Famicom Disk System hardware...

Nothing unreleased here, but few people have probably seen the insides of a shop Disk Writer unit. Taken from a November 1986 Famitsu, the pictures below show a partial glimpse of the Writer's screen, and some of its cavernous insides.

Found in an early 1987 issue of Famicom Magazine are a few scintillating photos of what looks like Famicom Disk System development hardware. Sitting above what could be a PC rack of sorts is an FDS drive hooked up to a black box, with some other white box connected to it via a ribbon cable. What does it all do? How are games stored or written to the disk?

We may never know.

Anyway, in the same issue is a page detailing how Nintendo's Disk Fax service worked. The Disk Fax system was used for its tournament games: Golf Japan Course, 3-D Hot Rally, etc. Kids tried to get the best scores they could in their games, and then brought their FDS disks to a game shop, where the clerk would put the disk in the Disk Fax machine, which then copied the score data off the disk, dialed up Nintendo's fax line, and sent the score to Nintendo. (Yeah, I know it's a run-on sentence.)

(Hmmm... was it really a fax line? I suspect they're just modems in these machines. Why call it a fax system if it's a misnomer?)

Click on any of the images to see a full-sized picture...
If these images look a bit faded, it's because they were from pages in the magazine that were printed using only 3 inks to save money. Only red & cyan (and perhaps black) ink are used, instead of the regular CMYK printing process.

Here's a game shop clerk showing off his (leased) Disk Fax machine now.
A Nintendo employee monitoring their Fax line. (Wow, writing captions sure is boring, eh?)
Getting more interesting, here's an awfully murky screenshot of one of Nintendo's terminals...
And the terminal room itself. Cool old-fashioned tech looks like it's out of a Godzilla movie.

Here are the insides of a Nintendo-franchised game shop, circa 1991.  Of course, the uniform displays, signage, game placement, and pricing are all dictated by Nintendo.  In return for forfeiting all autonomy, the game shops receive at least 10 times the amount of stock of the most popular games, compared to what independent game shops got.

Anyway, check out the huge stack of yellow "NES" cartridges in the picture to the right.  Those are the permanent ROM masters of FDS games that the Disk Writer unit reads to write to FDS media.  Nintendo certainly reused their hardware and plastic moulds whenever possible...