In 2011 I packed my bags and moved half way around the world, hoping to pursue a career in languages, one of my other interests. Before I got settled in properly, I ended up in a backwoods town in the middle of nowhere, feeling more isolated than I had ever felt prior in my life. As a result, I started to feel very nostalgic towards those happy memories in my childhood, so I asked a colleague to help me to purchase a Famicom. She found a package online for about $15, which included a clone machine and a multicart, and she figured I’d then be good to go. It didn’t quite work out that way.

You see, I had been playing Nintendo since I was about three years old, and had collected NES games throughout my teenage years, only having lost interest after having gone to university. As I explored my environs, I quickly began to discover a few gaming remnants of years gone by. Some of the companies I was familiar with due to my previous stint in collecting, while other developers and publishers were totally foreign to me. Once while walking around in the next town over, I had walked into a shop and found they had for sale a few black and white Game Boy games for around $15 each. I bought one of each title (the shop had five games, two different titles available), and then after arriving home, I regretted not purchasing the entire stock, so before I knew it, I was on a bus, headed back into town… you know what happened next 😉

During these early years, about 2012 – 2013, I used to stay up for hours, chatting online with my girlfriend of the time, as well as with another gamer / researcher / historian / collector. We talked of many things, but one of the ideas that I kept thinking about what writing a book of sorts, though I had no idea how or where to begin, so it was basically just a dream of sorts, though the idea never left.

As my knowledge on the Famicom grew, as well as my personal game collection, I decided that I wanted to make my earlier idea come to fruition. In the autumn of 2016, I bought a device that would allow me to directly capture screenshots from my Famicom onto my computer, allowing me to beign work on my book; however, by November of that year, fate had it that I would go through some of the darkest moments of my life. During this time I even started to sell of bits and pieces of my game collection, but the decision quickly started to feel wrong, so I stopped and took a step back.

It was by 2017 that I decided I was going to make my dream from 2011 / 2012 come true: I was going to write a book about the Famicom, geared towards Famicom gamers / users in the west. This is when Family Bits was born.

When people first hear the word Famicom, they immediately think Japan; however, Famicom-compatible clones and cartridges would be released all around the world, appearing in regions such as Central / Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. Due to the vast amount of software and hardware available, falling under the “Famicom” brand, it can be confusing for people to get properly acquainted with the machine and its library of games, and that is what Family Bits is about.

My goal is to provide an extensive examination of the entire Famicom game library – ranging from official software, to unlicensed titles, hacked games, homebrews, bootlegs, and more. I also intend to present readers with some history on the machine in various regions, allow users to see some old advertisements, and read some interviews with game developers / programmers from back in the day. It is my intention that Family Bits will become a useful reference for anyone who is interested in Famicom.