Site Sections

Super Nintendo/Famicom FAQ

Super Nintendo/Famicom F.A.Q.
Version 1.0a
Last updated 3/03/99
Maintained by FM2000 (Lou Cassaniti)
(C) 1997/1998/1999 FM2000 (Lou Cassaniti)

                        TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Document info
 A. Copyright
 B. Disclaimer
 C. Obtaining the FAQ
 D. Contacting the maintainer

II. The SNES in a nutshell
 A. What is the SNES?
 B. Can I play my NES games on the SNES?
 C. What global markets is the SNES released in? What is the SNES called in
    those markets?
 D. What are the differences between the US SNES and the European SNES and
    the Japanese Famicom?
 E. Is the US SNES compatible with European and Japanese games?
 F. What kind of video is the SNES capable of?
 G. What are the technical specs of the SNES?
 H. What is that weird port on the bottom of my SNES?
 I. What's the "new" SNES?
 J. What kind of screwdriver do I need to use with those weird screws that
    SNES hardware and cartridges use?
III. The SNES at Retail
 A. When was the SNES released?
 B. What were the various SNES sets sold?
 C. How much was the SNES?
 D. How many SNESs were sold?

IV. SNES Games
 A. What were all the games released for the SNES?
 B. What are the enhancement chips used in SNES/SFC games?
 C. What was the largest game? The smallest?
 D. Were there any unlicensed games made for the SNES?
 E. What are those "health" games all about?
 F. Are there any SNES multicarts?
 G. What are those extra two 8 pin connectors on some of my games?
 H. The battery inside my game is dead. Can I replace it myself? What kind of
    battery do SNES games use?
 I. How many different SNES games were released?

 V. SNES accessories
  A. What happened to the SNES CD-ROM unit?
  B. What are the cheating devices available for the SNES?
  C. What NES-to-SNES adapters are available?
  D. What is the Super Game Boy?
  E. What is the Super Scope?
  F. What is the SNES Mouse?
  G. What SNES backup/cartridge copiers are available?
  H. What US SNES/SFC/PAL SNES cartridge adaptors exist?

VI. Resources
 A. Magazines
 B. Internet
    1. WWW sites
    2. Newsgroups

VII. Thanks and credits
 A. Publications used
 B. Contributors


I. Document info

 A. Copyright

    This document is copyright (C) 1997 by FM2000 (Lou Cassaniti). It may be
    freely distributed on BBS's, FTP sites, WWW sites, and any other form, so
    long as no money is charged for it. This document is not to be
    distributed in a modified form. If you have a correction, suggestion,
    or addition for the FAQ, by all means, please let me know, and I will
    make the necessary adjustments. Thanks.

 B. Disclaimer

    This FAQ is in not sponsored or in any way endorsed by Nintendo Ltd.,
    Nintendo of America, or anyone associated with Nintendo. No warranty is
    given to the accuracy of the information in this FAQ. This FAQ was
    created and is maintained by FM2000, with contributions from other fans
    of the Super Nintendo.

 C. Obtaining the FAQ

    This FAQ is usually posted monthly to all relevant Nintendo newsgroups.
    The latest version of the FAQ can always be obtained at

 D. Contacting the maintainer

    The maintainer of this FAQ, FM2000, can be reached by email at


II.  The SNES in a nutshell

    A. What is the SNES?

       The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a 16 bit video game
       system from Nintendo. It is the successor to the extraordinarily
       popular Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), an 8 bit system, which
       was Nintendo's flagship system from 1985 to 1991. The SNES is also
       the predecessor to the Nintendo 64 (N64), a 64 bit system, which was
       released in July 1996, and is Nintendo's flagship system today.

    B. Can I play my old NES games on the SNES?

       The SNES cannot play NES games, and there is no adapter from Nintendo
       that would allow you to. But, there are unlicensed adapters that exist
       that do allow you to (See section V - SNES Peripherals, part C).

       Please also note, there is also no way to play your SNES games on the
       N64 that I am aware of.

    C. What global markets is the SNES released in? What is the SNES called
       in those markets?

       The three major global markets for the SNES are North America (US,
       Canada, Mexico), Europe (including the UK), and Japan. Other parts
       of the world usually import games from other regions that use the
       same television standard; for example, many Australian retailers
       sell European games, because they both use the PAL television
       standard. However, some games are marketed specifically for a certain
       country, either inside the three main markets, or for countries
       outside those markets. This is usually done due to problems with
       with the language difference; for example, several RPGs were released
       in Germany, in German, because of the important role the text plays
       in the game. In contrast, a shooter will be distributed throughout
       a region, because the language it is in makes little difference in
       the ability to play and enjoy the game.

       The SNES is known as the Super Famicom (SFC) in Japan, and Super
       Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) everywhere else.

    D. What are the differences between the US SNES and the European SNES
       and Japanese Famicom?

       The Japanese Super Famicom and European SNES are virtually
       identical in appearance. The top of the unit is contoured with power
       and reset switches set into the unit itself. The US SNES is box
       shaped, with a rectangle shaped area on top which is slightly raised,
       which is where the cartridge is inserted. The switches on the US
       SNES are bars which move along the top of the SNES. Overall, the
       Japanese and European model is much more sleek looking. The cartridge
       port in the European and Japanese models is the same, while the US
       model has a larger opening to accommodate the slightly bulkier US
       carts, and has two tabs which prevent insertion of non-US carts (see
       part E below).
       The hardware is virtually identical, with the exception of the
       fact the foreign models generate a picture for viewing on their
       respective regional television standard (NTSC for Japan,
       North America, Philipines, PAL for Europe, Asia, South America,
       Australia), and the lockout chip is different in the PAL (European)
       SNES than the NTSC (US and Japan) models (see part E below).

