Super Nintendo Entertainment System

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The SNES model 1.
Generation Fourth generation
Release date Super Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Famicom:
Japan November 21, 1990
USA August 23, 1991[1]
Europe April 11, 1992
Chile June 8, 1992[2]
Australia July 3, 1992
Brazil August 30, 1993[3]
Super NES Classic Edition:
USA September 29, 2017
Europe September 29, 2017
Australia September 30, 2017
Japan October 5, 2017
Discontinued USA 1999[4]
Japan September 25, 2003
Ratings Super NES Classic Edition:
ESRB:ESRB T.svg - Teen
PEGI:PEGI 12.svg - Twelve years and older
CERO:CERO B.png - Twelve years and older
ACB:ACB M.svg - Mature
USK:USK 12.svg - Twelve years and older
Predecessor Nintendo Entertainment System
Successor Nintendo 64
“Now you're playing with power. Super power!”
Advertisement slogan for the SNES
Super Nintendo Entertainment System logo

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated as SNES, Super NES, or Super Nintendo), called the Super Famicom in Japan, is a video game console created by Nintendo. In early development, it was called Nintendo Entertainment System 2 or NES2. It was the successor to the original Nintendo Entertainment System and rivaled in performance to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. It had many popular games, including Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario All-Stars, Donkey Kong Country, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Other popular titles are Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Mario Paint. It is the last Nintendo console to have a different design and name in America.

The Super Famicom was released in Japan on November 21, 1990, while the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in America on August 23, 1991; in Europe in April 1992; and in Australia in July 1992. They were discontinued in 1999, followed by the Super Famicom model and the SNES/Super Famicom games that discontinued in 2003. It remained popular throughout the 32-/64-bit era, selling 49.1 million units during its lifetime.

The system's S-SMP audio chip, which used ADPCM sample playback instead of a digital synthesizer like competing systems, was developed by consumer electronics company Sony. The success of this partnership resulted in another deal to create the Super NES CD-ROM, a planned peripheral for the SNES that would have been able to play CD-ROM discs, in response to the Japanese success of a similar add-on for the TurboGrafx-16. However, because the contract would have given Sony full control of and royalties for CD-ROM titles, Nintendo publicly terminated their partnership and courted a new deal with Philips, who previously co-developed the Compact Disc format with Sony throughout the 1970s. The Philips deal failed to result in a finished product, and instead, Philips was given the rights to use the Super Mario and Zelda IPs for several titles on its own CD-based multimedia device, the Philips CD-i. Sony, meanwhile, would eventually release the PlayStation in response to its deal with Nintendo falling apart, considerably outselling the Nintendo 64 during the late 1990s.

The SNES was rereleased as the New-Style Super NES on October 20, 1997, in North America.[citation needed] It was smaller and lacked the eject button, and it also could not output the S-Video and RGB signals.

During the SNES era, Nintendo and Sega were at the peak of their rivalry, so in many of the Super Mario games, there were elements that mocked the Sonic the Hedgehog series and vice versa. In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Sonic's boots and the plasma gun from Earthworm Jim are seen next to a bin and labeled "no hopers." In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, there are blue hedgehog enemies that greatly resemble Sonic.


The SNES was based on a Japanese console called the Super Famicom. Famicom was a mix between the word Family and Computer. The two received revisions known as Super Famicom Jr. for Japan and New-Style Super NES for North America.[5] The two redesigns are similar, but they feature the same differences as the original models.

The PAL version is a mix between the Super Famicom and the American SNES, keeping the design of the Super Famicom, while using the name from the American version.

Japan North America/Chile Europe/Australia
First model The Super Famicom.
Super Famicom
The SNES model 1.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
PAL version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Photo by Sandos.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Second model The SNES model 1.
Super Famicom Jr.
The SNES model 2.
New-Style Super NES

Cartridge forms[edit]

Only in America is the design different from other regions. It is possible to play games from other regions as internally the hardware is region free, but one would have to cut out tabs, use a New-Style Super NES, or get an adapter that would otherwise prevent the cartridges from making contact with the cartridge slot. The pin configurations are the same and compatible, unlike the Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System cartridges.

Many early SNES cartridges had a long crevice spanning the cartridge. This was to prevent people from pulling the cartridges out when the system was turned on. These were produced as late as March 1993, as some early Star Fox cartridges were manufactured with this mold. Later SNES cartridges opted into a different design because people were possibly breaking their SNES units[citation needed], at the very earliest of June 1993, as no Yoshi's Cookie or Mario is Missing! cartridges have this mold. The older cartridges will work on the redesigned SNES with no issues. It even lacks the tab to prevent people from pulling the cartridges out. Only America seems to have this redesign.


Japan and PAL logo
American logo

The Japanese and PAL versions of the SNES logo sport bright colors, resembling the shape of the four main buttons on the controller. The North American version of the logo, while still resembling the four buttons, opted for a more muted tone, with a simpler gray and black color scheme.


SNES Controller[edit]

Original Japanese and PAL controller

The SNES Controller is the main controller for the SNES which had a layout which popularized the layout used by most modern controllers. It was also the first controller to have shoulder buttons. The controller is more round-shaped instead of rectangle-shaped from the NES controller.

