Super Nintendo emulators

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Snesna.png
Developer Nintendo
Type Home video game console
Generation Fourth generation
Release date 1990
Discontinued 2003
Predecessor Family Computer / Nintendo Entertainment System
Successor Nintendo 64
Emulated
For other emulators that run on SNES hardware, see Emulators on SNES.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a 16-bit, fourth-generation home video game console released by Nintendo originally released as the Super Famicom, in Japan, on November 21, 1990. The Super Famicom retailed for ¥25000. The console would release outside of Japan as the SNES on August 23, 1991, in North America. The SNES retailed for $199.99. It has a Ricoh 5A22 CPU at 3.58 MHz. While the Super Famicom did well in Japan, outselling the PC-Engine, outside of Japan during that time the SNES had fierce competition with SEGA's Genesis (known in other regions as the Mega Drive).

Emulation for the Super Famicom/SNES is robust, with several high-quality emulators for various systems, some of which are cycle-accurate.

Emulators[edit]

Name Platform(s) Version Hardware
variants
Enhancements Hardware features
and accessories
Compatibility Accuracy FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
bsnes
bsnes_libretro
bsnes_hd_beta_libretro
bsnes_mercury_libretro
bsnes_2014_libretro
bsnes_cplusplus98_libretro
Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD nightly
libretro cores
beta 10.6 (bsnes-hd)
1.3.4 (bsnes-mt)
git (bsnes-classic)
~ 100% Partial Cycle
ares Windows Linux macOS git Artifacts
v136
~ ~ 100% Full Cycle
Mesen[1] Windows Linux git artifacts
2.0.0-preview1
Mesen S[1]
Mesen S libretro[1]
Mesen SX[1]
~ ~ ? Cycle
Snes9x Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Web nightly
libretro nightly core

1.62.3
~ 99% High NC
BizHawk
(bsnes v115)
Windows Linux Dev builds
2.9.1
~ ~ ~ 100% Partial Cycle ~
higan (火眼)
byuu (謬/view)
Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD v110
nSide
libretro core
~ ~ 100% Full Cycle ~ [N 1]
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD git artifacts[N 2]
0.263
libretro core
~ ~ ? ? ?
lsnes
(based on bsnes)
Windows rr2-β25
git
? ? Partial Cycle ~
NO$SNS Windows 1.6 ~ ? ? Low
CATSFC
snes9x2005_plus_libretro
Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD libretro core
git
~ ~ ? Mid ~
Mednafen
bsnes v059 and SNES-Faust
Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 1.32.0-UNSTABLE
libretro core
~ ~ ? Partial Cycle
kindred (Super Sleuth PE) Windows 1.12 Preview Build 3 ? ?
Silhouette macOS 1.0 ? Low
ZSNES Windows Linux macOS MS-DOS 1.51 ~ ? Low
SNESGT Windows 2.18 (2007) ? Low ?
jgenesis Windows Linux git TBD
Mobile / ARM
Snes9x
snes9x_libretro
snes9x2010_libretro
snes9x2005_libretro
snes9x2002_libretro
Android iOS Linux Pandora libretro core ~ 99% High NC
Snes9x EX+ Android Dragonbox Pyra 1.5.77git
1.5.46.02 Pyra
? ~ 99% High ?
CATSFC
snes9x2005_plus_libretro
Android iOS Linux Pandora libretro core ? ~ ? Mid ~ ~
Snes8x
(Different from 'Snes9x')
(Snes9x based)
Windows Mobile 2.15.3 ? ? Mid ? ~
Little John
(Snes9x 1.39 based)
PalmOS 1.1, 1.2 ? ? Mid ? ~
SuperRetro16 Android 2.2.1 ? ? ~
OpenSnes9x GP32 Tapwave Zodiac 0.3beta ? High
J2MESnes Java ? ? ? ?
Console
bsnes Switch Xbox One Xbox Series X/S libretro core ~ 100% Partial Cycle
Snes9x
snes9x_libretro
snes9x2010_libretro
snes9x2005_libretro

