Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Famicom AV & Custom Carts

People who've read this blog from the start will know that I've wanted a NES/Famicom for a while now (starting when I first played Blade Buster a few months back). After setting aside a bit of cash via the sale of two C64's, I finally bought a Famicom AV from a Japanese-based ebay seller last week.
Upon opening the swiftly-delivered package and somehow (magically?) avoiding the ludicrous import tax clearly marked on the box, I was shocked at how tiny the unit is; the only NES consoles I'd seen previously were those bulky front-loaders, and the Famicom AV is so cute in comparison! The mini dog-bone controller, the aesthetically pleasing cartridge design - it was love at first sight.
The unit came with a Japanese PSU (useless), but I'd already purchased a UK replacement from Admittedly, I was initially wary of the fact that the PSU I had differed slightly in output to the original (9V DC, 1.5A compared to 10V DC, 850MA), but throwing caution to the wind I gave it a test and it seems to run fine (in fact the unit didn't even get remotely warm after a few hours of use).
Unfortunately the only spare TV I have with composite input is my crappy Goodmans LCD that I use for my C64/128, but at least it supports the NTSC signal. There's a bit of colour-bleeding (as to be expected), but to be honest I'm quite pleased with the picture quality - and the mono sound is positively fat when kicking out of my Rokit KRK 5 speakers.
Shipped with the very average Gyrodine, I quickly decided that I'd need a few decent carts for the machine and snapped up a cheap copy of Crisis Force on ebay (which is currently on it's way to me). But the exciting news is this; I found out that's founder Joe Thomas creates custom Famicom cartridges (as well as standard NTSC/PAL ones) for a reasonable and exchange-rate-friendly price. In fact, at the moment he's working on these two for me ;) (if people want copies of these labels, just leave a message below).
Anyway, if all goes well I'll report back here with details and a review of the build quality soon - but so far I'm very impressed with Joe's work. My dream of owning physical copies of Recca, Titan Warriors and Metal Storm may soon be realised.