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The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), commonly shortened to Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a
16-bit 16-bit microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform gener ...
home video game console A home video game console is a video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In computing, input/output (I/O, or informally io ...
developed by
Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. The company was founded in 1889 as by craftsman Fusajiro Yamauchi and originally produced handmade playing ca ...

Nintendo
that was released in 1990 in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
and
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
, 1991 in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, 1992 in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, and 1993 in
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
. In Japan, it is called the Super Famicom (SFC). In South Korea, it is called the Super Comboy and was distributed by
Hyundai Electronics SK hynix Inc. () is a South Korea South Korea (Korean language, Korean: /, Revised Romanization of Korean, RR: ''Hanguk''; literally /, Revised Romanization of Korean, RR: ''Namhan'', or /, McCune–Reischauer, MR: ''Namchosŏn'' in ...

Hyundai Electronics
. The system was released in Brazil on August 30, 1993, by
Playtronic Playtronic Industrial Ltda. is a Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 mill ...
. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent cartridges for one version from being used in other versions. The SNES is Nintendo's second programmable home console, following the
Nintendo Entertainment System The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit In computer architecture, 8-bit integer (computer science), integers or other data#Uses of data in computing, data units are those that are 8 bits wide (1 octet). Also, 8-bit centr ...

Nintendo Entertainment System
(NES). The console introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities compared with other systems at the time. It was designed to accommodate the ongoing development of a variety of enhancement chips integrated into
game cartridges A game cartridge, usually referred to in context simply as a cartridge, cart, or card, is a replaceable part designed to be connected to a consumer electronics Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic Electronic may refer to ...
to be competitive into the next generation. The SNES received largely positive reviews and was a global success, becoming the best-selling console of the
16-bit era In the , the fourth generation of , more commonly referred to as the 16-bit era, began on October 30, 1987, with the Japanese release of ' (known as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America). Although NEC released the first console of this era, sales ...
after launching relatively late and facing intense competition from
Sega is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign ...

Sega
's
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...
console in North America and Europe. Overlapping the NES's 61.9 million unit sales, the SNES remained popular well into the
32-bit era The fifth-generation era (also known as the 32-bit era, the 64-bit era, or the 3D era) refers to Computer game, computer and video games, Home video game console, video game consoles, and Handheld game console, handheld gaming consoles dating f ...
, with 49.1 million units sold worldwide by the time it was discontinued in 2003. It continues to be popular among collectors and retro gamers, with new
homebrew Homebrewing refers to small-scale, non-commercial manufacture of a drink, typically beer. Homebrew or home brew may also refer to: Computing * Homebrew Computer Club * Homebrew (package manager), a package manager for macOS and Linux * Homebrew (v ...
games and Nintendo's emulated rereleases, such as on the
Virtual Console , also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational ...
, the
Super NES Classic Edition The Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition, known as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and the in Japan, and also colloquially as the SNES Mini or SNES Classic, is a d ...

Super NES Classic Edition
, and
Nintendo Switch Online Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) is an online subscription service for the Nintendo Switch video game console A video game console is an electronic or computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game A ...
.


History

To compete with the popular
Family Computer The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit Third generation of video game consoles, third-generation home video game console produced by Nintendo. Nintendo first released it in Japan as the commonly known as the in 1983. The NES, a ...
in Japan,
NEC Home Electronics is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign state ...
launched the
PC Engine The TurboGrafx-16, known as the outside North America, is a fourth-generation home video game console A home video game console is a video game console that is designed to be connected to a display device, such as a television, and an exte ...

PC Engine
in 1987, and
Sega is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign ...

Sega
followed suit with the
Mega Drive The Sega Genesis, known as the outside North America, is a 16-bit 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm. A 16-bit register can store 216 different values. The range (computer programming), range o ...

