Super Nintendo Entertainment System

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
SNES Console.png
Released Japan November 21, 1990
USA August 13, 1991
Europe April 11, 1992
Australia July 3, 1992
Discontinued USA November 30, 1999
Japan September 25, 2003
Predecessor Nintendo Entertainment System
Successor Nintendo 64

“Now you're playing with power. Super power!”
Advertisement slogan for the SNES


The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated to SNES, Super NES or Super Nintendo, Japanese: Super Famicom; also called in early development NES2 or Nintendo Entertainment System 2) is a video game console created by Nintendo. 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 and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Other popular titles are Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Mario Paint.

The Super Famicom was released in Japan on November 21, 1990 while the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in America on August 13, 1991, in Europe in April 1992 and in Australia in July 1992. They were discontinued in 1999, followed by the Famicom model and the SNES/Super Famicom games which discontinued in 2000. It remained popular throughout the 32/64 bit era, selling 49.10 million units during its lifetime. Nintendo also worked with Sony to create the planned add-on, the SNES CD to rival against Sega CD. However, Nintendo's cooperation with Sony crumbled so the SNES CD was moved to Philips for a short time. The projects resulted in the Philips CD-i and the Sony PlayStation.

The SNES was re-released as the SNES 2, being released at the same time as the Nintendo 64. As well as this, it was smaller and lacked the eject button. 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 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 Hedgehog.


The SNES was based on a Japanese console called the Super Famicom. Famicom was a portmanteau of Family and Computer. There are obvious performance and aesthetic differences between the two consoles. It was re-released as a Super Famicom Jr., matching a USA SNES 2, but obviously, with the same differences as the SNES 1 and Super Famicom had.

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

Japan North America Europe/Australia
First model Snes jap.jpg
Super Famicom
SNES Console.png
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Second model SuperFamicom jr.jpg
Super Famicom Jr.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System 2
Europe never released a redesign model?

Cartridge Forms[edit]

Only in North 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 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. Later SNES cartridges opted into a different design because people were possibly breaking their SNES units.[citation needed] 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 North America seems to have this redesign.


Japan and PAL logo.
North American logo.

North America changed its logo to use a black and grey color scheme instead of preserve the colors.


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.

Super Game Boy[edit]

Main article: Super Game Boy
Super Game Boy cartridge.

The Super Game Boy is a cartridge adaptor that allow play of all Game Boy and some Game Boy Color games made backwards compatible to work on the older Game Boy. Some Game Boy games are Super Game Boy enhanced, such as Donkey Kong.

SNES Mouse[edit]

The SNES Mouse.

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

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

Mario Games Compatible With the SNES 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 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 addon 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)
Nintendo Power SF Memory Cassette.jpg

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]

Featuring Mario.

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.

Appearances in the Mario series[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.

References in later console generations[edit]


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

Game gallery[edit]