SNES Emulator for PC Archives

SNES Emulator for PC Archives

SNES Emulator for PC Archives

SNES Emulator for PC Archives

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Windows Mobile / Windows CE Archives - Emulators

  • FPSE FPSE is a Sony Playstation emulator that works with Windows Mobile devices. It will allow you to run playstation games on your PDA (assuming it has enough memory and CPU for the games). Now you can play Metal Gear Solid and Rayman 2 on your Windows Mobile device along with many other great Playstation games.
  • Genesis Plus Genesis Plus is a Sega Genesis/Megadrive emulation for the Pocket PC that enables you to play Sega games on a Pocket PC.
  • GNU Emu48CE for Pocket PC This is an emulator of the HP48, HP49, HP39 and HP40 calculators for the Pocket PC.
  • PocketGBA Gameboy Advance PocketGBA Gameboy Advance is an emulater for the Pocket PC / Windows Mobile that allows you to emulate the Gameboy Advance on your Pocket PC. It can be downloaded for free.
  • SnesGo SnesGo is an SNES emulator for Windows Mobile that lets your run a variant of PocketSNES that has a number of optimizations and bug fixes.
  • WiMoRun WiMoRun is a free utility that can be downloaded for Windows Mobile devices. It emulates the Windows 'run' command and allows you to execute programs on your Windows Mobile device by typing in the name.
  • zaTelnet zaTelnet is a freeware ssh and terminal client written for the Pocket PC / Windows Mobile. It supports SSH, SSH1, SSH2 and emulates a vr100 terminal, allowing yout access external systems directly from your mobile device.

Last updated:Sun Sep 25 13:28:06 CDT 2011

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Home video game console developed by Nintendo

Top: North American (NTSC) SNES (c. 1991)
Bottom: European (PAL) SNES, Japanese Super Famicom.
Other variations are pictured under Casing below
Also known asSNES
Super NES
  • JP: Super Famicom
  • KOR: Super Comboy
Super Nintendo
DeveloperNintendo R&D2
TypeHome video game console
GenerationFourth generation
Release date
Introductory price¥25,000
Units soldWorldwide: 49.10 million[5]
North America 23.35 million
Japan: 17.17 million
Other: 8.58 million
MediaROM cartridge
CPURicoh 5A22 @ 3.58 MHz
SoundNintendo S-SMP
Online servicesSatellaview (Japan only)
XBAND (USA and Canada only)
Nintendo Power (Japan only)
Best-selling game
PredecessorNintendo Entertainment System
SuccessorNintendo 64

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES),[b] also known as the Super NES[c] or Super Nintendo,[d] is a 16-bithome video game console developed by Nintendo that was released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea,[16] 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Australasia (Oceania), and 1993 in South America. In Japan, the system is called the Super Famicom (SFC).[e] In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy[f] and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics.[17] The system was released in Brazil on August 30, 1993,[16][18] by Playtronic. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent the different cartridges from being compatible with one another.

The SNES is Nintendo's second programmable home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities compared with other systems at the time. The system was designed to accommodate the ongoing development of a variety of enhancement chips integrated in game cartridges to be competitive into the next generation.

The SNES received critical acclaim and was a global success, becoming the best-selling console of the 16-bit era after launching relatively late and facing intense competition from Sega's Genesis console in North America and Europe. Overlapping the NES's 61.9 million unit sales, the SNES remained popular well into the 32-bit era, with 49.1 million units sold worldwide by the time it was discontinued in 2003. It continues to be popular among collectors and retro gamers, with new homebrew games and Nintendo's emulated rereleases, such as on the Virtual Console, the Super NES Classic Edition, and Nintendo Switch Online.


Early concept designs for the SNES, referred to as the "Nintendo Entertainment System 2"

To compete with the popular Family Computer in Japan, NEC Home Electronics launched the PC Engine in 1987, and Sega followed suit with the Mega Drive in 1988. The two platforms were later launched in North America in 1989 as the TurboGrafx-16 and the Sega Genesis respectively. Both systems were built on 16-bit architectures and offered improved graphics and sound over the 8-bit NES. However, it took several years for Sega's system to become successful.[19] Nintendo executives were in no rush to design a new system, but they reconsidered when they began to see their dominance in the market slipping.[20]


The four-color Super Famicom mark (left) is part of the Super NES logo in the PAL and JP regions. The colors correspond to those of the ABXY buttons of the control pad in those regions. A different logo was used for the North American version (right), consisting of a striped background outlining four oval shapes.

Designed by Masayuki Uemura, the designer of the original Famicom, the Super Famicom was released in Japan on Wednesday, November 21, 1990 for ¥25,000 (equivalent to ¥27,804 in 2019). It was an instant success; Nintendo's initial shipment of 300,000 units sold out within hours, and the resulting social disturbance led the Japanese government to ask video game manufacturers to schedule future console releases on weekends.[21] The system's release also gained the attention of the Yakuza, leading to a decision to ship the devices at night to avoid robbery.[22]

With the Super Famicom quickly outselling its rivals, Nintendo reasserted itself as the leader of the Japanese console market.[23] Nintendo's success was partially due to the retention of most of its key third-party developers, including Capcom, Konami, Tecmo, Square, Koei, and Enix.[24]

Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a redesigned version of the Super Famicom, in North America for US$199 (equivalent to $373.54 in 2019). It began shipping in limited quantities on August 23, 1991,[a][30] with an official nationwide release date of September 9, 1991.[31] The SNES was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April 1992 for GB£150 (equivalent to £312.7 in 2019), [32]with a German release following a few weeks later.[citation needed]

