Posted on Leave a comment

Two special blue FDS disks drop on Yahoo auctions last week.

  Last week, a special internal blue version of the mass produced yellow disks hit the Yahoo auction block. What is so special about the blue disks? Several games were released on blue disks. Well, these special disks are not the same blue disks we know and cherish in our collections. These blue disks do not have a sliding protection door. These blue disks do not have the giant magnetic warning graphic pressed on the center of the disk, they are near the opening of the disk like their yellow counterparts. These blue disks were internal to Nintendo and used for what are presumed to be golden master copies of FDS games.

The first blue disk to show up had “FMC MASTER DISK CARD” printed on the label. also printed on the label was “06-ULM-00-00” Presuming the ULM signifies the product ID BAN-ULM, this would be the master copy of Ultraman: Kaiju Empire’s Counterattack. And finally, a space for a hand written check sum for both sides of the disk. 

This particular disk sat at 10,500 yen for most of the 4 days it was up. However, 4:00 this morning (for me on the west coast of the United States), the bidding went pretty crazy. The disk ended up at 76,000 yen roughly $661 USD. As a side note, on Yahoo Auctions, if a bid is made before 5 mins left, the winning bid will add 3 minutes to the auction over and over whenever there is a last minute bid. Anything under 4 minutes (I think), it adds 8 minutes. Alternatively, if a bid is within seconds, I think the auction will end. I experienced this bidding on some Super Famicom game manuals. My high bid was 6000 yen and at the very last second, someone bid and my 6000 yen kicked in and won the auction. I am not really 100% positive on the time durations, however. Interesting note – the same seller also had a white developer disk for sale that ended up going for 38000 yen (about $330 USD). This is almost double what I paid for the white developer disk I bought last year on Ebay.

 

Mass Produced Yellow Disk Master or Dubbling disk Mass produced blue disk

 

The second blue disk is more of a mystery. Thanks to the GIGALEAK, we were able to see a massive dump of FMC Master disks pictures for most games. However, the second special blue disk has a different label. The label reads: “FMC DUBBING SAMPLE” The second line reads “01-ESC-00-00” Presuming this is Exciting Soccer, which, IMHO is not very exciting…luckily it is a rare disk! However, side B of this disk as a label with “金額確認用” or “Kingaku kakunin-yō” Translated to “for checking the amount of money” Could this be the contents of the fabled Green accounting disk after all? I also watched the bidding happen on this auction this morning. Many times, at a minute to go, another bidder would bid up the disk. At one point, someone almost doubled going from 77000 yen to 130000 yen. 

Overall, I did not expect these disks to hit what they did. It does seem odd to me that after all of these years, two separate disks showed up relatively at the same time from two different sellers. It makes me wonder if we will see more of these master or Dubbing disks show up in the days or months to come. I havent seen a white developer disk since the eBay auction last year; time will tell. 

Lets hope whoever won these disks will report what they are!

Posted on 2 Comments

Repro FDS boxes – Make yourself a boxed collection!

When I first started collecting FDS games, I really didn’t contemplate how the game was sold or presented to the consumer. Obviously, it didn’t take too long to figure that out when my collection began to grow.

The price difference for a CIB copy of a game was and is significant and knowing I had a long journey of another 190 or so games to acquire, I decided to collect the games in the plastic cases and be done with it. Well, fast forward to now, I have every game in a plastic case and I kind of want the boxes and manuals.

I do have a few loose manuals from various bulk buys and finding the loose box WITH the correct label is next to impossible and would probably take a lifetime. So with me being me, I decided to make my own! Can’t be that hard, right?

First thing to do is determine the material. Seems to be 20 MIL mylar, slightly tinted and has a line pattern running about 40 degrees throughout. The exact material just doesn’t exist. Just going to “settle” for clear mylar. After all, these will be repro’s and they need to be different. The last thing I ever want is anything I make to be passed off as original to someone who isn’t aware of the small details. 

The first material I found that might have worked was actually 10x less expensive than anything else I found on the Internet. The thickness was correct and I was hoping it was rigid enough to work for this project. I ordered samples of three thicknesses they offer. Sadly, the material was really flimsy (think those plastic curtains in loading docks that hang in panels) and was definitely not going to work. Next choice was a 36×48 sheet of PETG. The material is marketed as face shields for the medical industry or windows on an outdoor porch. Turns out, the material is spot on for this project. There is also protective material on each side to protect the plastic during manufacturing.

Now the next obstacle is to fine tune the cut and score settings on my plotter. My first attempt with scores and cuts netted me having to finish the cuts by hand with an exacto blade. That was unfun. After many, MANY tests on scrap material, I dialed in the cuts and scores to work perfectly. 

To save on material, I am sheet feeding the plotter so I have to manually make “sheets” from the giant piece. I can cut two at a time and it really doesn’t take too long to make. They are very hand made but it is a labor of love.