    E. Is the American SNES compatible with Japanese and European games?

       Control Decks are not compatible with games from outside the region
       they were released in, without a work-around. Every cartridge has a
       regional lockout scheme to prevent it from being used with a SFC/SNES
       in another region, and some have more than one. There are some
       adaptors available which can allow you to get around the lockout
       scheme (see part V section for more info). Below are is a list of the
       lockout schemes used:

       1. Regional Lockout Security Measures Implemented
          US and Japanese games use a chip (see note 3) that prevent games
          from those regions from being run in European Super NES decks,
          but do not prevent Japanese games from being run on North American
          decks and vice versa.

          Japanese and European games, as well as the design of the cartridge
          port, are identical (see note 2). Games from Europe can be inserted
          into Japanese SFC decks, and vice versa. North American SNES decks
          and cartridges are designed differently than their Japanese and
          European counterparts. Games from Japan and Europe cannot be
          inserted (without modification) into North American SNES decks,
          and vice versa.

          To make matters worse, some games implement a form of regional
          lockout called "PAL Protection" (see note 4), which prevents use
          of games designed for PAL systems (Europe) on NTSC (Japan and
          North America).

          So, as you can see, you can insert a European game into a Japanese
          SFC, but the lockout chip prevents it from running. You can
          run a Japanese game on a US deck, but you can't insert it. Plus,
          the cartridge may employ NTSC/PAL protection as well.

          Now that you know what the lockout schemes are, we will now
          discuss how they work and how to disable them.

       2. Physical Lockout

          Inserting Japanese and European games in your American SNES

          Inside your US SNES cartridge well, you will see two small tabs,
          which correspond to the two grooves on the bottom of US games.
          These tabs prevent the insertion of Japanese and European games,
          which do not have the two corresponding grooves. There are two ways
          around this; either physically remove the tabs, or use an adaptor.
          I do *not* recommend physically removing the tabs, because it will
          void your warranty, and there is always a small risk you might
          damage something. An adaptor will extend the cartridge port and
          allow any SFC/European SNES cart to be inserted. Adaptors can be
          found in most video game specialty shops and game importers. (If
          you have an adaptor, let me know about it; what make it is, how it
          performs, where you got it, etc., and I will list it in this FAQ.)

          However, if you don't want to pay for an adaptor, and don't mind
          taking the risk, you can remove the tabs by grabbing them with a
          pair of needlenose pliers, and gently rocking the pliers back and
          forth until the tabs come off. Later SNES decks released have metal
          in the tabs; it doesn't matter, except it will make them slightly
          harder to remove. (Please note I am not responsible if you decide
          to try this method and damage your SNES; as I said, I do not
          recommend it.)

          Inserting American games in your Japanese or European SFC/SNES

          The European and Japanese control decks have a contoured cartridge
          well that prevents American games from being inserted. Similar to
          above, you can physically alter the deck to accept the foreign cart
          by filing away the plastic which prevents insertion of the American
          cartridge, but again that is something I do not recommend. Again,
          there are adaptors that allow you to plug in American games in your
          Japanese/European control deck.

          (I really would like a detailed explanation of how to remove the
          plastic in the European/Japanese control deck so American carts
          can be inserted. If you can explain it and pass it onto me, that
          would be a big help, as I don't have a European/Japanese control
          deck of my own to test.)

       3. Lockout Chips

          The following information on the SNES chip lockout system was sent
          to me by Karel (

          SNES Game Cassette Security IC

          I noticed a lot of questions on the 'net about the SNES game
          cartridge security and country dependent games.
          I have seen claims that the only protection is the mechanical
          incompatibility, this definitely not true. I happen to have the
          SNES service manual from the European and the US version. Both
          Control Decks having a security chip in the Deck and a counterpart
          in every game cassette. The device are called CIC. The operation is
          as follows:

          * The CIC (F413 for the European PAL version or the F411 for the
            NTSC version) is connected to main unit reset. 
          * The reset signal (reset) from F413 (F411) to S-PPU2 is set low
            and places the S-PPU2 in standby.
          * F413 / F411 seeks communication with the CIC (D413 / D411) in the
            game cassette. If communication ends successfully then the RESET
            is set High to start the S-PPU2. If the communication fails then
            the RESET signal remains LOW, disabling the further operation of
            the console.
        Note: It might be possible that first versions of US control decks
        did not use the security device and that the only protection is the
        mechanical incompatibility but there is no record of that in the
        service manual (rev. 06.92). (Please note, I don't think that
        happened either. If anyone can prove this definitively, please let
        me know.)
	-------------------	|   RESET  |
		   	  |	|  SWITCH  |
        Game Cassette     |     ------------           SNES/SFC Hardware
			  |	      |
		   	  |	      v
			  |     ---------------
	 ---------------  |	|     U8      |   RESET    -----------
	 |    CIC      |<-------| D413 (PAL)  |----------> |  	U3   |
	 | D413 (PAL)  |------->| D411 (NTSC) |		   |  S-PPU2 |
	 | D411 (NTSC) |  |	---------------		   -----------
	 ---------------  |	      |
		^	  |           v
		|  	  |	--------------
		|	  |	|	     |
		----------------|   S-CLK    |
			  |	|            |
			  |	--------------

	The communication between the cassette and the deck is done over four
        wires. It uses the edge connector pin 24, 55, 25 and 56. The CIC in
        the cassette is connected to the power supply but has no other
        connections to the internal cassette circuitry. It is very likely
        that the security device in the console can be disabled by connecting
        the reset directly to the S-PPU2 the F413 (U8) output pin 10 is the
        RESET output to pin 34 from the S-PPU2 (U3).
        An alternative could be, placing a US-CIC between a US deck and a
        European cassette on a extension card (or vice versa.)