Mega Drive
in 1988. The two platforms were later launched in North America in 1989 as the TurboGrafx-16 and the Sega Genesis respectively. Both systems were built on 16-bit architectures and offered improved graphics and sound over the
8-bit In computer architecture In computer engineering, computer architecture is a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems. Some definitions of architecture define it as descr ...
NES. However, it took several years for Sega's system to become successful. Nintendo executives were in no rush to design a new system, but they reconsidered when they began to see their dominance in the market slipping. On September 9, 1987, then-Nintendo president
Hiroshi Yamauchi was a Japanese businessman. He was the third president of Nintendo is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a mil ...
revealed the development of the Super Famicom in the newspaper ''
Kyoto Shimbun is a daily newspaper published in Kyoto, Japan, and the company publishing that newspapers is also called . Kyoto Shimbun has two headquarters in Kyoto and Ōtsu, and three branch offices in Kumiyama, Kyoto, Kumiyama, Tokyo and Osaka. External li ...
''. On August 30, 1988, in an interview with ''TOUCH Magazine'', he announced the development of ''
Super Mario Bros. 4 ''Super Mario World'' is a 1990 platform game Platform games (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) are a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such ...
'', ''
Dragon Quest V ''Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride'' is a role-playing video game A role-playing video game (commonly referred to as simply a role-playing game or an RPG as well as a computer role-playing game or a CRPG) is a video game genre Vi ...
'', three original games, and he projected sales of 3 million units of the upcoming console. ''Famicom Hissyoubon'' magazine speculated that Nintendo's early announcement was probably made to forestall
Christmas shopping File:Shopping christmas tree.jpg, Christmas decorations abound in many shopping malls The economics of Christmas is significant because Christmas is typically a peak selling season for retailers in many nations around the world. Sales increase ...
for the PC Engine, and relayed
Enix was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the ''Dragon Quest'' series of role-playing video games. The company was founded by Yasuhiro Fukushima on September 22, 1975, as . The ...

Enix
's clarification that it was waiting on sales figures to select either PC Engine or Super Famicom for its next ''Dragon Quest'' game. The magazine and Enix both expressed a strong interest in networking as a standard platform feature. The console was demonstrated to the Japanese press on November 21, 1988, and again on July 28, 1989.


Launch

Designed by Masayuki Uemura, the designer of the original Famicom, the Super Famicom was released in Japan on Wednesday, November 21, 1990, for . It was an instant success; Nintendo's initial shipment of 300,000 units sold out within hours, and the resulting social disturbance led the Japanese government to ask video game manufacturers to schedule future console releases on weekends. The system's release also gained the attention of the
Yakuza , also known as , are members of transnational organized crime syndicates originating in Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an in . It is situated in the northwest , and is bordered on the west by the , while extend ...
, leading to a decision to ship the devices at night to avoid robbery. With the Super Famicom quickly outselling its rivals, Nintendo reasserted itself as the leader of the Japanese console market. Nintendo's success was partially due to the retention of most of its key third-party developers, including
Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-million-selling game franchises, with its most commercially successful being ''Resident Evil'', ''Monster Hunter'', ...

Capcom
,
Konami , is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

Konami
,
Tecmo , was a Japanese video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensin ...
,
Square In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to Alexandrian Greek mathematics , Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the ''Euclid's Elements, Elements''. Euclid's method ...
,
Koei Koei Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game publisher, video game developer, developer, and distributor founded in 1978 in video gaming, 1978. The company is known for its ''Dynasty Warriors'' games based on the novel ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms ...

Koei
, and
Enix was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the ''Dragon Quest'' series of role-playing video games. The company was founded by Yasuhiro Fukushima on September 22, 1975, as . The ...

Enix
. Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a redesigned version of the Super Famicom, in North America for . It began shipping in limited quantities on August 23, 1991, with an official nationwide release date of September 9, 1991. The SNES was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April 1992 for . Most of the
PAL region The PAL region is a television publication territory that covers most of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass ...
versions of the console use the Japanese Super Famicom design, except for labeling and the length of the joypad leads. The Playtronic SNES in Brazil, although
PAL-M PAL-M is the analogue TV system used in Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both and . At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) ...
, uses the North American design. Both the NES and SNES were released in Brazil in 1993 by Playtronic, a
joint venture A joint venture (JV) is a business entity created by two or more parties, generally characterized by shared ownership Equity sharing is another name for shared ownership or ''co-ownership (disambiguation), co-ownership''. It takes one property, ...
between the toy company Estrela and consumer electronics company Gradiente. The SNES and Super Famicom launched with few games, but these games were well received in the marketplace. In Japan, only two games were initially available: ''
Super Mario World ''Super Mario World'' is a 1990 platform game developed by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The story follows Mario's quest to save Princess Peach, Princess Toadstool and Dinosaur Land from the series' antagonist Bo ...
'' and ''
F-Zero is a series of futuristic racing video games originally created by Nintendo EAD with multiple games developed by outside companies. The first game was released for the Super Famicom in Japan in 1990, and along with North America’s Super Nin ...
''. (A third game, '' Bombuzal'', was released during the launch week.) In North America, ''Super Mario World'' launched as a bundle with the console; other launch games include ''F-Zero'', ''
Pilotwings ''Pilotwings'' is a series of flight simulation video games beginning with the 1990 video game ''Pilotwings (video game), Pilotwings'' and most recently ''Pilotwings Resort'' in 2011. One of Nintendo's franchises, the series was released on the S ...
'' (both of which demonstrate the console's
Mode 7 Mode 7 is a graphics mode on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console that allows a background layer to be rotated and scaled on a scanline-by-scanline basis to create many different effects. The most famous of these effects is ...
pseudo-3D rendering capability), ''
SimCity ''SimCity'' is an Open-ended (gameplay), open-ended City-building game, city-building video game series originally designed by Will Wright (game designer), Will Wright. The first game in the series, ''SimCity (1989 video game), SimCity'', was ...
'', and ''
Gradius III ''Gradius III'' is a 1989 scrolling shooter In computer displays, filmmaking Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is the process by which a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work ...
''.


