|Frequency||Weekly / Monthly|
|Format||Paper and online magazine|
80,000 (Connect! On)
Kadokawa Game Linkage (2019–present)
|First issue||June 1986(as Famicom Tsūshin)|
Famitsu,[a] formerly Famicom Tsūshin, is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Kadokawa Game Linkage (previously known as Gzbrain), a subsidiary of Kadokawa. Famitsu is published in both weekly and monthly formats as well as in the form of special topical issues devoted to only one console, video game company, or other theme. Shūkan Famitsū,[b] the original Famitsu publication, is considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan. From October 28, 2011, the company began releasing the digital version of the magazine exclusively on BookWalker weekly.
The name Famitsu is a portmanteau abbreviation of Famicom Tsūshin;[c] the word "Famicom" itself comes from a portmanteau abbreviation of "Family Computer" (the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System), the dominant video game console in Japan when the magazine was first published in the 1980s.
Login (ログイン), a computer game magazine, started in 1982 as an extra issue of ASCII, and later it became a periodic magazine. Famicom Tsūshin[d] was a column in Login, focused on the Famicom platform, and ran from March 1985 to December 1986 issue. It received a good reception, so the publisher decided to found the magazine specialized for it.
The first issue of Famitsu was published on June 6, 1986, as Famicom Tsūshin. It sold less than 200,000 copies, despite 700,000 copies printed. The major competitor was Family Computer Magazine launched in July 1985 by Tokuma Shoten. Famitsu's editor found many readers had multiple game consoles, and they thought it would be better if the magazine covered various platforms. Increasing contents and the page count gradually, the magazine was published three times per month instead of semimonthly publication. On July 19, 1991 (issue #136) the magazine was renamed to Shūkan Famicom Tsūshin[e] and issues were published weekly thereafter. Alongside the weekly magazine, a monthly version called Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin[f] was also published.
Hirokazu Hamamura, an editor-in-chief (1992-2002), felt the beginning of a new era when he saw a private demonstration of Final Fantasy VII in 1993. He thought the name Famicom Tsūshin should be refurbished. At the start of 1996 (with issue #369) the magazines underwent another name change, truncating their titles to Shūkan Famitsū[g] and Gekkan Famitsū.[h] The name Famitsu had already been in common use.
The magazine was published by ASCII from its founding through March 2000 when it was sold to Enterbrain, which published it for 13 years until their parent company Kadokawa published it from 2013 to 2017. Since 2017, Kadokawa's subsidiary Gzbrain has been publishing the magazine, while in 2019 the company changed its name to Kadokawa Game Linkage.
Shūkan Famitsū and Gekkan Famitsū
Famicom Tsūshin initially focused on the Famicom platform, but later it featured multi-platform coverage. Famicom Tsūshin was renamed to Famitsu in 1995. Shūkan Famitsū is a weekly publication concentrating on video game news and reviews, and is published every Thursday with a circulation of 500,000 per issue. Gekkan Famitsū is published monthly.
Necky the Fox
Famitsu magazine covers alternately feature pop idols or actresses on even-numbered issues and the Famitsu mascot, Necky[i] the Fox in odd-numbered issues. Year-end and special editions all feature Necky dressed as popular contemporary video game characters. Necky is the cartoon creation of artist Susumu Matsushita, and he takes the form of a costumed fox. The costumes worn by Necky reflect current popular video games. Necky's name was chosen according to a reader poll, and it derives from a complex Japanese pun: "Necky" is actually the reverse of the Japanese word for fox, キツネ,[j] and his original connection to Famicom Tsūshin is intended to evoke the bark of the fox, the Japanese onomatopoeia of which is コンコン[k]. Necky makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario Maker.
Special-topic Famitsu publications
Famitsu publishes other magazines dedicated to particular consoles. Currently in circulation are:
- Entamikusu[l] (previously Otonafami[m]) is written for an older audience and covers retrogaming. It has been published monthly since November 2010.
- Famitsū Connect! On[n] reports on online gaming.
- Famitsū DS+Wii[o] reports on Nintendo platforms (currently the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch). The magazine was formerly known as Famitsū 64 and then Famitsū Cube (among other variations of those two names) based on whatever platforms Nintendo was producing games for at the time.
- Famitsū GREE[p] reports on mobile gaming via GREE.
- Famitsū Mobage[q] reports on mobile gaming via Mobage.
Former special topics
Famitsu spin-offs that are no longer in circulation include:
- Famitsū Bros.[r] (previously Famicom Tsūshin Kōryaku Special) was written for younger audiences and concentrated on video game hints and strategy. It was published monthly and was discontinued in September 2002.
- Famicomi[s] (previously Famitsū Comic) was a comic and manga magazine published irregularly between 1992 and 1995.
- Famitsū DC[t] reported on Sega platforms news and covered the Dreamcast. Previous incarnations of this magazine included Sega Saturn Tsūshin which covered the Sega Saturn, with earlier issues covering earlier Sega platforms.
- Famitsū Sister[u] covered bishōjo games.
- Satellaview Tsūshin[v] covered the Satellaview. It was published monthly and ran for only 12 issues from May 1995 to May 1996. Its inaugural issue was the May 1995 issue of Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin.
- Virtual Boy Tsūshin[w] covered the Virtual Boy. Only one issue was ever published in 1995.
- Famitsū PS[x] (previously PlayStation Tsūshin) began publication in May 1996, and reported on Sony platforms news. It was later known as Famitsū PS2 and Famitsū PSP+PS3 before being discontinued in March 2010.
