Famicom World

The History of Famicom World

FamicomJL (later to call himself Doc) wanted to start a Family Computer website for years. Here’s how Famicom World came to be.

FamicomJL’s interest in and love of the Famicom began in December 2004. As a gag gift, a friend of his bought him a Famicom cartridge: Super Mario Bros. 3. He had read up on the differences between the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Famicom online sometime back and had really wanted to play. But, even with a game, he didn’t have any way of playing it. He just put the SMB3 cartridge in a box somewhere, never to play it.

As he was putting all of his Christmas decorations and gifts away in boxes some weeks later, he noticed the cartridge still sitting there. He decided he’d try it out. He went on eBay and bought a pirated Famicom console — a Famiclone — and a handful of games. When he received the system and began playing, he fell in love. It was fantastic, just like the NES but with more games and bunches of little gameplay extras he couldn’t get from NES games. He poked around the internet for sites about the Famicom and found none.

HE then bought a real Famicom and Disk System in June 2005. That was when he delved deeper into his search for Famicom websites. What he hadn’t realized until now was how general and run-of-the-mill Famicom info was. This time he found only two good sites: Shthree of FW’s forum was the webmaster of Famiclone, but it focused only on pirated Famicom games and consoles. Another focused on the Disk System — FamiClan — and went to the website graveyard. FamicomJL had e-mailed the founder of FamiClan at the time asking him if he could become a staff member. He never received a response.

So then he decided he was going to start his own Famicom website to fill the void. There were a few problems, though. One problem was layout and design, which he decided needed to be out of the way first. FamicomJL was, without a doubt, one of the worst website designers on the planet. He can’t use HTML for his life, even though he had taken a course at the local library called “HTML For Adults.” So, he contacted a good friend of his who designed banners and websites in his spare time. FamicomJL asked him to make a simple layout on Geocities, just black background with white text and red headers and footers. He didn’t want this huge HTML flash-filled slow mess. He wanted a site for those who needed to find information on the Famicom and couldn’t.

With Geocities, FamicomJL had a site desgined, however paltry it might have looked, but it had no content. His next goal was to get some help with content. He stopped lurking around gaming forums and become a regular. It’s never good to come out of the blue with one post plugging a gaming website that might not even make it. The only place where he became a true regular was NESWorld. Though his Famicom knowledge was limited, he was usually more knowledgeable than the NES webmasters there. And he was learning new things everyday, asking questions and contributing wherever he could.

His original choice was Geocities, but right after choosing it, taking into account Geocities limitations, he decided, “Uh…no. I don’t think so.” He needed to look elsewhere for hosting. The first site he looked to was classicgaming.com. They’re known as a host of many websites, including the original host of The Warp Zone. He e-mailed them about it, and the e-mail he got back was a rejection, with no explanation. He looked around more, and even entertained the idea of creating his own “.com” domain and paying for hosting. It was on that fateful day — Sept. 11, 2005 — that he e-mailed Slushie, at the time the webmaster of Nintendo City. FamicomJL was a little nervous at first, because he wasn’t sure Slushie was accepting new sites to host. He knew Slushie hosted Juggalo’s website, NESFanz and thought it was worth a try. So there he e-mail Sushie. This is what FamicomJL’s original e-mail said:

Hello, I’m interested in making a Famicom site, and I’m hoping you’d like to host it. What I want to do is make a website to be the one stop source for information about the Famicom, Disk System, games, games released in Japan only, accessories, amongst other things. I find it strange that there are no English websites available with just Famicom and Disk System info, always just a small un-detailed blurb. I want to make the ultimate English Famicom source. I have a preview of the layout (without images or content) on my friend’s Geocities site. I want you to check it out. I hope that you’re interested in hosting it. Please reply on whether you’re interested or not.

It took only two days for Slushie to reply. He said that he’d love to host FamicomJL’s site and by the end of September he would be ready for it. FINALLY! It would happen! So FamicomJL waited patiently and worked on rough drafts of various sections of the site. And then, the day came, the site was hosted! Only, it had no layout, just a gray screen reading:

GOT HOSTED! http://famicomworld.nintendocity.com

FamicomJL wasn’t going to be able to launch Famicom World right away, and decided to slowly work on it since he was the only person working on it. He created a message board for Famicom fans to start attracting interested gamers, wanting to create the ultimate Famicom discussion forum, to be able to chat with others like himself. FamicomJL used Proboards, and on Oct. 7, 2005, the forum was created. Right away he advertised on NESWorld, saying that the site was coming soon and asking others to join the forum in the meantime. And who was the first person to reply to the thread join the board?

