Generation Fourth
Manufacturer Nintendo
Release Date

Japan - 21st November 1990

North America - 23rd August 1991

Europe - April 11 1992

On the Market 1990 [JP] - 2003 [JP]
Total Units Sold ~98.2 million
CPU 16-bit 65c816 Ricoh 5A22 3.58 MHz
Top 3 Best Sellers
  1. Super Mario World 20.60 million
  2. Donkey Kong Country 9 million
  3. Super Mario Kart 8 million
  4. Street Fighter 2 6.3 million
Also Known as

Super Famicom (Japan)

Predecessor NES
Successor N64

The SNES or the Super Nintendo Entertainment System is the second home console made by the Japanese country Nintendo. It is alternatively known as SFC, Super Famicom or スーパーファミコン. It is further known in North Korea as Super Comboy.

In this generation, Nintendo was competing with SEGA's Genisis system, Hudson Soft/NEC's Turbo Grafx and SNK with their uber-expensive Neo Geo, with Genisis being the cheapest on the market, at a starting price of $189.99, equivalent to $361 by today's standards. They also had to compete on the handheld market, which shall be covered in a different article.


The SNES had four planned ad-ons, two that released worldwide, one that turned into the Fifth generation console PlayStation and one released exclusively in Japan.

Super Game BoyEdit

Super GameBoy

The Super Game Boy came in the form of a standard SNES cart, but with a slot at the top for Game Boy games. One would have to slot the pack into their system, then plug in an GB cart into the SNES cart. This would allow users to both experience their handheld adventures on the big screen, and play them in full colour [something that handheld technology was unable to do at the time].

Super Game Boy 2Edit

Super GameBoy2

This Japan exclusive add-on was released in 1998, close to the SNES's demise. It also allowed link-up multiplayer, a lot like the hardware it is based on. It came with 8 new borders for emulation, however some games have a built-in border. A few games have exclusive borders, such as Tetris DX. However, this arrived after the release of the N64, so it never left Japan.



Satellaview is an add-on for the Super Nintendo which plugs onto the bottom of the system as an expansion. It had allowed the download of content from TV stations, forming one of the first examples of DLC. Some of the games included F-Zero, Fire Emblem and Harvest Moon.

Nintendo PlayStationEdit

Nintendo PlayStation was a proposed add-on for the SNES, which added CD support for the system. Like the Satellaview, it clipped onto the bottom of the system as an expansion. When Sony first released a standalone, it was originally compatible with SNES carts. However, licensing issues caused Nintendo to partner with Phillips instead, creating the infamously atrocious Phillips CDi.


Processor Ricoh 5A22, based on a 16-bit 65c816 core
Clock rates [NA] Input: 21.47727 MHz

Bus: 3.58 MHz, 2.68 MHz, or 1.79 MHz

Clock rates [EU] Input: 21.28137 MHz

Bus: 3.55 MHz, 2.66 MHz, or 1.77 MHz

Buses 24-bit and 8-bit address buses, 8-bit data bus
Additional Features
   DMA and HDMA
   Timed IRQ
   Parallel I/O processing
   Hardware multiplication and division
Resolutions Progressive: 256 × 224, 512 × 224, 256 × 239, 512 × 239

Interlaced: 512 × 448, 512 × 478

Pixel Depth 2, 4, 7, or 8 bpp indexed; 8 or 11 bpp direct
Total colours 32768 (15-bit)
Sprites 128, 32 max per line; up to 64 × 64 pixels
Backgrounds Up to 4 planes; each up to 1024 × 1024 pixels
   Pixelization (mosaic) per background
   Color addition and subtraction
   Clipping windows (per background, affecting color, math, or both)
   Scrolling per 8 × 8 tile
   Mode 7 matrix operations
Audio Processor Sony SPC700, Sony DSP
Audio Clock Rates Input: 24.576 MHz

SPC700: 1.024 MHz

Format ADPCM, 8 channels
Output 32 kHz 16-bit stereo
Audio Effects
   ADSR envelope control
   Frequency scaling and modulation using Gaussian interpolation
   Echo: 8-tap FIR filter, with up to .24s delay
   Noise generation
Main RAM 128KB
Audio RAM 64KB
Video RAM 64 kB main RAM

512 + 32 bytes sprite RAM 256 × 15 bits palette RAM


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