Famicom Data Recorder
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Famicom Data Recorder HVC-008 is a compact cassette data interface for the Family Computer.
Home game consoles present the player with the opportunity for storing their game positions and other personally created data. However, the premium cost of easy-to-use solid-state data storage technology, such as battery-backed memory, drove the 1980s market to seek cheaper compromises. Utilizing standard compact cassette tapes, Nintendo began with the Famicom Data Recorder.
Manufactured by Matsushita/Panasonic for Nintendo, the Drive was released in 1984 only in Japan as an addition to the Family BASIC Keyboard to save data from BASIC programs created by users. Also, Castle Excellent, Excitebike, Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew can use this device in order to save tracks or stages created by users.
As production costs decreased over the years, Nintendo later developed the floppy disk based Famicom Disk System, while ASCII Corporation created an external battery-backed RAM-disk called the Turbo File.
The Famicom Data Recorder is powered either by a 6 volt adapter or 4 AA batteries. The Recorder can be used as a conventional sound recorder, and includes a built in microphone in the bottom left hand corner of the unit. The Recorder has mono sound output from a built in speaker on the top of the unit. A convenient volume control is accessible on the left hand side.
The Recorder has two data ports that use a conventional 3.5mm mono phone connector. The port on the left hand side is labeled "ear" and "load". The port on the right is labeled as "Mic" and "Save". When used as a data storage device the phone cables connected to the corresponding "write" and "save" ports on the Family BASIC keyboard.
The Data Recorder set includes an instruction manual, a data cable, a Nintendo-branded Compact cassette, a 6 volt AC adapter, and a carry handle that extends from the front bezel.
The Famicom Data Recorder does not suffer the same problems that relegated other first party Nintendo peripherals to the sidelines. The Recorder is perhaps the only first party Nintendo peripheral that functions outside of its intended purpose as a game save device and could be operated without ever owning a Famicom. However it became obscure with low sales and virtually unknown outside Japan.