16-bit Game Console - Dismantled for reference and curiosity
In 1990 Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES, Super Nintendo or simply SNES) to the Japanese market. In the following year distribution began in the United States followed by Europe and Australia in 1992.
If you're looking at the pictures and thinking, 'that's not a SNES!', you probably grew up in the US where the console's casing was redesigned to be more anglar. As the PAL versions were modeled after the Japanese Super Famicom design, this also affected the cartridge shape. US versions being more boxy and the Japanese and PAL region versions maintaining the more curved shapes. This also means that in some instances in addition to the regional lockout chip, cartridges can't physically be used in a console they weren't designed for without the use of a physical adaptor.
While the US version was reportedly intended to give the console a more, mature or serious appearance, in 1997 it was again re-designed giving it a more rounded look before being discontinued in 1999.
The SNES was Nintendo's second home game console and like its predecessor it be became amazingly popular. So much so it was the most successfully selling console of the 16-bit era. While it entered the 16-bit market late and battled steep competition in the US from SEGA's Genesis console, the sales figures were solid.
You were either a SEGA or a Nintendo console owner, rarely both and most gamers would be ready at a moments notice to argue the facets of their console edging it to superiority. SEGA went with a more mature approach hoping to entice older gamers and tempt younger players wanting to feel more adult with edgy titles and marketing. Whereas Nintendo stuck with predominantly bright colours and solid game design. Nintendo's main win was to secure the home release of CAPCOM's massively successful arcade title 'Street Fighter II' that took almost a year later to appear on SEGA's console. Nintendo did try to get a little edgy by releasing the game title 'Killer Instinct' in a console and game bundle with the game cartridge plastic cast in black.
The Super Nintendo was a family console and often thought to be laughably so by SEGA gamers. This was mainly due to the high level of censorship controlling the release of US titles and as a result most English language versions. A prime example of this is 'Mortal Kombat' sold for both systems. On the Super Nintendo the game was highly censored while the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive version retained all the juicy gore. The sales figures showed the result with the SEGA version out selling Nintendo's release four to one.
Once regulatory bodies had been created to govern game title censorship Nintendo dropped their self censorship policy(s) and released Mortal Kombat II with all the gore intact. Unfortunately it was a little too late to shake the kid safe image for many gamers.
The SNES was an impressive system, developers could choose colours from a pallet of over 32,768, work with 128 sprites and four layers of background; all were created from eight by eight pixel tiles. Sprites can be 8x8, 16x16, 32x32 or 64x64 pixels in size and painted from one of eight, sixteen colour pallets.
In addition, 'Mode 7' is a graphics mode that was meant to set the Super Nintendo apart from other consoles. In essence it's a layer of background tiles that can be scaled and rotated. Imagine Mario Kart with only the ground texture and you've got it; see the last image below for an example.
The audio on the SNES was excellent for the time and like the NES paved the way for many of its games musical tracks to become extremely poplar both at release and today.