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      Super Nintendo Entertainment System     

The Super Nintendo Entertainment system or SNES as its more commonly known is probably one of the best consoles ever made. There are hundreds of quality games available - ranging from arcade conversions such as Street Fighter 2 to RPG games such as Zelda Link to the Past, Secret of Mana and Breath of Fire.

Super Famicom
November 21, 1990 (Japan)

Known as the Super Famicom in Japan, the system is basically the same as the UK version except that it runs at 60Hz and has territorial lockout. Controllers have smaller leads and have super Famicom written on them. It cost 32,000 yen when released and came with 2 controllers and Super Mario World.

September 1991 (USA)

Released in the US with a new case design. Games came on different shaped carts to the Famicom version being more rectangular. Also later released as a slimmer version, bit like a small UK shape but basically the same hardware with the Rf output removed.

June 1992 (Europe)

Not released in Europe until 1992 the European version came in the same style case as the Famicom. Games available at release included Super Mario world 3 and F-Zero. PAL consoles play games approx 16% slower than an NTSC one, with larger black borders at the top and bottom of the screen. We can supply or fit PAL systems with a switch to allow them to play like a US console at full-speed and in full-screen.

SNES 101
New Style American SNES

The new slimline version, only released in the US and Japan. Much smaller than the original system. Has the Rf output removed and came supplied with the Composite cable instead. Yoshis Island boxed set shown here. There are also several versions released without the power supply included in the box.

SNES Specs

Type: 65816 16-bit: 2.68 / 3.58 Mhz
16-bit Picture Processing Unit


RAM: 1 Mbit (128 Kbyte)
Video RAM: 0.5 Mbit (64 Kbyte)
Cart Size's: 2 Mbit - 48 Mbit


Max Resolution: 512 x 448 pixels
Colors: 32,768 colors Max Colors at Once: 256
Max Sprite Size: 64 x 64 pixels
Max Sprites: 128 sprites


A PAL SNES can output RF, RGB, and S-Video.


Sound Chip: 8-bit Sony SPC700 Sound Channels: 8

POWER (UK only)

Input 230/240V~50Hz...17W
Output 9V...1.3A
Model No: NES-002(GBR)


Mode 7
2 Controller ports
Some games contain additional Chips to enhace the games. Mario Kart for instance contains a DSP. Other Titles such as Star Fox contain the FX chip to help with processing those 3D graphics.

SNES Regional Protection

Physical Lockout
US systems use different shaped carts, these have square edges and will not fit European or JAP systems. European SNES carts won't fit US consoles either due to 2 small tabs which correspond to grooves on the bottom of carts (a similar method was used on the N64).

Lockout Chips
Control Decks having a security chip in the Deck and a counterpart in every game cassette. The device is called CIC, games attempt to communicate with the corresponding chip in the system before they will run.

Speed Check / PAL protection
Later SNES games contain a code to check for a 60Hz or 50Hz display. The NTSC TV system displays 30 frames of video per second (60Hz). The PAL system displays 25 (50Hz). Games often display the following message if used in a system running at the wrong speed. "THIS GAME PAK IS NOT DESIGNED FOR YOUR SUPER FAMICOM OR SUPER NES."

Voltage Change
Later versions of the SNES seem to output a lower voltage to the cart slot, as far as we know this was done to try and hamper the use of disk copying devices which drew power from the snes to work. That said we have never had one that didnt work, any one else?

SNES Enhancement Chips DSP and FX/FX 2

An interesting feature of many SNES games is that they used special enhancement chips to enable more powerful games to be played.

Used in many games like Pilotwings, and Super Mario Kart to provide more realistic 3D graphics effects by doing some of the data processing on the chip rather than the snes iteself. There is also a DSP2 chip.

SNES Super FX/FX 2
Used in games using 3D polygon effects, such as Star Fox and Vortex. A Super FX 2 chip is a faster version of the FX chip, and is used in Doom, Dirt Trax FX, and Stunt Race FX. The FX chip makes use of the extra twin 8 pin connectors, which can be found to the left and right of the main cartridge contacts on FX games.

Designed by Capcom this is a graphics chip, used to create transparent graphics effects in Mega Man X2 and X3.

SNES Accessories

Fantastic design and quality meant the Official SNES Controllers were one of the systems main advantages with 6 buttons compared to the 3 on a standard MegaDrive controller. Loads of third party snes controllers were made which added auto-fire etc.

With only 2 controller ports, the SNES required a multitap to allow up to 6 players at once. Games which support this include Bomberman and Secret of Mana.

The Super Scope was the SNES systems light gun, never really did very well as there were only a few games that supported it and those were quite poor. Yoshi's Safari being one of the best.

Game Genie Cheat Cart from Code Masters. Allows games to be changed by entering cheat codes.

Official Nintendo two button mouse, that plugs into controller 1 or controller 2 on your SNES. Only a handful of games were mouse compatible such as Mario Paint and Might & Magic III.

Stereo A/V Cable with Scart Connector, better quality than the standard RF lead the PAL systems came supplied with.

The Satelliview was only realeased in Japan and allows the SNES to connect to a special satellite channel called "St GIGA". Games and demos could be downloaded at particular times to a BS-X Special Broadcast Cassette containing 1 megabit of flash ram.
Games included BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 (Nintendo) and Excite Bike Bum Bum Mario Battle (Nintendo).

There are loads of different converters available for playing import games on the SNES. The Action replay ones also contain cheat functions to allow game parameters to be changed. Usually work by plugging 2 games in, one for the region console you are using and the other for the import game you want to play.

SNES Manual

Save the zip file to your PC and then use windows to extract the files. Get the full user manual in English. Sorry, no other languages available at the moment.


SNES Games

There are loads high quality SNES games; the fact that so many were remade for the game boy advance shows just how good they were. The SNES emulation is also very popular with several good emulators such as zsnes.

Super Probotector Alien rebels (aka Contra III US) has to be one of the best games of the era and the GBA version in 2002 was also a best seller. Another Konami classic.

Super Mario Kart, one of the best games ever made. Mode 7 courses and superb handling make this a joy to play. Also another Gameboy update available but no feather powerup :-(

Outrageously expensive when released the SNES version of Street Fighter Two was very close to the arcade original. New versions of this are still being made today on the likes of PS2 and GC.