Nintendo of Japan looked like they struck gold during an episode of Storage Wars!
Earlier this week, the video game giant happen to be digging through an old storage unit when they hit the retro gaming jackpot: Still sealed Famicom units and Famicom Disk Systems. Just wow!
They also came across the rarely seen Famicom Disk System Disk Writer, which was installed at nearly 3000 video game retailers in Japan prior to their discontinues use in 1993.
The Family Computer Disk System (HVC-022), abbreviated as FDS, Disk System, or Famicom Disk System, is a floppy disk unit peripheral for the Nintendo Family Computer game console, released on February 21, 1986 in Japan.
The Disk System is capable of running on six C-cell batteries or the supplied AC adapter, which is 9V DC, 400mA, with center negative polarity.
Nintendo Disk Writer
Disk Writers were available in many toy shops, department stores, and even some convenience stores across Japan until their dismantling in 1993. In most cases, the consumer didn’t actually use these “vending machines.” Instead, you would give your disk to the clerk behind the counter who would operate the machine and give you your disk with a new game written onto it.
Disks and games were available several ways in Disk System land. First, you could buy a blank three-inch disk for 2000 yen and have the game of your choice written onto it for an extra 500 yen. You could use the same disk again and again, writing in different games each time. A game-swap cost only 500 yen, compared for the 5000 yen prices for cartridge-based games of the time. Even after cart technology surpassed the disks, the Disk System remained popular merely for this price factor.
Another way was to buy a disk with the game you wanted already written, complete with manual, for anywhere from 2600 to 3500 yen. These were referred to as “brand new” disks. These disks came in clear hard-plastic cases, and were sold with a manual in another, softer plastic case with a sticker sealing the case shut. If the seal was undamaged, then the disk was considered never used.
Ninety-five percent of games fall into one of these categories. Certain games, mostly 1988-89 era Disk System ports of old Nintendo or Konami-made cartridge games, were available on disk solely via the Disk Writer and could not be purchased on disk separately.
Certain other games, like Topple Zip and Hikaru GENJI: Roller Panic, were sold only by themselves; you couldn’t write them via the Disk Writer. Most of these independent games had cooler packaging than regular cartridge games, and some came with little toys or figures (Roller Panic came in a CD case with a ton of freebies inside). Nintendo was apparently a little more lax in their Disk System packaging guidelines than on regular Famicom cart packaging.
Porno games were also not sold via the Nintendo-owned Disk Writers. Most titles were sold in record album-style flat cases, but one or two were sold in the traditional Hacker International-style VHS cassette sized plastic case. Hacker reverse-engineered the disk format circa 1988, long before they started releasing Famicom cartridge games of their own.
And of course, who could forget the Sharp Twin Famicom system?