Most of the PAL region versions of the console use the Japanese Super Famicom design, except for labeling and the length of the joypad leads. The Playtronic SNES in Brazil, although PAL-M, uses the North American design.[33] Both the NES and SNES were released in Brazil in 1993 by Playtronic, a joint venture between the toy company Estrela and consumer electronics company Gradiente.[34]

The SNES and Super Famicom launched with few games, but these games were well received in the marketplace. In Japan, only two games were initially available: Super Mario World and F-Zero.[35] (A third game, Bombuzal, was released during the launch week.[36]) In North America, Super Mario World launched as a bundle with the console; other launch games include F-Zero, Pilotwings (both of which demonstrate the console's Mode 7 pseudo-3D rendering capability), SimCity, and Gradius III.[37]

Console wars[edit]

The rivalry between Nintendo and Sega resulted in what has been described as one of the most notable console wars in video game history,[38] in which Sega positioned the Genesis as the "cool" console, with games aimed at older audiences, and aggressive advertisements that occasionally attacked the competition.[39] Nintendo, however, scored an early public-relations advantage by securing the first console conversion of Capcom's arcade classic Street Fighter II for SNES, which took more than a year to make the transition to the Genesis. Though the Genesis had a two-year lead to launch time, a much larger library of games, and a lower price point,[40] it only represented an estimated 60% of the American 16-bit console market in June 1992,[41] and neither console could maintain a definitive lead for several years. Donkey Kong Country is said to have helped establish the SNES's market prominence in the latter years of the 16-bit generation,[42][43][44][45] and for a time, maintain against the PlayStation and Saturn.[46] According to Nintendo, the company had sold more than 20 million SNES units in the U.S.[47] According to a 2014 Wedbush Securities report based on NPD sales data, the SNES outsold the Genesis in the U.S. market.[48]

Changes in policy[edit]

During the NES era, Nintendo maintained exclusive control over games released for the system—the company had to approve every game, each third-party developer could only release up to five games per year (but some third parties got around this by using different names, such as Konami's "Ultra Games" brand), those games could not be released on another console within two years, and Nintendo was the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of NES cartridges. However, competition from Sega's console brought an end to this practice; in 1991, Acclaim began releasing games for both platforms, with most of Nintendo's other licensees following suit over the next several years; Capcom (which licensed some games to Sega instead of producing them directly) and Square were the most notable holdouts.[49]

Nintendo continued to carefully review submitted games, scoring them on a 40-point scale and allocating marketing resources accordingly. Each region performed separate evaluations.[50] Nintendo of America also maintained a policy that, among other things, limited the amount of violence in the games on its systems. The surprise arcade hit Mortal Kombat (1992), a gory fighting game with huge splashes of blood and graphically violent fatality moves, was heavily censored by Nintendo.[g] Because the Genesis version retains all of the gore,[51] it outsold the censored SNES version by a ratio of nearly three to one.[52]

U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Joe Lieberman convened a Congressional hearing on December 9, 1993, to investigate the marketing of violent video games to children.[h] Though Nintendo took the high ground with moderate success, the hearings led to the creation of the Interactive Digital Software Association and the Entertainment Software Rating Board and the inclusion of ratings on all video games.[51][52] With these ratings in place, Nintendo decided its censorship policies were no longer needed.[52]

32-bit era and beyond[edit]

While other companies were moving on to 32-bit systems, Rare and Nintendo proved that the SNES was still a strong contender in the market. In November 1994, Rare released Donkey Kong Country, a platform game featuring 3D models and textures pre-rendered on SGI workstations. With its detailed graphics, fluid animation and high-quality music, Donkey Kong Country rivals the aesthetic quality of games that were being released on newer 32-bit CD-based consoles. In the last 45 days of 1994, 6.1 million copies were sold, making it the fastest-selling video game in history to that date. This game sent a message that early 32-bit systems had little to offer over the SNES, and proved the market for the more advanced consoles of the near future.[53][54] According to TRSTS reports, two of the top five best-selling games in the U.S. for December 1996 are SNES games.[55]

In October 1997, Nintendo released a redesigned model of the SNES (the SNS-101 model referred to as "New-Style Super NES") in North America for US$99, with some units including the pack-in game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.[56][57] Like the earlier redesign of the NES (model NES-101), the new model is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor,[57] but it lacks S-Video and RGB output, and it is among the last major SNES-related releases in the region. A similarly redesigned Super Famicom Jr. was released in Japan at around the same time.[58] However, the redesign did not make it to Europe.

Nintendo ceased the production of the SNES in North America in 1999,[6] about two years after releasing Kirby's Dream Land 3 (its final first-party game in the US) on November 27, 1997, and a year after releasing Frogger (its final third-party game in the US). In Japan, Nintendo continued production of both the Family Computer and the Super Famicom until September 25, 2003,[7] and new games were produced until the year 2000, ending with the release of Metal Slader Glory Director's Cut on November 29, 2000.[59]

Many popular SNES games were ported to the Game Boy Advance, which has similar video capabilities. In 2005, Nintendo announced that SNES games would be made available for download via the Wii's Virtual Console service.[60] On October 31, 2007, Nintendo Co., Ltd. announced that it would no longer repair Family Computer or Super Famicom systems due to an increasing shortage of the necessary parts.[61] On March 3, 2016, Nintendo Co., Ltd. announced that it would bring SNES games to the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL (and later the New Nintendo 2DS XL) via its eShop download service.[62] At the Nintendo Direct event on September 4, 2019, Nintendo announced that it would be bringing select SNES games to the Nintendo Switch Online platform.[63][64]


