very progressive. Some good tunes. By the way, you're playing as Jackie Chan. One of his characters, anyway.||Link|
|Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti||Splatterhouse: Naughty Graffiti||Beat 'em up||A chibi style Splatterhouse game exclusive to the Famicom. I shit you not. This spin-off is just as fun as the other games while being three times more fucking hilarious (because it's still violent/gory despite the cute look). It is however a lot less difficult than the other games in the series and was the first Splatterhouse game to make it to home consoles. It's technically a spin-off, but the in-game story presents itself as a prequel. Still not canon, though. This game is a must-own.||Link|
|Sweet Home||Sweet Home||RPG||Sweet Home for the Famicom is easily one of the best RPGs for the system. Actually a game tie-in for a low-budget horror film, Sweet Home is one of those rare examples where the game is better than the movie. Follows many typical RPG formula standards, but has many of it's own interesting elements as well (each member of your party only has ONE ITEM, and you can't take everybody at once, so you'll have to decide which items you'll need at one point). Horror themed obviously, the atmosphere in this game is stellar. This game was the inspiration for Resident Evil.||Link|
|Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima IV||Adventure Island IV||Platformer||This is not only the last NES/Famicom Adventure Island game, but in fact, was the last official game released for the Famicom. This one is different from the last 3, as it adds adventure elements of the later Metroid-esque Monster World series. Despite that, this is just as good as the third one, but can get pretty tough at times.||Link|
|Takeshi no Chosenjo||Takeshi's Challenge||Action/Puzzle/Troll||Behold, the best worst video game ever made! This elaborate joke from a man who hates video games contains an early open world, multiple styles of gameplay such as action, shooting stages and even karaoke. It's also hilariously hard. In fact, in Japan, 2 different strategy guides had to be published, as the first one didn't actually help you complete the game.
Protip: Go to the continue screen and select punch on the man there.
|Tenchi wo Kurau II - Shokatsu Kōmei Den||The Devouring of Heaven and Earth II: The Story of Kong Ming||RPG||A.K.A Destiny of an Emperor II. A remix of the first Destiny of an Emperor to be more faithful to the source material. The core game is mostly the same, but many gameplay elements have been improved upon. You can't recruit random generals, but you do get several anyways. Most of them are mostly good, letting you pick and choose your party without limit. Like before, there's quite a bit you may miss, so use this handy website for help. Japan-only, but has a full translation patch. There are 2 entries for the 3rd DoaE, but each plays differently than the first 2, and neither have translations.||Link|
|Tōjin Makyō-den Heracles no Eikō||Legend of the Fighting Demon's Lair - Glory of Heracles||RPG||The first Glory of Heracles game ever and the most unconventional. You play as fledgling warrior, Heracles, on his first quest (to save Aphrodite from Hades and become a glorious Greek hero). Quite unlike most RPGs. Plays like a mix of Zelda 1 and Dragon Quest 1, requiring both exploration and experimenting. You WILL die many times and you WILL likely get lost often. You NEED the manual (translation patch is in the same page) and you NEED to talk to NPCs if you hope to get anywhere in this game. Thankfully, both are very helpful. It's very satisfying once you realize the solutions, which is the main draw to this.||Link|
|Wagyan Land||Wagan Land||Platformer / Puzzle||Very unusual and highly overlooked game. You play as mechanical dinosaur that must defeat Dr. Devil who kidnaped his friends. Gameplay is something rather unique. You can't kill enemies (not until the end of a game) but only stun them with a sound waves. Boss battles are in a form of mini games in which you must solve some puzzles. Battle with Dr. Devil is a real pain because it's so hard. Namco had thought about this issue and added special cheat code that allows you to watch ending.||Link|
|Wily & Right no Rock Board: That's Paradise!||Wily & Light's Rock Board: That's Paradise!||Board Game||Basically Monopoly, but with Mega man characters. You can play with Light, Wily, Cossack, Roll and Kalinka, as Mega Man himself only appears in the menus and as a card. It didn't made to the west, because Nintendo of America were a bunch of faggots who didn't like gambling, which doesn't make sense, since there was an official Monopoly game for the NES. Go figure...||Link|
|Yume Penguin Monogatari||Penguin Dream Story||Platformer||The third game in the Penguin Adventure series. It's a sidescroller unlike the last two games, and it has a unique gimmick: lose as much weight as possible for your girlfriend. You will have to dodge all foods (even the ones that look healthy) except for slim shakes to shape up and get faster. Has a really rad soundtrack and nice visuals.||Link|
|Consoles||Action Max - Atari 7800 - Amstrad GX4000 - RDI Halcyon - View-Master Interactive Vision - Sega Master System - Nintendo Entertainment System - Casio PV-1000 - VTech Socrates - Epoch Super Cassete Vision|
|Computers||Mattel Aquarius - Acorn Archimedes - Commodore 64 - Amstrad CPC - Fujitsu FM-7 - Apple Lisa - Apple Macintosh - Microsoft MS-DOS - ASCII MSX - ASCII MSX2 - IBM OS-2 - NEC PC-88 - NEC PC-98 - Amstrad PCW - Sinclair QL - Commodore VIC-20 - Sharp X1 - Sinclair ZX Spectrum|