NES Clone & Famiclone Compatibility Explained

Most NES Clones (aka Famiclones) are made with a System-on-a-Chip design, more frequently called Nintendo-on-a-Chip (NOAC). Clones using this NOAC die share a common incompatibility, the inability to read two versions of Nintendo’s Memory Management Controller (MMC) mapper, MMC4 and MMC5. So the games that use these two mappers will most likely not be playable on a NES clone.

Games That Use MMC4

  • Fire Emblem
  • Fire Emblem Gaiden
  • Famicom Wars

Games That Use MMC5

  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (Works on Retro Bit’s Retro Duo)
  • Uncharted Waters
  • Just Breed
  • Metal Slader Glory
  • Laser Invasion
  • Uchuu Keibitai SDF
  • Nobunaga’s Ambition II
  • Nobunaga no Yabou – Sengoku Gunyuu Den
  • Bandit Kings of Ancient China
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms II
  • Aoki Ookami to Shiroki Mejika – Genchou Hishi
  • Gemfire
  • L’Empereur
  • Ishin no Arashi
  • Shin 4 Nin Uchi Mahjong – Yakuman Tengoku

In addition to games that are not supported, the games that are supported can have slight issues with the sound and graphics. Some games might have sound volume that is too slow, and might have slightly altered pitch or tone. The graphics of NES clones vary from each specific model, some can have an indistinct color palette.

So with all this said, why should you be interested in these clones. It’s very simple, these retro consoles are getting rarer all the time, and are expensive if found in usable condition. Consoles like the original NES model suffer from a design flaw in the 72-pin connector that causes it to become unreliable after some use. So when you purchase a clone, you are getting a chance to overcome such flaws, and ensure that your games will load consistently. So you can save the air in your lungs, and not blow like a maniac to make the cartridges work.