- Famitsū Wave DVD[y] (previously GameWave DVD) covered events, film, and previews. Each magazine included a DVD disc (NTSC Region 2) that contained video game footage such as trailers and gameplay tips, as well interviews with developers and publishers. It was published monthly, first starting in September 2000 until its final issue of May 2011.
- Famitsū Xbox[z] reported on Xbox and Xbox 360 news. It was published monthly, first starting in January 2002 before being discontinued in 2013.
Video games are graded in Famitsu via a "Cross Review" by having four critics each assign the game a score from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest score. The scores are then added together. As of 2023[update], twenty-nine games have received perfect scores of 40 from Famitsu. The console with the highest number of perfect-scoring games is the PlayStation 3, with seven total. Four of the perfect-scoring games on PlayStation 3 were also released on the Xbox 360, which is tied with the Wii for the second-highest number of perfect scores at five total. Franchises with multiple perfect score winners include The Legend of Zelda with five titles, Metal Gear with three titles, and Final Fantasy with two titles. The most recent game to receive a perfect score is Street Fighter 6.
As of 2023[update], all but three games with perfect scores are from Japanese companies, ten being published/developed by Nintendo, four by Square Enix, three by Sega, three by Konami and one by Capcom. As of 2023[update], the only three completely foreign games to achieve a perfect score are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks, Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Games, and Ghost of Tsushima by Sucker Punch Productions. Other foreign games that have achieved near-perfect scores are Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, and Red Dead Redemption 2, all by Rockstar Games; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, all by Activision (but published by Square Enix in Japan); Gears of War 3 by Epic Games; and The Last of Us Part II and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End by Naughty Dog. Kingdom Hearts II, another game with a near-perfect score, was a joint effort between Japanese developer Square Enix and American developer Disney Interactive Studios.
Famitsu administers the Famitsu awards. Video games receive a number of different awards in categories like Innovation, Biggest Hit, Rookie Award, Highest Quality, etc. One or two "Game of the Year" awards are granted as the top prize. Top prize winners are determined by a combination of critical and fan review scores as well as sales figures.
Relationship with other magazines
- Japanese: ファミ通, Hepburn: Famitsū
- Japanese: 週刊ファミ通, lit. "Weekly Famitsū"
- Japanese: ファミコン通信, officially translated as Famicom Journal
- Japanese: ファミコン通信, lit. "Famicom News"
- Japanese: 週刊ファミコン通信, lit. "Weekly Famicom News"
- Japanese: 月刊ファミコン通信, lit. "Monthly Famicom News"
- Japanese: 週刊ファミ通, lit. "Weekly Famitsū"
- Japanese: 月刊ファミ通
- Japanese: ネッキー, Hepburn: Nekkī
- Japanese: kitsune
- Japanese: "kon kon"
- Japanese: エンタミクス
- Japanese: オトナファミ
- Japanese: ファミ通コネクト!オン
- Japanese: ファミ通DS+Wii
- Japanese: ファミ通GREE
- Japanese: ファミ通Mobage
- Japanese: ファミ通ブロス
- Japanese: ファミコミ
- Japanese: ファミ通DC
- Japanese: ファミ通Sister
- Japanese: サテラビュー通信
- Japanese: バーチャルボーイ通信
- Japanese: ファミ通PS
- Japanese: ファミ通WaveDVD
- Japanese: ファミ通Xbox
- "Enterbrain Brand Information" (in Japanese). Enterbrain. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
- Tor Thorsen (2006-03-08). "FFXII gets perfect score from Famitsu". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2006-06-09.
- Steve Kalpaxidis (2005-07-01). "PS3 To Come Without Bundled HDD?". Advanced Media Network. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2006-06-09.
- Rodney Quinn (2006-03-09). "Final Fantasy XII scores perfect 40/40 in Famitsu reviews". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2006-06-09.
- "週刊ファミ通（電子版）が10月28日から販売スタート！ - ファミ通App". www.famitsu.com (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
- "KADOKAWA、電撃ゲームメディア編集部を吸収分割で連結子会社Gzブレインに10月1日付で承継へ 「ファミ通」ブランドと「電撃」ブランドが融合 | gamebiz".
- Gifford, Kevin (2008-11-16). "GameSetWatch COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Whoops, I Was Logged Out". www.gamesetwatch.com. UBM Technology Group. Archived from the original on 2019-06-07. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
- "ゲームメディア30年史" [30 Year History of Game Media]. Shūkan Famitsū. 31 (24): 120–127. 2016.
- Martin Picard (December 2013). "The Foundation of Geemu: A Brief History of Early Japanese video games". International Journal of Computer Game Research. 13 (2). Archived from the original on 24 June 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- Ashcraft, Brian. Gaming Magazine Totally Snubs Xbox 360!? Archived 2009-05-05 at the Wayback Machine. Kotaku. 4 February 2008.
- Gifford, Kevin. 'Game Mag Weaseling': Japan Mag Roundup 2008 Archived 2012-10-11 at the Wayback Machine. GameSetWatch. 27 April 2008.
- 'Necky the Fox' 今も尚輝き続ける松下進の代表的キャラクター Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine. SusumuMatsushita.net. 10 July 2004.
- Gifford, Kevin. Weekend Factyard: Famitsu/Famicom Tsushin Archived 2010-01-03 at the Wayback Machine MagWeasel. 19 September 2009.
- Calvert, Darren (10 September 2015). "Super Mario Maker DLC Confirmed, Famitsu's Mascot Necky The Fox Coming Soon". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- Romano, Sal (June 7, 2023). "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1801". Gematsu. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
- "MCV launches daily service". Intent Media. 2007-02-26. Archived from the original on 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2007-03-14.