In the intro to NES Month, I explained my love/hate relationship with the original NES hardware. After 20, 15, even 10 years, the connector pins get bent out of shape in such a way they can't read the Game Paks as well, if at all. So, inevitably, you'll have to buy a new system. But many different manufacturers have made their own hardware to run NES/Famicom games, so which one is right for you? Well, I can't very well list all of them - just take a look at this list. So I'll focus on the most notable ones, as well as what was sold in the so-called "third world" markets.
I. NES/Famicom clones
|Nintendo's own redesigned NES.|
|The Neo FC, by Yobo.|
II. Multi-system clones
If you want to explore other systems, there's a way to do that and still replace your aging NES Control Deck. The FC Twin (by Yobo) and Retro Duo (by RetroBit) both have ports for NES and Super NES carts. The controller ports on both systems use the Super NES port shape, so you won't be able to use NES accessories like the Zapper or Power Pad. While Yobo does manufacture their own light guns for use with the FC Twin, they are not compatible with the Retro Duo, due to motherboard differences. RetroBit has mentioned intent to sell SNES-NES controller adapters for the Retro Duo, but it has been two years since and they still don't exist yet.
|The FC Twin, also by Yobo.|
FC Twin: 90% (A-)
Retro Duo: 60% (C-)
They also make models compatible with NES and Sega Genesis games. Mario and Sonic on one console... In other news, pig have been spotted flying outside. The same companies I've been talking about also make the GN Twin and Retro Duo, which fall into this category. Refer to my above comments about the quality of each. And for the big one, there are also consoles that play all three: NES, Super NES, and Genesis. The FC3 Plus is, yet again, made by Yobo. New copies come with two controllers and a light gun, but sadly it does not accept any other kind of controllers. That's a real shame, since the face buttons on the included controllers are a little too small. Instead, consider the Retro N3. It comes with two wireless controllers, but also includes two ports each for NES, SNES, and Genesis controllers. ...WOW. :) I may not own one, but unless you want to keep your existing consoles, I'd definitely recommend this one. Expect to pay $30-50 for the two-system varieties, and $50-70 for the three-system varieties.
|NES, Super NES, Genesis... This is the big one.|
So we've had a look at what's for sale in America, now let's explore what was available in places where Nintendo didn't officially have a presence. One of the big ones was the Dendy, sold in Russia and the CIS starting in 1992, just after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Just like the genuine Famicom and NES in their respective regions, the Dendy proved to be mad popular in the newly opened ex-Soviet markets. Like, they made a TV show based on it and the word "Dendy" became shorthand for video games in general, just as "Nintendo" used to be here in America.
|The Dendy Junior, sold in Russia and the CIS.|
|The PolyStation III. Buyer beware.|
So, sorry your blood had to boil along with me. We'll go back to legit games next time.