        Further, he offers the following method for modifying your US or
        European SNES. I have not done this, and cannot be responsible if you damage your
	SNES. While going through a website of a dealer who sells European games,
	I noticed something called a PAL/NTSC adaptor. It does not say if it is an
	adaptor to get by the country lockout system. If such adaptors exist, it
	would certainly	be a better alternative to the major surgery described below,
	for those games	with the lockout protection in place.

			SNES Game Cassette Security IC Part 2:

	Someone handed me some SFC and US SNES game cassettes for testing.
	I have now successfully changed a PAL SNES control deck. The country
        dependent chip is disabled and it is possible to play US and Famicom
        games without restrictions. 

	Important Note:
        I take no responsibility what so ever for possible damages to your
        system as a result of the modifications described below. Also note
        that possible system warranties could be void when the control deck
        is opened and modified.
        The modification is relative simple. The hardest part for me was
        opening the deck. I manufactured my own (primitive) tool for this
        but there are addresses where you can buy the proper tools (see, or

	* Remove the top housing cover.
        * Remove the metal shield cover in the front half of the unit (4
          screws one is under the power switch. Note: You have to remove the
          flat cable between the front gameport Printed Circuit Board and the
          main PCB.
	* Now locate the CIC chip. On the PAL version this is situated in the
          front, left hand side. The chip is printed F413. In the NTSC
          version this chip could be located above the reset switch printed
        * De-solder pin 10 of the CIC. I used solder wick. This job is
          relative easy because it is a corner pin.
	* Lift up pin 10 so it makes no longer contact with the solder path.
        * Take a 74HC04 or similar high impedant inverter device preferably a
          SMD to save place.
        * Connect the 74HC04 pin 7 to GND and pin 14 to +5V use short wires.
          You can use the CIC connection 9 and 18 for GND and VCC.
        * Connect a wire from CIC pin 8 to the input of one of the inverters
          in the 74HC04, e.g. pin 9.
        * Connect a wire from the insulated path that was connected to CIC
          pin 10 to the output of the 74HC04 inverter, pin 8 in the example
          case. Check that pin 10 of the CIC is still floating!
        * Insulate and fixate the 74HC04 package to prevent short circuit
          against the metal cover.
        * Test the console operation. It should now work with all types of
          game cassettes independent of the country origin.
	* Re install the metal cover, and the close the unit.

       4. PAL Protection

          The following info was submitted by

          Most later SNES games contain code to check for a 60Hz or 50Hz
          display. The NTSC TV system displays 60 frames per second (60Hz).
          The PAL system displays 50 (50Hz). Later US and Japanese games
          check for 60Hz, and thus fail to work on PAL consoles, even with a
          universal adapter. They display a message like: "THIS GAME PAK IS
          PAL games check for 50Hz, and thus fail to work on NTSC decks. Some
          examples of games with a 50/60Hz check are Super Metroid, Pop 'n
          TwinBee, and Super Mario All-Stars.

          There is a way to get around this though. You can fit a switch to
          your console, to choose between 50Hz and 60Hz displays. With this,
          you can play all games. For example, let's say you want to play a
          Super Metroid PAL cart on a US console. You would switch to 50Hz
          before turning on the console. Once the title screen comes up, you
          can either remain in 50Hz mode, or switch to 60Hz. The game only
          does the 50/60Hz check right at the start.

          Fitting a 50/60Hz switch is in my opinion essential for owners of
          PAL consoles. Normally, a PAL console plays games 16 2/3% slower
          than an NTSC one, with large black borders at the top and bottom of
          the screen. In 60Hz mode, it plays just like a US console;
          full-speed, full-screen.

          I have yet to write a document describing in detail how to fit a
          50/60Hz switch. But in my SNES lockout disabling document (on my
          web page; see below), I give the URL of a picture which tells you
          which pins to switch. But don't attempt this unless you have some
          soldering experience!

          Eventually, I will write a "step-by-step" guide to adding a 50/60Hz

          URL of my page is

     F. What kind of video is the SNES capable of?

       The SNES can output RF, RGB, and S-Video. A cable from Nintendo is
       available for connection of the SNES to S-Video capable equipment, and
       sells for about $20.

