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Help verify earliest Super Mario Bros print run. We need your help!


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In this seemingly innocuous thread in "The Gauntlet", discussion popped up about SMB's lauch date. @austin532had a good idea on opening up @Tanookis SMB cart.  Turns out his cart says its from 86, not 85 as he might have thought.  Austin also mentioned that if the date code of the chip is 8537 (or really any 85xx) it would help clear things up.  Bootgods website says the earliest launch is Sept of 86.

http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/

 

So what do we need.  We need YOU to see if we can find any 85 SMB carts by opening them up!  Heres what to look for.

 

1.  First off, we're looking for the ORIGINAL Super Mario Bros.  NO SMB/DHs.

2.  It MUST BE a 5 screw cart.

3.  After opening look at the chips.  There'll be 3.  A "PRG" one (for game-code), a CHR" one (for graphcis) and the CIC lockout chip. 

4.  There should be some sort of 4 digit number on every chip.  Something like 8634.  The way to read this is the first 2 digits are the year (1986) and the last 2 are week.  Meaning 34th week of 1986.  Which means the chip was was printed then.  Looking online it would be from Sept 1 to Sept 7th of 1986.  All the date codes for the chips are important, including the CIC one as youll see below.

 

Here's some other info.  The black box titles for the NES are identical to the Famicom versions.  Famicom carts have the code "HVC-SM" product ID on it for Super Mario Bros.  US carts would have "NES-SM".  I would guess that the earliest print runs of SMB would have "HVC-SM-0 PRG" on them, and not "NES-SM-0 PRG".  

Also for info, the earliest print of the FAMICOM Super Mario Bros is 8538.  The 38th week of 1985.  My guess is that if the first print of SMB would have those date codes on its chips, but printed onto a 72 pin PCB.  Also would be interesting to find out if any SMBs with Famicom adapters have surfaced.  That would help too. 

Looking through bootgods website, all the EARLIEST 'known' print black box games all had Famicom adapters except two.  Wild Gunman and Clu Clu Land.  All having 72 pin PCBs, HVC product ids, with date codes from 85.  Wild Gunman being 8539 and Clu Clus being from 84 and 85 (Assuming these were once again, re-used chips that were originally intended for Famicom carts).  The problem is Wild Gunmans CIC chip is 8542, being printed the same WEEK the NES was launched so its highly unlikely this was not on store shelves that week.  I don't expect to find an SMB like this, but if we do that would be REALLY very strong. 

 

Or if you want, just upload a pic here and we can do the rest.  Lets get cracking!

 

 ,

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50 minutes ago, scaryice said:

I have a few Famicom Mario 1s. Maybe I'll open them up for fun even though it's not exactly what you're looking for.

Even thought it wouldn't hurt, my guess as I said above was if we can find first print SMBs, I would guess it came from the same print pool as those famicom ones and have HVC codes.  Have any SMBs with famicom adapters been found?

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29 minutes ago, Lincoln said:

There would only be NES-SM chips if there was a revision released for the USA but not Japan. Bootgod doesn't show any revs so all smb are presumably HVC-SM.

 

*EDIT* NVMD.  Both Wild Gunman and Clu Clu were HVC.  I didn't even notice all SMBs (3screw / 5 screw) were all HVC.

Edited by guitarzombie
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On 12/25/2019 at 11:37 AM, Code Monkey said:

My 5 screw first print is 8643.

 

25 minutes ago, Lincoln said:

the date codes on that are 7H2 and 7G2. i don't know how to fully decipher those but i'm pretty sure the lead 7 is for 1987

In that case, I gave the wrong date too. Here is mine. 

IMG_20191224_122110__01.jpg

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2 hours ago, Lincoln said:

the date codes on that are 7H2 and 7G2. i don't know how to fully decipher those but i'm pretty sure the lead 7 is for 1987

The number, letter, number date codes are usually YMW. Y for the last digit of the year (like you said). M is the month where A = January to M = December (I is skipped for clarity). W is the week of the month.

This is the most helpful site I've found for date codes: http://telcontar.net/KBK/tech/IC_dates. When in doubt, use the "Part#, Chip Type" quick search on bootgod.

2 hours ago, Hybrid said:

Have no idea where the date code would be on the PRG and CHR chips but the CIC has 8727

[Picture with date codes 7H2 and 7G2]

So, applying that we get 1987 August week 2 and 1987 July week 2 (8733 and 8729). The latest being 8733.

1 hour ago, Code Monkey said:

In that case, I gave the wrong date too. Here is mine. 

[Picture with date codes 6L3, 6L2, and 8643]

Your codes convert to 8647, 8646, and 8643. The latest is 8647, so not too far off.

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On 12/24/2019 at 9:04 AM, scaryice said:

I have a few Famicom Mario 1s. Maybe I'll open them up for fun even though it's not exactly what you're looking for.

 

I opened two and they were both globs. So that's boring.

Actually, I'm wondering now if any US SMBs had glob tops. I know SMB/DH did at least. If you guys can't find any super early carts, then maybe that could be an explanation.

Edited by scaryice
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7 hours ago, scaryice said:

 

I opened two and they were both globs. So that's boring.

Actually, I'm wondering now if any US SMBs had glob tops. I know SMB/DH did at least. If you guys can't find any super early carts, then maybe that could be an explanation.

I think most of the black box carts that had a famicom adapter have globs for the famicom pcb.

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Member · Posted
5 minutes ago, guitarzombie said:

Can someone shed some light into the first print boxes?  When did they start and end production?  That could give us a clue compared to other first release games.  Aint no one opening up one of those now, thats for sure.

The interesting thing about this (and those more knowledgeable than I, correct me if I'm wrong) is that from the outside, those first print run SMBs should like like most of the other 5 screws.  If we can find some legitimately marked and timed so that they almost-certainly came from that initial batch, we could see first-run SMBs selling for $$$, if they can be identified with reasonable certainty.

I know the first sets were limited to a test run in a few cities, but has anyone dug up or asked a solid source (like Howard) about how many of those games were distributed back in that initial sales run?  Are we talking only a few hundred or maybe as many as a couple thousand?

EDIT

Actually, if anyone knows who dropped the $100k to get the only known sealed copy, maybe someone could work out getting him to get it x-rayed.  That's be a quick way of at least determining if those first games were actually Famicom copies plugged into adapters.  If only a less than 1,000 were part of that first run, then there's a good chance that it came with an adapter, I suppose, and nobodies ever found one yet.

Edited by RH
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Or if we can just find a SMB with an adapter if one exists.  AFAIK all the adapters were a quick solution to meet demand for Xmas of 85 and there were mostly in certain games.  Every Stack Up of course, but also Pinball, Gyromite, Duck Hunt and Hogans Alley.  But that also means some of the others had to have been ready.  Mostly by using the famicom chips in the 72 pin PCB boards.  

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