My Super NicoFami just arrived :) So here's a review/comparision to other dual clones
First of all, let me warn you, this is a very long post.
Blame is on my unemployment Ã la Web Developer since August :P
On November 7th, I won an auction for a Super NicoFami on eBay.
It was listed for $48.00, and after being turned down on a few other low-ball offers, I gave the seller a best offer of $39.99, and he accepted.
The grand total came to $64.99 ($25.00 shipping from Japan). It was 16.69% off the regular Buy It Now price. This console doesn't seem to be in production anymore, and most of them, that are left anyway, go for very high prices. For example, there is one currently on eBay that is going for a total of $149.80 ($134.80 + $15.00 shipping) and most other import sites display Out of Stock. I was watching the aforementioned auction hoping the seller would lower the price, but he never did. In addition, he is, to date, not even offering a best offer option.
So as you can imagine, I was pretty happy when the item arrived earlier today, in what appeared to be brand new condition. After opening the box, and hooking it up, everything worked perfectly, with both Famicom (seperate NES adapter not included) and Super Famicom (seperate SNES adapter not included) games. In addition to standard composite video it offers S-Video output. Although, I should mention that the S-Video output only functions for both the SFC side of the console. The FC side will not display anything when selecting S-Video. If I remember correctly this functionality is the same as my other hybrid US SNES / NES console known as the FC Dual.
As a side note, the FC Dual was an unofficial predecessor to FC Twin (I believe both were manufactured by Yobo. Also of note, is that the FC Twin was never released with S-Video support (though it can be added with a mod). Also, it appears (at least from the outside, and through testing), that this clone system is identical to the FC Dual except that it has FC & SFC slots as compared to SNES & NES slots. The only games that seem to have compatibility issues on the SNES side thus far are intermittent problems with SA-1 games (similarly to the FC Dual, FC Twin, and its unofficial successor; the Retro Duo (manufactured by Innex, Inc). As an aside, if anyone wants to know more about the problems with SA-1 games and my findings across all three clone consoles, let me know, and I will point you to my earlier posts (in another forum) regarding these issues. While on the topic of the Retro Duo, I should mention that although it supports S-Video out on both the SNES & NES sides, the S-Video output on the NES is shoddy at best, and makes the line banding problem on the Top Loader NES and most NOAC look like gold. Seriously, it is worse than the Top Loader with severe RF interference. This is in sharp contrast (no pun intended ), to the pristine S-Video output on the SNES side of the Retro Duo. At least to my eyes , the S-Video output on both the FC Dual, and the Super NicoFami have slight interference on the SNES side when used with the S-Video output. Although, I should mention that this could be some sort of incompatibility problem with my Samsung slim-CRT HDTV, or the fact that the included dual AV / S-video outputs included, with both the FC Dual & Super NicoFami, have internal plastic on the grounding of the S-Video cable vs standard aluminum or copper. I will probably be upgrading to higher quality cables with copper / gold connectors as time and money allows, as this did help with both my official Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 systems. (I purchased Nintendo GameCube compatible Monster cables at a discount. Even though I usually can't tell a difference, and Monster is usually a waste of money imo, these were a noticeable upgrade vs the standard official Nintendo cables. Unfortunately / fortunately, the three clone consoles I have been talking about use standard S-Video / AV cables, so I will have to look for other solutions for these systems). Standard composite looks identical on all three consoles, and when compared to the same output on my AV Famicom and SNES (Model 1). S-Video across all three consoles for the SNES side seem equal to my SNES (Model 1).
Due to my findings, my likely setup for SNES compatible consoles will be the following:
1) The official Famicom AV, Super Nintendo (Model 1), and FC Dual (primarily due to inferior S-Video output), will be packed away for safe storage (though kept in close proximity if I run into major compatibility problems). Also, my Famicom to NES, NES to Famicom, and SNES to Super Famicom adapters will not be used nearly as often, mainly because I ran into a reliability problem with the NES slot on an earlier Retro Duo I had purchased before RMA'ing it for a replacement. (That problem is described here). (The NES to Famicom / Famicom to NES adaptors can be notoriously hard to remove, and as a result, may have added to the early infant mortality of my earlier Retro Duo).
2) S-Video / AV cables for the Retro Duo & Super NicoFami consoles will be upgraded to those with copper / gold contacts (an RGB mod maybe attempted and used with a XRGB-3 in the future as money allows, at least with the Retro Duo, as the Super NicoFami maybe too rare at this point for me to chance screwing it up ).
3) Formally I used custom controller adapters that I created for the AV Famicom that allowed for the use of SNES compatible controllers (I have yet to experiment with the NES Zapper). It was made using a NES / SNES controller pin-out that I found on the net many years ago (while still in high school), and with standard SNES controller extension cables. Now with the advent of the Retro Duo, and its brethren, I no longer need to use these controller adapters (as SNES compatible controllers work out of the box, on both the SNES and NES sides, with these clones). Although, technically I should point out for some reason, the FC Dual and Super NicoFami, decidedly switched the SNES (A) + (B) controller functionality for that of the NES standard when playing NES / Famicom games (or should I say rather, kept the NES controller functionality?). In other words, on the FC Dual and Super NicoFami, the (A) button is used to jump and the (B) button is used to fire (in most NES / Famicom games). On the other hand (again, no pun intended ), on the NES side of the Retro Duo the (A) button is used to fire and the (B) button is used to jump (on the NES side of the console). For the curious, my AV Famicom SNES controller mod functioned in the same way as the Retro Duo in this respect. Because of this, I will more than likely be moding another pair SNES controller extension cables for use with the Super NicoFami, but this time I will be adding a switch to allow changing controller (A) + (B) layouts. I may also make some sort of SNES controller Y-adapter to allow the same controllers to be used for either console (Playing the systems at the same time would more than likely cause a similar experience to that of crossing the streams, for all those Ghostbusters fans out there, if not just general weirdness).
I should note that I do not plan on selling these clone consoles anytime soon (at least those from my personal collection), but I would be glad to help out my fellow GameGavel brothers (and sisters) try and find one of them available for purchase.
Anyway, I hope this review was somewhat informative and fun. Feel free to link to this post and let me know if you have any questions or want to see more pictures of any of the clone consoles that I now have in my possession (pre-purchase pictures of the Super NicoFami are below). I may even be willing to open up the consoles for a more exposed photo shoot if you ask me to. I promise I won't f-stop you from asking. Hardy har har :P OK, fine that pun was intended that time... I know none of you are laughing.
Crawls slowly back into his cave from which he came due to people throwing copies of the stinker of a NES game killer tomatoes at him
Last edited by Troglodyte; 11-19-2009 at 10:34 PM.