snes9x2005+_libretro
snes9x2002_libretro

PlayStation 2 PSP
PlayStation 3 GameCube
PlayStation 4 Vita
Wii Nintendo 3DS Wii U Switch
Xbox 360 Saturn [N 3]
libretro core
RetroArch 360 0.9.8.3
Saturn 06/07/29
~ 99% High
Snes9x GX GameCube Wii Wii U Nightly Builds
4.5.4
? ~ 99% High NC
Snes9x for 3DS Nintendo 3DS stable git ? ? 99% High
Virtual Console Wii Nintendo 3DS
Wii U
N/A ? * Only for selected titles Game dependent
Nintendo Switch Online (L-CLASSICS) Switch 3.4.0 ? Only for selected titles Game dependent
CATSFC
snes9x2005_plus_libretro
Wii Nintendo 3DS
Wii U Switch
Nintendo DS
PSP
PlayStation 3 Dreamcast
libretro core
? ~ ? Mid ~ ~
Snes9x X Xbox 0.23 ? High ? ~
DreamSNES Dreamcast 0.9.8 ? ? ~
Pocket SNES GameBoy Advance TI-Nspire
GCWZero
Beta
git
libretro core
git
? ? ~* ~
(Ti-Npire)
pSnes Vita Switch 6.6 ? ? ~
SnemulDS Nintendo DS Bitbucket ? ? ~ ~
sodium64 Nintendo 64 git ? ? ~
SNES360 Xbox 360 0.21 beta ? ? ? ~
SNES Station PlayStation 2 0.2.6c ? ? ? ~
Snes9xTYL Mod
(Snes9x 1.39 based)
PSP git ? ? ? Mid ~
blargSNES Nintendo 3DS 1.3b ? ?
  1. Superseded by ares.
  2. CI-Windows CI-Linux CI-Macos
  3. snes9x2010_libretro (Snes9x Next & 1.53) has no PS4 support.

Comparisons[edit]

