NES:Region Information

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The various official models of Famicom-compatible hardware can be grouped by game connectors, video standard, and security chip:

Famicom style, 60-pin

60 Hz NTSC

Region free

  • Family Computer (HVC-001): fixed controllers (with microphone replacing player 2's Start and Select), widely used 15-pin expansion port, cartridge audio loop for additional sound hardware, integrated NTSC-M RF modulator switchable between Japanese channels 1 and 2 (equivalent to American channels 95 and 96).
  • Family Computer (Taiwan) (HVC-001): Nintendo logo in kanji instead of modern oval. As above.
  • AV Famicom (HVC-101): new design, sporting the new-ish video connector (hence the name), removable controllers (NES compatible, but no microphone support and most Famicom software does not support NES-style guns or multitaps or viceversa).

"50/60" Hz PAL

Region free

  • Family Computer Hong Kong Version: a Japanese model fitted with a slightly slower clock generator and a proprietary NTSC to PAL converter which outputs a signal vaguely similar to PAL60 with System I sound. A slowdown switch found on the back provides a relatively more standard 50 Hz PAL-I signal (but still with non-negligible tolerances).[1]

NES style, 72-pin

Totally redesigned for those famous US marketing reasons. Invented combined (but optional) anti-import and anti-unlicensed-game protection. Completely different (and never officially used) expansion port on bottom. No plausible audio expansion out of the box. Frontloaders (except in France) have both RF and composite/sound RCA outputs.

50 Hz PAL

PAL-A (3197)

These models have additional diodes on controller ports and can, without modifications, only use controllers that have pull-up resistors (such as the NESE-004). They also tend to have a blue power socket.

  • Mattel Version (NESE-001), named after the original exclusive importer in UK/Ireland, Italy, and Australia.
  • NES Version (NESE-001), the same after Nintendo of Europe took over responsibility for those countries. Note how the British boxes incorrectly show an American console lacking any writing beyond "Nintendo Entertainment System" on the flap.
  • Versione Italiana, as above

PAL-B (3195)

  • European Version (NES-PAL-001), the plain NES for the other European countries.
  • Version Española, as above (late production?)
  • French version (not written on the front cover, NESE-001 (FRA) [sic]), actually a NES-PAL-001 with a Sony PAL to RGB decoder tacked on to avoid the need to invent a SECAM PPU.

Asia (3196)

  • Asian Version (NESA-001), officially sold in: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand.
  • Hong Kong Version (NESA-001 (HKG)), a commercial disaster compared to gray market Japanese imports (as well to the later HK Famicom). PAL-I Modulator switchable between channels A and B.[2]

Region free

  • New-Style NES (NESP-101), the toploader.

60 Hz NTSC

American (3193)

Main article: NES:NES Model Differences

  • Nintendo Entertainment System (NES-001) with no additional text: the classic frontloader.

PAL-B (3195)

  • Korean Version (Hyundai Comboy) (HGM-2000), same internals except CIC as American model. Also a near failure due to competition from gray market Famicoms (despite Japanese products not being officially importable, hence the use of a Korean middleman) and Famiclones.

Region free

  • New-Style NES (NES-101), RF-only toploader. Like an AV Famicom but with a rounded top and, of course, connectors to NES specifications.
  • AV New-Style NES (NES-101), Multi Out-only toploader, limited release.

Further reading