Nintendo VS. System

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VS. System
A VS. Dr. Mario arcade machine
Release date1984 (1984)
Discontinued1990 (1990)
CPURicoh 2A03

The Nintendo VS. System[a] is an arcade system developed and produced by Nintendo, first released in 1984. It is an arcade hardware that is based on that of the Nintendo Entertainment System, containing much of the console's chips and processors within. All games released for the system are ports of NES games, some being heavily altered to accommodate for the hardware. The system had a heavy focus on two-player cooperative play. The system was released in three different configurations - upright "VS. UniSystem" cabinets, upright "VS. DualSystem cabinets", and sit-down "VS. DualSystem" cabinets. Games are on chips that can be plugged into the board, allowing for one side to have a different game than the other.


The VS. System was designed primarily as a kit to retrofit Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3, Popeye, and Mario Bros. machines; as such, they require the same special monitor that these coin-ops use. These monitors use inverse voltage levels for their video signals as compared to most arcade monitors. Commercially available converters allow one to use any standard open frame monitor with the game.

Almost all the games on the VS. System run on identical hardware powered by a Ricoh 2A03 Central processing unit, the same found in the Nintendo Entertainment System but with the exception of special PPUs, or video chips designed for this circuit boards (RP2C04-0001, RP2C04-0002, RP2C04-0003, RP2C04-0004, RC2C03B, RC2C03C, RC2C05-01, RC2C05-03, RC2C05-04, and RP2C03B).[1] Each chip contains a different palette that arrange the colors in different configurations chosen apparently at random. Most boards can be switched to a new game simply by swapping the program ROMs, though the appropriate PPU must also be used; if not, the game will appear with incorrect colors.[2] Several of the later VS. games employ further measures of protection by using special PPUs which swap pairs of I/O registers or return special data from normally unimplemented regions of memory. Attempts to run these games in other VS. Systems will result in the game failing to even start.

Some dedicated VS. double cabinets were produced which look like two games butted together at an angle. A single motherboard powers both games on those models.

The Red Tent, a steel sit-down cabinet for the VS. DualSystem, allow play for up to four players simultaneously. This cabinet uses the same motherboard as the double cabinet.

Because the VS. System has the same CPU that is in the Nintendo Entertainment System, VS. System games can be ported to the NES with modifications to the console including extra memory banks and additional DIP switches.[3]

Version differences[edit]

Some games are different from their Famicom/NES versions. For example, VS. Super Mario Bros. is considerably more difficult than Super Mario Bros.; some of the levels were reused in Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Family Computer Disk System.[4] The graphics are also different from their Famicom/NES counterparts; for example, VS. Duck Hunt has more details and animation sequences than its console counterpart.


The following is a list of all known Nintendo VS. System games, however, it is believed more exist in the form of prototypes, unreleased and released only for a short period of time for market testing.[5][6] The launch titles for the hardware are Vs. Mahjong and Vs. Tennis in or about February 1984.

Distributed by Nintendo[edit]

Title Release date Ref.
VS. Mahjong February 1984 Unreleased [7]
VS. Tennis February 1984 March 1984 [7][8][9][10]
VS. Baseball March 1984 July 1984 [7][9][10][11]
VS. Pinball July 26, 1984 October 1984 [12][13][9][10]
VS. Stroke and Match Golf July 26, 1984 October 1984 [13][9][10]
VS. Ladies Golf July 26, 1984 December 1984 [13][9][10]
VS. Wrecking Crew July 26, 1984 Unreleased [14][15]
VS. Balloon Fight October 3, 1984 Unreleased [12]
VS. Clu Clu Land December 5, 1984 Unreleased [16]
VS. Excitebike December 5, 1984 February 1985 [17][16][9][10]
VS. Urban Champion 1984 1985 [18]
VS. Ice Climber February 1, 1985 March 1985 [17][9][10]
VS. Mach Rider 1985 November 1985 [19][9]
VS. Soccer 1985 November 1985 [20][9][10]
VS. Raid on Bungeling Bay [A] 1985 1985 [21][10]
VS. Duck Hunt Unreleased May 1985 [9][10]
VS. Hogan's Alley Unreleased May 1985 [9][10]
VS. Super Mario Bros. Unreleased April 1986 [22][23]
VS. Gumshoe Unreleased 1986 [24]
VS. Slalom [B] Unreleased 1986 [25]
VS. Gradius [C] Unreleased 1986 [26]
VS. The Goonies [C] Unreleased 1986 [27]
VS. Castlevania [C] Unreleased 1987 [28]
VS. Dr. Mario Unreleased 1990 [29]
VS. Motocross Unreleased Unreleased [10]
VS. Nintendo 500 Unreleased Unreleased [10]
VS. Football Unreleased Unreleased [10]
VS. Helifighter Unreleased Unreleased [10]
VS. Head to Head Baseball Unreleased Unreleased
  1. ^ Developed by Hudson Soft, licensed from Broderbund
  2. ^ Developed by Rare, copyright owned by Rare
  3. ^ a b c Developed by and licensed from Konami

