Family Computer Disk System

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Family Computer Disk System
Family Computer and Family Computer Disk System
Generation Third generation
Release date Japan February 21, 1986
Discontinued 1994 (Remained supported until September 25, 2003)
Predecessor Family Computer
Successor Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super Famicom)
The logo for the Family Computer Disk System

The Family Computer Disk System (also called the Famicom Disk System) is an accessory for the Family Computer. It allowed the Family Computer to play certain games on a proprietary floppy disk format called "Disk Cards" rather than ROM cartridges, as Disk Cards were not only cheaper but also allowed for higher data capacity than cartridges at the time. Besides that, the disks were rewritable, so saving was easier.

Nintendo sought to make Disk Cards a permanent standard for all of its future games at that point, but this plan was abandoned a few years later due to various hardware issues, most prominently the fact that the system's games were easy to pirate. Later in 1986, Nintendo sought to counter this problem by installing special Disk Writer kiosks that would allow consumers to download games onto Disk Cards for ¥500 as opposed to the retail price of ¥2,600; some Disk System games were even exclusive to these kiosks. The service was very popular, remaining in place until the Family Computer line's discontinuation in 2003, 9 years after the discontinuation of the Disk System itself. Excluding prize disks, FDS games were available through retail, Disk Writer, or both. Kaettekita Mario Bros. and the FDS ports for Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Pinball, and Wrecking Crew could be purchased only through the Disk Writer. The former was priced at ¥400 because of its promotional nature, making it the cheapest FDS game. I am a teacher: Super Mario Sweater was a retail-only game, but it was sold in handicraft stores. All Night Nippon: Super Mario Bros. was sold through a mail order lottery system and at Nippon Broadcasting System's building on a single day. The Disk Writer was also capable of updating software for any game that needed it (thus acting as an early precursor to modern internet-based software patching), the sole exception being Golf: Japan Course, which required mailing the disk to Nintendo.


Differences from cartridge versions[edit]

For the most part, FDS games are identical to their Famicom or NES cartridge versions. Here are some differences found in Super Mario games:[1]

Blue and gold disks[edit]

Six games received blue disks, five were made by Nintendo and were compatible with Disk Fax, four of which are Super Mario games. All compatible blue disk games were subject of tournaments with scores submitted through the Disk Fax, a device that could send contestants' data and high scores to Nintendo. The tournament began as soon as the blue disks were released.

Disk Fax Tournaments
Tournament number Game Date Prizes
1 Golf: Japan Course February 21 to May 10, 1987 (original deadline was April 30) Prizes included two different gold disk versions of the game, each with a harder course. The top 100 players received the Champions' Course and gold plaques. 5,000 others received the Professional Course.
2 Golf: U.S. Course June 14 to August 31, 1987 The top 100 players received trophies. 10,000 received a gold Famicom cartridge of Punch-Out!! and 1,000 got Golf: Prize Card, a harder gold disk version.
3 Famicom Grand Prix: F1 Race October 30 to December 15, 1987 The top 100 players of each of the four difficulty levels received trophies. 10,000 received a special edition Game & Watch of Super Mario Bros.
5 Famicom Grand Prix II: 3D Hot Rally April 14 to May 31, 1988 The top 100 players of each of the three car types received trophies. 10,000 received stationery sets.

The three gold disks and Wakusei Aton Gaiden are the only FDS games that were never available through retail.[2] No gold or blue disk games have a cartridge equivalent and were distributed only in Japan.


System gallery[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Chinese 紅白機

Red and white machine

Chinese (traditional) Hóngbái jī



Main menu Family Computer Disk System
Family Computer Disk System BIOS
Main menu
Twin Famicom BIOS