Technical specifications[edit]

The 16-bit design of the SNES[65] incorporates graphics and sound co-processors that perform tiling and simulated 3D effects, a palette of 32,768 colors, and 8-channel ADPCM audio. These base platform features, plus the ability to dramatically extend them all through substantial chip upgrades inside of each cartridge, represent a leap over the 8-bit NES generation and some significant advantages over 16-bit competitors such as the Genesis.[66]

CPU and RAM[edit]

CPU reference
Processor16-bit Custom WDC 65C816 core
Clock rates(NTSC)Input: 21.47727 MHz
Bus: 3.58 MHz, 2.68 MHz, or 1.79 MHz
Clock rates(PAL)Input: 21.28137 MHz
Bus: 3.55 MHz, 2.66 MHz, or 1.77 MHz
Buses24-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

The CPU is a Ricoh 5A22, which is a derivative of the 16-bit WDC 65C816 microprocessor. In NTSC regions, its nominal clock speed is 3.58 MHz but the CPU will slow down to either 2.68 MHz or 1.79 MHz when accessing some slower peripherals.[67]

This CPU has an 8-bit data bus and two address buses. The 24-bit "Bus A" is designated for general accesses, and the 8-bit "Bus B" can access support chip registers such as the video and audio co-processors.

The WDC 65C816 also supports an 8-channel DMA unit; an 8-bit parallel I/O port a controller port interface circuits allowing serial and parallel access to controller data; a 16-bit multiplication and division unit; and circuitry for generating non-maskable interrupts on V-blank and IRQ interrupts on calculated screen positions.[67]

Early revisions of the 5A22 used in SHVC boards are prone to spontaneous failure; this can produce a variety of symptoms including graphics glitches during Mode 7 operation, a black screen on power-on, or inability to read the controllers properly.[68] The first revision 5A22 also had a fatal bug in the DMA controller that could cause games to crash when running; this was corrected in subsequent revisions.[69]

The console contains 128 KB of general-purpose RAM, which is separate from the RAM dedicated to the video and audio subsystems.


Video reference
ResolutionsProgressive: 256×224 (8:7), 512×224 (16:7), 256×239 (256:239), 512×239 (512:239)
Interlaced: 512×448 (8:7), 512×478 (256:239)
Pixel depth2, 4, 7, or 8 bpp indexed; 8 or 11 bpp direct
Total colors32768 (15-bit)
Sprites128, 32 max per line; up to 64 × 64 pixels
BackgroundsUp 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

The Picture Processing Unit (PPU) consists of two separate but closely tied IC packages. It contains 64 KB of SRAM for storing video data, 544 bytes of object attribute memory (OAM) for storing sprite data, and 256 × 15 bits of color generator RAM (CGRAM) for storing palette data. This CGRAM allows the console to display up to 256 colors, chosen from the 15-bit RGB color space, for a total of 32,768 possible colors. The PPU is clocked by the same signal as the CPU, and generates a pixel every two or four cycles.[65] Eight video modes are available to the programmer:

  • Mode 0: 4 layers, all using 4-color palettes. Each BG uses its own section of the SNES palette. Up to 96 colors can be displayed on the backgrounds, 24 colors per layer.
  • Mode 1: 3 layers, two using 16-color palettes and one using 4-color palettes. Up to 120 colors can be displayed by first two layers and 24 colors by third layer.
  • Mode 2: 2 layers, both using 16-color palettes. Each tile can be individually scrolled. Up to 120 colors can be displayed on screen.
  • Mode 3: 2 layers, one using the full 256-color palette and one using 16-color palettes. The 256-color layer can also directly specify colors from an 11-bit (RGB443) colorspace. Up to 256 colors displayed by first layer and 120 colors by second layer.
  • Mode 4: 2 layers, one using the full 256-color palette and one using 4-color palettes. The 256-color layer can directly specify colors, and each tile can be individually scrolled. Up to 256 colors displayed by first layer and 24 colors by second layer.
  • Mode 5: 2 layers, one using 16-color palettes and one using 4-color palettes. Tile decoding is altered to facilitate use of the 512-width and interlaced resolutions. Up to 120 colors displayed by first layer and 24 colors by second layer.
  • Mode 6: 1 layer, using 16-color palettes. Tile decoding is as in Mode 5, and each tile can be individually scrolled. Up to 120 colors can be displayed on screen.
  • Mode 7: 1 layer of 128×128 tiles of size 8×8 from a set of 256, which may be interpreted as a 256-color one-plane layer or a 128-color two-plane layer. The layer may be rotated and scaled using matrix transformations. A programming technique called HDMA can be used to change the matrix parameters for each scanline in order to generate perspective effects.


Audio reference
ProcessorsNintendo S-SMP
Clock ratesInput: 24.576 MHz
SPC700: 1.024 MHz
Output8 channels, stereo
  • ADSR envelope control
  • Frequency scaling and modulation using Gaussian interpolation
  • Echo: 8-tap FIR filter, with up to .24s delay
  • Noise generation

The audio subsystem is called the S-SMP, which is a dedicated single chip consisting of an 8-bit CPU, a 16-bit DSP, and 64 KB of SRAM. It is designed and produced by Sony[70] and is completely independent from the rest of the system. It is clocked at a nominal 24.576 MHz in both NTSC and PAL systems. It is capable of producing stereo sound, composed from 8 voices generated using 8 bit audio samples and various effects such as echo.[71]

Regional lockout[edit]

Nintendo employed several types of regional lockout, including both physical and hardware incompatibilities.

