One of the first articles I posted up on the site was about the Famicom Disk Writer, a unique service available in Japan that allowed Famicom Disk System owners to re-write their game disks to change up their game library at a reduced cost. The kiosk is notable for its seriously catchy chiptune soundtrack and cute animation featuring the Mario Bros. explaining the ins and outs of writing FDS games (something which can be witnessed at the article linked above), but despite being an awesome device, there is still plenty of mystery surrounding the kiosks despite them supposedly being popular up to around 2003.
However, in what could potentially be a first, Japanese games site miki800 has given us a great look at the catalog that accompanied the disk writer kiosks in Japanese stores, namely some of the artwork featuring Famicom Disk System mascot Diskun, who many may remember from his appearance as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Diskun was popular enough to garner a selection of merchandise, including a stationary set and even a Game & Watch unit in the shape of his body. In the Famicom Disk Writer catalog, Diskun takes a starring role, showing off some of his finest Famicom cosplay to display the wide range of titles available to be written to your FDS disks.
Mario seems like an obvious choice of costume for a fellow Nintendo mascot, but here Diskun is advertising the Super Mario Bros. 2 that would first be experienced by western gamers under the moniker Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, as a part of the Super Mario All-Stars compilation for SNES. Diskun looks cheery here on the right, but clearly he has yet to experience the fiendishly difficult platforming, featuring rage inducing elements such as Warp Zones that take you backwards and wind pushing against you throughout the stage, all elements deemed ‘too difficult’ for western Mario fans. On the right, we can see Diskun sporting a vastly different attire, albeit to advertise a vastly familiar affair; Doki Doki Panic, a platformer developed by a Miyamoto-led R&D4, (a department that would later go on to become part of the legendary EAD), would be famously re-worked into Super Mario Bros. 2 for the west, its magic carpets taking on theme that would not look out of place in Aladdin, although here we can see it pushed under its original title as a title for the Famicom Disk System (the Super Mario Bros. 2 that we know and love would later hit Japan under the title Super Mario USA).
It is perhaps unknown to some that the original releases of Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Kid Icarus were for the Famicom Disk System, allowing the games to utilise the save functionality we take for granted today thanks to the FDS’ re-writeable disks (US versions of the games would rely on an internal cartridge battery for saving). As a result, it’s hardly a surprise to see Diskun sporting the familiar heroic costumes of both Samus and Link, and cuteness aside this shows an early revolutionary development in gaming by Nintendo.
The FDS was no stranger to third-party titles, either. Here we can see Konami leading the charge; on the left, Diskun adorably imitates the protagonist of Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa probably one of the few Famicom titles revolving around a baby prince traversing a world of cake to rescue the world’s babies from a goat demon. On the right is another title which made use of the save functionality introduced by the FDS, Castlevania (or Akumajou Dracula as it would then be known) is demonstrated by a quite frankly more menacing looking Diskun, who seems quite fearless considering he has apparently stolen Dracula’s cape. The NES release of Castlevania would not feature the save function of the FDS version, something many western players would remain blissfully unaware of as they lost many a live to those fiendish bosses!
If you want to check out more great images of the catalog, check out the full gallery over at miki800, or if you’re interested in learning more about the Famicom Disk System, check out the gloriously ham Japanese PR video displaying their functions above!