Famicom games that do not work with pads connected through the expansion port.

Started by Hamburglar, September 29, 2011, 09:20:57 pm

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I worked on the FC external microphone for the New Famicom (A/V) and the NES: You can look at an (older version) schematic that I did for the FC microphone circuit here, which you may use as a reference on how to do this. I do have later versions of this project schematic somewhere that detail the actual microphone circuit, but I think I stopped when I ran into a little difficulty with part of the design--possible a symbol that I didn't have and didn't feel like making.

I restore all the microphone devices on Famicom units that I service, and make them perfect.They are rarely broken, but need some adjustments and TLC. I have a procedure that I follow and I have special tools for working on such items, so I make them like-new 100% of the time I was mostly interested in an external microphone for the New Famicom and the NES, so I designed a circuit to handle this, but never actually built one. It should work, but I can't guarantee it, as I have yet to test in in actual use.

This will work on the Famicom, the NES and early 'New Famicom (A/V)' systems, as well a all Sharp systems. Essentially, any model with dual 40H368 ICs, even clones; it will be more difficult on the NES-2 and late-model 'new Famicom' systems, as they use a single custom IC that replaces the dual '368s and I don't have any documentation for it; I have yet o R-E it either.

Of course, if anybody has a pinout for that part, I can knock out a schematic for it. It would also be possible to add a 40H368 to the system to implement this on designs that don't have one This would not work on NOAC clones

Honestly, the NES offers the most possibilities, as the full FC EXP port is available via the NES Expasion Port:: I designed an adapter for this purpose that also bridges the NES audio, but I put the project on ice when another bloke on NESDev set about to make an almost identical project on his own.. I saw no need to compete, but I have the design fairly close to finished--PCB layout and all--and may still make a few one day

I do need to make a few finished PCBs and do a test-run just to ensure that I have everything correctly wired, but it should be 100% right and I allowed for multiple audio configurations on the design (PowerPak and FC/FDS Expansion Sound) as well as some other interesting additions, such as a header for special signals only found on that port.

I also started working on a NES RAM-Adapter (FDS) cartridge, but this is a tedious project that I haven't touched in ages. Anyhow, because of this, and the other features, the NES has the most potential for expansion, but I still favour the FC in terms of aesthetic design.

If you want a true PAL Famicom, you can substitute the CPU and PPU as well as the X'tal from a PAL NES into any Famicom. This is a very simple modification, assuming you have access to affordable PAL NES systems.. You can simply swap the components between the two, making the NES NTSC and the Famicom PAL, so you won't be out any working hardware.

When you split controllers, you are mapping the buttons to the different inputs on the 4021B SSR; buttons are not mapped to any registers. The register differences, specifically the Read Data is important to designate what player controller is being used, but not the buttons. You can use the same read for two controllers if you split the buttons between two devices wired through a single 4021B. I think the Track & Field controllers are like this.

I don't know off-hand how the Mah-Jong controllers work. They may be little different to any standard controller, or use a strange mapping for buttons,or dual 4021Bs; they could be like the Family Fitness mat. :bomb:


Wow lots of components, I'm not confident enough to start on something like that now. I assumed they breaks often because I saw many people that got a buzzing noise were the "solution" was to disconnect the microphone. Mine seems to work except for the fact that those bunnies continues their bouncing.

So you are saying that the NES is the one with more potential because it has an EXP port with special signals that the Famicom doesn't have? I guess I should stop telling people that the Famicom is the superior one then. But I guess there are no known products that uses these features yet. And the NES requires a lot of work if we wants to get all the extra sound, the microphone, the FDS, and the Famicom EXP port, while the Famicom just requires some easy to make adapters for all NES accessories that I can think of. The biggest problem with the original Famicom seems to be the lack of AV outlets, especially for us Europeans as the RF is no good here. And even if one makes an AV-mod it's still lots of problems getting a good picture out of it.

Yeah I heard about switching the crystal and that. It's nice to know but if I really want a PAL system I could just buy a PAL NES and use it as it is. I just hoped to have both in the same system, you can't have everything I guess. hehe

Oh I see, I'm just a layman when it comes to electronics but I love to learn new things. I think I mix up registers and inputs maybe.


My personal usage ratio is (Famicom 100:1 NES). This is because I use a Twin system, so I can use FC, NES and DFS games on one console, with built-in controllers and a microphone (for the games that require it) as well as easy and modular use of accessories. There are two or three signals present on the NES EXP port that ae not on the FC, although it would probably be possible to modify the system to include them. The NES design also makes it easier to add custom external game hardware, via ten pins on the game cartridge that can be connected (via the EXP bus) to an external device.