A cartridge shape comparison
Top: North American design
Bottom: Japanese and PAL region design.
The bottom cartridge also illustrates the optional pins used by enhancement chips such as the Super FX 3D chip.

Physically, the cartridges are shaped differently for different regions. North American cartridges have a rectangular bottom with inset grooves matching protruding tabs in the console, and other regions' cartridges are narrower with a smooth curve on the front and no grooves. The physical incompatibility can be overcome with use of various adapters, or through modification of the console.[72][73]

Internally, a regional lockout chip (CIC) within the console and in each cartridge prevents PAL region games from being played on Japanese or North American consoles and vice versa. The Japanese and North American machines have the same region chip. This can be overcome through the use of adapters, typically by inserting the imported cartridge in one slot and a cartridge with the correct region chip in a second slot. Alternatively, disconnecting one pin of the console's lockout chip will prevent it from locking the console; hardware in later games can detect this situation, so it later became common to install a switch to reconnect the lockout chip as needed.[74]

PAL consoles face another incompatibility when playing out-of-region cartridges: the NTSC video standard specifies video at 60 Hz but PAL operates at 50 Hz, resulting in an approximately 16.7% slower framerate. Additionally, PAL's higher resolution results in letterboxing of the output image.[72] Some commercial PAL region releases exhibit this same problem and, therefore, can be played in NTSC systems without issue, but other games will face a 20% speedup if played in an NTSC console. To mostly correct this issue, a switch can be added to place the SNES PPU into a 60 Hz mode supported by most newer PAL televisions. Later games will detect this setting and refuse to run, requiring the switch to be thrown only after the check completes.[75]


Super Nintendo Entertainment System cases
  • Japanese SHVC-001 model

  • North American SNS-001 model

  • PAL-region SNSP-001A model

  • Japanese SHVC-101 model

  • South Korean SNSN-001 model

  • Nintendo Super System controller

All versions of the SNES are predominantly gray, of slightly different shades. The original North American version, designed by Nintendo of America industrial designer Lance Barr[76] (who previously redesigned the Famicom to become the NES[77]), has a boxy design with purple sliding switches and a dark gray eject lever. The loading bay surface is curved, both to invite interaction and to prevent food or drinks from being placed on the console and spilling as had happened with the flat surfaced NES.[76] The Japanese and European versions are more rounded, with darker gray accents and buttons. The North American New-Style Super NES (model SNS-101) and the Japanese Super Famicom Jr. (model SHVC-101), all designed by Barr, are both smaller with a rounded contour; however, the SNS-101 buttons are purple where the Super Famicom Jr. buttons are gray. The European and American versions of the SNES controllers have much longer cables compared to the Japanese Super Famicom controllers.

All versions incorporate a top-loading slot for game cartridges, although the shape of the slot differs between regions to match the different shapes of the cartridges. The MULTI OUT connector (later used on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube) can output composite video, S-Video and RGB signals, as well as RF with an external RF modulator.[78][79] Original versions additionally include a 28-pin expansion port under a small cover on the bottom of the unit and a standard RF output with channel selection switch on the back;[80] the redesigned models output composite video only, requiring an external modulator for RF.[81]

Yellowing of console plastic with age

The ABS plastic used in the casing of some older SNES and Super Famicom consoles is particularly susceptible to oxidization with exposure to air, likely due to an incorrect mixture of the stabilizing or flame retarding additives. This, along with the particularly light color of the original plastic, causes affected consoles to quickly become yellow; if the sections of the casing came from different batches of plastic, a "two-tone" effect results.[82] This issue may be reversed with a method called Retrobrighting, where a mixture of chemicals is applied to the case and exposed to UV light.[83]

The Nintendo Super System is an arcade system for retail preview of 11 particular SNES games in the United States, similar to the PlayChoice-10 for NES games. It consists of slightly modified SNES hardware with a menu interface and 25-inch monitor, that allows gameplay for a certain amount of time depending on game credits.[84][85] Manufacturing of this model was discontinued in 1992.[86][87]

Game cartridge[edit]

SNES games are distributed on ROM cartridges, officially referred to as Game Pak in most Western regions,[88] and as Cassette (カセット, Kasetto) in Japan and parts of Latin America.[89] Though the SNES can address 128 Mbit,[i] only 117.75 Mbit are actually available for cartridge use. A fairly normal mapping could easily address up to 95 Mbit of ROM data (48 Mbit at FastROM speed) with 8 Mbit of battery-backed RAM. However, most available memory access controllers only support mappings of up to 32 Mbit. The largest games released (Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean) contain 48 Mbit of ROM data,[90][91] and the smallest games contain only 2 Mbit.

Cartridges may also contain battery-backed SRAM to save the game state, extra working RAM, custom coprocessors, or any other hardware that will not exceed the maximum current rating of the console.


Super Nintendo Entertainment System cartridges.
Top: North American design
Bottom: PAL/Japanese region design

1757 games were officially released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; 717 in North America (plus 4 championship cartridges), 521 in Europe, 1,448 in Japan, 231 on Satellaview, and 13 on Sufami Turbo. Many SNES games such as Super Mario World (1990), The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991), Donkey Kong Country (1994), EarthBound (1994), Super Metroid (1994), Yoshi's Island (1995), and others, are often cited to be some of the greatest video games of all time; numerous SNES games have been rereleased several times, including on the Virtual Console, Super NES Classic Edition, and the classic games service on Nintendo Switch Online. It is possible to play all original Game Boy games on the SNES with the Super Game Boy add-on. In the intervening years many emulatorsfor SNES software have been produced. Some SNES games support Mode 7, a graphics mode which transforms the background layer into a two-dimensional horizontal texture-mapped plane that trades height for depth.


