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RetroAD Famicom C56

If you are keen to play Famicom games on a modern tv, or perhaps you are about to start collecting Famicom games and need a reliable modern equivalent to the Family Computer Video Game Console, then a Famiclone may be what you’re after.

What is a Famiclone?

These are third party consoles that often look similar to the original Famicom (though not always) but usually have different hardware / guts on the inside. They may play famicom cartridges, and these days normally have either an AV or HDMI out, something the original Japanese Famicom was missing.

RETROAD C56 8bit Famicom Clone
RETROAD C56 Video Game System Packaging

Original Alternative – The Nintendo Famicom AV

The Nintendo Famicom AV (New Famicom) Released in Japan in 1993
The later released and Official Nintendo Famicom AV does offer AV out. Released by Nintendo in 1993. In Japan, it is officially called the New Famicom It is a better solution for Nintendo fans who don’t want to consider a Famiclone and prefer playing on official hardware, as something like a Bitscaler can offer an HDMI upgrade and smoothing to a Nintendo Famicom AV. It is also 100% Compatible with the Nintendo FDS (Famicom Disk System) Drive, and with a 72-to-60 pin adaptor you can play almost every NES game as well.

How does the C56 Compare to the original Famicom?

Back to Famiclones! Enter the Retroad Famicom C56, this looks nearly identical to the original Famicom, with a few obvious (and some less so) differences.

It’s Pearly White not Yellower than the Sun

Don’t be fooled by the packaging image, this famiclone hasn’t suffered the yellowing of age old famicoms, so it is almost a pearly white. Not sure that will please all, as we are quite fond of the ever so slight ‘tinge of yellow’ on our original famicom, which adds a touch of history and character. We would have loved to see a slight yellowing in the C56, however others who cherish stain free consoles and know what retrobriting is, should be thrilled.

No Hardwired Controllers

Firstly there are no hard wired controllers (a plus in our opinion in the age of wireless and bluetooth). Although the C56 comes with two wired controllers, they can be unplugged, unlike the original Famicom where the controllers were hardwired into the unit #slightlyannoying.

Four Button Famicom Controllers

The C56 Controllers look almost identical to Classic Famicom gamepads with the exception of the buttons. The C56 Gamepads have four circular buttons compared to the Famicom gamespads two.

Upgraded 7 Pin NES Controller Ports

Retro Genesis 8bit Classic (RETROAD C56) vs the Nintendo Famicom (Family Computer)

This (along with the HDMI output) is probably the best feature of the C56. The front controller ports are a definite upgrade, more akin to the Famicom AV, with standard 7 pin NES controller ports. This makes the C56 compatible with 8bitdos N30 NES Controllers, allowing for instant wireless gaming. Awesome!

Disappointing Decal

The frontplate decal or in this case sticker on the C56 disappointingly says ‘RETRO GENESIS 8 Bit Classic’. This is more than a little annoying as GENESIS was a SEGA product and so the name being introduced on a Famiclone seems odd to say the least. This sticker is removable if it bothers you, and you could always consider replacing it with one of your own.

Power LED

This is a bonus, although the placement of the power LED in-between the controller ports on the front of the console is a little odd.

HDMI out

Both HDMI and AV Outs are available on the Retroad C56

One of the main reasons we were interested in the C56 in the first place was to have an HDMI ready Famiclone that would still play all our old and original Nintendo Famicom cartridges and FDS games without issue (*read on for our disappointment on the FDS front). This allows for a pretty impressive picture on even the most modern of tvs.

AV OUT vs RF

You might recall the Famicom originally had an RF Out, not here, if you don’t want to use the HDMI out, there is also an AV Out just like on the Famicom AV. Giving plenty of options for those who want to connect to an older CRT TV.

The Original Nintendo Famicom offered only an RF Output.

16:9 and 4:3 Selector

There is a switch on the back of the C56 which allows you to adjust the output video from 4:3 to 16:9 which is great if you have a widescreen tv and would like to use all of the available space. Although if you prefer not to stretch the image, then you can keep it OG with 4:3

No Japanese

No Japanese Stickers on top of the console above the Power and Reset buttons, English is Embossed on the Plastic Shells instead.

Weight

While we didn’t weigh the C56 for comparison, it is noticeably lighter than the Original Nintendo Famicom.

Not Compatible with FDS

This was the most disappointing discovery for us, the C56 despite looking almost identical to the Nintendo Famicom and offering the ability to play top loading famicom cartridges, is not compatible with the Nintendo Famicom Disk System Ram Adaptor. It results in an ERROR 02 from the FDS when connected to the C56.

So if you are considering using a Nintendo FDS Drive (or purchasing one in future) this will not be compatible with the C56.

Conclusion

This is a deal breaker for us, and sent us on a road of discovery and purchase of an original Japanese Nintendo Famicom AV off Ebay. Not only does the Famicom AV (AKA New Famicom) also offer 7 pin NES compatible ports and AV out, it is 100% compatible with the Famicom Disk System. Yes it doesn’t have HDMI, bit with a RetroScaler this is easily remedied for modern tvs.

As such we can’t really recommend the Retroad C56 and would encourage Nintendo Fans to instead consider an original Famicom AV which you can pick up second hand on Ebay three days for around £80 – £100.

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Ninja Silhouette 9 hours ago

Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

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Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

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Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

Joe Doe in London?

Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

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