This week marks the anniversary of the North American release of the legendary Super Nintendo. The SNES may not have been the most successful console in history (it sold a solid, but not record-setting, 50 million units), but it was certainly one of the best consoles of all-time. Exquisitely designed hardware, innovative features, and a huge, varied library of quality games; the SNES had it all.
Yes, the SNES was nearly a perfect console, but that doesn’t mean the system didn’t have it’s quirks. It certainly didn’t mean the 16-bit era was all drama-free smooth sailing for Nintendo. Here are a few things you may not know about the venerable Super Nintendo…
Nintendo had no intentions of making a follow-up to the NES.
Who really needs a new console when you’ve got Super Mario 3?
The Super Nintendo arrived to melt young gamers’ minds on Aug. 23, 1991, nearly two full years after the arrival of its main rival, the Sega Genesis. Why was the SNES so fashionably late? Because, frankly, Nintendo didn’t think they’d ever have to make a new system. Not any time soon, at least. They thought of the 8-bit NES as a standard platform, like the VCR player or CD player. A technology that everybody was going to use even after it became hopelessly outdated. It’s easy to see why Nintendo thought this – in the late ’80s, they controlled more than 90 percent of the home video game market.
But then a cocky little upstart named Sega just had to stick their nose into Nintendo’s lucrative business. They released the Sega Genesis, which made the NES look unmistakably weak in comparison, started luring away the third party developers Nintendo had been holding captive, and launched the ballsy “Sega does what Nintendon’t” advertising campaign. Nintendo wasn’t about to let that kind of sass go unanswered, so they begrudgingly got to work on a new gaming machine.