Super NES Programming/Homebrew SNES games

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After the release of SNES there was great interest in reverse engineering the system to allow for homebrew and backup play. Nintendo fitted the machine with various security measures such as the lock-out chip to prevent unauthorized code running on the machine.

An early floppy drive adapter, allowing for homebrew to be played.

Eventually the homebrew community figured out how games ran on the SNES hardware and were able to bypass the security mechanisms. Companies such as BUNG releases hardware plugins such as Game Doctor SF series. These allow users to not only copy games but also run homebrew developed games to be run on the SNES hardware. Homebrew ROMS could be converted into the Game Doctor SF format and put onto a 3 1/2" floppy. Games as large as 12Mbits could be put fit on floppy disks formatted to 1.6Mbytes.

An alternative device was the Super Flash, by Tototek, allowed for multiple games to be burned into a flash memory chip of cartridge (allowing up to 48Mbits). This chip is the mask rom for the Super Flash development cartridge. The device is easy to use and has a nice user interface on the computer end. Simply plug in the Super Flash cartridge and upload the games you want. This was nice if you wanted to make a SNES game and play it in an actual cartridge rather than a floppy disk.

The legality of homebrew SNES game releases has not been tested in court, and it is debatable whether or not bypassing their security measures would fall foul of modern reverse engineering laws. However essentially homebrew games themselves can be produced legally for the SNES as long as no copyright material is included.

Previously in the 1990s, Nintendo sued Color Dreams for producing NES games without an official license. The outcome was an undisclosed settlement, but Color Dreams continued to produce unlicensed games. The strength of Color Dreams position lies with that they worked around the 10NES lockout chip code rather the illegally duplicating it.

List of homebrew SNES games[edit | edit source]

  • N-Warp Daisakusen, a recent game for eight players featuring impressive sound and visuals.