FDSStick offers hope for Disk System owners

The Famicom Disk System is an interesting beast. As it was never released outside of Japan it’s had an air of intrigue around it, but from a practical perspective it’s not the most convenient way to play console games since it eschews the benefits of ROM-based carts. On the other hand, they were super cheap to produce in an era where ICs and memory were very expensive, so you take the good with the bad.

The issues my fellow FDS owners share is mechanical hardware failure. These days I play my Famicom games on a Sharp Twin Famicom but the disk drive is in a sad state as one of the cogs has lost a couple of its teeth at the start of the spindle so it never grips to run the disk mechanism. The FDSStick aims to resolve these issues by hooking into the data cable that sends the data from the floppy drive to the system and emulating the transport and file system. Disk images are loaded via custom software and the FDSStick connects to a PC via USB, allowing you hold 8 disk images at one time to accommodate multi-side/multi-disk games.

At this stage there are instructions for connecting the device to a standard Famicom but nothing for Twin Famicoms yet. From what I’ve been able to work out it shouldn’t be too tricky to do as the trapdoor on the bottom of a Twin Famicom apparently contains the data connection for the floppy drive, so I’ll either poke around the connector or (more likely) wait for someone else to sort it out since it’ll be a while since I pick one up and have time to mod something together. Time is tight these days after all.

More info on the FDSStick (including ordering info) can be found here.