Monday, June 19, 2017

Official Variations of the Nintendo 8-bit NES/Famicom Console Hardware

Nintendo tried to get its 8-bit system into homes across the world.  It was most successful in Japan, the United States and Canada.  But it also distributed its hardware in many other countries, usually with the assistance of a local distributor.  Some of these systems are rather rare, but have been documented to exist.  In this blog post let I will attempt to identify every officially licensed variation of the 8-bit hardware Nintendo ever released.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Ownership of and Issues with the ColecoVision Trademark

Courtesy of Wikipedia

A few blog entries ago, I described the current state of the ColecoVision.  In that blog entry, I identified Coleco Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Dormitus Brands and previously River West Brands as the claimant of the trademark to the ColecoVision name.  Given certain recent interactions between Coleco Holdings and certain ColecoVision homebrew developers, I believe it is worth exploring Coleco Holdings' trademark claims in some detail.

First, let me begin by summarizing the recent news which has caused interest in this topic, then go on to describe how a trademark is registered and finally the law and facts surrounding the ColecoVision trademark.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

NES and Famicom Controller Compatibility Issues and AV Famicom Microphone Mod

Prior to the NES, most controllers had a joystick and one or two buttons.  The Atari joystick was wired in parallel, where one wire corresponded to one button, and pressing a direction or a button completed a circuit with the common (ground wire).  The program would read these button presses in parallel, where reading from a single memory location would give the state of each of the five buttons at one time.

Nintendo's controllers were to come with a D-pad and four buttons.  These were originally hard-wired in the Famicom but would have required at least nine wires if wired by the traditional parallel standard.  Moreover, if they wanted to use other kinds of peripherals, they may have found that difficult.  To cut down on wires, Nintendo decided to use a serial method for reading buttons.  This also allowed for more varied expansion, as will be discussed below.