Thursday, September 1, 2016

Famicom and NES Expansions and Peripherals

Famicom Peripheral List

Devices that Plug into the Famicom Cartridge Slot

Nintendo Famicom Disk System
  • 199 Official Licensed Games + Prize Cards (and unlicensed games, copying programs etc.)
  • Comes with a disk drive and a RAM Expansion.
The RAM Expansion is inserted into the cartridge slot and the cable from the RAM Expansion is connected to the rear of the disk drive.

Nintendo Family Computer Network System (a.k.a. Famicom Modem)
  • Used a memory card for program storage
  • Used primarily to trade stocks and for betting on horse racing.
NES Similar Peripheral : NES Modem (unreleased), Baton Teleplay Modem (unreleased)

Bandai Datach Joint ROM System

Games supported :
  • Battle Rush: Build Up Robot Tournament
  • Crayon Shin-Chan: Orato Poi Poi 
  • Dragon Ball Z: Gekitō Tenkaichi Budokai (included)
  • J-League Super Top Players
  • Yū Yū Hakusho: Bakutō Ankoku Bujutsue
  • SD Gundam: Gundam Wars
  • Ultraman Club: Spokon Fight!!
Also includes a barcode reader in the main unit to read special cards which would come with the games.  Cartridges use a proprietary form factor and are inserted into the base unit.

NES Similar Device : Aladdin Deck Enhancer

Bandai Karaoke Studio

Games supported :
  • Karaoke Studio (built-in)
  • Karaoke Studio Senyou Cassette Vol. 1
  • Karaoke Studio Senyou Cassette Vol. 2
A microphone is attached to the main unit.  Volume 1 & 2 cartridges use a proprietary form factor and are inserted into the main unit.  The main unit contains ROM and a program with built-in songs, the expansion cartridges add more songs.

Fukutate Publishing StudyBox

Incorporates a cassette player into the main unit, used for educational purposes with a wide variety of cassettes.  The closest thing I can think of to this is the KidVid Controller for the Atari 2600.

Realtec Game Genie

The Game Genie was released for the Famicom with a 60-pin connector, licensed by Codemasters. Unlike the NES version it does not have a handle nor need one.

Prevo FC Pro Action Replay

A cheat device that works like the Game Genie, this was released in 2003, the year the Famicom manufacturing would be discontinued.  Being a much more recent device than the Game Genie, it comes with built-in codes for at least 124 games.

Devices that Plug into the Famicom Expansion Port

Nintendo Famicom Gun
Duck Hunt
Gun Sight
Hogan's Alley
Mad City
Operation Wolf
Wild Gunman

The Light Gun for the Famicom, looks like a western six-shooter.  Required for Nintendo's games, optional for other games

NES Equivalent : Zapper (works identically)

Nintendo Famicom 3-D Glasses System
Attack Animal Gakuen
Cosmic Epsilon
Famicom Grand Prix II - 3D Hot Rally
Highway Star
JJ Tobidase Daisakusen Part 2

Active 3-D Shutter Glasses which plug into an adapter that connects to the expansion port.  Optional for all games.  Tobidase Daisakusen for the FDS and its NES counterpart 3-D Adventures of the World Runner used red-blue glasses.

NES Substitute : Anaglyph Red/Dark Blue Glasses (for Rad Racer), the 3-D Glasses for the Sega Master System operate similarly.

Nintendo Family Computer BASIC Keyboard
Family BASIC (included)
Family BASIC v3
Playbox BASIC (prototype)

72-key keyboard.  Required for all Family BASIC cartridges.

Similar Device : Subor Keyboard and other Clone Console Keyboards, Nintendo AVS Keyboard Prototype

Nintendo Family Computer Data Recorder
Arkanoid II
Castle Excellent
Family BASIC v1.0-v2.1A
Family BASIC v3
Playbox BASIC (prototype)
Lode Runner
Mach Rider
Wrecking Crew

Standard cassette recorder, any cassette recorder can be substituted.  Requires Family BASIC Keyboard or certain 3rd Party Joysticks like the ASCII Stick II Turbo.  Also the Hori S.D. Station has the jacks for saving and recording, an expansion port passthrough and headphones.

Taito Arkanoid Controller
Arkanoid (included)
Arkanoid II (included)
Chase H.Q.

Paddle controller, optional for all cartridges

NES Equivalent : VAUS Controller (incompatible)

This is a potentiometer with a button.  Unlike the NES controller, there is no externally accessible trimmer for the potentiometer on the Famicom controllers.  The Arkanoid II controller (blue/green color scheme) has a passthrough port for a second paddle controller for the second player.  It can also be used with the Keyboard and Data Recorder for saving levels.  The original Arkanoid (black/red color scheme) controller does not.  Neither Japanese controller has a trimmer capacitor, so they will typically not get all the way to the right side of the screen.