higan / ares / bsnes
  • The codifier of emulation accuracy. Should play all commercially released games without trouble, assuming you have the power. ares and higan are full cycle-accurate emulators but bsnes is partial cycle-accurate.
  • Incompatible with old ROM hacks made to take advantage of emulator quirks, much like real hardware.
  • Has a superb LLE audio engine.
  • For maximum authenticity, higan offers better ROM management, but newcomers who care more about playing the ROMs they have should stick with the bsnes release.
Snes9x
  • Compatible with most games, even many ROM hacks that make use of emulator quirks.
  • Fast enough for pretty much any toaster (even Pentium 1 or 2 machines, though for a decent experience, you'll want at least a late Pentium 3).
  • Shares its LLE audio engine with bsnes.
  • Older versions may have buggy graphics and shaders in standalone, though it's video card- and driver-dependent.
  • Controller support is hit-and-miss, especially when it comes to XInput.
RetroArch
  • There are official cores for bsnes and Snes9x you can obtain easily.
  • Very customizable and programmable by nature.
  • The viewport is scalable to any resolution.
  • It makes good use of fullscreen with the right choice of interface.
  • A highly robust and flexible shader chain system completely separate from the core.
  • Dynamic rate control fixes most audio issues.
  • Mirrored ROM and RAM maps, allowing ordinary ROM images to be played right away.
  • The Snes9x Next (snes9x2010) core was forked from a commit somewhere between upstream version 1.52 and 1.53. It includes some extra speed hacks to run full speed on the Wii, as well as a SuperFX overclock option.
  • bsnes-mercury restores things like HLE DSP and SGB emulation using Gambatte, as well as some optimizations that don't sacrifice accuracy. Things like the HLE DSP were removed in higan, and much like Snes9x Next, it has the option to overclock SuperFX. The default options match bsnes, where HLE emulation is not enabled by default.
  • Supports RetroAchievements.
BizHawk
  • Multi-system emulator by TASVideos, designed for tool-assisted speedruns, but also doubles as an easy-to-use emulator.
  • Its SNES core is based on bsnes v115.
  • Primarily for Windows, but some Linux compatibility has been reported, likely through Wine.
  • Has support for libretro cores.
  • Supports RetroAchievements.
Mednafen
  • Like BizHawk, it's multi-system and based on bsnes.
  • Graphical shells exist (like Mednaffe) to help with the fact that it can only run from the command line.
  • Its SNES core is based on bsnes v059, which is a pretty old release. It predates the performance/balanced/accuracy profiles as far back as 2010. However, this version is much faster than current higan versions. Mednafen has another core for SNES emulation (SNES-Faust).
  • It's missing many of the improvements to the LLE audio engine that newer versions of Snes9x and higan have.
  • It also lacks many of the updates to edge cases, such as A.S.P. Air Strike Patrol, one of two games notorious for manipulating the PPU mid-scanline. It also has problems rendering text, flickering lines near the bottom, and displaying shadows during flight.
  • There are systems Mednafen emulates well and very accurately, but the SNES is not one of them. At that point, you'd be better off using standalone bsnes.
Mesen / Mesen S / Mesen SX
  • Mesen S is launched in April 2019 from the same author of the top-class NES/Famicom emulator Mesen 1. It was slated to have similar features as its famous forebearer. Mesen (with 2.0 version) is a multi-system emulator from the original author that continues active development.
  • Users who increasingly tire of higan's and bsnes' limited user options and cumbersome ROM and save files management may gravitate towards Mesen sooner or later, which should run nicely in users' game systems alongside Snes9x or Mednafen (or similar peer).
Nintendo Switch Online
  • SNES support was added to Nintendo Switch Online in September 2019 alongside NES games.
  • Accuracy is not the greatest and users are limited to the selection of games Nintendo chooses to make available on the service.
  • Supports up to 2 players in both Local and Online modes, despite being titles with actual 4-player support included (e.g.: Super Puyo Puyo 2).
  • Different games between regions (Japan and International).
  • Despite its shortcomings, the emulator is lauded for its inclusion of rollback netplay.
  • Netplay is generally hassle-free and doesn't require forwarding of any ports, with users able to simply invite anyone on their Switch friend lists (as long as they also have a valid subscription).
  • This makes the emulator an ideal choice for the ease-of-use factor; otherwise, better options are available.
ZSNES
  • Running full speed on even very old PCs such as an early Pentium 1.
  • Forming the basis for many ROM hacks, which were often designed around (let alone possible, simply because of) its problems and would break on anything else.
  • Having tons of bugs and not even emulating some of the original console's operations which some fewer notable games needed.
  • One of these bugs was an ACE vulnerability that, if discovered in the emulator's prime, would've allowed a maliciously designed ROM to run its own code on the host machine. No real-world case of it being exploited exists aside from some harmless proof of concept, but it's always good to verify your ROMs before opening them in ZSNES.
  • While fans have since modded the binaries (including patching out the vulnerability), the project is basically dead.
  • Older versions rely on external pre-decompressed graphical packs to emulate some games with elaborate chips, much like older versions of Snes9x, such as 1.43. Assuming you get (what are now rare and very hard-to-find) graphical packs for the SPC7110—like from here—and Star Ocean and put them in folders you then set under "Paths" in ZSNES, they can be playable without missing graphics. With that being said, however, the newest version does not need them for SDD-1 titles, only for SPC7110 titles.
  • Viable alternatives are bZSNES (for ZSNES-centric ROM hacks), ZMZ (for the UI), NO$SNS, or older versions of Snes9x (for speed boosts tailored to old systems). Otherwise, choose any of the others like bsnes/ares/higan, or Snes9x (for better compatibility).

