Famicom Fridays

Welcome to our new weekly feature, Famicom Fridays. Now, you may be asking yourself, “What the heck is a Famicom?” Well, in Japan the Nintendo Entertainment System is called the Family Computer. It launched back in July of 1983, and since then the Japanese gamers have become accustomed to calling it the Famicom (combining Family and Computer into one unique word).

famicom-system-sm
The Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Given that the Famicom is two years older than the NES, it’s not a surprise that there’s a much bigger library of games built up for it. In fact, in 1984 and especially last year, a bunch of gaming companies have jumped on board to create new games for the machine.

As of today, February 5, 1986, there are approximately 97 games available for the Famicom! In comparison the NES currently has only 17 Game Paks so far. Now, we know of another ten coming out by mid-June, but beyond that Nintendo has been silent. So, naturally we thought it would make sense to look to Japan to get a glimpse of what they’re playing as the next big hit over there could easily be the next candidate to be released here.

Interestingly enough, some of the games that launched alongside the Famicom back on July 15, 1983 still haven’t made it to America. They are: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye. All three of these are scheduled to ship by mid-year with Nintendo’s next shipment of Game Paks.

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Nuts & Milk for the Famicom

So today let’s take a look at the very first game released on the Famicom by an external gaming company: Nuts & Milk. Hudson Soft is the name of the developer and I can’t recall ever playing a game by them before. This is a single-screen game, sort of like Donkey Kong or the original Mario Bros. arcade game.

You play as a pink blob named Milk who must rescue his fiancé, who has been locked up in a house. To rescue her you will need to collect the various fruit scattered across the level. Blue blobs called Nuts will chase after you, so you’ll have to think fast or risk capture. Other strange flying objects, like helicopters and blimps will often appear on the screen to try and kill you. If you successfully collect the fruit and make it back up to the house, you’ll beat the level. There are 50 stages to conquer in total, with two difficulty options (Game A and Game B).

If you’re feeling industrious, you can take a stab at the level creation tool built into the game. Make your own level and have a friend try and beat it. This looks like a fun diversion to the main game.

Nuts & Milk released on July 28, 1984 in Japan. No word yet on whether it will make it over to U.S. shores. It looks like it could be mildly entertaining, but it does have more than a passing resemblance to Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario Bros. Since we’re getting both of those released for the NES soon, I’m not sure we’d need this virtually unknown game to release over here. Then again, the more games the merrier at this stage!

 

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