The North American SNES controller

The standard SNES controller adds X and Y face buttons to the design of the NES iteration, arranging the four in a diamond shape, and adds two shoulder buttons. It features an ergonomic design by Lance Barr, later used for the NES-102 model controllers, also designed by Barr.[76][77] The Japanese and PAL region versions incorporate the colors of the four action buttons into the system's logo. The North American version's buttons are colored to match the redesigned console; the X and Y buttons are lavender with concave faces, and the A and B buttons are purple with convex faces. Several later consoles derive elements of their controller design from the SNES, including the PlayStation, Dreamcast, Xbox, and Wii Classic Controller.[92][93][94]

Throughout the course of its life, a number of peripherals were released which added to the functionality of the SNES. Many of these devices were modeled after earlier add-ons for the NES: the Super Scope is a light gun functionally similar to the NES Zapper (though the Super Scope features wireless capabilities) and the Super Advantage is an arcade-style joystick with adjustable turbo settings akin to the NES Advantage. Nintendo also released the SNES Mouse in conjunction with Mario Paint. Hudson Soft, under license from Nintendo, released the Super Multitap, a multiplayer adapter for use with its popular series of Bomberman games. Some of the more unusual controllers include the BatterUP baseball bat, the Life Fitness Entertainment System (an exercise bike controller with built-in monitoring software),[95] and the TeeV Golf golf club.[96][97]

Though Nintendo never released an adapter for playing NES games on the SNES, the Super Game Boy adapter cartridge allows games designed for Nintendo's portable Game Boy system to be played on the SNES. The Super Game Boy touts several feature enhancements over the Game Boy, including palette substitution, custom screen borders, and access to the SNES console's features by specially enhanced Game Boy games.[98] Japan also saw the release of the Super Game Boy 2, which adds a communication port to enable a second Game Boy to connect for multiplayer games.

Like the NES before it, the SNES has unlicensed third-party peripherals, including a new version of the Game Geniecheat cartridge designed for use with SNES games.

Soon after the release of the SNES, companies began marketing backup devices such as the Super Wildcard, Super Pro Fighter Q, and Game Doctor.[99] These devices create a backup of a cartridge. They can also be used to play illicit ROM images or to create copies of rented video games, violating copyright laws in many jurisdictions.

Japan saw the release of the Satellaview, a modem which attaches to the Super Famicom's expansion port and connected to the St.GIGAsatellite radio station from April 23, 1995 to June 30, 2000. Satellaview users could download gaming news and specially designed games, which were frequently either remakes of or sequels to older Famicom games, and released in installments.[100] In the United States, the relatively short-lived XBAND allowed users to connect to a network via a dial-up modem to compete against other players around the country.

During the SNES's life, Nintendo contracted with two different companies to develop a CD-ROM-based peripheral for the console to compete with Sega's CD-ROM based add-on, Sega CD. Although a SNES-CD prototype console was produced by Sony, Nintendo's deals with both Sony and Philips were canceled, with Philips gaining the right to release a series of games based on Nintendo franchises for its CD-imultimedia console and Sony going on to develop its own PlayStation console based on its initial dealings with Nintendo.[101][102]

Enhancement chips[edit]

Star Fox, the first game to utilize the Super FX chip, as shown with the polygonal models that compose a large portion of the game's graphics

As part of the overall plan for the SNES, rather than include an expensive CPU that would still become obsolete in a few years, the hardware designers made it easy to interface special coprocessor chips to the console, just like the MMC chips used for most NES games. This is most often characterized by 16 additional pins on the cartridge card edge.[103]

The Super FX is a RISC CPU designed to perform functions that the main CPU can not feasibly do. The chip is primarily used to create 3D game worlds made with polygons, texture mapping and light source shading. The chip can also be used to enhance 2D games.[104]

The Nintendo fixed-point digital signal processor (DSP) chip allowed for fast vector-based calculations, bitmap conversions, both 2D and 3D coordinate transformations, and other functions.[105] Four revisions of the chip exist, each physically identical but with different microcode. The DSP-1 version, including the later 1A and 1B bug fix revisions, is used most often; the DSP-2, DSP-3, and DSP-4 are used in only one game each.[106]

Similar to the 5A22 CPU in the console, the SA-1 chip contains a 65c816 processor core clocked at 10 MHz, a memory mapper, DMA, decompression and bitplane conversion circuitry, several programmable timers, and CIC region lockout functionality.[104]

In Japan, games could be downloaded cheaper than standard cartridges, from Nintendo Power kiosks onto special cartridges containing flash memory and a MegaChips MX15001TFC chip. The chip manages communication with the kiosks to download ROM images, and has an initial menu to select a game. Some were published both in cartridge and download form, and others were download only. The service closed on February 8, 2007.[107]

Many cartridges contain other enhancement chips, most of which were created for use by a single company in a few games;[106] the only limitations are the speed of the SNES itself to transfer data from the chip and the current limit of the console.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Approximately 49.1 million SNES consoles were sold worldwide, with 23.35 million of those units sold in the Americas and 17.17 million in Japan.[5] Although it could not quite repeat the success of the NES, which sold 61.91 million units worldwide,[5] the SNES was the best-selling console of its era.

