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Super Famicom

Super Famicom (Japanese:スーパーファミコン) was a videogame console released by Nintendo in Japan.

For information about the North American and European versions of this console, see: Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

The Super Famicom is the first console worldwide capable of applied acoustics in video game audio.

Table of contents
1 Market History
2 Specifications
3 See Also
4 External Links/References

Market History

Nintendo executives at first were not interested in making a new system when rival Sega announced that they would release their 16-Bit video game system Sega Megadrive in 1988. However, the executives were quick to see the Megadrive eating up the market in Japan due to the technological advantages of the Megadrive.

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Nintendo CEO at the time, had put Masayuki Uemura in charge of designing the console. They had originally planned for the Famicom and the NES to be 16-bit systems, but those components were too expensive at the time, and so they were 8-bit systems. With the components much cheaper, Nintendo did not hesitate to build a more powerful system.

The Super Famicom was released on November 21, 1990 for 32,000, and it came with two controllers and Super Mario World. The release came right when the Sega Megadrive was starting to take over the market from the Nintendo Family Computer. The Super Famicom was enourmosly successful with such a high demand, having the initial 300,000 units get sold out. Nintendo shipped the units by night, as there were rumors that Yakuza gangs might try to steal the consoles. The Super Famicom had no problem dominating over the Sega Megadrive. Nintendo had gotten 80% of the market share in Japan.

The U.S version may have been redesigned so that a drink could not be rested on the top of the console. The Japanese rested drinks on their Super Famicoms and many of those drinks were spilled. Americans had also spilled drinks on their NESss when they put drinks on their consoles.

Certainly the climate of litigation in the U.S. would have meant that lawsuits would have been brought against Nintendo for ruined consoles, and this may have prompted a redesign due to fears of this litigation. It would also explain why the European SNES was the same on the outside as the Japanese one, as Europe is not (or at least, was not back then) as litigation-obsessed. Another possible reason for the reversion back to the Japanese design for the European market is that the U.S. console was to some not very aesthetically pleasing, and definitely inferior aesthetically to the Japanese console.

Like its SNES counterpart, the Super Famicom was replaced by the Nintendo 64. The SNES went out of out production in 1997, but the Super Famicom continued production until 2003.

Another interesting note is that the Super Famicom logo appeared in the "Special Zone" of Super Mario World worldwide, despite the fact that the logo was not used for the SNES releases in North America and Europe. The ZSNES emulator also uses the Super Famicom logo as part of its logo.

Many videogames only released in Japan can be played in North America using emulation, since most play rom images from both the Super Famicom and the SNES. Emulation also enables the Japan-exclusive video games to be unofficially translated into English and other languages by means of ROM hacking using a hexadecimal editor.


Game cartridges, depending on which market they were released in, were of different shapes to restrict the playing of games intended for a single market and to control pricing in those markets. The North American model had a rectangular bottom has inset grooves which when inserted complemented the console's shape whereas the Japanese/European cartridges had a smoothed curve on the front of the cartridges with no inset grooves. Since the North American console has protuding grooves, the Japanese/European cartridges could not be inserted without the removal of these grooves and North American cartridges being completely rectangular could not fit into the slightly curved opening of the Japanese console unit.

Additionally, a region chip within the console and in each cartridge prevented European games being played on Japanese/North American consoles and vice versa (despite the fact that European and Japanese Cartridges fit in each other's consoles). The Japanese and North American machines had the same region chip, so once the difference in the shape of the cartridges was overcome, cartridges were interchangeable.

Physical modification of the consoles and adaptors helped individuals overcome these barriers.

See also: Super Nintendo Entertainment System


See Also

External Links/References