SNESMany consoles have come and gone, but one of the most recognizable consoles in all North America is the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Although the famous Console Wars of the 90’s could be linked to the original NES, the SNES was truly the one that launched the fiery battle with Sega’s Master System and Hudson Soft’s TurboGrafx16 into the forefront of the North American market. This device shipped in North America starting August of 1991 and the initial shipment of 300,000 systems sold out within hours.

Despite the enourmous amount of hype surrounding the launch of the SNES console, it’s initial offerings were very limited. Nintendo knew that this would be part of the problem with their system so they chose to pack in Super Mario World. Not only was the game a wonderful example of the console’s capability, but also it was complex enough that users could focus on it while the other games were being released. Also available for the SNES at release was the legendary Sci-Fi racing game F-Zero, the first semi-3D flight game (using the “Mode 7” graphics layer) PioltWings as well as the first console port of SimCity and Japanese space battle favorite, Gradius III.

The later generations of games are repsonsible for many of the most long-lived North American video game series to date. It exposed the market to role-playing games with the release of the runaway hit Final Fantasy II. RPG games had long been popular in Japan but most North American gamers had been lukewarm to the offerings of the NES  and the Sega classic Phantasy Star III had only been moderately successful but after FF2 was released, RPG’s became a major market in the USA. Platform hits such as Donkey Kong Country (the fastest selling game in history) and Super Metroid breathed new life into platform games by adding depth and some RPG elements.

Despite the more advanced architecture found in CD-based game systems such as the Sega CD, SNES still managed to outsell it’s 32bit rivals. The device is still popular in Japan but in 2007, Nintendo announced that it could no longer support the device because its parts surplus is virtually empty.

Super Nintendo
US Release: August 23,1991
Processor: Ricoh 5A22 CPU, 21.4 MHz
Memory: 128KB
Video: Progressive 15-bit color stream, 4 planes of backround pixels
Audio: Sony SPC700 16-bit Audio processor with 64K RAM, 8 Channels of audio

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