Enhancements[edit]

Name bsnes ares Snes9x Mesen[1] BizHawk Mednafen
Overclock SuperFX ? * ? ?
SA-1 ? ? ? ?
Extra Scanlines ? ? ? ?
Graphics High-Resolution Affine Transformations ? ? ? ? ?
Sprite Replacement
Widescreen hacks
Resizable Internal Resolution For emulation of 2D systems, the resolution can only be upscaled, making the pixels more apparent.
Audio Alternative audio interpolation methods ? * ? ? ?
Higher sample rates ? ? ? ?
Input Run-ahead
Preemptive Frames ~[N2 1] ? ? ? ?
TAS features Macros/Scripts/Lua ~[N2 2] ~[N2 3]
Rewind
Fast-Forward/Turbo Speed
Savestates
Movie recording/playback
Quality of life Built-in Cheat Manager * * ? ?
Streamable compression format ? ? ?
Built-in Custom resolution/CRTSwitchRes
For using this on Windows OS you need CRT Emudriver.
Another option is using EDID editor tool such as "Custom Resolution Utility".
Exclusive to libretro cores and GroovyMAME at the moment.
Also there is a project for achieving software emulators like libretro cores and GroovyMAME send the raw RGB data over a network to a core running on MiSTer, it basically turns the MiSTer into a GPU for the emulator allowing for easy setup and use with CRT TVs/Arcade monitors.
Per-Game Profiles ~[N2 1] ? ? ? ? ?
Command Line Options ? ? ? ? ?
Big Picture Mode ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1]
Post-Processing Filters
NTSC filters, HDR tonemapping etc.
Shader Chain ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1]
Misc Netplay *
RetroAchievements ~[N2 1] ~[N2 1]
MSU-1 *
Debug features * * * *
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Exclusive to libretro core. Also RetroAchievements exclusive to bsnes-mercury or snes9x libretro cores and older modified version of snes9x.
  2. There is no Lua scripting support but there is a separate fork for AngelScript support.
  3. Exclusive to standalone version, RetroArch has no support for Lua Scripting.

MSU-1[edit]

Cue the MSU-1 (Media Streaming Unit), which aims to add some of these features to the SNES. It's a custom fan-made hardware specification for an additional chip, eventually made available and working with real SNES hardware as the SD2SNES flashcard. It's the closest to the SNES-CD that you'll ever get. No more 12 MB maximum cartridge size limitation!

One inconvenience is that most emulators don't really support this specification. It's currently supported by the SD2SNES flashcard, bsnes (v075 and up), higan (v094 and up), and Snes9x (1.55 and up). These hacks simply won't work at all in other emulators unless their developers implement an MSU-1 check to let the game run in these emulators without the MSU-1 enhancements (the MSU-1 specification has a specific feature to allow for compatibility testing).

To load the MSU-1 patched games with higan or bsnes:

  1. Patch the original SNES ROM with the IPS patch
  2. Make sure to copy manifest.bml and the PCM files (generated with create_pcm.bat, often found included with the sound pack) in the same directory as the ROM
    • Make sure it's %USERPROFILE%\Emulation\Super Famicom\ in the case of higan, and follow the readme included to know what names to use
  3. Launch with higan/bsnes.

To load the MSU-1 patched games with Snes9x: (See this page for libretro core version)

  1. Patch the original SNES ROM with the IPS patch
  2. Copy the patched ROM file, any MSU image file, and the PCM files (generated with create_pcm.bat, often found included with the sound pack) in the same directory as the ROM.
    • Make sure the files all carry the same name prefix as the base ROM, with the MSU image having a .msu extension and all PCM files suffixed by track number.
  3. Launch the base ROM with Snes9x.

Notable hacks for the MSU-1 include:

Extra Scanlines, SuperFX and SA-1[edit]

Overclocking has been a thing in other SNES emulators previously, but as the bsnes dev explains it;

 Existing SNES emulators sometimes allowed overclocking the SNES CPU by a fixed amount, but it was done in a way that would either increase the video and audio rate, or break games.
 bsnes and Mesen-S now feature a new way of overclocking that comes from the NES emulation scene: inserting additional scanlines into the CPU thread, without running the video and audio during this time. The result is a method of removing slowdown in just about any SNES game, without any framerate or pitch distortion, and without harming compatibility in 99% of games (even streaming audio games such as Tales of Phantasia work as expected.)
 The SA-1 and SuperFX can also be overclocked in this way. The other coprocessors (DSP-1, Cx4, etc) support HLE which results in all of their operations occurring.[2]
List of Super NES games with enhancement chips

