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Nintendo VS. System

VS. System
Release date1984 (1984)
Discontinued1990 (1990)
CPURicoh 2A03
PlatformBased on NES

The Nintendo VS. System (Japanese: 任天堂VS.システム, Hepburn: Nintendō Buiesu Shisutemu),[1][2] officially sold simply as the VS. System (VS.システム, Buiesu Shisutemu),[3] is a coin-operated video game platform sold to arcades from 1984 to 1990. Designed for two-player competitive play using the VS. UniSystem or VS. DualSystem and with arcade system boards based on the Nintendo Entertainment System,[4] many of these stand-up or sit-down arcade machines have two screens and controllers joined at an angle. Cutting costs compared to higher powered arcade hardware, games were ported from existing home video games for the Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System.[4]


A VS. Dr. Mario arcade machine

The VS. System was designed primarily as a kit to retrofit Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Popeye, and Mario Bros. machines; as such, they require the same special monitor that these coin-ops use. These monitors use inverse voltage levels for their video signals as compared to most arcade monitors. Commercially available converters allow one to use any standard open frame monitor with the game.

Almost all the games on the VS. System run on identical hardware powered by a Ricoh 2A03 Central processing unit, the same found in the Nintendo Entertainment System but with the exception of special PPUs, or video chips designed for this circuit boards (RP2C04-0001, RP2C04-0002, RP2C04-0003, RP2C04-0004, RC2C03B, RC2C03C, RC2C05-01, RC2C05-03, RC2C05-04, and RP2C03B).[5] Each chip contains a different palette that arrange the colors in different configurations chosen apparently at random. Most boards can be switched to a new game simply by swapping the program ROMs, though the appropriate PPU must also be used; if not, the game will appear with incorrect colors.[6] Several of the later VS. games employ further measures of protection by using special PPUs which swap pairs of I/O registers or return special data from normally unimplemented regions of memory. Attempts to run these games in other VS. Systems will result in the game failing to even start.

Some dedicated VS. double cabinets were produced which look like two games butted together at an angle. A single motherboard powers both games on those models.

The VS. Table, a steel sit-down cabinet for the VS. DualSystem, allow play for up to four players simultaneously. This cabinet uses the same motherboard as the double cabinet.

Because the VS. System has the same CPU that is in the Nintendo Entertainment System, VS. System games can be ported to the NES with modifications to the console including extra memory banks and additional DIP switches.[7]

Version differences

Some games are different from their Famicom/NES versions. For example, VS. Super Mario Bros. is considerably more difficult than Super Mario Bros.; some of the levels were reused in Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Family Computer Disk System.[8] The graphics are also different from their Famicom/NES counterparts; for example, VS. Duck Hunt has more details and animation sequences than its console counterpart.


The following is a list of all known Nintendo VS. System games, however, it is believed more exist in the form of prototypes, unreleased and released only for a short period of time for market testing.[9][10] The launch titles for the hardware are Vs. Mahjong and Vs. Tennis in or about February 1984.


Some release date information was compiled from arcade flyers.[11][12] [13][14][15][16][17]

  • VS. Balloon Fight (Japan only: October 3, 1984)
  • VS. Baseball (Japan: March 1984; North America: July 1984)
  • VS. Clu Clu Land (Japan only: December 5, 1984)
  • VS. Dr. Mario
  • VS. Duck Hunt (North America: May 1985)
  • VS. Excitebike (Japan: December 5, 1984; North America: February 1985)
  • VS. Football (unreleased)
  • VS. Gumshoe
  • VS. Head to Head Baseball (unreleased)
  • VS. Helifighter (unreleased)
  • VS. Hogan's Alley (North America: May 1985)
  • VS. Ice Climber (Japan: February 1, 1985; North America: March 1985)
  • VS. Mach Rider (North America: November 1985)
  • VS. Mahjong (Japan only: February 1984)
  • VS. Motocross (unreleased)
  • VS. Nintendo 500 (unreleased)
  • VS. Pinball (Japan: July 26, 1984; North America: October 1984)
  • VS. Slalom (Developed by Rare Ltd.)
  • VS. Soccer (North America: November 1985)
  • VS. Stroke and Match Golf (released in "Men's" and "Lady's" versions) (Japan: July 26, 1984/Both versions North America: October 1984/Men's version; December 1984/Lady's version)
  • VS. Super Mario Bros.
  • VS. Tennis (Japan: February 1984; North America: March 1984)
  • VS. Urban Champion
  • VS. Volleyball
  • VS. Wrecking Crew (Japan only: July 26, 1984)







Hudson Soft


See also


  1. ^ "社長が訊く『ニンテンドー3DS』ソフトメーカークリエーター 篇 第19回:『ルーンファクトリー4』". Nintendo Homepage (in Japanese). Nintendo Co.,Ltd. 「任天堂VS.システム(にんてんどうブイエスシステム)」=1984年に任天堂が開発したアーケードゲーム基板で、ファミコンの構造を応用して開発された。
  2. ^ "Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto Volumes 1 and 2".
  3. ^ "VS. System: Are You Overdue At The Library". The Arcade Flyers Archive.
  4. ^ a b "Nintendo Vs. System - Videogame by Nintendo". Killer List of Videogames. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  5. ^ "Nintendo Vs. UniSystem/DualSystem Chipsets". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  6. ^ "Nintendo Vs. Unisystem Nintendo Vs. Dualsystem Arcade Manuals, PPU, PCB info, daughter board info, Nintendo Vs. Instruction Cards, game info,". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Assenat, Raphael. "Modding a NES to run Unisystem VS arcade games (1/14)".
  8. ^ McLaughlin, Rus (September 13, 2010). "IGN Presents: The History of Super Mario Bros". IGN. p. 3. Archived from the original on April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  9. ^ "other unMAMEd Arcade Games up to 1990".
  10. ^ "Urban Champion - NintendoWiki".
  11. ^ []
  12. ^ "Flyer Fever - Golf / Pinball".
  13. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Wrecking Crew".
  14. ^ "Flyer Fever - Vs. Balloon Fight".
  15. ^ "Flyer Fever - Excite Bike / Clu Clu Land".
  16. ^ "Flyer Fever - Ice Climber / Excite Bike".
  17. ^ []

External links