IGS Battle Box
Battle Stadium: Senbatsu Pro Yakuu
J-League Fighting Soccer - The King of Ace Strikers
Seiryaku Simulation - Inbou no Wakusei - Shancara

External save backup device.  Optional for both cartridges

This is a save accessory for the above games like the ASCII Turbo File.  Armadillo does not have battery backed RAM, the other games on this list do.  It uses a 512 byte EEPROM for saving.

Bandai Family Trainer Mat
Family Trainer 1: Athletic World (included)
Family Trainer 2: Running Stadium
Family Trainer 3: Aerobics Studio
Family Trainer 4: Jogging Race
Family Trainer 5: Meiro Daisakusen
Family Trainer 6: Manhattan Police
Family Trainer 7: Famitre Daiundoukai
Family Trainer 8: Totsugeki! Fuun Takeshijou
Family Trainer 9: Totsugeki! Fuun Takeshijou 2
Rai Rai! Kyonshis: Baby Kyonshi no Amida Daibōken

Pressure-sensitive mat, required for all games

NES Equivalent : Power Pad (same layout but incompatible)

Hori Famicom Four Player Adapter
Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundōkai
Ike Ike! Nekketsu Hockey Bu: Subette Koronde Dai Rantō
Nekketsu Kakutō Densetsu
Nekketsu Kōkō Dodge Ball Bu
Nekketsu Street Basket: Ganbare Dunk Heroes
Kunio-kun no Nekketsu Soccer League
U.S. Championship V'Ball

Optional for all games, can be found in two-port (where player 1 and 2 use the Famicom controllers) and four-port variations (note that not all games support player 1 from the expansion port)

NES Equivalent : NES Four Score and NES Satellite (incompatible)

Bandai Hyper Shot
Space Shadow (included)

This is a large, heavy submachine gun which functions as a light gun with a built in controller and a speaker and recoil feedback.

NES Similar Peripheral : Konami LaserScope

Sunsoft Barcode World Reader
Barcode World

This is a barcode reader for use with this game.

Konami DoReMikko Piano Keyboard
Doremikko (included)

This is a keyboard with 36 keys, giving you three octaves of sound without needing to change settings. It can be used to play with the Doremikko (FDS) software and you can record and save compositions to disk.

NES Similar Peripheral - Miracle Piano Teaching System

Konami Exciting Boxing
Exciting Boxing (included)

This game came with a blow-up doll of a boxer that you were intended to punch.  Sensors in the doll's base would report the movement of the doll to the console.

Hori Track
Operation Wolf
US Championship V'Ball
Moero Pro Soccer
Putt Putt Golf

Optional for all games, this is a controller with a trackball instead of a D-pad.

Konami Hyper Shot
Hyper Olympic
Hyper Olympic Gentaiban!
Hyper Sports

This is a pair of boxes with only two large buttons ("run" and "jump" on each box to facilitate gameplay in these games.  The games are unplayable without the Hyper Shot peripheral.  Two players supported.  Also released for the MSX & SG-1000.  A similar device was released for the Atari 2600 as the Track & Field controller.

Capcom Mahjong Keypads
Ide Yosuke Jissen Mahjong (included)
Ide Yosuke Jissen Mahjong II (included)

Capcom released a keypad with each of these mahjong games, and I have read that they are not interchangeable despite having the same buttons.

Bandai Oeka Kids Drawing Tablet
Oeka Kids - Anpanman no Hiragana Daisuki
Oeka Kids - Anpanman to Oekaki Shiyou!! (included)

This is a drawing tablet with a stylus.

Coconuts Pachinko Controller
Pachinko Daisakusen
Pachinko Daisakusen 2

This is a controller with a pair of "flippers" on it to better simulate the behavior of a Pachinko machine.

Party Room 21 Party Tap Game/Quiz Show Button Controller
Gimmi a Break - Shijou Saikyou no Quiz OuKetteisen
Gimmi a Break - Shijou Saikyou no Quiz OuKetteisen 2
Project Q
Casino Derby

This controller is a dongle with six buttons, which you hit as in a game show.

Pokkun Mogura
Super Moguratataki Pokkun Mogura (included)

This is a Whack-a-Mole game, so there is plastic mat with pressure sensitive pads and images of colorful characters on them and a toy mallet to hit them with.

Konami Top Rider Bike Controller
Top Rider (included)

This controller looks like a motorcycle grip and comes with an inflatable bike to sit on.

