The Famicombox

What we got here is a hotel Famicom unit, called the Famicombox. It's one of the strangest things I have ever seen. Apparently, Nintendo made this unit for hotels in Japan (or all of Asia... no one seems to know). In regular operation, this doohickey would sit under the TV in a hotel room, and it would be loaded up with a bunch of special carts. A coin box would hang off the right side of it. From what I can gather, it took 100 yen coins. One coin gave you around 10 or 20 minutes of operation before the unit would start feeping incessantly, and it would FLASH the screen! If you did not insert more money after awhile, it shows a cute "TIME UP" graphic and the text "SEE" "YOU" "NEXT" flashes in sequence on the screen, then it goes back to the title. 20:23 20:44 20:45

Here it be. When the unit is closed up, the cart titles can be seen through the slots in the front. There are three controllers attached- two regular NES joypads and a regular grey NES style zapper. A keyswitch allows the operator to turn the unit on and off, and do various operational test modes (more about this later).

The TV/GAME button lets you toggle between TV and game modes; when in TV mode, the RF signal can pass through the modulator unhindered. When in game mode, the TV signal is blocked and replaced by the game's. Inside the modulator are the exact same circuits as found in the regular auto-switching switchbox on the US NES, and the modulator guts are identical to those found in the NES unit as well.

The reset button lets you reset the unit and select a new game at any time, so long as your credits haven't expired.

Here's what one of the carts looks like. It is a regular NES cart case, but is black plastic instead of the more familiar grey. It is otherwise the same case, except the back plate on the mould was changed. Along with the familiar "Nintendo / Pat Pend. Made in Japan" lettering, they added "SSS V-2". Also, the spot for the label on the back is just empty. Each cart has 5 flathead screws.

Included with the unit was the book that would've been supplied with it in the hotel room. This contains basic operating instructions along with the instruction manuals for all the games included with it.

And here's some of the operating instructions listed in the book, showing how to feed the coin mech.

When it first powers on, it tests the carts. First it shows the "cassette check start!" screen, then it goes through the carts, and finally the "cassette check end!" screen.

Go to Page Two - operation, continued
Or... Page Seven - Registers and junk

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