High-Resolution Affine Transformations[edit]

The SNES had a graphical mode called "Mode 7" that allowed scaling the first background layer. The Super-FX2 added more advanced scaling options, but they're not covered by Mode 7 and, therefore, enhancements for it. The SNES Mode 7 background is limited to 128x128 pixels, and the output resolution is 256x240. As a result, there's heavy aliasing and a general loss of quality with some transformations. However, there have been emulator enhancements to make it look better:

  • High resolution: The scaled backgrounds are rendered with subpixel precision at a higher resolution compared to the rest of the game's graphics. This may cause visual discrepancies between both.
  • Supersampling: Acts like a sort of anti-aliasing for Mode 7. All graphics are rendered with the same pixel size, though scaled backgrounds are rendered in a higher resolution, then processed back to the same resolution as the rest of the image for a more uniform look. Used to be the only option in bsnes.
  • Widescreen: Later added by bsnes-hd.

A fork of bsnes, bsnes-hd, offers active development of these features. Most of those were ported back to higan.

With certain settings, there is heavy aliasing which we can reduce by increasing the sampling rate.

Sprite Replacement[edit]

No emulator support this at the moment, but a Feature request for bsnes-hd: Add custom sprite/texture dumping/injection support exist.

Widescreen hacks[edit]

A widescreen hack is an emulator feature that make older games playable on 16:9 aspect ratio. Some emulators like bsnes-hd provide a widescreen hack option to make these games to runs at 16:9 properly (with the traditional pixel stretch for 4:3 CRT pixel or 1:1 raw pixel instead of displayed with black bars on each side or stretched to fill the whole screen).

retrogamecorps: Widescreen SNES guide

Mode 7 scaling bilinear filtering[edit]

Some older versions of SNES9X offered bilinear filtering for Mode 7 backgrounds, making them smoother/blurrier instead of pixelated as they are scaled instead of just applying the bilinear filter on the video output itself.

Alternative audio interpolation methods[edit]

Most SNES emulators, since at least ZSNES 1.3.x, support audio interpolation methods beyond the traditional SNES Gaussian interpolation, such as Linear, Cubic, Sinc, or even no interpolation, should someone prefer that.

Higher sample rates[edit]

Likewise, the sample rate can also be set to higher than 32 kHz, even in ZSNES 0.150. Though in some versions of ZSNES in the early 2000s, it did cause some artifacts. Nowadays, emulators support sample rates all the way up to 96 kHz.

Hardware features and accessories[edit]

There weren't as many accessories that were released for the Super Famicom/SNES compared to the Famicom/NES[3], but there are still quite a few to go over.

Name bsnes ares Snes9x Mesen BizHawk Mednafen higan
Mouse ?
Super Game Boy * [N2 1] ?
Super Scope * ?
Super Multitap * ?
Konami Justifier * ?
M.A.C.S. Rifle ? ? ? ? ? ?
asciiPad ?
Voice-kun ?
JRA PAT/NTT modem
XBⱯND modem ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BS-X [N2 2] *
Data Pack [N2 2] ? ? ? ?
NTT Data Keypad ? ? ? ? ? ?
SuFami Turbo
(incl. ST Link)
* * [N2 3] ? ? ? *

Super Game Boy[edit]

This shouldn't be confused with GB/GBC backwards compatibility emulation/GBA mode or Game Boy/Game Boy Color emulation.

The Super Game Boy was a peripheral designed to play Game Boy and black Game Boy Color cartridges on the Super Nintendo through the cartridge slot, just like a typical SNES game. The Super Game Boy uses a special version of the Game Boy hardware to allow for Super Game Boy enhanced Game Boy games to operate its otherwise hidden features, such as colorization, special effects or upgrades such as extra multiplayer functionality, custom frame borders or color palettes, or even new control schemes and improved sound (enhanced music, voice clips) by way of the SNES's more sophisticated sound hardware.

