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What games are different between the Mini NES and Mini Famicom?

The Mini NES and Mini Famicom have the same amount of games but have eight titles separate from one other. Which one's best for your tastes?

We're getting the NES Classic Edition (Mini NES) in November so it's only fitting Japan gets its counterpart the Mini Famicom, packed with a portion of the same games our Mini NES is getting and a handful of titles we either never saw released or simply weren't deemed popular enough to include in our miniature console.

Both consoles come with 30 games, so which ones are missing from one and can be found in the other?

I wrote an article a while back highlighting the values of the games included in the Mini NES. It would cost a total of about $650 to buy each of the game's physical NES copies today sans boxes.

It's worth noting that Japanese Famicom games today tend to be cheaper than their North American and European NES counterparts. This is in large part due to the Famicom's popularity in Japan during its reign, the country's more obvious fondness for retro gaming today compared to elsewhere, and the games having been printed a bit too much for demand at the time.

Because of this the prices for games also included on the Mini NES are not included here. Prices for games that are only on the Mini Famicom are, for those of you interested.

Games present on both miniature systems

These are the 22 games that are going to be found on both the Mini NES and Mini Famicom:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Castlevania (JP: Dracula)
  • Galaga
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Mario Bros.
  • Excitebike
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Metroid
  • The Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
  • Dr. Mario
  • Pac-Man
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Donkey Kong
  • Super C (JP: Super Contra)
  • Kirby's Adventure
  • Ghosts 'N Goblins (JP: Makai Mura)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Mega Man 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (JP: Super Mario USA)
  • Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

Games not present on the Mini Famicom

Eight games are different between the two miniature Nintendo consoles. The Mini NES has the following eight games not present on the Mini Famicom:

  • Bubble Bobble
  • Final Fantasy
  • Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Kid Icarus
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Tecmo Bowl

Games not present on the Mini NES

And to keep things even, there are eight games coming with the Mini Famicom not present on the Mini NES. These are listed below along with whether they have seen Western releases before as well as their approximated price to buy them physically with no box today:

Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Western release: Yes
Approximate physical price: $37 (NA), $9 (JP)

Atlantis no Nazo (English trans: The Mystery of Atlantis)
Western release: No
Approximate physical price: $10

Solomon's Key
Western release: Yes
Approximate physical price: $10 (NA), $50 (JP)

Tsuppari Oozumou (Bumping Sumo)
Western release: No
Approximate physical price: $5

River City Ransom (JP: Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari)
Western release: Yes
Approximate physical price: $50 (NA), $20 (JP)

Final Fantasy 3
Western release: Yes (Not on NES, not to be confused with Final Fantasy 6 on the SNES which was labeled FF3 in the West)
Approximate physical price: $15

Downtown Soreyuke Daiundoukai (A sequel/prequel to River City Ransom)
Western release: No
Approximate physical price: $10

Nintendo NES Open Tournament Golf (JP: Mario Open Golf)
Western release: Yes
Approximate physical price: $15 (NA), $4 (JP)

And that basically covers the software differences between the two miniature Nintendo consoles. Both have titles popular in their respective regions and hardware-wise they are not all that different.

Import and retro gamers alike should be aware of the differences between the two and choose one (or both!) accordingly. The NTSC/PAL Mini NES's exclusive titles are a bit more arcadey than those exclusive to the Mini Famicom, which hosts some stellar titles both never before released and mostly unrecognized in the West.

It's a given your average gamer and interested party will simply lean toward the Mini NES and be done with it, but if you're the type who's inclined toward Japanese retro gaming -- as I am -- the Mini Famicom seems the better purchase thanks to the Downtown games, Atlantis no Nazo, and Solomon's Key alone.

Published Sep. 30th 2016

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