In a 1997 year-end review, a team of five Electronic Gaming Monthly editors gave the Super Nintendo Entertainment System scores of 5.5, 8.0, 7.0, 7.0, and 8.0. Though they criticized how few new games were coming out for the system and how dated its graphics were compared to current generation consoles, they regarded its selection of must-have games to be still unsurpassed. Additionally noting that used SNES games were readily available in bargain bins, most of them still recommended buying a SNES.[108] In 2007, GameTrailers named the SNES as the second-best console of all time in their list of top ten consoles that "left their mark on the history of gaming", citing its graphics, sound, and library of top-quality games.[109] In 2015, they also named it the best Nintendo console of all time, saying, "The list of games we love from this console completely annihilates any other roster from the Big N."[110] Technology columnist Don Reisinger proclaimed "The SNES is the greatest console of all time" in January 2008, citing the quality of the games and the console's dramatic improvement over its predecessor;[111] fellow technology columnist Will Greenwald replied with a more nuanced view, giving the SNES top marks with his heart, the NES with his head, and the PlayStation (for its controller) with his hands.[112] GamingExcellence also gave the SNES first place in 2008, declaring it "simply the most timeless system ever created" with many games that stand the test of time and citing its innovation in controller design, graphics capabilities, and game storytelling.[113] At the same time, GameDaily rated it fifth of the ten greatest consoles for its graphics, audio, controllers, and games.[114] In 2009, IGN named the Super Nintendo Entertainment System the fourth-best video game console, complimenting its audio and number of AAA games.[92]


Like the NES before it, the SNES has retained a long-lived fan base. It has continued to thrive on the second-hand market, emulators, and remakes. The SNES has taken the same revival path as the NES.

Emulation projects began with the initial release of VSMC in 1994, and Super Pasofami became the first working SNES emulator in 1996.[115] During that time, two competing emulation projects—Snes96 and Snes97—merged to form Snes9x.[104] In 1997, SNES enthusiasts began programming an emulator named ZSNES.[116] In 2004, higan began development as bsnes, in an effort to emulate the system as closely as possible.

Nintendo of America took the same stance against the distribution of SNES ROM image files and the use of emulators as it did with the NES, insisting that they represented flagrant software piracy.[117] Proponents of SNES emulation cite discontinued production of the SNES constituting abandonware status, the right of the owner of the respective game to make a personal backup via devices such as the Retrode, space shifting for private use, the desire to develop homebrew games for the system, the frailty of SNES ROM cartridges and consoles, and the lack of certain foreign imports. Nintendo designed a hobbyist development system for the SNES, but never released it.[118]

Emulation of the SNES is also available on platforms such as Android,[119] and iOS,[120][121] the Nintendo DS line,[122] the Gizmondo,[123] the Dingoo and the GP2X by GamePark Holdings,[124] as well as PDAs.[125] Individual games have been included with emulators on some GameCube discs, and Nintendo's Virtual Console service for the Wii marks the introduction of officially sanctioned general SNES emulation.

A dedicated mini-console, the Super NES Classic Edition, was released in September 2017 after the NES Classic Edition. The emulation-based system, which is physically modeled after the North American and European versions of the SNES in their respective regions, is bundled with two SNES-style controllers and comes preloaded with 21 games, including the previously unreleased Star Fox 2.[126]


  1. ^ abAccording to Stephen Kent's The Ultimate History of Video Games, the official launch date was September 9.[25]
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SNES Emulator for PC Archives

Snes9X Tutorial

About Snes9X

This tutorial is to help you with Snes9X for Windows. Snes9X is one of the best SNES emulators out there. It offers high game compatibility, runs well even on low-end PCs, and offers tons of great features. It's easy to use, too. Sometime around 2010, Snes9X was split off into two versions: Snes9X-64 and Snes9X-32. Snes9X-64 is optimized for 64-bit Windows and Snes9X-32 is optimized for 32-bit Windows.

*If you would like to download Snes9X, I have it on my emulators page.

Should you use Snes9X?

With all the emulator offerings as of 2020, should you use Snes9X? Well, it depends. There are several options for Super Nintendo emulation. If your computer can handle a CPU heavy emulator, BSNES is the #1 SNES emulator for its cycle-accurate emulation. RetroArch is a popular multi-system emulator that supports multiple cores (emulators) for SNES emulation.

Snes9X is still a good option if you want a standalone emulator that 'just works out of the box'. It's simple and very easy to use. Unless you're an emulation purist, you won't notice the difference between the emulation quality of Snes9X and a cycle-accurate emulator.

64-bit and 32-bit versions

When you go to download Snes9X, the first thing you're going to see is two versions: 64-bit and 32-bit. So what is that and which version do you download? I won't drown you with technical jargon. In short: these are types of Windows systems. 64-bit is newer and faster, and 32-bit is older and slower. If you have 64-bit Windows, you need to download the 64-bit version of Snes9X. And vice versa with 32-bit.

They stopped making 32-bit computers around 2017, so chances are you're most likely using a 64-bit computer. If you're not sure if you have 64-bit or 32-bit Windows, here's how you can check:

  1. On the bottom left where you see Search the web and Windows, do a search for “64-bit”.
  2. You'll see this come up: “See if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows”. Click it.
  3. You'll arrive here . Look for “System type”. If it says “64-bit operating system” then you're using 64-bit Windows. If it says “32-bit operating system” then you're using 32-bit Windows.

Using Windows XP? Here are directions for that .


Snes9X is a standalone program so it does not have an install wizard. Installation is simple: just extract Snes9X from its zip file. Not sure how to extract zip files? Here's a video tutorial showing you how: how to unzip files on Windows.

IMPORTANT! Snes9X must be placed in a common folder on your computer. I recommend Documents, Downloads, or create a folder on your desktop. If you place Snes9X somewhere else on your main C drive, then you may be restricting it to read-only access. Doing so prevents Snes9X from saving anything.