Although many Game Boy/Game Boy Color emulators and Game Boy Advance emulators[4] can somewhat replicate the SGB's added features using certain tricks, a true recreation of the SGB can only be done by a multisys that supports emulating a SNES and a Game Boy simultaneously. higan, and by extension ares, were the first emulators to add proper SGB support, though it's understandably hardware-intensive even by their usual reckoning.[5] As of April 2023, Mesen is the only other multi-system emulator that can properly replicate the SGB. Versions of bsnes at and before v073 used the Gambatte core for its Super Game Boy functionality, nowadays it's using Sameboy for Super Gameboy emulation. byuu eventually made his own Game Boy core for higan, which ended up having pretty good accuracy. Ares has its own GB/GBC core and uses that for Super Gameboy emulation.

There are a few hiccups with emulating the Super Game Boy, however. higan's Game Boy core isn't up to snuff. One notable example is Pokémon Yellow and the special border that's supposed to display. higan displays the standard Game Boy border, while the real hardware displays a special green Pikachu border. On the other hand, Pokémon Gold and Silver, designed for the Game Boy Color, can operate on a Game Boy, and operates as intended when played on a Super Game Boy. Also, if one attempts to run the Game Boy Camera in higan in Super Game Boy mode, the emulator crashes.

Another thing to note is that there's a redesigned model, only released in Japan, called the Super Game Boy 2. Compared to the original, the main feature the SGB2 adds is a link cable connection, allowing for connectivity with normal Game Boys or even with other SGB2s. It also uses its own oscillator to be able to run games at normal speed, fixing a slight overclocking issue that stemmed from the original SGB's reliance on the clock signal from the SNES. higan can run in Super Game Boy 2 mode, but link cable connections are not possible yet, not even with other Game Boy emulators that can emulate a link cable.

asciiPad[edit]

The asciiPad is a controller by asciiWare that has similar features to the NES Advantage. Unlike the standard SNES controller, it has seven small switches that extend the way buttons are pressed. All the switches can be set to one of three modes for the standard buttons they individually represent, except for the seventh labeled "Slow" which changes the frequency of the additional modes. The switch can be set to off, turbo, and auto. The turbo setting holds the button, and the auto setting control presses them automatically. higan is the first and only emulator known to support this specific controller's switches. Other emulators have a completely different implementation of turbo presses in their GUI, which can work for some, but not to this extent.

Pointing Devices[edit]

Mouse[edit]

The mouse allowed for control in Mario Paint and Mario & Wario, among other games. Though in later games, mouse support was optional. Some emulators, including Snes9x and ares/bsnes/higan, support the Mouse. A ROM hack for Mario & Wario replaces mouse controls with traditional controls for the emulators that don't support this feature.

Super Scope[edit]

The Super Scope is a bazooka-looking light gun that is a bit more complex than the Zapper for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Scope 6, Yoshi's Safari, Battle Clash, and Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge used it. Some emulators including Snes9x and bsnes/higan support the Super Scope, emulated with the mouse.

Konami Justifier[edit]

Similar to the NES Zapper, but differs from the Super Scope. It's a another light gun, but requiring calibration this time around. It looks like a real gun and was intended to simulate the shooter arcade experience. Only one game is compatible, and that's Lethal Enforcers. Snes9x and higan support this gun.

Super Multitap[edit]

Made by Hudson Soft and licensed by Nintendo, this functions similarly to the NES Four Score. Instead of using both controller ports, it just used one, allowing up to 5 players at once. Bomberman games used this accessory. Some emulators, including Snes9x and bsnes/higan, support five players.

JRA PAT and NTT Data Controller[edit]

This is a rather obscure Super Famicom game with compatible accessories. JRA PAT is a horse race gambling game that allowed you to use real money.[6] The service is dead. No emulator appears to support the special controller and modem that plugs into the player 1 and player 2 slots.

