Super Nintendo: The Console That Defined a Generation of Gamers

Super Nintendo - On This Day

In the early 1990s, video games entered the era of 16-bit graphics. In layman's terms, games then had twice as much processing power available so that their manufacturers could use more detail and deepen gameplay with new perspectives.

Nintendo entered that era a little later than its SEGA competition, but they eventually had the best-selling fourth-generation console. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was launched in the late 1990s in Japan and came to the European market on this day exactly 31 years ago.

Nintendo's second home console had a 16-bit processor clocked at 21.28137 MHz, supported a maximum resolution of 512 × 478 pixels, and had 64 kilobytes of memory to store video data. The console used cassettes with a capacity that would be around six megabytes today, and some of them also came with additional SRAM memory on which, for example, positions in the game could be recorded.

Regardless of our premises, it is interesting how Nintendo launched the SNES console in Japan secretly so that the Japanese mafia would not accidentally steal the console delivery. There were no such problems in Europe, but the console was launched gradually, first in the UK and then later in the rest of the continent.

At first, SNES lagged behind the Sega Mega Drive console in sales. Those two platforms gave a new meaning to the "console war", and Nintendo has been in a worse position for a long time. Namely, violent games such as Mortal Kombat were popular at the time, which Nintendo initially tried to censor, but later relented, so violent games such as Doom or Killer Instinct were also played on the SNES console.

What ultimately decided in favor of Nintendo were quality games. Sega had Sonica, but Nintendo had Super Mario World, Street Fighter 2, Donkey Kong Country, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, Star Fox, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, and many other hits. The list is long, with the fact that we in Europe have officially won fewer SNES games than the American and Japanese markets.

Games for Super Nintendo were produced until 1998, and the console itself until 2003. In total, about 49.1 million copies of the console were sold, of which approximately eight million copies in Europe. The best-selling game for that platform was Super Mario World.

The Super Nintendo console inherited the Nintendo 64. In 2017, Nintendo once again revived the legendary SNES in the Mini edition in a package with two controllers and the 20 best games. Today, some games from the SNES console can be played on the Nintendo Switch, but as part of a subscription to the Switch Online service.

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