A working Famicom Disk System is one of the pinnacles of retro console collectibility and even if one does acquire a good example it’s only a matter of time before it reverts back to its natural state of brokenness. Luckily it’s possible to replace the most fragile part of the FDS – the drive itself – with a PC and play games on original hardware, but without the inherent fragility of a twenty-five year old floppy disk drive.
Unlike the majority of consumer products, consoles tends to peak with the initial release. The first generation Playstation, PS2, PS3, Genesis and Master System were all superior to the cost reduction models that followed them. Indeed the NES, while possessing composite output, lacked the disk system support and FM sound provided by the original Famicom. The top-loading NES-101 dropped the composite out, resulting in a machine with only RF output and none of the Famicom’s extra feature set. However the top-loading AV Famicom (the HVC-101) kept the extra FM sound of the original, along with the Famicom Disk System support missing from the western machines, and added composite out via a SNES style AV connector (hence the name). The question is, does the AV Famicom’s composite output match up to the excellent video produced by the NES?