Retro Video Games and Consoles
Megalong Games > Nintendo SNES
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES or SNES) was built by Nintendo in the 1990s. It was the sucessor to the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States and Europe. It was the major rival of Sega Megadrive/Sega Genesis.
Market History 1988 Nintendo executives at first were not interested in making a new system when rival Sega announced that they would release their 16-Bit Sega Megadrive/Sega Genesis in 1988. However, the executives were quick to see the Genesis taking over the market in North America, due to its large library of sports games and arcade ports, as well as its superior technology. The NES did not do well in Europe, and the Megadrive surpassed the SNES there as well.
Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Nintendo CEO at the time, had put Masayuki Uemura in charge of designing the console. They had originally planned for the Famicom/NES to be 16-bit systems, but those components were too expensive at the time, and so they were 8-bit systems. With the components being cheaper at the time, Nintendo did not hesitate to build a more powerful system.
1990 The Super Famicom was released November 21, 1990 in Japan. The United States Version of the Super NES was released September 1, 1991 with a starting price of $200. The first Super NES set was packaged with Super Mario World and two controllers. The PAL version of the SNES was released in the United Kingdom for ?150 in April 1992. Its German release came a few weeks later.
A few months later, the Power Set, a bare-bones version of the SNES, would be released in North America, which went for $100. Towards the middle of its life, the North American set was distributed like it was the first time, but the game varied. One set was sold with the Super Game Boy accessory.
Internally, the consoles were only different depending on the TV standard in that country. Many Australian video games came from Europe because both used PAL systems. RPG's can be translated into other languages, because of how important the text is in the game. Yet many action titles and shooters didn't have changes to the languages because the text wasn't too important to the game play.
The U. S. release was not as easy as the Super Famicom had been. The SNES was not backwards compatible with the Nintendo Entertainment System, which was a popular system. There was be hesitation to buy a new console when games from the old one wouldn't work. In addition, Sega had gotten some very popular titles out for their Genesis console, including Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic was vital to the Genesis' marketing, as many people favored Sonic over Mario due to the "coolness" factor. In addition, the Genesis was about $50 cheaper than the SNES.
Thanks to the the marginally superior technical capabilities over its main competitor, Nintendo's family-friendly image, popularity of icon game characters like Super Mario, the Super NES was popular throughout the world through the early to mid-1990s. The SNES played a game of catchup and won, although in the United States the Genesis was more successful. In the end Nintendo had twice as many sales of it's console than Sega.
The number of games for the SNES was larger. It many exclusive titles, some of which were considered to be the best video games at the time. It also had many best-selling (and often still expensive) RPGs, such as Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. Some Super NES games are enhanced remakes of Famicom/NES games. One example is Super Mario All Stars, another is Ninja Gaiden Trilogy.
The European console was similar to the Japanese Super Famicom. Nintendo never got much of a footing in Europe, particularly due to the distribution problems. Ironically, there were converters available that allowed users to play Sega Master System games on the Sega Megadrive. Both consoles were very popular in Europe.
1996 An SNES redesign, which was lighter in weight, came out in October 1997 for $99.99 in the United States