To open Snes9X, double-click on

Q: Application was unable to start correctly?

Upon opening Snes9X, you might get this error:

The application was unable to start correctly (0x000007b). Click OK to close the application.

This error happens on some machines when using Snes9X-64 on 64-bit Windows 7. The resolution is simple: just use Snes9X-32 instead. I know, it's a confusing contradiction. Snes9X-64 was specifically optimized for 64-bit Windows. Yet to resolve this error you need Snes9X-32 that was optimized for 32-bit Windows.

Q: Unable to initialize XAudio2?

Upon opening Snes9X, you might get this error :

Unable to initialize XAudio2. You will not be able to hear any sound effects or music while playing.

It is usually caused by not having a recent DirectX release installed.

You need to install the full DirectX package. You can download it here: DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer (284 KB). This installer promises to install all the legacy files that correct issues such as this.

Q: ddx9_38.dll is missing?

Upon opening Snes9X, you might get this error:

The program can't start because ddx9_38.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix the problem.

You need to install the full DirectX package. You can download it here: DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer (284 KB). This installer promises to install all the legacy files that correct issues such as this.

Setting up the keyboard or gamepad

Click on Input > Joypad Configuration, or press Alt+F7. You'll end up here:

This box tells you the buttons that correspond to each SNES button. To reassign a button to another keyboard key or a gamepad button, just click on the field you want to change. Then press that keyboard key or gamepad button.


By default, Snes9X will jump to the next button after the one you just reassigned. Let's say you just plugged in a new gamepad and you want to avoid having to manually click on each of the 12 buttons. Snes9X can do it automatically! Start by reassigning the first button: Up. After you reassign Up, Snes9X will jump to Left, then Down, then Right, then Z, and so on. Click OK when you're done.

Loading a game

When you open Snes9X for the first time, within its folder it will create a folder called “Roms”. I recommend tossing your games in this folder, but you don't have to.

To load a game:

  1. Click on File > Load Game; or press Ctrl+O.
  2. The “Open” window will pop up with the “Roms” folder in view. From this window click on the game you want to play, then click Open - as shown here .
  3. The game will begin playing immediately.

Q: Failed to initialize display output!

Upon loading a game with Snes9X, you might receive the following error:

Failed to initialize currently selected display output! Try switching to a different output method in the display setting.

First, check these points:

  • Make sure you have the latest version of Snes9X. Simply using the latest version could resolve this issue.
  • Make sure DirectX is installed. You can download it here: DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer (284 KB). This installer promises to install all the legacy files which may fix this problem.
  • Make sure the game you're trying to load is actually a SNES ROM. SNES ROMs are in “smc” or “fig” format. If your ROM is in a zip file, open it and make sure it's smc or fig.

If you're good on the above, this issue is probably happening because your computer is lacking support for OpenGL. So your computer might be old or have a cheap, generic video card. In most cases, changing the output method to DirectDraw resolves this. Here's how to do that:

  1. In Snes9X, access the display configuration by going to Video > Display Configuration.
  2. In Display Configuration, click on the drop-down for “Output Method” and select DirectDraw, as shown below:
  3. Click OK and try loading a game.

If you continue to receive the “Failed to initialize currently selected display output” error then you're out of luck. There's no way to fix this. This is an issue with your computer, not Snes9X. You can't use video game emulators without the ability to use OpenGL or DirectDraw.

Full screen

Press Alt+Enter to enter full screen. Press Alt+Enter again to go back to window mode. During forget, pressing Esc disables/enables the top menu bar.

Output image processing

Output image processing enhances graphics to make them look better than the real thing! This feature is also known as screen renders or screen filters. You can access this feature by clicking on Video > Display Configuration. Look for the box titled “Output Image Processing”, as shown here:

Click on the drop-down (where you see None) and choose a filter you want to try; here's an expanded sample . Snes9X doesn't have an immediate preview, so to see how it looks you need to click OK to close this window. Repeat the process to select a different filter.

About Hi-Res: In the same box you'll see a “Hi Res” option. Thanks to the wonders of emulation, a handful of SNES games can render its font higher than 16-bit! Games such as Seiken Densetsu 3, Romancing SaGa 3, and Treasure of the Rudras. Enabling Hi-Res applies a filter for these special fonts to make them look nice and sharp. Otherwise, these fonts look pixel-ish.

The filters

Here is some explanation and samples for these filters:

  • Forced 1X: the default; no filters applied.
  • Scanlines: adds dark horizontal lines to simulate a TV. Sample:
  • TV Mode: attempts to simulate a TV more so than scanlines. Samples:
  • Blargg's NTSC (Composite), Blargg's NTSC (S-Video), Blargg's NTSC (RGB): an impressive filter that realistically simulates a TV! Sample:
  • SuperEagle, Super2XSaI, 2xSal: smears pixels together with a slight blur. Samples:
  • Dot Matrix: simulates a dot matrix monitor. Sample:
  • hq2x, hq3x, hq4x: a smart filter, which attempts to sharpen and blur when necessary. Sample:
  • EPX A, EPX B, EPX C: attempts to round together pixels without any blurring. Sample:
  • Simple 2X, Simple 3X, Simple 4X: just enlarges the screen with no filters.

Save states

Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in any game. You can use this feature manually by going into the File menu or by quick keyboard shortcuts.

  • Capturing a state: To capture a save state go to File > Save Game Position and choose any of the 9 slots. These slots are reserved to allow you to save up to 9 different save states. The keyboard shortcut for saving states is Shift+F1 to save in Slot 1.
  • Loading a state: To load a state you previously saved, go to File > Load Game Position. Then choose the slot where your save resides. The keyboard shortcut for loading saves is F1 to load from Slot 1.