ASCII Corp Turbo File I & II
Best Play Pro Yakyuu
Best Play Pro Yakyuu '90
Best Play Pro Yakyuu II
Best Play Pro Yakyuu Special
Castle Excellent
Derby Stallion - Zenkoku Ban
Downtown - Nekketsu Monogatari
Dungeon Kid
Fleet Commander
Haja no Fuuin
Itadaki Street - Watashi no Mise ni Yottette
Ninjara Hoi!
Wizardry - Legacy of Llylgamyn
Wizardry - Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
Wizardry - The Knight of Diamonds

The Turbo File is a detachable device you can use to save games and data.  Many of these games already had internal battery backed RAM for saving, but this device allowed you extra storage.  Both Turbo File devices have a battery backed RAM saving.  The original Turbo File came with only 8KB, usually enough for one game.  The Turbo File II came with 32KB, selectable in four slots of 8KB.

Famicom Modem Keypad
Included with the Nintendo Family Computer Network System, can function as Controller #3, so the D-pad and the Start, Select, A & B buttons work for most Famicom games.

Power Glove
No games released in Japan that use its unique functionality, so it can only be used as a controller emulator.

NES Equivalent : Power Glove (incompatible)

Other Peripherals

Family Computer Robot
Robot Gyro
Robot Block

NES Equivalent : R.O.B.

The Famicom Robot and the NES R.O.B. (NTSC only guaranteed) can work with each other's games and peripherals except that the tray that holds the controller for Robot Gyro is shaped for a Famicom controller and the tray for Gyromite is shaped for an NES controller.  

Nichibutsu Crazy Climber Sticks
Crazy Climber (included)

These sticks fit on top of the D-pads of both Famicom controllers.  You hold the controllers perpendicular to the screen.  A pair of NES Advantage joysticks would work just as well.

NES Peripheral List

Devices that Plug into the Cartridge Slot

Game Genie

A plug in device from Codemasters that allows the player to input three cheat codes which change values in the ROM.  Has a very rare adapter, originally sold separately, to fit inside the NES Top Loader.  Distributed by Camerica in Canada, Galoob in the U.S.  It was also distributed in Europe.

Pro Action Replay

A UK cheat device by Datel that looks and functions like a Game Genie, but has a built-in trainer to help players discover new codes and modifies RAM values instead of ROM values.  It may have issues with NTSC consoles.

Game Action Replay

Manufactured by "STD Entertainment", this cheat cartridge allows you to save and restore your game at any point, essentially a save state.  It has five save slots, but only allows you to save states for one game at a time.  It requires you to remove the metal bar in the cartridge cradle inside your front loader.

Aladdin Deck Enhancer

A cartridge housing by Codemasters that accepts compact cartridges.  All but one game was available as a normal cartridge.

Compatible with the following games :
  • Big Nose Freaks Out
  • Dizzy the Adventurer (included, not available as a normal cartridge)
  • The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (several differences from standalone cartridge version)
  • Linus Spacehead's Cosmic Crusade
  • Micro Machines (runs on PAL NES consoles whereas normal cartridge does not)
  • Quattro Adventure
  • Quattro Sports
MIDINES & Chip Maestro

These are cartridges with a MIDI In cable attached allowing you to interface a MIDI keyboard to control the NES's audio channels.

Devices that Plug into the Controller Ports

The Adventures of Bayou Billy (optional)
Baby Boomer (optional, unlicensed)
Barker Bill's Trick Shooting
Chiller (optional, two zapper support, unlicensed)
Day Dreamin' Davey (optional)
Duck Hunt
Freedom Force
Gotcha! The Sport!
Hogan's Alley
Laser Invasion (optional)
The Lone Ranger (optional)
Mechanized Attack (optional)
Operation Wolf (optional)
Shooting Range
To the Earth
Track & Field II (optional)
Wild Gunman

More info here :  North American exclusives are italicized.

Power Pad
Athletic World
Dance Aerobics
Short Order / Eggsplode!
Street Cop
Super Team Games
Stadium Events
World Class Track Meet (identical to Stadium Events outside the title screen and packaging, also available as multicart Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet)

The Power Pad was originally released as the Family Fun Fitness Mat by Bandai, but Nintendo licensed the concept from Bandai and quickly rebranded it as the Power Pad.  The Power Pad has two sides, Side A has six blue lands surrounding two red lands, and Side B has six numbered blue lands on the left and six numbered red lands on the right.  In Europe the device retained its original Family Fun Fitness Mat branding and was released by Bandai, but Bandai only released Athletic World and Stadium Events.

Stack-Up (no controller required)

More info here :

Power Glove
Bad Street Brawler
Super Glove Ball

The Mattel Power Glove was a positional controller that translated hand and finger movements into controller movements and button presses.  It also had a keypad on the side to program commands.  Only the above two games have any support for the device outside its abilities to emulate a NES Controller.  Both games were unreleased in Europe and Japan.

