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Nintendo 64 Games with versions + questions.
Topic Started: Aug 13 2013, 09:22 AM (17,928 Views)
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What are the numbers? Like 19A, does 19 indicate the week of production? There are 52/53 weeks in a year and I've never seen a number higher than 4X so it would make sense.
Edited by Tyree_Cooper, Oct 28 2017, 07:59 PM.
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Hey boss, thanks for the message. I'll be playing the devil's advocate, not because I don't think you're right, but to list out all my questions/doubts at once vis-a-vis the points you listed. Let me know what you think.

- The "00" is certainly an annoyance for both theories (week and factory). The 1st week would be "01", but so would the the 1st factory. Unless for some reason they decided to start at 0 instead of 1, which is not impossible at all. I've seen several companies counting from 0, as it adds one more possibility to the 1-digit progression (0 to 9 instead of 1 to 9). This is possibly the same reason why the 1st ROM version is not noted at all, and the 2nd version is noted as "A" and so on. For my own projects, I always start at V01, then V02 and so on, to avoid confusions internally and externally, but I understand why Nintendo can afford to have a slightly more obscure logic.

- Missing numbers don't necessarily kill the week theory, as it's very unlikely that games have been produced every week over a few years (the lifespan of the N64). I think production is usually planned for specific moments in the year, and this is a very important aspect of marketing (start of Summer holidays, just before Christmas, etc.) In fact, your table could give out some hints as to when games are produced the most: Week 8 (end-February), week 20 (mid-May) and week 34 (end-August). But it would require a much larger data set to draw good evidence.

- The larger spacing after "1" could be because this number is the narrowest, and if stamps are regular, then there is going to be more space on the right side of this number (unless they centre or align it on the right, but it seems to be aligned on the left).

- The missing year is a good point; in my company we do the same, and I got upset more than once because of this. They think the week number is good enough to identify the version of something to avoid confusion with other versions or reprints or minor changes/updates (coupled with a version number or some other code). The idea would be that XX is good enough to identify when the game was produced, as the year would be known beforehand or calculated by other means. And if the games is produced at the end of a year and steps over the next year? Then they will know the end of which year and the beginning of which year (since production would never span over a couple of weeks, at a very maximum, in fact 2 weeks should be well enough, even for large batches).

- Assuming the numbers are codes for factories, we'd have 41 factories. I don't think so. Even assuming they are not factory codes but machine codes, we'd have 41 machines, and I don't think they'd need to mention the machine code on the outer shell. In this case, I also wonder what machine it would be (the one making the mold, or the stickers, or the pcb?). Machine code still makes more sense than factory code, so maybe that's what it is. The number would identify the machine that produced the cart (or some parts of it), so that in case of a recall or issues found, they'd know which carts are affected.

- Yes, the code may be related to the ROM itself, but we know the ROM has its own production date printed on it, right? I'll open up a cart tonight to see if the shell has a date on it too, and I think the pcb has one too.
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The two-digit number refers to the assembly plant at which it was manufactured. Most rarer games will only have one variant (or at most two) for that number, while more common games will have several such variants, I believe even as many as five or six. This may also tie somewhat into minor label variants, as well (like the TM vs. (R) variants, for example), as an upstart assembly plant could, in theory, be likely to use a newer version of a label than one who had already been ordered to produce the same game a few months earlier (and already had the older labels ready to go).

The numbers reflect the manufacturing center. For the SNES, I have found 21 different numbers (though the numbers themselves go anywhere from 00 to 44). The number 40 is a plant in Mexico, and the rest are presumably in Japan. Exactly where those plants are, I do not know. I have a thread about it here. [link not working]

Would be nice if they provided a source of some kind. I am still not convinced. Also, being produced once in a single plant doesn't mean it's rarer. If it was printed at 100k pieces, whereas another games has been produced three times in three different plants, but at 10k pieces each time, that's 30k pieces total. Meh.

And one more

I've heard of numbers on NES cartridges being batch numbers or production time periods or something of that nature.
Is it the same thing with gameboy games?
otherwise what do they mean or signifiy?

The two digit number which is stamped on indicates the factory in which is was produced Each factory has it's own number (and 90% of factories SFC-era onward are Nintendo owned, not licensed to a very close partner). If you are looking for a game/software revision look for the letter following the number (On FC they appear in the opposite corner to the number). But a better method would be to check out the number etched on the ROM IC following the game ID. [Number will be at 0 for V1.0, 1 for v1.1, etc]. Checking the ROM is more reliable as some people swap backs (problem when the number is on the rear). Cases is possible to be swapped, really rare, but it happens time to time for many reasons.
forgive the triple post :wub: :wub:

this one seems to know his stuff


This number represents the facility/manufacturing line that the cartridge was assembled on. If your cartridge has the first version of the original ROM you will only see the 2-digit facility number. However, if a new version of the ROM was released from the developer to manufacturing, then a letter was appended to the end of the facility code.
Oh hey it's me again :yawn:

I think this post nails it

""Nintendo produced the vast majority of carts even for 3rd party developers, so there's no surprise in the same number showing up on all those titles. Some 3rd parties did make their own carts, with Konami (or Ultra?) being the most prominent. Those carts have "24" printed on the back label rather than being stamped in. ""

so if those konami carts have a white code while other nintendo carts have the usual "punched in" code, I guess it can't be a date and must be a location/plant/machine code.
:yeah: :yeah: :yeah: :yeah: :yeah: :yeah:

now the additional question is, does the same code on different platforms mean the same plant, or can it be a different plant? but this is not a N64 question :n64:
Edited by Tyree_Cooper, Oct 30 2017, 02:27 AM.
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Dani-boss, thanks again and I think they are all very valid points. The white codes of some Konami SFC/SNES are a massive hint in this direction, and so are the seemingly missing numbers, which make sense since not all plants may have been producing games (maybe some had closed too).

It would be fun to make a quick list of GB and SNES codes to see if they overlap N64 codes or not. I suppose long-term relationship plants might have done stuff for Nintendo for different platforms so it could be interesting.

Interesting theory about "11".

I'll throw another theory. One guy I quoted said 4X are plants in Mexico (sources would have been amazing...), if this is true, it could be that the 1st digit represents the country, while the second digit represents the actual plant according to Nintendo (probably numbered in a temporal manner, "X1" being the 1st plant and so on).

If this is true then Mexico being a late country where Nintendo made stuff (e.g. SNES reprints), it makes sense that it has the highest number in the list (4X). In this case, 1 is probably Japan, or maybe Japan is taking up 1/2 or even 1/2/3. I'm not sure they had plants elsewhere? At least for N64, I believe games are always made in Japan (and Mexico, if this is true?), while late accessories (and maybe parts of the machines) were made in China.

I don't want to waste anybody's time, it is a detail after all, but I like it. Many things have been said already, so I'm always on the hunt for stuff that hasn't been discussed a lot.
Edited by Tyree_Cooper, Oct 30 2017, 07:18 AM.
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