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// article by Jeff

I was not prepared for this.

Running Windows 2000 on a Famicom system seems like a remarkable feat. After all, the Famicom (the Japanese version of the NES) was not exactly the most capable of machines, although most developers managed to get a good amount of juice out of it. But leave it to the Chinese pirate circuit to try to squeeze that orange just a little harder! Out from the depths comes a Chinese pirate cart with the label "WIN2000" on it. It's a little puzzling to think of a full-fledged operating system working on a console as old as the Famicom, but someone residing in their basement was up to the task and succeeded.

Sort of.

Windows 2000 for Famicom isn't exactly the robust program I was anticipating. (Or, conversely, it might actually be as powerful as you would logically expect.) You will need a Famicom keyboard to get anywhere with this cart, or else it's just something dull to look at. It starts up with a ripoff Windows 2000 startup screen, complete with the flying Windows logo... stuck to a flagpole! I don't remember this. There are also a couple of Chinese symbols on the left side. I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese, but I could imagine they translate to either "Windows 2000" or "not really". Can anyone verify this?

Then we get into the real meat and potatoes. For vegetarians, just the potatoes. It looks like a Chinese version of the main Windows screen, complete with various clickable icons, the Start button, and a little toolbar. The top and bottom are cut off a bit; that seems like a dead giveaway. Apparently, the time is always 2:53 in the afternoon. I first tried the volume icon at the bottom, and behold! I can actually change the volume settings! The default setting is mute, but when I unchecked that box, suddenly I was swarmed by obnoxious music! That's friendly. The Start button also works, and it leads us to a variety of different options.

But I'm a Windows purist. I like putting icons on my desktop and putting them to good use. There's no need to sift through ridiculous menus! I'll just find what I want on the desktop! That computer there serves as a portal to the many programs Windows 2000 has to offer. I tried out something called a "Music Board". Microsoft didn't give me one of those! It's a poor man's composition program. No, scratch that — even the poorest of men wouldn't want to try this. Another program is called "Finger Game", and your goal is to have a little pixel girl hop up the stairs while you practice typing... I think. There's a "CPM" meter, which stands for, uh, something per minute. Computertypes Per Minute. There you go. Somehow I managed to get upwards of 150 CPM. I'm a speed demon. I also discovered a game where two Native Americans sporting bows and arrows are required to shoot down Chinese symbols with parachutes for reasons unknown. It doesn't work.

Other programs I tried out include the "Calculator Board", although I ended up just typing some random letters and getting nowhere quickly. There IS an actual functioning calculator in this tarnished operating system, though, so if you need to multiply using your Famicom, this is the way to do it, provided your dusty copy of Donkey Kong Jr. Math is nowhere to be found. It was through this that I discovered that the minimize and maximize buttons on windows do nothing, although the close window button definitely works. There are also English and Chinese dictionaries (and I use the term "dictionary" loosely because there are no definitions to be found). There's sort of a word processor as well, but it works as well as a duck with no head.

Back on the desktop, I spied something very familiar in the corner: an icon of the King's head from a deck of cards. Lo and behold, it's solitaire, the national pastime of employed people. I expected a lousy dysfunctional rendition of the card game, but it actually works very well! You play it with the "mouse" cursor, and it's a complete version of solitaire! I was doing rather well until I discovered that the two of diamonds was buried a bit too deep for my liking. Solitaire is the highlight of this package, by the way.

There's one more thing that you can do of interest, and that is use an actual MS-DOS prompt, just like the crunchy days of yore! Remember those cold wintry afternoons when you had to stay indoors and putter around on the computer? Before the days of Windows, we had to type in all of our commands on a black screen. This is the legendary DOS prompt. We're brought to the black screen again, which tells us that Windows 2000 is actually copyrighted by Bravesoft. Whoa! What a shock! I hope they don't hear about what Microsoft's doing with that license over in America... I don't know what to do with this prompt, though, considering I can't really check out the directories. I doubt there ARE directories.

Windows 2000 on the Famicom is a quaint little oddity, but it's utterly, utterly useless. No one in their right mind is going to use this "game" for any function other than to prop up a coffee table.

Here are some screenshots, just for those of us still in disbelief:


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