U-Force Power Games (prototype)

The U-Force was a 3-D positional controller that used infrared sensors to detect hand movements and convert them into controller movement. While the U-Force tried to emulate a NES Controller, it also had a native mode.  Only the prototype game used it.

Miracle Piano Keyboard
Miracle Piano Keyboard Teaching System

The Software Toolworks Miracle Piano was a teaching keyboard with 49 keys.  Cartridges using the system were also released for the Genesis and SNES.  The Piano is a MIDI piano and can be used with any kind of Miracle Piano software with the right adapter cable.  It generates its own audio through the keyboard's built-in speakers, the NES audio is used for a metronome.

Konami LaserScope
Laser Invasion (optional)

The LaserScope was a headset that included speakers to amplify your NES's audio, a targeting reticule for aiming a light gun by sight, a microphone into which you would say "Fire" to shoot and a rapid fire control for the shooting.  Essentially it is a head mounted, voice activated and rapid fire capable Zapper.  It is compatible with every Zapper game.  The intent of the device was to allow you to keep your hands on a controller while firing with the head mounted sight.  In Laser Invasion, you can use this device in the Top Gun like helicopter stages and the Operation Wolf like shooting stages, whereas you can only use the Zapper in the latter.  Unreleased in Europe.

VAUS Controller

Unlike the Japanese versions of this controller from Taito, this one has a trimmer screw externally accessible to adjust the range of the potentiometer.  Unfortunately the awesome Arkanoid II was never released in the US.

Racermate Challenge II Bicycle Trainer
Racermate Challenge II

The Racermate Challenge II kit came with a cartridge and a tracking peripheral set to be connected to an exercise bike.  This set came with a bike trainer, an interface box to plug into the controller ports, and a handlebar display.  The trainer had to be mounted onto an exercise bike, which would send the rotational data to the interface box and display and the program would react accordingly.  Racermate was the only unlicensed controller port peripheral released for the NES.  A PAL version of the cartridge does exist.

A company called Exertainment made a similar, but licensed peripheral, for the SNES.  But Exertainment sold a bike and a TV monitor stand along with their kit.

Devices that Plug into the Expansion Port

ENIO Board

The ENIO Board was released in 2012 and allows hardware enthusiasts much more convenient access to the Expansion Port.  It also provides the resistors necessary to mix in expansion audio into NES internal audio.  Finally, it has IDC headers for a Famicom Expansion Port Cable Adapter, the  remaining signals and power.

NES Disk System (Protoype at best)

The expansion port was designed with the Famicom Disk System in mind,  If Nintendo had ever released this device, the disk drive would have sat underneath the NES Control Deck and plugged into the Expansion Port.  The RAM Adapter would be inserted into the cartridge slot and would communicate with the disk drive via the EXP pins on the cartridge connector.

Minnesota State Lottery System (Prototype)

This was the NES version of the Famicom Modem.  It fit underneath the Control Deck and had a cartridge to access the state lottery.  Due to the distasteful idea of using a children's "toy" for gambling and the probability that children would use it to gamble, the idea never made it into Minnesota homes.  Nintendo's desire to use the device for stock trading and multiplayer gaming also withered away.

Baton Teleplay Modem (Prototype)

This modem was developed principally for online gameplay, and would have communicated at 2,400 baud, and allowed for cross-platform compatibility between the NES, the SNES and the Genesis. The company was not able to acquire licensing and investors pulled out, so it was never released.  The XBand modem for the SNES and Genesis was later released by another company, but did not have much success.


  1. Are you sure there is no Game Genie for the Famicom? :)

  2. Well, I guess this Game Genie is rather for Famiclones than then the Famicom, but still...

    "A 60-pin Famicom version of the Game Genie was released under license by Realtec, and was sold in Poland, South America and Taiwan, and likely other countries where 60-pin Famicom clones were common. The box art was largely unmodified from the NES version and still depicted the 72-pin Game Genie."


    Also check this out, they even did not change the NES box. :P

  3. And this:

  4. What about the Famicom gun holster? You need it to play Wild Gunner the "proper" way, watch this commercial: Keeping your gun aimed at the enemy all the time is clearly cheating. :P

    BTW, I have heard a rumour that Dendy Famiclone lightguns are more accurate than Zappers. Do we have a way to verify this? Actually, you could write an article about Famiclones, at least about these older Micro Geniuses (known as Dendy in Russia and as Pegasus in Poland) which are belived to replicate the Famicom pretty well.

    Maybe this video about popular Famiclones will inspire you in some way (English subtitles available):

  5. Of course, I wanted to write Wild Gunman and not Wild Gunner. LOL