This has not been used to date, although I had some plans for its possibilities. The NES port also has CPU data lines that could be interesting, although you can replicate this on the FC via wiring modification. The NES also has less noise on the common earth plane, so there is less video interference. This can also be corrected on the FC, but it is at present a painstaking process, and I have yet to simplify it  in a consumer-friendly manner.

If you really want external controllers to work with every title, you can also patch in a NES-style or FC-style extension cord to the Controller-I inputs (internally) and thus provide a Player-I port externally that will not have problems, as it is directly configured to act as $416D0, and games that only read data there will therefore work flawlessly. If you configure it for FC-type controllers, you want to wire the normal D1 line to the internal D0 line.

You could also modify the EXP port to add the D0 line (tied onto the $4016.D1 on pin 13) on a rocker-switch so that normal controllers that are stubborn will work: You would merely need to slip the switch to change connections between D0 and D1 when required To do this, you would cut the trace to pin-13, then add a connection to a rocker switch to that pin, and the other two connections to the normal path that went to EXP-13 and to the $4016.D0 line on the primary controller port. :bomb:


Sorry for the necro-bump, but over the weekend I decided to try out every game I own and see which worked with a controller in the FEP. Not surprising, but most NES games not released in Japan didn't work. Some did though like Marble Madness!

* - Japan only games that don't work

Super Mario Bros. 2/USA - mentioned in first post
Spider Man: Return of the Sinister Six
Ferrari Grand Prix
Terminator 2
Alien 3
Home Alone 2
Ring King
Arkista's Ring
Fisher Price Firehouse Rescue
Fisher Price Perfect Fit
Destination Earthstar
Monster Truck Rally
T & C Surf Designs
Hyper Olympic
Friday the 13th
Tengen Tetris
Lode Runner
Antarctic Adventure*
Championship Lode Runner*
Raid on Bungeling Bay
Nuts and Milk*
John Elway's Quarterback
Pipe Dream
Joe and Mac
Hyper Sports*
4 Nin Ichi Mahjong*
Target Renegade
Tom & Jerry
Race America
Prince Valiant
Kiwi Kraze
Flying Hero*
Saiyuuki World*
Silver Surfer
Ghostbusters II
Jurassic Park
Donald Duck (Snoopy Sports Spectacular)
Seikima II*
Arkanoid II* (Thinks it is a paddle!)
Ghoul School
Simpsons: Bart vs Space Mutants
Time Lord
Zelda II: Adventure of Link (JPN Disk version works fine)


You can add Battletoads, Battletoads & Double Dragon, Tengen Pac-Man, Tengen Ms Pac-Man and MicroMachines to the list.

Rare apparently learned later to read the expansion port because RC Pro-Am 1 and 2 do read it. I think Marble Madness was ported to NES by Rare too?

Great Hierophant

Based on this list, there are typically three reasons why a game for the NES or Famicom does not support player 3 input from the expansion port. 

1.  It was programmed by western programmers for the NES, which does not implement the four player function in the same way.  As noted, occasionally exceptions to the rule do exist, but most western developers probably were not aware of the feature and had no reason to support it.  Many of these games were never released for the Famicom. 

2.  The game was originally designed for the Famicom in the early days of the console before using player 3 as player 1 became an unofficial but widely adopted standard.   Because the standard was unofficial, some Japanese programming teams may not have been aware of it, explaining later games that do not support it.

3.  There is a peripheral conflict.  Paddles and Light Guns get plugged into the expansion port on the Famicom.  This makes the expansion port officially unavailable for extra controllers.    Gyromite/Robot Gyro mainly uses the second controller. 
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I remember Konamic Sports in Seoul (Track and Field II) doesn't let you use any expansion port controllers. No cheating with turbo!


Bump with a couple of more that don't work:

Maniac Mansion (English version)
Smash T.V.
Star Wars (JVC version)
Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back
Tiny Toon Adventures Cartoon Workshop

Great Hierophant

Here is the list of Famicom games I have compiled which do not support expansion port controllers :

4-nin Uchi Mahjong
Antarctic Adventure (No Rev. only, Rev. A supports expansion controllers)
Aoki Ookami to Shiroki Mejika - Genghis Khan
Arkanoid II
Binary Land (controls are reversed)
Championship Lode Runner
Donald Duck
Flying Hero
Hyper Olympic
Hyper Olympic Genteiban!
Hyper Sports
Igo Meikan
Igo Shinan
Igo Shinan '91
Igo Shinan '92
Igo Shinan '93
Igo Shinan '94
Konamic Sports in Seoul
Lode Runner
Nobunaga no Yabou - Zenkoku Ban
Nuts & Milk
Raid on Bungeling Bay
Robot Gyro
Saiyuuki World
Seikima II - Akuma no Gyakushuu
Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars (Victor)
Super Mario USA
Check out my retro gaming and computing blog : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/