View Full Version : NES <-> Famicom converters

December 4th, 2009, 08:57 AM
I got a few Nintendo Famicom games (both cartridge and on disk with the drive) but only own a regular NES console. I have seen that some NES game cartridges contained some spiffy pin adapter so that famicom cartridges could be used with a NES as well as standalone adapters which didn't require you to hack up a cartrdige. I'm searching around for an adapter or console on ebay and everything is way too expensive. (I'm not paying $40 for a copy of gyromite...)
Couls someone shine a bit more light on this? I used to have a pretty nice NES game collection at one time (I had like eleven games, several of which James later criticized on AVGN) but when I moved all the games vanished and now all I got is my NES, two controllers, then gun and the Power Glove.

December 4th, 2009, 10:56 AM
What do you wish to know? The adapters - either sold separately or salvaged from a first run NES cartridge - work for most games. All that I've seen, you can't get a disk system working with the NES. I have a Sharp Twin Famicom myself for all Famicom-related items, including the 3D glasses, computer add-on and disk games. It's far better than getting a Famicom and separate disk system.

December 4th, 2009, 11:11 AM
Well, for starters, how common are these adaptors? Going form ebay they are...
...but I'm not buying that. Since you said that I still wouldn't be able to use my disk system with my NES even if I used the adapter, how much more feasable (or expensive) would it be to get myself a famicom? Basically what I am getting to is I want to see what these famicom games are like.

December 4th, 2009, 11:21 AM
Well, the other issue you'll have with using a Famicom is that it's RF only, and I don't believe it works well on American TV's (I believe it has to be tuned to some weird channel to work, if at all). That's another reason why I have the Sharp Twin Famicom, because it's composite out.

Famicoms themselves generally go fairly cheap. Probably under $50 not counting shipping. Of course besides the RF thing, they also have hard-wired controllers, so that can be an issue as well.

Finally, with any version of the disk system, be it the add-on like you have (I'm assuming it's complete) or the built-in one like I have on the Sharp Twin Famicom, a common issue is with the drive belts. Luckily they're fairly cheap to buy and fairly easy to replace.

There was another version of the Famicom released in Japan, the AV Famicom, but I'm not sure how compatible that is with the various Famicom peripherals, though it does use composite out and have removable controllers. I don't recall seeing many of those on the open market, and they'd probably be rather expensive like the NES top loaders are.

Anonymous Freak
December 4th, 2009, 06:52 PM
If you want to future-proof your video games against dying NESes, you could find yourself a Generation NEX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_NEX) system. It can take both US-style NES cartridges as well as Japan-style Famicom cartridges.

December 5th, 2009, 01:00 AM
I'll second that. I have a Famicom and a NES, but I keep them mint and use a Generation NEX for gaming on.

December 5th, 2009, 04:12 AM
For cartridge-based Famicom games, see if you can find a system called a "Power Joy." The store "Big Lots" had them around a year or so ago -- I picked it up for the heck of it. It came with a bundle of 70 or so games on a cartridge, nothing great in the way of games. But when I looked at the cartridge shape and the pin count, I figured I'd give it a try and see if my Famicom carts would work, and yes they do, perfectly!! It only cost $14.99 at the time -- I've even run across a couple in the thrift stores for a few dollars each so I bought those ones too to have as backups.

December 5th, 2009, 06:16 AM
The only issue with these clone systems is that sometimes their compatibility is not all that great, and that still doesn't solve his problem of wanting to use his disk system, which only the real thing supports.

December 8th, 2009, 10:55 AM
Something else to consider- finding an adapter inside of the first-run NES cartridges is a good idea if you want to run FDS or games with sound expansions at some time. There is no audio in line on the NES 72 pin slot, but there is one on the bottom expansion slot. With a little creative wiring you can in fact run enhanced audio games on the NES. I have done it myself.

December 9th, 2009, 06:06 PM
Didn't feel like reading more than the first post (sorry) but I recall reading about this before (perhaps here) and the advice I read and took to heart is that if you're looking for one of these, go to a flea market or wherever you can get NES games in person, and look for early NES games (SMB1, Gyromite, etc.) and weigh them in your hand - if they seem particularly weighty for a NES game, then they have an adapter in them. Super-common games like SMB1 you shouldn't feel too bad about tearing open for the much-more-rare adapter.

December 12th, 2009, 02:49 PM
There's some retro consoles out there in the black market that play both NES & Famicom games. They go for around $60. One such store to inquire about them at would be "Game Trader." They haven't got a website that I'm aware of.

AB Positive
December 23rd, 2009, 05:23 AM
Oh wow. I thread I can barge in on like a rampant elephant...

1) Do NOT get the Gen-NEX. It runs about 80% of the NES library flawlessly... but there are known smoking/burning issues inside some versions - and many popular games (most notably Castlevania III) won't run right at all. The "NES on-a-chip" can't handle any games with certain 'extra' chips on the board, like MMC-5 and MMC-6.

2) The "Yobo" brand clones tend to also be crap. Avoid Yobo.

3) The Retro-Duo however, has waaaaay better compaitibility. Handles CV3 like a dream, even with FM sound present.

The one game all of these fail on persistently is any with a matching SNES clone and playing Super Mario RPG. SMRPG is a technological hodge-podge of custom chips to get it to run right. I doubt anything but a proper SNES is good enough to run that.

That being said:

You CAN run a FDS off a regular NES. Takes some modding to move the 72-pin adapter to where you need it, but it's been done a couple different ways. If I can find a link I'll edit it in. Pretty snazzy.

However finding a proper Famicom would be your best way of FDS'ing it up. Just remember the belts on Famicom Disk Systems tend to melt and fail. You can occasionally find a replacement on eBay but even with shipping you can get one easier from Yahoo Japan, if you know a middleman service.

As for the converters - the ones that let you do Famicom on NES are 60-to-72 pin converters, and they came installed in some copies of Gyromite. There's a couple others as well, but basically if it's a 1st party nintendo cart with five screws in the back, and feels heavier than a normal cart, you probably have a converter hidden in there. Stack-up is another but tends to be more expensive anyway.

If you get a famicom, finding a 72-to-60 pin converter to use US titles is easy as pie. They go for about $5 a pop and I actually have three at my house. If you need one let me know, I'd let it go for just a hair above shipping. :)


December 23rd, 2009, 05:37 AM
Ah I didn't realize you could use US titles on a Famicom - being the owner of several US NESes (that sounds weird) and no Famicom I never thought of doing that the other way around - I might take you up on that if I can locate a Famicom sometime for cheap.

Also, can you find us the link to the process for hooking up a disk system to a NES? I might give that a go if I can get a disk system.

AB Positive
December 23rd, 2009, 05:46 AM
Ask and ye shall recieve!

NES w/FDS (http://www.nesplayer.com/technical/FDS.htm)

Now if you have a toploader it's WAY easier - Famicom to NES converter... RAM cart in converter, plug and play. Toaster NES's require physical modding.

December 23rd, 2009, 05:54 AM
I'm currently looking for a decently priced Toploader, but had to put that search on hold due to $$$$. I have a fully disassembled NES, no casing, ATM, sitting on a shelf - I planned to mount this in another case or in a PC WITH the PC, so whenever I do this project I could also mod it to easily accept a disk system.

*reads the page*

Ah, this looks super-easy. :P Butt-ugly on a gray-box NES though, lol.

AB Positive
December 23rd, 2009, 06:20 AM
Very butt-ugly... :D

If you end up looking into the converters, if you can't find the "Gyromite" style in-a-nes-cart... look for "Honeybee" converters. They're the most recognizable converters for fami-to-nes. :)