Distributed by third parties[edit]

Title Publisher Release date Ref.
VS. Battle City Namco 1985 Unreleased
VS. Star Luster Namco 1985 Unreleased
VS. Ninja JaJaMaru-kun Jaleco April 1986 Unreleased [30][31]
VS. Super Chinese Namco 1986 Unreleased
VS. Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo Namco 1986 Unreleased
VS. Tower of Babel Namco 1986 Unreleased
VS. Valkyrie no Bōken: Toki no Kagi Densetsu Namco 1986 Unreleased
VS. Pro Baseball: Family Stadium Namco December 1986 Unreleased [32][33]
VS. Mighty Bomb Jack Tecmo 1986 Unreleased [34]
VS. Family Tennis Namco 1987 Unreleased [35]
VS. Top Gun Konami Unreleased 1987 [36]
VS. T.K.O. Boxing Data East Unreleased 1987 [37]
VS. Sky Kid Sunsoft Unreleased 1987 [38][39]
VS. Atari R.B.I. Baseball Atari Games Unreleased 1987 [40]
VS. The Quest of Ki Namco 1988 Unreleased
VS. Freedom Force Sunsoft Unreleased 1988 [41]
VS. Platoon Sunsoft Unreleased 1988 [42]
VS. Tetris Atari Games Unreleased 1988
VS. Great Tennis Jaleco Unreleased Unreleased [43]
VS. Lionex (prototype) Sunsoft Unreleased Unreleased [44]
VS. The Wing of Madoola (prototype) Sunsoft Unreleased Unreleased [44]
VS. Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi (prototype) Sunsoft Unreleased Unreleased

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Japanese: 任天堂VS.システム Hepburn: Nintendō Buiesu Shisutemu


  1. ^ "Nintendo Vs. UniSystem/DualSystem Chipsets". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  2. ^ "Nintendo Vs. Unisystem Nintendo Vs. Dualsystem Arcade Manuals, PPU, PCB info, daughter board info, Nintendo Vs. Instruction Cards, game info,". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  3. ^ Assenat, Raphael. "Modding a NES to run Unisystem VS arcade games (1/14)".
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Rus (September 13, 2010). "IGN Presents: The History of Super Mario Bros". IGN. p. 3. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "other unMAMEd Arcade Games up to 1990".
  6. ^ "Urban Champion - NintendoWiki".
  7. ^ a b c "Flyer Fever - Vs. Tennis / Mahjong / Baseball (Japan)".
  8. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Tennis (U.S.)".
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Flyer Fever - The Vs. Challenge (U.S.)".
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Flyer Fever - VS.-Pak Library of Proven Best Sellers (U.S.)".
  11. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Baseball (U.S.)".
  12. ^ a b "Flyer Fever - Vs. Balloon Fight / Pinball (Japan)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  13. ^ a b c "Flyer Fever - Golf / Pinball (Japan)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  14. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Wrecking Crew (Japan, Flyer 1)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  15. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Wrecking Crew (Japan, Flyer 2)".
  16. ^ a b "Flyer Fever - Excite Bike / Clu Clu Land (Japan)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  17. ^ a b "Flyer Fever - Ice Climber / Excite Bike (Japan)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  18. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Urban Champion (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1985-06-01.
  19. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Mach Rider (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1985-08-15.
  20. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Soccer (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1985-12-01.
  21. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Raid on Bungeling Bay (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1985-05-01.
  22. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Mario's Adventure (U.S.)".
  23. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Super Mario Bros. (U.S.)".
  24. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Gumshoe (U.S.)".
  25. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Slalom (U.S.)".
  26. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Gradius (U.S.)".
  27. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. The Goonies (U.S.)".
  28. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Castlevania (U.S.)".
  29. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Dr. Mario (U.S.)".
  30. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Ninja JaJaMaru-kun (Japan, Overseas Readers Column)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1986-05-01.
  31. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Ninja JaJaMaru-kun (Japan)".
  32. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Pro Yakyu Family Stadium (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1987-06-01.
  33. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Pro Yakyu Family Stadium (Japan, Overseas Readers Column)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1987-06-15.
  34. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Mighty Bomb Jack (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1986-10-15.
  35. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Family Tennis (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1988-02-01.
  36. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Top Gun (U.S.)".
  37. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. T.K.O. Boxing (U.S.)".
  38. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Sky Kid (U.S., Flyer 1)".
  39. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Sky Kid (U.S., Flyer 2)".
  40. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Atari R.B.I. Baseball (U.S.)".
  41. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Freedom Force (U.S.)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1988-04-15.
  42. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Platoon (U.S.)".
  43. ^ "Game Machine - Vs. Great Tennis (Japan)" (PDF). Amusement Press. 1988-11-01.
  44. ^ a b "Flyer Fever - Vs. Lionex / The Wing of Madoola (Japan)".

External links[edit]