Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Discuss technical or other issues relating to programming the Nintendo Entertainment System, Famicom, or compatible systems.

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zeroone
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Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by zeroone »

Nintendo World in NYC currently has the Advanced Video System (the NES prototype) on display. Here are some pics if you are interested:

http://imgur.com/a/SThRB
Drag
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by Drag »

Yikes, thank goodness we got the controller we did. The rest of the peripherals are fascinating too, I wonder if that's what the cassette deck and what Family Basic would've looked like if there were a US release.

Also interesting to note the font on the keys of that keyboard, the official Nintendo Entertainment System font all laid out right there. :D
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by tepples »

We'll never know the protocol for that trackball, unless it's the same as the SNES Mouse.
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FrankenGraphics
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by FrankenGraphics »

RIP trackball - would have opened up for stuff, and marble madness would have played like intended. 3d racers could have had incremental throttle and steering; same goes for aircraft simulators.

Also, isn't the "d-pad" on the rad advantage-looking gamepad suspicious? It almost looks like it could be a jog wheel...
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by Pokun »

The trackball looks very similar to Hori Track and might have been intended to use the same protocol. I mean Hori's controllers are often licensed by Nintendo.

Yeah the square d-pad looks especially unusable!

What are those dogbone controllers doing there though? The New Famicom wasn't designed until much later I thought.
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by Great Hierophant »

Thoughts :

The AVS Keyboard is not far removed from its predecessor, the Family Computer Keyboard : https://deskthority.net/keyboards-f2/ni ... 11674.html

Unlike the FC Keyboard, the AVS has a Caps (Lock) key. Japanese does not have the upper/lower case distinction, but where the Caps key is on the AVS appears to be a English/Japanese select key to select the katakana characters on the keys. The two keyboards have the same number of keys, but the keys to the right of of the 0, P, L and > keys have mostly different characters. Also, the 7, 8, 9 and 0 keys have different shift characters.

While the AVS has some non-standard key assignments, I assume this was done to require as few changes to the Family BASIC software as possible. I would note the unusual inclusion of £ and ¥, which suggests something of an international flavor to the keyboard. I think the ¥ may have a function in Family BASIC. Finally, I would suggest that the key on the AVS keyboard next to the P is not a duplicate B but the German Double-S, ß. Given that the key next to the ß is an umlaut or diacritc, ¨.

The circular pad with the bumps looks like it would do quite the number on your thumb. It and the trackball definitely closely hew to the NES Advantage's design.

The NES Control Deck shown has its controller ports rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise to the retail units. The buttons also do not look like the stick out as far as the units Nintendo sold. Near final case prototype perhaps?
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FrankenGraphics
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by FrankenGraphics »

Finally, I would suggest that the key on the AVS keyboard next to the P is not a duplicate B but the German Double-S, ß
This is correct; you can see it more clearly if you click to zoom.

(For those who didn't know, the ß looks like that because it was spelled sz originally, which looks like that in script, so it's a leftover from an archaic spelling convention).
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by Pokun »

That's similar to how the scandinavian ao/aa, ae and oe became single letters: å, æ and ø and eventually in Swedish: å, ä and ö where the umlauts originally where small "e"s written above an a and o respectivly (the å still has a small "o" above it).
Great Hierophant wrote: While the AVS has some non-standard key assignments, I assume this was done to require as few changes to the Family BASIC software as possible. I would note the unusual inclusion of £ and ¥, which suggests something of an international flavor to the keyboard. I think the ¥ may have a function in Family BASIC.
Was there even a standard key assignment during this time? It seems to me every computer had their own key assignment. And the IBM PC wasn't the definitive PC it is today.

I don't think the ¥-symbol was used in Family BASIC if I remember correctly (I did do a fair bit of the Family BASIC manual translation and also translated most of the V3 manual after all). The flavor of BASIC in Famibe is based on Sharp and Hudson's Hu-BASIC, which in turn is based on Microsoft's BASIC used in Commodore 64 I think. Therefore it uses the same syntax and most of the same commands as other BASIC languages. It's mostly only special commands for Famicom-specefic things like sprites and BG data in the CHR ROM, and the like, that has its own commands. The $-symbol is used though.

I believe the ¥ is there out of Japanese pride more than for any other reason. Especially since this was a prototype, it wasn't necessary make everything perfectebly suitable for an American audiance at once, there were still time to change any of the keys if the American publishers weren't happy with it.
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by zeroone »

I added a few new pics of the prototype standard controllers.
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by tepples »

Drag wrote: Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:57 pm Also interesting to note the font on the keys of that keyboard, the official Nintendo Entertainment System font all laid out right there. :D
For the record, that would be Corporate, digitized as Corporatus by Alex Rosario. For Super NES, use Univers, digitized as U001 by URW.

Tweet by @FontendoU lists them
NES: Corporate
Super NES: Customized version of Univers
Nintendo 64: Zurich Std Extra Black
Nintendo GameCube: Frapple + custom typeface inspired by Bank Gothic
Wii and Wii U: Custom typeface
Nintendo Switch: Room Black
Drag
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by Drag »

Sweet! Happy to have a reference of these.
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Re: Nintendo's Advanced Video System

Post by tepples »

There's a font floating around called Pretendo that aims to replicate the typeface in the Nintendo logo. Several glyphs in Pretendo look seriously off-model, especially the k in the name of the PocketNES emulator. Another replication called Nintender looks superior in several ways, though the contrast between the thick verticals and narrow diagonal of N isn't reflected in other glyphs.

Lockster in the NESdev Discord server cites a Gigazine article claiming that the font Nu Hanafudaya comes closer. I'm inclined to agree, with one exception: The title of the animated series Captain N: The Game Master uses the single-story ɑ like Pretendo and Nintender, whereas Nu Hanafudaya has the two-story a.

Another possible lead:
Castcraft's Opti fonts are re-digitizations of other fonts. "Limited View" by Opti looks similar to Corporate. Lockster claims that Nintendo may have used these fonts at one point.
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