Console wars

The rivalry between Nintendo and Sega resulted in what has been described as one of the most notable console wars in video game history, in which Sega positioned the Genesis as the "cool" console, with games aimed at older audiences, and aggressive advertisements that occasionally attacked the competition. Nintendo, however, scored an early public-relations advantage by securing the first console conversion of Capcom's arcade hit ''
Street Fighter II ''Street Fighter II: The World Warrior'' is a competitive fighting game developed by Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-million-selling gam ...
'' for SNES, which took more than a year to make the transition to the Genesis. Though the Genesis had a two-year lead to launch time, a much larger library of games, and a lower price point, it only represented an estimated 60% of the American 16-bit console market in June 1992, and neither console could maintain a definitive lead for several years. ''
Donkey Kong Country ''Donkey Kong Country'' is a 1994 platform game Platform games (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) are a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device su ...
'' is said to have helped establish the SNES's market prominence in the latter years of the 16-bit generation, and for a time, maintain against the
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, two Handheld game console, handhelds, a Home theater PC, media center, and a smartphone, as well as an online service and multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony ...
and
Saturn Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It only has one-eighth the average density of Earth; how ...
. According to Nintendo, the company had sold more than 20 million SNES units in the U.S. According to a 2014
Wedbush Securities Wedbush Securities Inc. is a privately held investment firm An investment company is a financial institution principally engaged in investing in security (finance), securities. These companies in the United States are regulated by the U.S. Secur ...
report based on NPD sales data, the SNES outsold the Genesis in the U.S. market by units.


Changes in policy

During the NES era, Nintendo maintained exclusive control over games released for the system – the company had to approve every game, each third-party developer could only release up to five games per year (but some third parties got around this by using different names, such as Konami's " Ultra Games" brand), those games could not be released on another console within two years, and Nintendo was the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of NES cartridges. However, competition from Sega's console brought an end to this practice; in 1991,
Acclaim Entertainment Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. was an American video game publisher based in Glen Cove, New York. Originally formed by Greg Fischbach, Robert Holmes and Jim Scoroposki out of an Oyster Bay (town), New York, Oyster Bay storefront in 1987, the compa ...
began releasing games for both platforms, with most of Nintendo's other licensees following suit over the next several years;
Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-million-selling game franchises, with its most commercially successful being ''Resident Evil'', ''Monster Hunter'', ...

Capcom
(which licensed some games to Sega instead of producing them directly) and
Square In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to Alexandrian Greek mathematics , Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the ''Euclid's Elements, Elements''. Euclid's method ...

Square
were the most notable holdouts. Nintendo continued to carefully review submitted games, scoring them on a 40-point scale and allocating marketing resources accordingly. Each region performed separate evaluations. Nintendo of America also maintained a policy that, among other things, limited the amount of violence in the games on its systems. The surprise arcade hit ''
Mortal Kombat ''Mortal Kombat'' is an American media franchise centered on a series of video games, originally developed by Midway Games in 1992. The development of the first game was originally based on an idea that Ed Boon and John Tobias had of making ...
'' (1992), a gory fighting game with huge splashes of blood and graphically violent fatality moves, was heavily censored by Nintendo.In both ''The Ultimate History of Video Games'' and ''Purple Reign: 15 Years of the SNES'', the disparity in sales is directly attributed to the SNES version lacking the excessive blood which was recolored grey and described as "sweat", and lacking some of the more gruesome finishing moves. See the Talk page for details. Because the Genesis version allowed for an uncensored version via cheat code, it outsold the censored SNES version by a ratio of nearly three to one. Kent (2001), pp. 461–480. "nearly three to one". U.S. Senators
Herb Kohl Herbert H. Kohl (born February 7, 1935) is an American businessman and politician. Alongside the help of his brother and father, the Kohl family created the Kohl's department stores chain and Kohl went on to be president and CEO of Kohl's Koh ...
and
Joe Lieberman Joseph Isadore Lieberman (; born February 24, 1942) is an American politician, lobbyist, and attorney who served as a United States Senator The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The Uni ...

