The Family Game Famiclone

Hey guys, today I’m going to be talking about my Famiclone, the Family Game. I don’t have the original box or any of the original cords or anything, I just have the system. And here it is:

The Family Game famiclone

The Family Game famiclone

I got it because it was the cheapest famiclone on the internet I could find at the time. Well, let’s see what the cheap Famiclone does. Well, it has this dust cover thing on top of the cartridge slot, a power switch, reset button. Let’s look at the back and see where you plug in the AV cables and power cords.

Connections!

Connections!

It takes the usual NES/Famicom power supply, it has 1-channel mono sound, video, and RF video. UPDATE: It SAYS it does RF video, but no matter what I do I can’t get it to work. I don’t know if mine is broken, or if I’m connecting it to the TV wrong, or what, but for me it’s not working. The other connectors work, though, so I can still use it.

Moving on, let’s look at the controllers. The controllers are built directly into the Famiclone and don’t unplug, but there’s still an additional port that presumably allows for stuff like the Zapper Gun to be plugged in.

The first controller

The player 1 controller. It has autofire switches.

The player 2 controller doesn't appear to have a microphone, unlike official Famicoms.

The player 2 controller doesn’t appear to have a microphone, unlike official Famicoms.

The port for additional stuff to be plugged in.

The port for additional stuff to be plugged in.

With the dust cover taken off

With the dust cover taken off

Well, first off, let’s just turn it on. Some famiclones have games in a multicart-like system if you turn it on without any game in it. Does this Famiclone do this?

Nope

Nope.

Oh well. Some Famiclone cartridges, like my Ninja Turtles 3-in-1, use video and audio compression stuff that doesn’t work on normal Famicoms, and will only work on some Famiclones. Well, let’s put it in and see if it works.

Darn.

Darn.

Well, that’s disappointing. Let’s put in a normal game and see if that works.

Hooray!

Hooray!

Well, I guess we’ve got a Famiclone that plays anything that will work with a normal Famicom. Why? Well, let’s take a screwdriver and open up the Family Game and see what’s inside.

Bottom of the Famiclone

Bottom of the Famiclone

Here’s the bottom of the Famiclone. It uses normal Phillips-head screws instead of Nintendo’s proprietary Gamebit screw things, so it’ll be easy to open it up.

OK, I did that. After unscrewing those screws on the bottom, we see this:

The circuits

The circuits

That’s annoying. It’s the bottom of the circuitboard, so we can’t actually see most of the circuitry. To do that, we’re going to have to unscrew even more screws. At this point, I screwed it back together to see if it still worked. It did. So I opened it back up again and started unscrewing those next screws. I’m going to start by unscrewing the circuitboard thing on the bottom:

The circuitboard!

The circuitboard!

It turns out it won’t actually come all the way out because it’s connected to that other circuitboard thing. So I got a few more pictures and screwed the whole thing back together.

Better picture of the circuitboard.

Better picture of the circuitboard.

This explains why it will only play stuff that works on a normal Famicom. All the components are the same in a normal Famicom and this Famiclone. OK, let’s see if the thing still works. Yay! It does! But wait a second…

...

The reset switch had fallen out. Gahhhh. Now I’ve got a hole, and there’s a button down inside the circuitboard that acts as a reset switch. I guess the piece of plastic that was the reset switch pushes down on that button, and that resets it. Well, I guess I have to unscrew it again and see if I can figure out how to put the reset switch back in.

OK, I found the hole where the reset switch should be, except I found it on the inside, so now I can put the switch back in.

Hole

Hole

OK, now I’ll put the reset switch in it:

I fixed it!

I fixed it!

Now let’s screw the system back together and see if that actually fixed anything.

The Family Game famiclone

It totally did! YAY!!

And it works fine. So that’s great!

Also, I’ve noticed something. The back of the player 1 controller has 6 screws on it:

Yep. Definitely 6 screws here.

Yep. Definitely 6 screws here.

And the back of the player 2 controller has 5 screws:

Where'd it go??

Where’d it go??

I’m gonna unscrew them open and look at the insides of them.

Well, here’s the inside of the first controller:

It's open!

It’s open!

Circuits!

Circuits!

Hahaha!

Hahaha!

Around this point I realized that pieces were falling out. I just started putting them back in, and screwed the controller back together. Then the controller wasn’t working right. (•_•) Whoops. But then I tightened and loosened the screws a little more and then it started working. Look, I know I said I was going to unscrew the other controller, too, but I changed my mind after this.

And then I realized that I forgot to put this piece back in:

I hope that wasn't important...

I hope that wasn’t important…

No, I’m not going to try and put it back in. Then it might stop working permenantly, and I don’t want that.

That’s it for now. I’ll write more later.

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