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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.