The American controller is slightly different from the Japanese and the PAL controllers. Instead of having each button be a different bright color, the A Button and B Button buttons were purple and the X Button and Y Button buttons were lavender, tying into the mechanical color scheme of the SNES's American model.

It has the A Button , B Button , Start Button , and Select Button buttons and the +Control Pad from the NES, plus four extra buttons: the X Button , Y Button , L Button , and R Button buttons.

There is also a Wii adaption of the SNES controller for use as a substitution for the Classic Controller with games that support said controller.

LodgeNet SNES Controller

There was also a LodgeNet version for hotels.[6]

Super Game Boy[edit]

Main article: Super Game Boy
Super Game Boy cartridge

The Super Game Boy is a cartridge adapter that allows play of all Game Boy games, as well as Game Boy Color games that were made backwards compatible to work on the original Game Boy, on the Super Nintendo. Some Game Boy games are "Super Game Boy enhanced," such as Donkey Kong.

Super NES Mouse[edit]

The Super NES Mouse

The Super NES Mouse was an accessory for certain Super NES games. It was compatible only with the SNES and was thus only used in the early-to-mid-1990s. The Super NES Mouse mimics the appearance and action of an actual computer mouse; the Super NES Mouse controlled the cursor in some Super Mario games.

The Super NES Mouse was originally bundled with Mario Paint and a mouse pad for $59.95.

Super Mario games compatible with the Super NES Mouse[edit]

Super Scope[edit]

Main article: Super Scope
The Super Scope

The SNES Super Scope is a light gun accessory for the SNES. It has one "fire" button for shooting, either in single bursts or a constant stream, depending on whether or not its on/off switch is set to "turbo". It also has a second "cursor" button and a "pause" button. It was used for very few games, including one Super Mario title, Yoshi's Safari.

Super Multitap[edit]

Super Multitap

The Super Multitap, by Hudson Soft, allowed to turn the player 2 controller port into four controller ports, allowing for up to five simultaneous players, but only if the game supports it. Although no Mario SNES game uses the Super Multitap, Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! for the Game Boy can use the accessory if played in a Super Game Boy, although the game never uses the fifth available controller slot.


Main article: Satellaview
Satellaview under a Super Famicom with special cartridge

A Japan-exclusive add-on for the Super Famicom was the Satellaview. It was the earliest known, commercially available, licensed product by Nintendo to connect to the internet and download games. The Super Famicom Jr. is incompatible because of the missing port underneath the first model had.

SF Memory Cassette[edit]

Main article: Nintendo Power (cartridge)
Super Famicom Memory Cassette

Only in Japan, the SF Memory Cassette is a rewritable version of regular cartridges, through kiosks at retail stores between 1997-2007.

Cleaning Kit[edit]

Mario-themed cleanup kit

Over time, pins inside the SNES and game cartridges would get dirty. Nintendo released an approved cleaning kit to improve the condition of the contacts so games would play without interruption.

Super NES Classic Edition[edit]

Super NES Classic Edition
Main article: Classics#Super NES Classic Edition

Announced on June 26, 2017, the Super NES Classic Edition (known as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom in Japan) is a smaller version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and the successor to the NES Classic Edition. It comes with 21 pre-installed SNES games, including five games in the Super Mario franchise: Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. It was released on September 29, 2017 in North America and Europe, September 30 in Oceania, and October 5 in Japan.

Appearances in the Super Mario franchise[edit]

A spaceship shaped like the PAL version of the SNES appeared in the 1997 Club Nintendo comic, "Die Jagd nach dem Nintendo 64: Krawall im All". It was used as a metaphor, referring to the discontinuation of the console, and the launch of the Nintendo 64. In the comic, Mario and Luigi traveled with this spaceship, in search for a new one. During their quest they had to compete against Wario and Bowser who chased after the new spaceship as well. At the end of the comic, the spacecraft turned out to be the Nintendo 64 and the plumbers went on to take possession of it (abandoning the SNES-spaceship), being hailed by several of their friends. The SNES is also used as the setting for the microgame Super Nostalgic Entertainment System in WarioWare: Smooth Moves. In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, giant SNES controllers appear in both Monkey Museum and the Interior of The Flying Krock. Super Mario World had a Special Zone that used the logo for the Japanese and European markets. In Super Mario Odyssey, one of the filters that is available for use in Snapshot Mode is the graphics style of the SNES.

References in later console generations[edit]


For the Australian Club Nintendo, it had a reward option to request a Wii Classic Controller themed after a European SNES controller.

Game gallery[edit]

System gallery[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Sonifi Solutions (Wikipedia) – A company that has brought Nintendo systems, including the SNES, to hotel rooms


  1. ^ Nintendo of America (August 23, 2021). "On this day 30 years ago, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System launched in North America! What are some of your favorite #SNES games and memories?". Twitter ( Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  2. ^ "Los juegos más recordados a 25 años del lanzamiento de la Super Nintendo". La Tercera
  3. ^
  4. ^ Reisinger, Don. (Jan. 21, 2009). Does the Xbox 360's 'lack of longevity' matter? CNET. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  5. ^ Nintendo. Super NES Hookups. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  6. ^ Nintendrew (August 15, 2018). LodgeNet Game Controllers - Nintendo's Hotel Rental Service! | Nintendrew YouTube. Retrieved March 4, 2020.