Super Nintendo Entertainment System accessories

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A number of accessories were produced for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Top: Japanese Super Famicom controller, bottom: North American SNES controller

The standard SNES controller adds two additional face buttons to the design of the NES iteration, arranging the four in a diamond shape, and introduces two shoulder buttons. The inclusion of six active buttons was made with the popularity of the Street Fighter arcade series in mind.[1] It also features an ergonomic design by Lance Barr, later used for the NES-102 model controllers, also designed by Barr.[2][3] The Japanese and PAL region versions incorporate the system's logo in the colors of the four action buttons, while the North American version colors them lavender and purple to match the redesigned console and gives the lighter two a concave rather than convex top. Several later consoles derive elements of their controller design from the SNES, including the PlayStation, Dreamcast, Xbox, and Wii Classic Controller.[4][5][6]

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 its Mario Paint title.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System had several multitaps, the first one being Hudson Soft's Super Multitap which was released in 1993[7] and featured four controller ports. With one of these devices plugged into the Super Nintendo's controller port #2, the Super Multitap added multiplayer support for up to five players. It came bundled with the game Super Bomberman or could be purchased separately. Hudson Soft's Super Multitap 2 was released in the shape of Bomberman's face. It also featured four controller ports. Another version of the multitap was the Naki Tribal Tap which featured five controller ports. However, it has been shown that the fifth port on these units is not actually functional.[8] If two multitaps were used simultaneously, one in each of the Super Nintendo's controller ports, up to eight controllers could theoretically be used. However, no commercially released games for the Super Nintendo ever offered multiplayer compatibility beyond five players, although at least one homebrew game has been made which offers 8-player gameplay.[9] As the N-Warp Daisakusen developer stated,[9] every game licensed by Nintendo expected that the multitap would be attached to the #2 port, thus so far N-Warp Daisakusen is the only game that allows two multitaps on the SNES console and therefore has support for more than 5 players.[10]

The Super Game Boy allowed Game Boy games to be played on the SNES

While Nintendo never released an adapter for playing NES games on the SNES (though the instructions included a way to connect both consoles to the same TV by either daisy chaining the RF switches or using AV outputs for one or both systems), 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 touted several feature enhancements over the Game Boy, including palette substitution, custom screen borders, and (for specially enhanced games) access to the SNES console.[11] Japan also saw the release of the Super Game Boy 2, which added a communication port to enable a second Game Boy to connect for multiplayer games.

Like the NES before it, the SNES saw its fair share of unlicensed third-party peripherals, including a new version of the Game Genie cheat cartridge designed for use with SNES games. In general, Nintendo proved to be somewhat more tolerant of unlicensed SNES peripherals than they had been with NES peripherals.

Soon after the release of the SNES, companies began marketing backup devices such as the Super Wildcard, Super Pro Fighter Q, and Game Doctor.[12] These devices were sold to create a backup of a cartridge, in the event that it would break. However, they could also be used to play copied ROM images that could be downloaded from BBSes and the Internet, or to create copies of rented video games, often violating copyright laws in many jurisdictions.

Satellaview with Super Famicom.

Japan saw the release of the Satellaview, a modem which attached to the Super Famicom's expansion port and connected to the St.GIGA satellite radio station. Users of the Satellaview could download gaming news and specially designed games, which were frequently either remakes of or sequels to older Famicom titles, released in installments. Satellaview signals were broadcast from April 23, 1995 through June 30, 2000.[13] In the United States, the similar but 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 addon, Mega-CD. Ultimately, deals with both Sony and Philips fell through, (although a prototype console was produced by Sony) with Philips gaining the right to release a series of titles based on Nintendo franchises for its CD-i multimedia player and Sony going on to develop its own console based on its initial dealings with Nintendo (the PlayStation).[14]


  1. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (2008). Arcade Mania!: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan's Game Centers. Kodansha. p. 192. ISBN 978-4-7700-3078-8. 
  2. ^ "Super Nintendo Entertainment System". Nintendo Power (Redmond, Washington: Nintendo of America) 25: 45–46. June 1991. 
  3. ^ Chad Margetts & M. Noah Ward (2005-05-31). "Lance Barr Interview". Nintendojo. Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Top 25 Videogame Consoles of All Time". IGN. 2009-09-04. Archived from the original on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  5. ^ Sud Koushik (2006-01-30). "Evolution of Controllers". Advanced Media Network. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  6. ^ Chris Kohler (2005-09-13). "Controller's History Dynamite". p. 4. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b "8-player SNES game? Load up on spells, bring your friends". Ars Technica. July 19, 2009.
  10. ^ Tribal Tap Tests. May 22, 2012.
  11. ^ "Super GameBoy". Gamers Graveyard. Archived from the original on 2007-04-15. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  12. ^ "SNES Backup Units". RED #9. Archived from the original on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  13. ^ Glen Bayer. "NintendOnline". Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  14. ^ Glen Bayer. "SNES-CD Profile". Retrieved 2008-07-16.