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N > NINTENDO > Family Computer Keyboard   

Family Computer Keyboard

This is an initiation computer. It was sold as an add-on for the Japanese Famicom (but can't be connected to a NES as it lacks the Famicom's Expantion Port).

In fact the system is composed of three parts : the Famicom, the keyboard and the Basic cartidge. The keyboard is connected to the expansion port situated at the front of the Famicom. Then a Basic cartridge must be inserted into the Famicom catridge slot. As the keyboard is almost "empty", most of the Famicom's hardware is used, along with the Basic cartridge RAM chips.

The Basic delivered with the keyboard is the NS-HUBASIC, where "N" stands for Nintendo, "S" for Sharp and "HU" for Hudson, as they all contributed to this project.
Once inserted there is only 1982 bytes free to play with ! But it was possible to back-up the program into the cartridge itself by powering it with 3 battery cells. This saving method wasn't reliable as quite often the programs were lost because of bad contacts...
Hopefully, a tape-recorder was available, but there again, the adjustment of the input level was quite difficult to get.

Some games using the built-in save/load feature of the Basic cartridge were released such as "Lode Runner" (edit mode) and "Challenge Race".

The catalog number of the keyboard is HVC-007.

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The FAMILY BASIC ROM was actually created by the creators of the BOMBERMAN games HudsonSoft since most of the cartridges code was created by them.

Along with that FAMILY BASIC was quite unique compared to other versions since NES sprites are already preloaded in ROM Where as in other versions of basic you would be required to create a sprite by using machine code

Saturday 30th May 2020
James (Ireland)

also the data recore could be used as a standard tape player/ recorder and has a built in mic it runs off of 4 aa batteries or a 6V Adapter

Friday 17th October 2014
Robert (usa)

i acutally own one of these in my game console collection and yes there was a tape recoreder avallable for it called the famicom data recorder which allowed you to save your basic programs or save games that have an edit mode like lode runner etc

Friday 17th October 2014
Robert (usa)


NAME  Family Computer Keyboard
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  April 1984
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard with functions keys and arrow keys
CPU  6502 ?
RAM  Basic V2.0A : 1982 bytes free
Basic V3.0 : 4086 bytes free
VRAM  4 kb
ROM  8 kb
TEXT MODES  28 x 24
GRAPHIC MODES  256 x 240
SOUND  5 channel sound (2 channels for square wave, 1 triangle wave, 1 noise channel and 1 PCM)
PERIPHERALS  Expansion memory unit, tape-recorder, Basic cartidges
PRICE  14 800 yens (Japan, 1982)

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