Joe Lieberman
convened a Congressional hearing on December 9, 1993, to investigate the marketing of violent video games to children. Though Nintendo took the high ground with moderate success, the hearings led to the creation of the
Interactive Digital Software Association The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is the trade association of the video game industry in the United States. It was formed in April 1994 as the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) and renamed on July 21, 2003. It is based in ...
and the
Entertainment Software Rating Board The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory organization A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. The regulatory author ...
and the inclusion of ratings on all video games. With these ratings in place, Nintendo decided its censorship policies were no longer needed.


32-bit era and beyond

While other companies were moving on to 32-bit systems,
Rare Rare may refer to: * Rare, a particular Doneness, temperature of meat * Something infrequent or scarce, see Scarcity :* Rare species, a conservation category in biology designating the scarcity of an organism and implying a threat to its viability ...
and Nintendo proved that the SNES was still a strong contender in the market. In November 1994, Rare released ''
Donkey Kong Country ''Donkey Kong Country'' is a 1994 platform game Platform games (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) are a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device su ...
'', a platform game featuring 3D models and textures pre-rendered on
Silicon Graphics Silicon Graphics, Inc. (stylized as ''SiliconGraphics'' before 1999, later rebranded SGI, historically known as Silicon Graphics Computer Systems or SGCS) was an American high-performance computing A supercomputer is a computer with a hig ...
workstations. With its detailed graphics, fluid animation, and high-quality music, ''Donkey Kong Country'' rivals the aesthetic quality of games that were being released on newer 32-bit CD-based consoles. In the last 45 days of 1994, 6.1 million copies were sold, making it the fastest-selling video game in history to that date. This game sent a message that early 32-bit systems had little to offer over the SNES, and proved the market for the more advanced consoles of the near future. Kent (2001), pp. 491–493, 496–497. According to TRSTS reports, two of the top five best-selling games in the U.S. for December 1996 are SNES games. In October 1997, Nintendo released a redesigned model of the SNES (the SNS-101 model referred to as " New-Style Super NES") in North America for , with some units including the pack-in game '' Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island''. Like the earlier redesign of the NES (model NES-101), the new model is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, but it lacks S-Video and RGB output, and it is among the last major SNES-related releases in the region. A similarly redesigned Super Famicom Jr. was released in Japan at around the same time. However, the redesign did not make it to Europe. Nintendo ceased the production of the SNES in North America in 1999, about two years after releasing '' Kirby's Dream Land 3'' (its final first-party game in the US) on November 27, 1997, and a year after releasing ''
Frogger is a 1981 Events January * January 1 ** Greece enters the European Economic Community, predecessor of the European Union. ** Palau becomes a self-governing territory. * January 2 – One of the largest investigations by a British poli ...

Frogger
'' (its final third-party game in the US). In Japan, Nintendo continued production of both the Family Computer and the Super Famicom until September 25, 2003, and new games were produced until the year 2000, ending with the release of '' Metal Slader Glory Director's Cut'' on November 29, 2000. Many popular SNES games were ported to the
Game Boy Advance The (GBA) is a 32-bit handheld game console developed, manufactured and marketed by Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. The company was foun ...

Game Boy Advance
, which has similar video capabilities. In 2005, Nintendo announced that SNES games would be made available for download via the
Wii The Wii ( ) is a developed and marketed by . It was first released on November 19, 2006, in North America and in December 2006 for most other of the world. It is Nintendo's fifth major home game console, following the and is a alongsid ...

Wii
's
Virtual Console , also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational ...
service. On October 31, 2007, Nintendo Co., Ltd. announced that it would no longer repair Family Computer or Super Famicom systems due to an increasing shortage of the necessary parts. On March 3, 2016, Nintendo Co., Ltd. announced that it would bring SNES games to the
New Nintendo 3DS The is a handheld game console produced by Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. The company was founded in 1889 as by craftsman Fusajiro Yama ...

New Nintendo 3DS
and New Nintendo 3DS XL (and later the
New Nintendo 2DS XL The New Nintendo 2DS XL (branded as New Nintendo 2DS LL in Japan) is a handheld game console A handheld game console, or simply handheld console, is a small, portable self-contained video game console A video game console is an electronic ...

