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Super Famicom & Super Nintendo Entertainment System

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The Super Nintendo with controller.
The Super Famicom with controller.



The SNES and Super Famicom were proceeded by the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Shoulder buttons were added to the controller accommodate fighting games while keeping face buttons minimal for simplicity.[1]


The Super Famicom was launched on November 21st, 1990 in Japan.[2] To prevent robberies before launch, Nintendo shipped the Super Famicom to Japanese retailers during the night.[1]

The SNES was released in North America in August 1991.[3]

System life[edit]

A 1996 Mariners game in Seattle. Without the intervention of Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Mariners may have moved to Florida.

In 1992 Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi purchased the Seattle Mariners, stopping them from moving to Florida as a sign of appreciation to the city of Seattle where Nintendo of America is based.[4]


Production of the SNES ended in 1999 and production of the Super Famicom ended in 2003.[5] 49.1 million SNES consoles were sold.[6]

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was succeeded by the Nintendo 64.


A demo of the Mode 7 effect


A 16 bit Rioch 5A22 CPU powers the SNES and is typically clocked around 2.68MHz.[7] The CPU is capable of executing about 1.7 million instructions per second.[7]

The SNES has 128 kilobytes of RAM.[7]


The SNES has two different Picture Processing Units with access to 64 kilobytes of dedicated video RAM.[7] This allowed the SNES to display up to 128 sprites and 256 simultaneous colors from 32,768 total colors.[8]

The SNES had an Audio CPU, DSP, and 64 kilobytes of dedicated audio RAM.[7][9] The SNES has eight audio channels.[8]


SNES cartridges typically ranged from 0.23MB to 4.0MB, maxing out at 6.0MB.[10]


The SNES cold make use of co-processors included on game cartridges, and this was often used to add 3D effects.[11]

The third party X-Band service allowed some games to be played online.[12]

Notable Games[edit]





A demo of 3D Wireframe rendering, used by Capcom games like Megaman X enhanced by the Cx4 Chip







Super Nintendo[edit]

Super Famicom[edit]

SNES 101[edit]

SNES controllers[edit]

SNES Accessories[edit]

Game Genie[edit]

Super Famicom Naizou TV SF1[edit]

Backup Devices[edit]

Some gamers used devices such as these to make game backups.

Hotel SNES[edit]



There is a Wikibook on SNES programming.

External Resources[edit]

Archived websites[edit]


  1. a b Reeves, Ben. "Super Powered: Charting The Lasting Legacy Of The Super NES" (in en). https://www.gameinformer.com/classic/2019/10/25/super-powered-charting-the-lasting-legacy-of-the-super-nes. Retrieved 30 October 2020. 
  2. "Happy 20th Birthday, Super Famicom! - IGN" (in en). https://www.ign.com/articles/2010/11/20/happy-20th-birthday-super-famicom. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  3. "Parents Didn’t Just Dislike Super Nintendo 25 Years Ago—They Thought It Was a Scam" (in en-us). https://www.wired.com/2016/08/super-nintendo-25/. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  4. Good, Owen (22 August 2016). "Nintendo nets $661 million in sale of Seattle Mariners" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/2016/8/22/12584458/nintendo-seattle-mariners-sale-661-million. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  5. "Super nostalgia: Local gamers fondly remember Super Nintendo on its 20th anniversary". https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/life/entertainment/story/2011/aug/19/0819-e1-super-nostalgia-local-gamers-fondly/56755/. Retrieved 14 November 2020. 
  6. "Genesis vs. SNES: By the Numbers - IGN" (in en). https://www.ign.com/articles/2009/03/20/genesis-vs-snes-by-the-numbers. Retrieved 13 November 2020. 
  7. a b c d e "Winning The Console Wars – An In-Depth Architectural Study". Hackaday. 6 November 2015. https://hackaday.com/2015/11/06/winning-the-console-wars-an-in-depth-architectural-study/. Retrieved 28 October 2020. 
  8. a b "WAR! - Nintendo Vs. Sega". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/war/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  9. "Creative Limitation And The Super Nintendo Sound Chips". Hackaday. 1 August 2019. https://hackaday.com/2019/07/31/creative-limitation-and-the-super-nintendo-sound-chips/. Retrieved 28 October 2020. 
  10. "A Brief and Abbreviated History of Gaming Storage – Techbytes". https://blogs.umass.edu/Techbytes/2014/02/10/history-of-gaming-storage/. Retrieved 18 October 2020. 
  11. "A Super FX FAQ". http://www.anthrofox.org/starfox/superfx.html. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  12. "X-BANDing". http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/x-banding/. Retrieved 21 November 2020.