Next was to determine how to make the grey sides and glue them together. My solution is to cut a strip of grey vinyl for the underside of the main flap on either side and REALLY strong double sided adhesive tape on top of that to attach to the back flap. 

I think they turned out really well. I am going to marry the manuals I have with the disks in their cases and offer the rest up for sale on the site.

I am also offering a repro proper label for the box (game specific) as well as a little diskun circle sticker to seal the box if desired. That part doesn’t make sense to me but I wanted to kick in some value added items.

 

Here is a finished box with Super Mario Brothers 2 next to an OEM box with Roger Rabbit. Has the manual and the disk in its case. Not a bad replacement if I do say so myself! These will be available on the site soon. They take a bit of time to make and I want to have several on hand available for collectors.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Received my FDS development disk and what did I find?

In a recent article, I wrote about these 17 FDS development disks dropping on eBay. Well, today is the day that mine showed up in the mail! I have to say that there is quite a feeling of mystery surrounding this lot of disks. Where are they from? Are they the Sunsoft disks? Well, let me show you what is on mine.

The first thing I did was to make a RAW image of both sides and write a copy back to a spare disk to work with.

I popped the disk in on side B the first time so I received the expected ERR07, oops. Sliding in Side A, I am greeted with the generic Nintendo Legal notices.


After spinning for a bit, the Famicom is displaying:  “ゲームディスクヲ イレテクダサイ” or “Gamu disuku o irette kudasai” which translates into “Please insert the game disk”

Ok, so this is starting to feel like some sort of copy program. I pop in a copy of SMB2. The drive spins a bit and then this screen appears: ”ナマディスクヲクダサイ” or Nama disuku o kudasai” which reanslates into “Please insert raw (blank) disk”


This dance happens a total of 4 times for the one sided game to finish up with this screen: “オワリマッタ” or “Owarimatta” which translates to “The End”

Lastly, I popped in the copied disk and there it is!

So 1 of the 17 FDS development disks is an un named disk copy program. Using a special utility Developed by Chris Covell, I was able to determine there are 5 files on side A and none on side B. The writing date was originally 10-29-1986 and the maker or developer was a null value. 

Lets hope other collectors who bought these disks can determine what is on them and dump an image. If you have any information on this program or any insight on the other 16 disks, please drop me a message here.

Posted on Leave a comment

17 FDS development disks drop on eBay today, April 30th 2021

Earlier today, an eBay auction listing the 17 white FDS development disks dropped on the popular auction site. Several collectors snapped up a handful and within the hour, only two are remaining at a slightly higher price than originally listed. It is speculated, high level collectors communicated using back channels to snap up the disks that routinely fetch north of $400 USD each on Yahoo Auctions Japan. 

Sources speculate this is the infamous Sunsoft dump of 2009 FDS development disks. Originally, there were 19 disks in total with various prototypes including Aiden no Tsue, a step drill game and various development tools on these dumps.

A dump is a copy of the data on the media (the floppy disk) that can then be read on a computer or original Nintendo hardware using special tools or an emulator program.

Sources also say that this could be a totally different discovery of 17 FDS development disks with unknown data locked up for the last 25 years just waiting to be discovered by collectors. Alternatively, the disks could simply be blank. The few high level collectors I have been able to contact tell me they intend to dump the disks for the community before they are all locked up again for the next 25 years. We will follow up with an article hopefully showing the FDS community new dev tools or better yet, prototype games!

The Famicom Disk System (FDS) is a floppy disk based hardware add-on for the Nintendo Famicom based on the Mitsumi Quick Disk.  The Nintendo Famicom is the Japan local version of the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES here in the United States. The FDS never hit the US market and was short lived even in the original Japanese market. The FDS is popular to a small community of hard core collectors who strive to collect every game for the limited system.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How do you hook up a Famicom Disk?

Good question. It is 2021 and connecting vintage game consoles is definitely not the same especially when theyre from another country! 

This will be a basic simple how to. Number one, you need a Famicom. They come in a few varieties. The original red and white Famicom, the grey top loader “AV” Famicom that looks just like its cousin, the NES. In all cases, you need the RAM adapter that goes with the Famicom Disk System disk drive. The RAM adapter sits in the Famicom like a cartridge would and the data from the floppy disk is loaded in to RAM. The cable from the RAM adapter plugs in to the back of the Famicom Disk System disk drive.

The power requirements are unique. You cannot plug in the power adapter that comes with the Famicom Disk System drive directly into the wall here in the United States. Japan uses 100v AC and we use 120v.

Two options: buy a stepdown transformer to use the original power adapter or a special power adapter to use with the Famicom Disk System. The Famicom Disk System disk drive will also run on 6 C cell batteries. The power demand and draw on the disk drive is very minimal and batteries are a very viable solution.