Voice-kun[edit]

A few games by Koei shipped with an Audio-CD that typically contained voice acting and supported the Voice-kun accessory, which would command a CD player with IR signals. Typically used by remote controllers so that audio plays at specific points in the game. These games are still playable in most emulators but without Voice-kun support. byuu intends to make either MSU-1 hacks or proper Voice-kun emulation for these games in future higan versions, which would make it the first emulator to emulate this feature.

Hardware variants[edit]

Nintendo Super System[edit]

ultimatepopculture fandom - Nintendo Super System

Arcade system used to preview Super NES games in the United States.

  • Emulation is possible with MAME and BizHawk's MAME core. MAME 0.263 version compatibility status for Nintendo Super System.

SNES-CD revival and emulation[edit]

The Super Famicom was originally going to get a CD add-on called the SNES-CD, developed by Sony, who had already helped with the sound chip for the SNES. However, Nintendo were unhappy with Sony's clause in the contract that would give them the rights to any software developed on the device. In retaliation, Nintendo announced that they would be partnering with Phillips instead. Talks between Sony and Nintendo continued afterward as late as 1993, but the project couldn't be salvaged. Nintendo lost interest in the CD peripheral, seeing how the Sega CD failed in the US, and the PC-Engine CD only enjoyed modest success. They canceled the Phillips collaboration on yet another SNES-CD prototype, but in return, they allowed them to use some of their properties for their Phillips CD-i console. Later, they collaborated with the St. Giga radio service to create the Japan-exclusive Satellaview add-on for the Super Famicom, which played broadcasts of SFC games using streamed audio. As for Sony, they took the hardware and experience from their collaboration with Nintendo to create the first PlayStation. Nintendo would continue to support the cartridge format for its next console, the Nintendo 64. A shy attempt at rewritable disk media was attempted with the 64DD, but the add-on failed due to its 64 MB maximum storage limit, which would be obsoleted by later, bigger N64 cartridges, as well as the lack of support from third parties - many of whom had opted to support the PS1 instead.

Some prototype units of the Sony SNES-CD were made. While games were in development for the add-on, some were eventually reworked as regular SNES cartridge games with lots of content gutted (e.g., Nintendo R&D's Marvelous, Square's Secret of Mana, and Romancing Saga 2). Other games, like Hook, were ported to other systems instead (Hook to the Sega CD and Rayman to the Atari Jaguar, among others), while the rest were outright canceled. These games were to have much bigger worlds, streamed music, cutscenes, and even FMVs, according to various interviews. That never happened, however, and most of what was developed for these consoles, including their various manuals and specifications, were lost.

Recently, an actual Sony SNES-CD prototype was uncovered[7] and repaired.[8][9] It had various weird hardware restrictions (number of saves, CD size limit, no co-processors), with much of it likely having to do with its unfinished nature. For example, it had planned Audio CD support, though it doesn't actually work, which means the MSU-1 is a much more attractive alternative for hacks aiming to reflect what the SNES-CD could have been.

No$SNS 1.6 supports the Sony SNES-CD add-on. This was made possible after some reverse-engineering and analysis of the leaked BIOS file. Get the leaked Super Disc BIOS, circulating on the net as "SDBR_v0.95.sfc". Under the same directory as the no$sns executable, make a "BIOS" folder, put the BIOS file there, and rename it to "SFX-100.bin".

The only SNES-CD games available online currently are the BIOS for one of the discovered prototypes and two homebrew games. These games, Magic Floor and Super Boss Gaiden (both of which have alternate versions as regular SNES ROMs), come as BIN/CUE files. NO$SNS 1.6 supports only one CD mode, so it only reads the BIN, not the CUE. Both were tested on real hardware and had severe visual glitches due to the SNES-CD adding more undocumented interrupts, which are not accurately emulated anywhere. This means it's safe to say that while SNES-CD emulation exists nowadays, it would have low compatibility with any real unreleased SNES-CD game prototypes.

  • It's possible to emulate this variant with NO$SNS.
  • See Prototype consoles page for more information about other prototype consoles.

References[edit]

Resources[edit]