Last time, we talked about Sharp’s take on the Famicom and Disk System, the Twin Famicom. This week, we’ll look at Sharp’s more obscure but strangely awesome Famicom, the Famicom Titler. Get your head out of the gutter. It’s pronounced “title-er.”

Hit the jump for Part II: The Famicom Titler

The Famicom Titler (AN-510) was released in 1989 for a whopping ¥43,000. The main purpose of the massive machine (other than for playing Famicom games) was to let consumers make their own videos out of game footage or tapes. It’s called the Titler because you could add in subtitles to the clips. The idea behind this was to let people create and send videos to friends and family, or just to add in subtitles to your home movies. For example, you could capture the fireworks animation from Super Mario Brothers, enter the text, “Come to my birthday party on 4/10/19XX!”, make duplicates of the tape, and send them out as invitations.

On the console itself were many control buttons. You could record footage, rewind it, then enter the text. To capture the footage, users needed an RF-enabled camcorder. The video output would go from the Titler to the camera since there was no internal tape in the console itself.

When it came to text entry, the Titler had a very cool trick up its sleeve. Rather than laboriously scrolling through the alphabet with a controller, you could use a stylus and touch pad to write in the characters. That’s right; the Titler beat the DS to touch-screen technology by 15 years.

The Titler had sexy greyscale controllers

Of course, these functions aren’t exactly useful today, what with emulators, image capture software, iMovie, and the like. However, there are a few aspects of the Titler that make it a worthwhile investment to collectors and hardcore Famicom players.

First of all is the console’s rarity. The system had a relatively small run, so you can’t just click over to eBay and expect to find one. And when you do fine a Titler, expect to pay more than the cost of a PS3 and Xbox 360 combined. Depending on condition, they usually go for about $600. Plus, most of them are still in Japan, so you’ll be paying $50 to $100 in shipping. Still, it’s something that none of your friends will have.

S-Video (!), composite, and RF connections

More importantly, the image quality of the Titler is the best out of any of the consumer versions of the Famicom or NES. Internally, the console produced RGB/component level images. It was a big deal when the Twin Famicom had composite, so it was even huger when the Titler had S-Video. S-Video on a Famicom? That’s freakin’ awesome.

Between it’s rarity and functionality, it’s safe to say that the Famicom Titler is the end-all be-all of Famicom systems. It’s strange that most gamers, even import gamers, aren’t familiar with the console.