When the NES was released, there were a list of original titles from Nintendo such as Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros. and Metroid.

These titles came in a distinctive box that was mostly black. Plus, the cartridges themselves had a black label.

So these original games have come to be known as "black box" or "black label" games.

During this time, many cartridges had five screws holding them together. Later on, to reduce manufacturing costs, this was reduced to three screws. Yes, two tiny screws times millions of cartridges really adds up.

So my question is, did ALL of the original "Black Box" NES games come in the standard five screw format or did NES eventually start shipping them in three screw format?

My assumption is that most of the original black box games were made up until the end of NES and Nintendo started using the three screw design.


Unfortunately, I have found more examples of Black Box games coming in three-screw cases. In fact, I bought Pinball recently and noticed it was in a three-screw case.

  • I was under the impression the five-screw variants meant it was actually a Famicom cartridge with an adapter inside the case? Or am I thinking of something else entirely?
    – Muzer
    Jan 26, 2017 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


This answer is a Community Wiki post, feel free to edit it to add additional games or information.

I guess it's impossible to know now (unless you worked in the industry or at a plant), as someone could have taken a three-screw variant of a game and a black box and call it a complete three screw set.

Here is a completed eBay auction for someone who claims to have a three screw black box of 10-Yard Fight

10-Yard Fight Front

10-Yard Fight Front

Here's one for Tennis, but there are no pictures of the back of the cartridge, so I'm skeptical. Apparently there is also one for Donkey Kong, but I'm still looking for picture proof.

  • Good find. However, I'm also skeptical. I wonder how often a 5 screw case was swapped out for a more valuable game to be sold as something more rare. Leaving this 3 screw version for a "lesser" game.
    – cbmeeks
    Jan 26, 2017 at 18:15
  • @cbmeeks Thanks for the accept! I will update this answer as a find additional information. If you would like, I can make this answer community wiki so other can add to it as well.
    – JAL
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:04

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