Nintendo Console Code Names and Product Codes – Functionality

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Image: Nintendo’s Life

If you have an official Nintendo console or device handy, flip it over and tucked away in legal jargon and in fine print on the underside you’ll find a code that usually begins with three letters. Flip your Switch, for example, and you’ll find the code HAC-001, with a supplement (-01) if you have the revised model with the best battery life.

These product codes have been part of Nintendo hardware from the start and you will find them on every cartridge, disc, accessory and peripheral manufactured by Nintendo. Slide the left Joy-Con of your Switch and you will see its HAC-015 designation on the back (the one on the right is HAC-016); the Joy-Con handle supplied with the console is HAC-011; the pro controller HAC-013; Switch gaming carts are HAC-008; the Ring-Con HAC-022; the Joy-Con velcro wrap thing HAC-023

But beyond the internal cataloging of each device under the umbrella of a console, do these designations make sense? Today we are going to take a tour of all the hardware product codes for Nintendo consoles and see where they came from. Some of their origins are well known (or obvious), while others are only known to the engineers at Nintendo who named them.

We were already familiar with most of the codes below, but the ones we didn’t need to check the back of our own consoles or head to the Maru-Chang web page for some of the more obscure ones.

We start with the trusty Nintendo Entertainment System, or Famicom in Japan …

Famicom (HVAC) / NDA (NDA)

Nintendo Life Famicom 3D Console
Image: Nintendo’s Life

In Nintendo’s homeland, the Famicom and its accessories bore the designation HVAC, or “Home video computer”. The main console unit is always “-001” and the AC adapter is usually “-002”, with the controllers coming after. Famicom’s controllers were connected to the base console, however, so they were not given a separate code. The RF switch did, however (HVC-003), as did the Famicom 3D system pictured above, and more.

In the West, the Nintendo Entertainment System has obtained the most transparent product codes from Nintendo: NDA. Notable peripherals included the Main Control Pad (NES-004), Zapper (NES-005) and, of course, the Cleaning Kit (NES-030).

Gameboy (DMG) / Game Boy Pocket (MGB) / Game Boy Color (CGB)

Perhaps the most famous of Nintendo’s product codes, the original Game Boy became popularly known as the DMG(-01) in order to differentiate it from a multitude of hardware variants that followed. DMG stands for Dot Matrix Game and refers to the system display.

The Game Boy Pocket carried the product code MGB-001, with ‘Mini Game Boy’ being the most likely explanation given the trend of the rest of the Game Boy console family. The Game Boy Light (a backlit version of the hardware only in Japan) was designated MGB-101 according to several other console redesigns (like the NES-101 / HVC-101).

The Game Boy Color got the CGB product code … because it was a Boy color scheme.

Super Famicom (SHVC) / Super NES (SNS / SNSP)

SHVC 001 Super Famicom Nintendo Life
Image: Nintendo’s Life

In Japan, the Super Famicom logically succeeds its predecessor and is identified as the SHVC-001, or the ‘Super Home Video Computer’. Things changed for the North American release where he became the SNS-001 (Super Nintendo System), and in Europe it was the SNSP-001 (the “P” probably stands for “PAL”). The controllers were -005 and the Game Paks (or cartridges to everyone except Nintendo) were -006.

Virtual boy (SEEN)

VUE 006 Nintendo Life Virtual Boy
Image: Nintendo’s Life

The virtual boy (VIEW-001) offered quite a trip according to its product code; a “virtual utopia experience”, apparently. Personally, we would have gone for the more precise “MIN-001” – Migraine-Inducing Nightmare, although the Tamagotchi-style Pokémon Mini console used this product code. Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments, however.

Game Boy Advance (AGB) / Game Boy Advance SP (AGS) / Game Boy Micro (OXY)

After the MGB and the CGB, the Game Boy Advance was labeled the AGB-001, or “Advanced Game Boy”. Other important peripherals included the good old AGB-005 (the GBA link cable) and the even sexier AGB-015 (the wireless adapter).

The updated Game Boy Advance SP clamshell has a totally different code: AGS – Advanced Game Boy special, maybe? While we can make sense of this product code with an educated guess, the origins of the Game Boy Micro OXY-001 the code is not so easy to guess. Maybe he’s referring to the oxytocin released by our pituitary gland every time we look at the tiny magnificence of this console? For the average adult, the Micro is crippling to play for a while, but my word is it a sexy little hunk.

Nintendo 64 (Naked)

The faithful NUS-005.  We don't care what you think - we love it!
The faithful NUS-005. We don’t care what you think – We like it! (Image: Nintendo Life)

The Nintendo 64 was originally to be called Ultra 64 (Ultra is better than Super, to catch), although Nintendo decided not to do so relatively late in the console’s development. It was called Project Reality while Nintendo and Silicon Graphics, Inc were working on it, but the code produced on the final hardware reflected the original name of the console: Naked (the Nintendo Ultra Sixty-four).

Other notable devices (and the N64 had a lot of “Paks”) include the Rumble Pak (NUS-013), the Expansion Pak (NUS-007), the Transfer Pak (NUS-019) and vital small tool, the Jumper Pak Ejector (NUS-012).

Where would we be without this little guy?  Raid the cutlery draw, that's it.
Where would we be without this little guy? Raid the cutlery draw, that’s it. (Image: Nintendo Life)


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