None other than current FW staff member and mod Jedi QuestMaster.

Slushie of Nintendo City, Jedi, some girl named Emily who quickly disappeared (and probably didn’t even know what the heck a Famicom was), and FamicomJL began contributing to the FW boards.

Then, Sushie contacted Juggalo and asked him to e-mail FamicomJL. Juggalo contacted me about how he wanted to help out the site. FamicomJL contacted Jedi QuestMaster, asking if he wanted to be a staffer. Jedi said yes, so FamicomJL had his very first ever staff member. Without Jedi’s early support, FamicomJL probably would’ve quit bothering with all this Famicom website stuff in about a month. Contributing as much as he did, Jedi was the main reason why FamicomJL was able to keep the dream afloat in those early months. Juggalo also accepted a staff position, so they were a three-man team. Juggalo took a look at the Geocities layout and worked his ass off redesigning it and making it look 40 times better than that old one. It was simply fantastic. His also built game shrines and wrote game reviews.

There was more floundering, however, in December 2005; things weren’t moving along. That’s when Stan replied to the NESWorld thread about FW to say that he also wanted to help out on the site. FamicomJL welcomed him right away. Stan helped a whole bunch with the FDS game list and was a mod for the FW forum.

In January 2006, the site was not all that complete yet. Some reviews were up and such, but it still wasn’t close to ready for the public. Chimyfolkbutter had made a fantastic repair article about the Twin Famicom, which is still amazing to read. He’s done sequels that appear in the Workshop section of the site. He and FamicomJL made a sort of handshake deal on him becoming a staff member, but he disappeared soon afterwards. He returned eight months later, saying he was busy. He came around periodically to post on the forum.

The staff was a real workhorse over the course of the winter and spring of 2006. The forum was at its usual, not all that busy. The problem in the beginning was that there was no site to connect the forum to — we hadn’t published the site online yet — so the operation wasn’t able to prove itself as worthy of attention. Most people stayed away. The staff members were the active users of the forum. In April, a young guy named Kefka joined the forum and posted a workload. A week later he asked to be on the staff, with a fantastic AV mod article as his sample piece. FamicomJL, of course, accepted him right away. Kefka’s, like Stan, was usually busy with other things and didn’t come around much.

This is about when the site started to heat up. We had some naysayers…some gamer joined up and posted crude pictures everywhere and pretended to be the NESFiles veteran (and later the playthenes.com webmaster/NES Tips videoman) named Roth. I banned the user and his various IPs right away. Ah yes…our very first banned member.

In June 2006, a huge thing happened. The current MVP of the site, JC, joined up. He posted numerous messages and questions on NESWorld that FamicomJL answered and later expressed an interest in joining the FW forum and site. FamicomJL accepted him right away. JC contributed the most info for the site in its early days. He was the man behind the huge Holy Grails section, and is an unbelievably good writer. It was also in late June that vealchop joined the forum. Oddly enough, he didn’t post much, just a few commercials and then left. He’d return later, contributing a bunch of graphics for the site and was made a forum mod. Also new to the forum at the time were some rather well-known guys like featherpluckinfilms, jbholio and michaelthegreat.

By July 2006, with the forum finally gaining members and the site still unpublished, the website was nearly ready for its launch. Various hints about what was to come were posted on gaming forums. Big news happened in the middle of July. Slushie was so confident in FamicomJL’s site becoming big that he bought a .com domain for it. This was great news. He also helped established the current FW forum using the SFM platform. FamicomJL worked to transfer posts, post counts and other stuff over to the new forum.

Then, on August 1, 2006, at 12:00am, FamicomJL revealed Famicom World, officially opening it to 8-bit gamers.

The staff received some complaints for it looking like a mess. It had some broken links, missing pages and missing images. Right away JC changed it to what FamicomJL always wanted the site to look like: nothing flashy but nothing bland.

In the fall and winter of 2006, a forum member boom began, with many gamers joining up and making the forum and site more active than ever before.

In 2008 the staff, which had changed significantly since its founding staff members, began to discuss overhauling the site, moving it away from basic HTML to a sophisticated content management system. Because FamicomJL had disappeared from the forum for a long period of time, JC brought on UglyJoe as a forum administrator and staff member. Around the same time FamicomJL became Doc on the forum. He left FW probably for good in the summer of 2009, “turning in his badge,” as he put it. He wished JC and the other staff members luck.

UglyJoe, manuel, 133MHz and Satoshi_Matrix joined Jedi Questmaster and JC to keep FW active, producing this new beautiful Famicom World website, with tons of new content.

FW's original Geocities web template.
FW's original Geocities web template.