       The following is a pinout diagram for the multi-out jack on the back
       of the SNES. This is the jack often used to connect the SNES to a
       TV using the RCA output cable that came with the SNES, as well as the
       S-Video cable. Thanks to Richard Harris ( for the
       SNES/SFC output pinouts 
       These are numbered the way Nintendo did, and the view is looking back
       "into" the connector on the CABLE. 
                1       3       5       7       9      11
                |       |       |       |       |       |
                |       |       |   _   |       |       |
               --------------------/ \--------------------
             /                                             \
            |                                               |
            |                                               |
             \                                             /
                |       |       |       |       |       |
                |       |       |       |       |       |

                2       4       6       8      10      12

                        NTSC SNES/SFC

       1.Red analog video out (1v DC offset, 1vpp video into 75 ohms)
       2.Green analog video out (1v DC offset, 1vpp video into 75 ohms) 
       3.Composite H/V sync out (1vpp into 75 ohms) 
       4.Blue analog video out (1v DC offset, 1vpp video into 75 ohms) 
       7.Y (luminance) signal for S-VHS (1vpp into 75 ohms) 
       8.C (chroma) signal for S-VHS (1vpp into 75 ohms) 
       9.NTSC composite video signal (1vpp into 75 ohms) 
    10.+5v (provides power)
    11.Left channel audio out 
    12.Right channel audio out 

                        PAL SNES

       1.Red analog video out (1vpp video into 75 ohms)
       2.Green analog video out (1vpp video into 75 ohms) 
       3.+11V DC
       4.Blue analog video out (1vpp video into 75 ohms) 
       7.Y (luminance) signal for S-VHS (1vpp into 75 ohms) 
       8.C (chroma) signal for S-VHS (.3vpp into 75 ohms) 
       9.PAL composite video signal (1vpp into 75 ohms) 
    10.+5v (provides power)
    11.Left channel audio out 
    12.Right channel audio out 

    G. What are the technical specs of the SNES?

       Central Processing Unit
       (CPU)                    16-bit custom 65C816
       Memory Cycle Time        279ns
       Work RAM for CPU         128 Kilobytes (CPU temp.

       RAM                      1024 bit (2 @ 128kx8)

       Video RAM                512k bit (2 @ 32kx8)

       Audio RAM                512k bit (2 @ 32kx8)
       Total Colors             32,768

       Max Colors Onscreen      256

       Max # Sprites            128

       Controller Response      16ms

       Picture Processing Unit
       (PPU)                    16-bit
       Maximum Screen
                                512 pixels X 448 pixels 
       Maximum # of Sprites per
       Line                     32 

       Maximum Sprite Size      64 pixels X 64 pixels

       Minimum Sprite Size      8 pixels X 8 pixels 

       Scrolling                Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal

       Audio Processing Unit
       (APU)                    Sony SPC7000 8-bit (main sound processor)
                                producing 16-bit sound 

       Pulse Code Modulator
       (PCM)                    16-bit (converts digital
                                information from the game pak
                                into sound) 

       # Sound Channels         8

       Clock Speed              3.58, 2.68, and 1.79 Mhz (machine adjustable)

       Software RAM             YES

       AC Adapter:

       Super NES Input (US)     120 Volts AC, 60 Hertz, 17

       Super NES Output         10 Volts DC, 850 mA (NTSC)
                                9 Volts AC (PAL)

    H. What is that weird port on the bottom of my SNES?

       If you look on the bottom of the SNES, you'll find a small removable
       panel, which when removed, exposes an expansion port. This port was
       originally intended to allow the defunct SNES CD-ROM to attach to the
       SNES. This port can be used by other accessories, however. In Japan,
       the Satelliview receiver attaches to this port on the SFC.

    I. What's the "new" SNES?

       In October 1997, Nintendo debuted a new model SNES in the US. This
       unit is smaller, and more sleek looking, like the European SNES.
       The buttons were changed from sliding bars, to round buttons, like
       those on the Super Scope, and their placement on the deck was
       changed. The RF output is gone; if you want to use an RF hookup,
       you will need a separate modulator that plugs into the multi-out
       jack. The expansion port on the bottom may also be gone.

       Internally, the hardware is identical, and there are no game
       compatibility issues. However, I don't know about hardware
       compatibility, especially non-licensed accessories. If you know of
       any incompatibilities, let me know.

       A new downscaled version of the SNES was released in Europe and Japan
       as well.

    J. What kind of screwdriver do I need to use with those weird screws that
       SNES hardware and cartridges use?

       Nintendo decided to go with nonstandard screws when assembling the
       hardware and cartridges, presumably to keep kids from tampering with

       You can get the special screwdriver needed from MCM Electronics, which
       you can find at


III. The SNES at Retail

    A. When was the SNES released?

       The Nintendo Super Famicom was released in Japan on the 21st November
       1990, with Super Mario World. F-Zero was also released at the same
       time. Designed as the succesor to the enormously successful Nintendo
       Famicom, the 300,000 initial units immediatly sold out. The demand for
       them was so high that Nintendo had to deliver them at night as there
       was rumors of the shipments being hijacked by Yakuza gangs.

       Nintendo launched it's Super Nintendo in the US in September 1991. It
       was clear however that it was not going to be as easy as the Japan
       launch, for a number of reasons. Nintendo already had a very large
       userbase for it's 8bit NES console who would be reluctant to upgrade
       as the SNES was not backward compatable. Perhaps more importantly,
       Nintendo had a competetor in the shape of the Sega Genesis, a 16bit
       console which would prove to be a very strong rival. Sega released
       it's Megadrive before the SNES, and had already built up a steady
       stream of quality games, including Sonic the Hedgehog, a platform game
       with incredible graphics. Sega marketed the Megadrive on Sonic, and he
       was viewed by the US buyers as being cooler than Mario. The Genesis
       was also $50 cheaper.

       The SNES was released in the UK in April 1992, and sold for 150UKP.
       It was released a few weeks earlier in Germany.

       (Thanks to for the above info.)

