1991, the year the Super Famicom made its way to America under the name of Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES, as it’s often called. Many gamers would consider this the first golden era of gaming. The battle between the SNES and the Sega Genesis was intense, as they both went all out with their popular IP’s. But of course, the overall winner was the SNES. It’s been 26 years since its release and even nowadays we still talk about it, but just what made this console, what it is? Well we are here to talk about that.
The Super Nintendo was at its time one heck of a machine. Six years had passed since the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and it had grown outdated. It had very old graphics and sound compared to the newer and “cooler” Sega Genesis that was released in 1989, but this wouldn’t last long as Nintendo had a strong comeback when they launched the SNES. The powerful graphics, big games and advanced audio were a blaze that created a revolution in home gaming consoles.
By the time Nintendo launched the SNES, the Sega Genesis already had the market won, and with over 100 games available, gamers throughout the country loved Sega. However, the Super Nintendo introduced something interesting and appealing. Nintendo had narrative adventures – stories with true emotional depth and charm. The system’s rich color palette, powerful 16-bit graphics and ability to simulate 3D graphics gave game producers liberty and an energy boost so to say. The possibilities of the console made them eager to create games for it: new adventures, RPG’s, action and Co-op games. Games that were born in the NES era saw new light with the SNES, such as Earthbound and The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past.
The dedicated graphics chip ran all the images on screen, allowing the CPU to focus on raw data, such as processing sprites, and the relation object-space in a game.
The SNES sound chip was superior technically, as it had better availability on sound channels and could keep better sample quality. Whereas the Genesis had a synth-like music system, making it more suited for techno and drum/bass music. The SNES audio chip was meant for orchestration like-sound.
The SNES was not a console made to recreate the feeling of an arcade machine – it was made to create a new and original experience of gaming at home. It was the start of a new age in gaming history. It was the first gaming console for many, and sold more than 30 million units. And earned even more millions of hearts of the gamers around the world along the way.