Nintendo Reveals The Truth About Mysterious Famicom Cartridge Holes  

[Image: Yappari DR30!]

If you've ever seen an original Famicom cartridge, you probably wondered what those little holes on the top edge were. Were they ventilation holes? Part of the manufacturing process? Something to put string in? Nintendo has reportedly explained their meaning, saying they're nothing more than a design element.

First released in 1983, the Famicom (and its cartridges) are shaped differently than the Nintendo Entertainment System and its carts, which were released in the West a few years later.

Via Japanese blog Yappari DR30!, you can see the Famicom version of Super Mario Bros. in the top photo. Notice the holes?

Below is a photo of the Donkey Kong cart (image via Burusoku VIP):

[Image: Burusoku VIP]

The NES cartridges, however, have indentations at the top as seen in those photo from Terapeak, but those serve a clear function: they snap the cart in place.

[Image: Terapeak]

But what about the holes on the Famicom carts? Japanese website Afternoon News asked Nintendo about them. Here is how the exchange apparently went:

Afternoon News: 'I believe there are holes on the top of [Famicom] cartridges. Do you know what kind of meaning they had?'

Nintendo: 'Yes, to be honest, they were just part of the design.'

Afternoon News: 'Um, these aren't holes made during the moulding or the assembly?'

Nintendo: 'That's correct. They're just [part of the cartridge's] design.'

Afternoon News: 'Then, the holes on the front and the back of Irem's cartridges are also design?'

Nintendo: 'That's correct. Similarly, that's the design.'

[Image: Now Loading]

This explains those little holes. Mystery solved. Thank you, Nintendo!


    Probably in part to make them resemble compact cassettes, making them approachable/recognisable

    This answers nothing. Why are they part of the design!

      "Motions hand in a waving fashion in front of you", this is not the answer you are looking for.

      Speed Holes!

      My previous comment is in moderation because of a link.

      Maybe to make them look a little like a casette tape? They had those copy protection holes at the top.

        I choose to take this answer as canon, that sounds like a way better reason.

      Didn't you read the article? They are part of the design because that was the design.

    Its not a mystery if you look at it logically and reverse engineer it.

    The holes line up to a design used in Reel-type Cassettes (music and video)... one being a locking pin and the other being a read/write pin. Its fair to speculate that a dramatic change in the consoles physical design made the mechanical design a redundant feature that just became "part of the design".

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