       Important Note:
       A few US places had the SNES for sale the last week of August, that is
       when I purchased mine. I assume they violated an agreement Nintendo
       often makes with retailers to hold off putting the product for sale
       until the official release date they set, as similar incidents like
       this have happened before between Nintendo and large retailers like
       Toys 'R US.

    B. What were the different SNES sets sold?

       The SNES was originally sold with the Super Mario World game, two
       standard controllers, RF cable, stereo A/V cable, manual, and AC
       adapter. The SNES was later sold, about a year and a half after its
       release, as a bare bones set, the "Power Set", as Nintendo called it,
       with only the control deck, one controller, RF cable, stereo A/V cable
       (I believe), and manual; no game. Toward the middle of its life, it
       was sold in a set like the original, with two controllers and a game,
       only the game varied. Also, one set was sold with the Super Game Boy
       accessory. In October 1997, Nintendo released a new model SNES, which
       was a complete SNES set, with a pack in game, being Yoshi's Island.

       Below is a list of most of the US SNES sets, and a couple of European
       sets. If you know of any sets I have missed, or any sets sold in
       Japan, please let me know.

              US SNES Sets:
              Super Mario World
              Power Set (no game)
              Donkey Kong Country
              The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past
              Super Game Boy
              Killer Instinct (with free audio CD)
              Super Mario Kart
              Mario Paint (with SNES Mouse)
              Super Mario World/All-Stars (both games in one cart)
              Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (new SNES design)

              European SNES Sets:
              Star Wing (European version of Star Fox)
              Street Fighter II (turbo?)

              Japanese SFC Sets:
              Super Mario World

    C. How much was the SNES?

       Depends of the set. The original SNES set, with two controllers and
       Super Mario World, sold for $200 when it was first released (that is
       how much I paid for my SNES at the end of August 1991). In a few
       months, the price dropped, as all console systems' prices do after
       initial release, to $150. The Power Set was released a few months
       later, and went for $100. The later sets with different games went for
       about $120. The new, redesigned SNES set goes for $99.

       The Super Famicom cost 32,000 yen when it was first released, also
       with 2 controllers and Super Mario World.

       The SNES sold in the UK for 150UKP at release. I assume the price
       across Europe was comparable. I don't know of the cost of any of the
       other sets.

    D. How many SNESs were sold?

        According to Nintendo, 20 million units were sold in the US, and 46
        million units worldwide (not including the Japanese Super Famicom, I
        believe.) Anybody know how many Super Famicoms were sold?

        It should be noted, however, that is number was not even close to 50
        million in US, which is how many NES units were sold in the US
        (that's 1 NES for every 5 US citizens!)


IV. SNES games

    A. What were all the games released for the SNES?

       A list would take up far too much room to include with this FAQ. A
       list-in-progress of all the games for the SNES can be found at

    B. What are the different enhancement chips used in SNES games?

       There are four special chips used, that I am aware of. They are listed
       below, with a brief description of each.

       There is possibly an unidentified chip inside the Dragon ball Z: Hyper
       Dimension, but I cannot verify nor disprove this. If anyone knows more
       about this, please email me and let me know.

       I really need specs on the chips (except the original Super FX)

       1. DSP

          This chip is used in many games to provide more realistic 3D
          graphics effects. Games like Pilotwings, F1 Roc 2, and Super
          Mario Kart use this chip. There is also a DSP2 chip, only used in
          Ace no Nerae (Aim for the Ace), as far as I know.

       2. Super FX/FX 2

          This chip is used in games using 3D polygon effects, such as
          Star Fox and Vortex. The Super FX 2 chip is a faster version of
          the FX chip, and is used in Doom, Dirt Trax FX, and Stunt Race FX.

          Super FX Chip specs

          Architecture:         RISC
          Clock Speed:          10.74Mhz
          Peripheral ROM:       16Mbits max
          Peripheral RAM:       1Mbit max
          Internal Data Bus:    16 bits
          External Data Bus:    8 bits
          Internal Registers:   16 bit x 16
          Instruction Cache:    512 Bytes
          Processing Advantages:
          Polygon Processing; Software Sprite Processing

       3. C4

          This is a special graphics chip, used to create transparent
          graphics effects (eg. rain) in Mega Man X2 and X3. They are the
          only games that use it. It was developed by Capcom.

       4. SA 1

          This chip is really weird. Only one game uses it, Jikkyou Oshaberi
          Parodius, from Konami, for the SFC. It is a voice synthesis chip
          of some kind. I believe Konami developed it.

          Thanks to  for the info on this chip.

    C. What was the largest SNES game? The smallest?

       The smallest games were only 2MBit; they were Mr. Do!, Sanrio
       Smashball, and Space Invaders (1994 Japan and Europe only release, not
       the 1997 US release).

       The largest games for the SNES/SFC were 48MBit, which included Star
       Ocean (Japan), Tales of the Phantasim (Japan), Yoshi's Island (all
       regions), and Street Fighter Alpha 2 (all regions).

       Most SNES/SFC games were either 4, 8, 12 or 16 Megabit.

    D. Were there any unlicensed games for the SNES?

       Only one in the US. Super Noah's Ark, from Wisdom Tree. It requires a
       licensed game that does not use the additional twin 8 pin connectors
       (like Star Fox), to be inserted in the top, to get by Nintendo's
       lockout. There were, however, several released in other regions,
       specifically Japan.