*All the RPG shrines in my offer complete collections of periodical game saves. With them, you can continue at any significant point in the game. I offer a Game Saves Tutorial where you can learn more about how to use somebody else's saves. You can also learn about how to transfer saves between other emulators.

Fast forward

Fast forward is the feature that speeds up the game. To access it, press the Tab key. Hold it down and let go until you want the fast forwarding to end.

Using Game Genie & Pro Action Replay

  1. First load the game. Click on Cheat > Game Genie, Pro-Action Replay Codes.
  2. (1) In the “Enter Cheat Code” field type the code. You could also Ctrl+V to paste it from a site. There cannot be any spaces in the code!
  3. (2) In the “Cheat Description” field type a short description for the code.
  4. (3) Click on the Add button to add the code. You'll see a box next to it - put a check in that box to activate the code, as shown here .
  5. Repeat the process to enter more codes. Know that Snes9X does support cheats with multiple lines. You need to enter such codes one line at a time, and in order. Click OK when you're done.
  6. Reset or reload the game. If the cheat doesn't work then you either typed it wrong or it's a bad code.

Finding is a good site. The next best source is Google. The best search keywords to use is to type the name of the game then “game genie”. For example: “super mario world game genie”.

Capturing screen shots

While a game is open, just press F12 to capture a screen shot. That's it! You could also do it via the menu by going to File > Save Other > Save Screenshot. Snes9X will place the screen shot as a PNG image in a sub folder called “Screenshots”.

Capturing sprites: Capturing sprites is easier if you disable background layers before capturing a screen shot. Super Nintendo graphics are made up of 5 layers: four graphics layers and the sprites layer. You can turn any of these layers on and off. Keyboard buttons 1-4 turn the graphics layers on/off. Keyboard button 5 turns the sprites layer on/off.

*In need of a graphics editor to edit screen shots? Here are The Best Free Photo Editors.

Recording AVI movies

Want to upload your own SNES gameplay videos to YouTube? Well Snes9X will let you capture them! Here's how you do it:

  1. Play a game up to the point you want to start recording. If you're in full screen mode, press the Esc key to enable the top menu.
  2. Go to File > Record AVI.
  3. Snes9X will prompt you with the Save As window . Where I have the red outline, enter the name you would like for your movie clip, then click Save.
  4. Snes9X will prompt you with the Video Compression window . Leave it as “Full Frames (Uncompressed)” and click OK.
  5. The recording begins. Snes9X will most likely have sound disabled and be running sluggish. Don't worry! That doesn't mean your movie clip will come out the same way. When you're ready to stop the recording, go to File > Stop AVI Recording.
  6. That's it! :) Jump into Snes9X's folder and enter the “Movies” folder. Your movie clip is there.

Converting AVI movies

YouTube won't have a problem playing your video after you upload it. But, yet if you want to edit your AVI recording in a video editor, it might be rejected and not work. In that case, just convert your AVI recording to a more compatible format such as MP4. A great, free video converter is Miro Video Converter. With Miro, all you need to do is drag the AVI over to it, select Format > Video > MP4, and click Convert.

Finding ROMs

In my links page, I have some good links to sites where you can download ROMs. If you want to try to find more sites than what's in my collection of links, just Google around. For example, if you want to download Super Mario World just Google “download super mario world snes”.

Patching ROM hacks

Learn all about patching ROMs with ROM hacks in my Patching Tutorial. Note that the best place to find ROM hacks is

Q: I get a 'checksum fail' error!

This comes up when you play a ROM hack or fan translation. It's normal; everything's fine. It comes up because the size of the ROM increased due to the ROM hacking. It's a misleading error message because that's not a big deal. If you're having problems with your game right now - the bad checksum error has nothing to do with it.

Q: My game freezes at a specific spot!

If your game keeps freezing at a specific point, then you are a victim of the infamous game freeze. It's rare! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there's nothing you can do to fix this problem. Restarting the game from the beginning won't help either. Why does this happen? Well, you can't expect every game to work 100% perfectly with every version of every SNES emulator.

There's hope if the game you're playing is an RPG. If you've been using in-game saving you could copy over the SRM file to another SNES emulator to continue where you left off.

Q: Can I transfer my saves to another emulator?

Snes9X lets you save your game in two ways:

  1. State States: Snes9X's save states are exclusive to Snes9X so they cannot be transferred to other SNES emulators.
  2. Saved RAM: This is the internal save in RPGs. They have an SRM file extension. View this for a clearer picture . SRM files are what can be transferred to other SNES emulators. You can literally just copy & paste the ROM and the SRM file over to the other SNES emulator and it'll pick it up. Although some SNES emulators want to be organized. They require you to dump the SRM file in a designated saves folder. I have a Game Saves Tutorial where you can learn more about transferring saves. You could also learn about using somebody else's saves.

Q: Snes9X isn't saving anything!

If you're using Snes9X for the first time and you're finding that you have all these problems:

  1. Save states aren't working. You save a state, then when you try to reload it nothing happens.
  2. In an RPG when you save your game at a save point and close/re-open Snes9X, you find that the save is lost.
  3. Emulator configurations that you changed such as adding a screen filter aren't saved. When you close/re-open Snes9X, you have to make those configuration changes again.

Then your problem is that you currently have Snes9X in a read-only location on your computer. You must move Snes9X to a more common location such as Documents, Downloads, or a folder on your desktop.

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