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Famidas “Famicom Reverse Side Skill Compilation”

The Nintendo Famicom is very much alive and well in its homeland of Japan. Keychains, plushies, desk trinkets, models and garage kits of systems, characters and other related goods are readily available for purchase at many shops across the country (and available online for overseas customers). The Wii’s Virtual Console is doing quite well, bringing a new life and a new audience to older classics, and books and magazines about the Famicom are still being produced.

Published October 10, 2006 by Micro Magazine, the Family Computer Dictionary Allround Series: Famidas ファミダス ファミコン裏技編 (Famidas Hidden Secrets or Tricks Collection) showcases some of the more interesting hidden secrets and techniques of Famicom games. One of the most recognizable codes of all, the Konami Code, is emblazoned on the obi strip that surrounds the book. The title itself lends to an interesting societal note: a literal translation from Japanese into English results in “Famicom Reverse Side Skill Compilation”. The “reverse side” portion of the title conveys the concept of the “back side” or “hidden side” of something. Japanese culture has a heavy distinction between the “front side” (omote, 表) and “back side” (ura, 裏) of a person or thing. The “back side” is something that is not normally shown.

A loosely translated chapter list:

  1. “The Proper Way” compilation (王道編)
  2. “Burst of Laughter” compilation (爆笑編)
  3. “Help skill” compilation (お助け技編)
  4. “Hidden Command & Password” compilation (隠しコマンド&パスワード編)
  5. “Hidden Stages & Characters” compilation (隠しステージ&隠れキャラ編)
  6. Interview & Data compilation (インタビュー&資料編)

The first chapter, “The Proper Way”, is the most difficult for me to really get a grasp of, but it appears to show how to pass difficult sections of a game “in the right way”, or how to achieve the best scores, or the best places to amass multiple lives. The “Burst of Laughter” chapter reveals hidden jokes or other easter eggs that were written into the software. Some of these explain how to access slightly pervy sprites in the software, such as semi-nude women in an outdoor bath, or women’s skirts blowing up in the wind. Chapter three, “Help Skill”, is where you will find codes and passwords for extra lives and equipment, “safe-spots” in boss battles, and good places to camp and power up. The “Hidden Command & Password” chapter seems to sometimes intrude on the previous chapter’s purpose. It contains special passwords and commands that might have been added in the debugging phase of development to allow the testers to reach areas and stats quickly to test out a particular game function. “Hidden Stages & Characters” is pretty much self-explanatory. The “Interview & Data” section is a series of interviews and compilation data of some early Japanese Famicom-centric magazines.

Even though the kanji can make it difficult to understand, it’s an interesting little book to pick up. And at only 1200 yen, it’s a cheap novelty. Most of the games listed did not see a release outside of Japan, but it’s still fun to see that the Famicom is still remembered and thought of highly in a society where high technology reigns.

This book is available for purchase at:

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