    E. What are those "health" games all about?

       A company called Raya Systems, which makes games related to various
       health issues, produced several (licensed) SNES games. The idea was
       to educate kids about various health issues, from smoking to how to
       teach diabetics how to use insulin. Generally, as games, they are
       horrendous. They are also somewhat rare, though they are still
       available. You can find more information on them at their website:

    F. Where there any multicarts produced for the SNES?

       Yes, but like most pirate stuff, I have never seen any for sale in the
       US. I have been told of a couple for sale in Spain, and a few in the
       Orient. It appears SNES multicarts are much rarer than their NES

    G. What are those two extra 8 pin connectors on some of my games?

       Only a few SNES games use the extra twin 8 pin connectors, which can
       be found to the left and right of the main cartridge contacts. All
       Super FX games use these extra pins, as well as the Super Game Boy. I
       do not understand why they use them, though I believe it has to do
       with the use of extra coprocessors inside these cartridges. If anyone
       knows, let me know.

    H. The battery inside my game is dead, and I can't save my game data
       anymore. Can I replace the battery myself? What kind of battery do
       SNES games use?

       The batteries themselves are standard CR2032 lithium batteries, but
       with metal mounting "clips" spot-welded to the battery. You can
       probably buy a replacement at many electronics stores. Alternatively,
       you could fit a suitable battery holder, to allow you to use a normal
       CR2032 battery, and allow easier replacement in the future.

       Thanks to Mark  for the info.

       Alternatively, you could contact a Nintendo Service Center, and ask if
       they can install a new battery. You can expect to pay quite a bit for
       the service, however.

    I. How many different games were released for the SNES?

       I have not been able to find any exact number, especially since there
       are new games still being released for the SNES. But Nintendo puts
       the number of games released for the US SNES at over 650.

V. SNES accessories

    A. What happened to the SNES CD-ROM unit?

       The SNES CD-ROM went through many incarnations before being canceled
       in 1994. Originally, in response to Sega's CD-ROM unit for the
       Genesis, Nintendo planned a CD-ROM for the SNES, which was announced
       in 1992. It was originally to be a 16 bit unit, but Nintendo, reacting
       to the changing gaming industry, they decided to delay the CD-ROM, and
       redesign it to be a 32 bit unit, set for a 1994 release. This unit was
       shelved again, and a brand new CD-ROM based system was announced; this
       system was to become the N64. Nintendo had objections to the
       limitations of the CD-ROM unit, and shelved it, in favor of a cart
       based system.

       The following info submitted by Tony G. <>:

       It was announced in the Nihon Keizai Shinbun (a popular Japanese
       business newspaper, I believe) on November 19, 1992, that Sony of
       Japan had decided to stop plans for making the Sony PlayStation, but
       instead make it an all-in-one 32-bit game device which would also play
       Super NES software. In December 1993, Nintendo and Sony had joined
       forces to try and develop this system together, but many disagreements
       halted this prograss, such as both companies wanting to push the other
       around, each envisioning their own future for the console. Sony wanted
       it to be a completely new system with the very latest in CD-ROM and
       processor technology.  Nintendo only wanted it to be a CD-ROM
       peripheral for the Super NES.  There had been an earlier attempt at
       partnership, in January 1990, when Nintendo had teamed up with Sony to
       produce the CD-ROM peripheral.  Nintendo provided Sony with technical
       information and marketing for the product.  Then, in 1991, Nintendo
       teamed up with Phillips, who also wanted to make it's own system (the
       CD-I), but broke off plans when they, also, wanted to produce a
       stand-alone gaming system (which was doomed to failure). Sony ended up
       doing what it wanted in the first place, minus the Super NES support,
       and they continued with the plans for the Sony PlayStation, which
       later became a complete success.
    B. What are the cheating devices available for the SNES?

       There are several devices available. All of these codes work in the
       same way; they modify values stored in RAM, and a few noted can
       modify ROM values.

       1. Game Genie
          By far the most popular cheating device. Uses its own code format.

       2. Pro Action Replay 2
          Also a popular cheating device. Can modify RAM values as well
          as ROM values. Uses its own code format.

       3. Game Mage
          A Game Genie clone. Uses the same codes and has built in codes. Can
          also save codes for later use.

       4. Terminator-X
          Was released in the UK, have no other info on it.

       Also, there are variations of Game Genie and Pro Action Replay codes,
       such as Front FarEast, GoldFinger, and CCL, which are used by many
       backup units. (See note G.)

    C. What are the different NES-to-SNES adapters?

       The only adapter I have been able to find is the Super 8/Tri-Star
       listed below. However, other adaptors are rumored to exist. One
       adaptor module that reached the prototype stage was called the
       SuperDeck, which was to be manufactured by Hornby of the UK, but
       was never released due to expense related issues.

          Super 8/Tri-Star: This is by far the most popular. This device
          has three ports on top, and lets you play NES, Famicom, and
          SNES/SFC (use the same slot) games on your SNES. The adapter
          retails for $59.95 in the US.

          I believe the name "Super 8" was used exclusively in the US, and
          the name "Tri-Star" was used exclusively in the UK, where the
          adapter originated, but I cannot verify this. Models for use in
          the US and Japan (NTSC) and Europe (PAL) were released.

    D. What is the Super Game Boy?

       The Super Game Boy is, essencially, a Game Boy-to-SNES adapter, that
       allows one to play Game Boy games on the SNES. This device has a
       port on top to accept Game Boy carts, and the SNES cartridge connector
       (uses the two extra 8 pin connectors). Using this device, you can
       play any game Boy game, in colors substituted for the four greyscale
       shades, using SNES controllers, in a window on your television screen.
       The device also has various extras, like screen saver programs, an
       elementary art program, various borders for the window, and the
       ability to customize game colors.

