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Retro Gaming: The SNES – “I’m SUPER now!”

First brought to Europe in 1992, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System blew gamers away with visuals and gameplay that dragged videogames into a spectacular new era. The Super Nintendo features true stereo sound, multiple scrolling backgrounds, and twice the built-in memory of the older NES – and giant-sized Game Paks allow the system to recreate sprawling worlds that take weeks to explore.

The Super Nintendo’s built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processor) performs complicated calculations on in-game images in the blink of an eye. This is responsible for ‘Mode 7’, the ability to take hefty 2D shapes and twist and spin them through three dimensions – allowing games like Super Mario Kart to create pseudo-3D tracks. In the face-flappingly fast F-Zero, this is done at speeds that made even the bravest gamer tremble.

snes2

Some of Nintendo’s biggest arcade and NES characters return in blistering style on Super Nintendo. Super Mario World; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past; Donkey Kong Country; Super Metroid; Super Mario Kart … all are regarded as the some of the finest games in their genres to this day. Third parties have helped raise the Super Nintendo’s total catalogue of games to over 500.

Building on the seminal design of the NES controller, Nintendo set the standard for future videogame controllers with the faultless Super Nintendo Controller. The comfortable directional pad returns, but two extra buttons and the appearance of twin shoulder buttons – a videogame first – effectively double the gamer’s control.

Game Paks containing the Super FX chip – including dazzling debut title Star Wing – brought proper polygons blasting to TV screens in jaw-dropping style. Later games like Yoshi’s Island used the next-generation Super FX 2 chip to warp and bend shapes in the most eye-pleasing of manners.

Technical Details

  •  CPU       16-bit 65816 processor, 2.68 Mhz
  • Graphics Processor         16-bit
  • Memory              RAM: 1 Mbit, Video RAM: 0.5 Mbit, Cart size: 2 Mbit – 48 Mbit
  • Display  512 x 448 pixel maximum resolution, 32,768 colours, 256 colours on-screen, 64 x 64 pixel maximum sprite size, 128 sprites on-screen
  • Size        200mm x 72mm x 242mm
  • Video Output    RF, RGB, S-Video
  • Sound Chip         8-bit Sony SPC700, 8 sound channels
  • Other Features Mode 7, Two controller ports
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