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Russian Famicom clone with a keyboard?


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I found an interesting listing on eBay, so I thought I'd share.  Plus, maybe someone here can tell us more about it.

Over in this thread @Cyber introduced us to the Dendy, a Famicom/NES clone from Russia or perhaps one of the other former Soviet states.  The pic they showed in that thread looked like a typical console: top-loading slot, two controllers, etc.

But, this eBay listing I found shows what appears to be that same Dendy Famicom clone, but built into a keyboard case, labeled "Russian-English Computer Learning Set", and packed with a cartridge that apparently also has (two flavors? of) BASIC.

RETRO Dendy SUBOR KEYBOARD (Famicom) Console + full set | eBay

(I should point out, I'm not the seller nor am I encouraging anyone to buy; I'm just sharing because it's interesting.)

An easily programmable NES (clone) is kind of exciting.  (I know Japan released a keyboard for the Famicom, but they're rare.)  I wonder if the BASIC on this system can access the sound capabilities, that would actually be useful for chiptune creation.

I wonder if anyone can translate the contents of the cartridge (there's a close-up picture of it, but most of it is in Cyrillic script except the word BASIC, heheh.)

I assume the language education is for Russian-speakers to learn English - and not the other way?

Another pic shows what appears to be a 25-pin port on the back, maybe a parallel port. I wonder what that might have been for.

 

DendyPic.jpg

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I remember reading that DB25 ports were not used for Centronics parallel ports in Soviet computers - they had some other standard for printer connections. It may be a SCSI interface for a floppy drive, maybe even compatible with the FamiCom Disk System?

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I would think that if you can POKE a value into RAM, that you could utilize the NES APU that way. It had memory-mapped registers. They may not have music-specific commands in BASIC, but neither did the C64, and you could definitely POKE the SID into playing music.

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Posted (edited)

I remember such thing existed, but never had a chance to try one. I also remember many people said it's bad, because it is more like a game pretending to be BASIC, and less like a real computer.

For some reason pictures are not loading on this ebay link. so I can't transalte text you are mentioning.

But I found russian description and manual of this cartridge on other site, which can be pretty well translated to english in Chrome:

http://pscd.ru/obzorigr/obzornes/7836-obuchenie-v-igre.html (there is typo here: instead "Q-BASIC" there should be "G-BASIC")

http://pscd.ru/manualy-instrukcii/1705-syubor-instrukciya-subor-manual.html (Chrome suffers mistraslation here: instead "ZH-BASIC" or "W-BASIC" there should be "G-BASIC")

Cartridge actually contains two different versions of BASIC: G-BASIC and F-BASIC. Try not to be confused. )

Edited by Cyber
added more info
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Ebay pictures loaded (looks like it was a temporary ebay problem). Contents of cartridge is the same as mentioned in the first link I provided in previous post. And 25-pin port is a printer port.

BASIC programs are stored in RAM only, so to save program for later use you need either manually rewrite it on paper or output to printer, and type it all in later. Yeah, no storage media at all...

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Posted (edited)

Russian guy talks about this system and about similar ones, and shows a little what they can do. He talks in russian, but Youtube has auto translated english subs, which are not great, bit give overall idea of what he is talking about.

And another video about Subor Keyboard features:

 

And one more demo starts at timecode 41:50: https://youtu.be/jg-NkMF8Ul4?t=2510

 

Edited by Cyber
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Thank you @Cyber!  This is all very interesting information. I will check out the videos this weekend.

I think it's neat that a device like this existed.  I am surprised that this kind of attempt at an 'educational Nintendo' product didn't come out here in North America, especially since there was such a push in the 1980s for children's products to be educational.

Thank you again for all the links!

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