       The Super GB was released in all three markets; US, Japan and Europe.
       Like the appearance and design of the Super Famicom and the European
       SNES being virtually identical in appearance, so too is their
       respective versions of the Super Game Boy. And, of course, the US
       Super Game Boy is quite different. The Super Game Boy originally
       sold individually for $59.95 in the US, and was later bundled with
       the SNES itself for sale as a set.

       In February 1998, Nintendo released a new version of the Super Game
       Boy, called appopriately enough, "Super Game Boy 2". This version
       is Game Link compatible, unlike the original SGB, allowing you to play
       2/4 player Game Boy games. Also, the SGB 2 body has 2 LEDs, one to
       indicate power, the other to indicate whether or not the Game Link is
       being used. Also, the Japanese version of the SGB 2 had a blue
       transparent body, unlike the US version.

       I do not know if the SGB 2 was released in Europe.

    E. What is the Super Scope?

       The Super Scope is the SNES version of a lightgun. However, it is
       quite different from the NES Zapper. It is shaped and modeled after
       a bazooka, with a long tubular body, a shoulder mount, a hand grip,
       and a gunsight. The unit was also wireless, and used a separate
       receiver box that plugged into the SNES. It took 6 AA batteries, and
       lasted about 3-5 hours on a set. There were only a handful of games
       made that utilized it, and support for it was soon dropped.

       I know the Scope Scope was released in the US and Japanese markets.
       I do not know if it was released in Europe. The Super Scope, with
       Super Scope 6 game cartridge, sold for $49.95.

       Incidentally, there was another lightgun for the SNES. It is a pistol
       shaped gun that came with the Konami game Lethal Enforcers. They
       came in blue (first player) and orange (second player option, which
       plugged into the first player gun).

    F. What is the SNES Mouse?

       It is a controller for the SNES for use originally with Mario paint,
       and then later used mostly by several PC style RPGs and simulation
       games, such as Civilization and AD&D: Eye of the Beholder. The SNES
       Mouse was bundled with Mario Paint, for $59.95, and then sold later
       separately, in the US. The SNES Mouse was released in Japan and
       Europe, as well. The mouse has two buttons, and works just like other
       computer mice, with SNES Mouse compatible games.

    G. What SNES backup/cartridge copiers are available?

       The following is a list of units available, as well as a brief
       description of each.
       (Thanks to for the info)

       1. Multi Game Hunter
          (also works with Genesis)

          Has 3.5" FDD for backing up SNES games. Requires separate 9V
          power supply. I do not know who makes this device.

       2. Professor/Game Doctor Series

          This is a popular series of copiers. I do not know who makes the
          series, however. I only have info on the PSFII/GD7. I know a
          Professor SF/Game Doctor exists, but have no info on it. If
          anyone knows more, let me know.

          a. Professor SFII (Game Doctor 7)

             Features GoldFinger code support, PCX slideshow capability,
             advanced deprotect capability (can copy Donkey Kong Country 2),
             and 3.5" FDD. Quality product.

             There is also a CD-ROM drive, called CD-7, which attaches to
             the copier and allows you to play SNES games on CD. A MPEG card
             is being developed (?) that allows you to play MPEG video CDs,
             that is installed into the SFII itself. You can also play music
             CDs in the drive, and control the CD via a GUI interface (like
             playing music on the Sega CD).

       3. Super Wildcard Series

          These backup devices are made by a company out of Hong Kong called
          Far FrontEast. They have their own proprietary cheat codes (FFE
          codes), and I believe all copiers that support PCX files can create

          a. Super WildCard 1.6C

             This is a very early backup device, made in 1993 (may be the
             first SNES backup unit). Features a 5.25" FDD, GoldFinger and
             FFE game cheat codes.

          b. Super WildCard 2.8CC

             This is the updated version of the above device. This one
             supports games up to 32MBit, has a DSP upgrade option, realtime
             SRAM saving (for game cheating), and can be connected to a
             computer via a I/O port. It also supports FFE and GoldFinger

          c. Super Wildcard DX

             This SWC device features a GUI interface, 256k RAM for saved
             game saves, DSP upgradablility, support for games up to 96MBit
             (there are no games that large though), 256 color PCX viewing,
             choice of 10 different languages, BRAM editing, SRAM saving
             (for cheating), several disk formatting options, self diagnostic
             test, built-in puzzle game called Shingles, optional power
             supply (if your SNES cannot adequately provide power to the
             device, a intro/demo program, ability to hook it up to a
             computer via a I/O port, and disk auto load function. Plus, the
             version supports Game Genie and Pro Action Reply codes as well
             as FFE and GoldFinger codes, and can act like a PAR and search
             for codes.

             Super Wildcard DX 2

             This is the latest (and probably last) SWC SNES copier. 
             Standard 32MBit game support (upgradable to 120MBit), selectable
             background and icon graphics, 4M BIOS ROM, 8M expandable, 1K
             NRAM (for user settings), 256K save game RAM, DSP upgradable,
             high speed I/O computer serial port, bi-directional parallel
             port, ECP/EPP PC compatible, plug and play driver for CD audio,
             as well as CD-ROM, hard drive and Zip Drive support, 3.5" FDD
             that can be replaced with a 2.88MB FDD, improved self diagnostic
             program, PC style subdirectories on disk, dual language file
             system, Game Genie/Pro Action Reply/FFE/GoldFinger cheat code
             support, improved cheat SRAM save mode cheat code finder, 
             comprehensive BRAM editing functions, improved PCX viewer, audio
             CD mixing, and the ability to create your own tile based puzzle
             game with PCX images.
             FFE also released a drive device called the Disk Dual, which
             works with the SWC DX2. It contains a CD-ROM and hard disk, and
             comes with an parallel-to-IDE converter, and software drivers to
             use the Disk Dual with a PC. It supports EEP parallel mode
             for faster performance.

       4. Pro Fighter Series

          This series is manufactured by China Coach Limited, also out of
          Hong Kong, I assume. This series is very popular, like the SWC
          devices. Right now, I only have info on the Pro Fighter X. If
          anyone knows about other devices in this series, let me know.

          a. Pro Fighter X
             (Also supports Genesis carts)

             This backup unit features upgradability for SNES games up to
             64MBit (I do not know how many megs it supports shipped), 256k
             SRAM, DSP compatibility, PC compatible paralell port, and a
             built-in Super Smartcard slot for Game Boy and Game Gear games.
             It can also be used with an optional CD-ROM drive.

       5. Smart Bros.
          (Also works with Genesis carts)

          This device is also made by China Coach Limited (CCL). It comes
          with 32MBit game support (upgradable to 64MBit), DSP compatibility,
          256k SRAM, auto GoldFinger codes support, 3.5" FDD, PC compatible
          parallel port, optional CD-ROM drive and real-time save functions.

    H. What US SNES/SFC/PAL SNES Cartridge Convertors Exist?

       There are several adaptors you can buy to play SNES/SFC carts on
       consoles other than the ones they were originally intended for. These
       are ideal if you do not wish to perform the console modifications as
       described in part II section E. If you have an additional adaptor to add,
       please let me know.

       All adaptors sell for $20-30 or so, and all are quite rare (not
       surprising since they are unlicensed products).

       A. Caesar Plus
          US SNES to Super Famicom and Super Famicom to US SNES adaptor

       B. Game Adaptor
          US SNES to Super Famicom and Super Famicom to US SNES adaptor

       C. Super Game Convertor
          US SNES to Super Famicom and Super Famicom to US SNES adaptor



VI. Resources

    A. Magazines

       The following is a list of magazines that carry information on the
       SNES. Some of these magazines are specific to the SNES, some cover
       the entire video game spectrum.

       Nintendo Power - A decent magazine geared toward younger gamers.
       Covers all Nintendo systems. Will gradually contain less information
       on the SNES in the future as the SNES becomes older and less viable.
       Published monthly. $19.95/12 issues.

       Nintendo Power 
       PO Box 97043 
       Redmond, WA 98073-9743

       Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) - A high quality magazine covering the
       entire video game scene. Again, expect less coverage of the SNES in
       the future. Published monthly. $27.95/12 issues.

       Electronic Gaming Monthly
       P.O. Box. 7524
       Red Oak, IA 51591-2524

       EGM2 - EGM's companion magazine, which comes out in the middle of
       each month, and breaks the gap between releases of EGM. Almost as
       good as EGM; they often redundently print news already published in
       EGM. Published monthly. $19.97/12 issues

       P.O.Box 55371
       Boulder, CO 80321-5371

       Super NES Buyer's Guide - Good magazine covering all aspects of the
       SNES. Published by Sendai group, the same people who publish EGM and
       EGM2. Published bimonthly. $19.95/6 issues.

       (Note: This magazine either has been discontinued, or probably will
       be in the future, due to the SNES becoming obsolete in the eyes of the
       gaming press.)

       Super NES Buyer's Guide
       P.O. Box 7548
       Red Oak, IA 51591-0548

    B. Internet

       1. WWW sites

          Because there are many WWW sites on the internet which deal with
          video games, including SNES games, instead of trying to include all
          of them, I have decided to list only those sites which deal
          with the SNES and Nintendo only. If you need tips or cheats
          on a game and cannot find it at any of the listed sites, I'm
          sure it will be easy enough to find at another video game site.
          The Forbidden Super Nintendo Information Repository

          The Internet's biggest site dedicated to the Super Nintendo.
          Manuals, game information, history of the SNES, and lots more.

          World of Nintendo

          Has lots of SNES game info, walkthroughs, etc.
          Nintendo Memory Lane

          Covers all Nintendo systems, except the N64 and Virtual Boy. Even
          covers old Nintendo arcade machines.

          NES World

          Great NES and Game Boy resource, as well as a small but promising
          SNES section.

          Mark's Console Tech Information Page

          An invaluable source of info on several consoles, including the

          Game Sages

          Comprehensive listing of codes as well as FAQs for all systems,
          including the SNES.

       2. Newsgroups

          Discussions cover all Nintendo video game systems, including the

          Buy and sell your SNES stuff here.

          Super NES discussions.

VII. Thanks and credits

 A. Publications

    Nintendo Power
    EGM and EGM2

 B. Contributors

    These people have made numerous and significant contributions to this
    FAQ. Thanks guys. :)

    Thomas Chan 
    Richard Harris 
Base Media

Copyright © 2000 - 2022 Base Media. All Rights Reserved. Console Database is a trademark of Base Media. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the Base Media User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Our other sites: Deals United - Daily Deals Aggregator and WhichPlug? - Travel Adaptor Finder.