New Nintendo 2DS XL
) via its eShop download service. At the ''
Nintendo Direct Nintendo Direct is a series of online presentation or live shows produced by Nintendo, where information regarding the company's upcoming content or franchises is presented, such as information about games and consoles. The presentations began in ...
'' event on September 4, 2019, Nintendo announced that it would be bringing select SNES games to the
Nintendo Switch Online Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) is an online subscription service for the Nintendo Switch video game console A video game console is an electronic or computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game A ...
platform.


Hardware


Technical specifications

The 16-bit design of the SNES incorporates graphics and sound co-processors that perform tiling and simulated 3D effects, a palette of 32,768 colors, and 8-channel
ADPCM Adaptive differential pulse-code modulation (ADPCM) is a variant of differential pulse-code modulation (DPCM) that varies the size of the quantization step, to allow further reduction of the required data bandwidth for a given signal-to-noise ratio. ...
audio. These base platform features, plus the ability to dramatically extend them all through substantial chip upgrades inside of each cartridge, represent a leap over the 8-bit NES generation and some significant advantages over 16-bit competitors such as the Genesis.


CPU and RAM

The
CPU A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just processor, is the electronic circuit File:PExdcr01CJC.jpg, 200px, A circuit built on a printed circuit board (PCB). An electronic circuit is composed of ...

CPU
is a
Ricoh 5A22 The Ricoh 5A22 is an 8/16-bit microprocessor produced by Ricoh for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) video game console. It is based on the 8/16-bit Western Design Center, WDC WDC 65816, 65C816, which was developed between 1982 and 19 ...
, which is a derivative of the 16-bit
WDC 65C816 The W65C816S (also 65C816 or 65816) is an 8/16-bit microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The ...
microprocessor. In
NTSC The National Television System Committee (NTSC)National Television System Committee (1951–1953), Report and Reports of Panel No. 11, 11-A, 12-19, with Some supplementary references cited in the Reports, and the Petition for adoption of transm ...
regions, its nominal clock speed is 3.58
MHz The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the derived unit of frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spatial frequency and an ...
but the CPU will slow down to either 2.68 MHz or 1.79 MHz when accessing some slower peripherals. This CPU has an 8-bit data bus and two address buses. The 24-bit "Bus A" is designated for general accesses, and the 8-bit "Bus B" can access support chip registers such as the video and audio co-processors. The WDC 65C816 also supports an 8-channel DMA unit; an 8-bit parallel I/O port a controller port interface circuits allowing
serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), periodical publications and newspapers * Serial (radio and television), ...

serial
and
parallel Parallel may refer to: Computing * Parallel algorithm In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their a ...

parallel
access to controller data; a 16-bit multiplication and division unit; and circuitry for generating
non-maskable interruptIn computing, a non-maskable interrupt (NMI) is a hardware interrupt that standard interrupt-masking techniques in the system cannot ignore. It typically occurs to signal attention for non-recoverable hardware errors. Some NMIs may be masked, but onl ...
s on V-blank and
IRQ IRQ may refer to: * Interrupt request, a computer hardware signal * Iraq (ISO 3166-1 country code) * Qeshm Air (ICAO airline designator) {{disambiguation ...
interrupts on calculated screen positions. Early revisions of the 5A22 used in SHVC boards are prone to spontaneous failure; this can produce a variety of symptoms including graphics glitches during Mode 7 operation, a black screen on power-on, or inability to read the controllers properly. The first revision 5A22 also had a fatal bug in the DMA controller that could cause games to crash when running; this was corrected in subsequent revisions. The console contains 128KB of general-purpose RAM, which is separate from the 64KB VRAM dedicated to the video and audio subsystems.


Video

The ''Picture Processing Unit'' (PPU) consists of two separate but closely tied packages. It contains 64KB of SRAM for storing video data, 544 bytes of object attribute memory (OAM) for storing sprite data, and 256 × 15 bits of color generator RAM (CGRAM) for storing
palette Palette may refer to: * Cosmetic palette, an archaeological form * Palette, another name for a color scheme * Palette (painting), a wooden board used for mixing colors for a painting * Palette (company), a Japanese visual novel studio (video game c ...
data. This CGRAM allows the console to display up to 256 colors, chosen from the 15-bit RGB color space, for a total of 32,768 possible colors. The PPU is clocked by the same signal as the CPU and generates a pixel every two or four cycles. Eight video modes are available to the programmer: * Mode 0: 4 layers, all using 4-color palettes. Each BG uses its section of the SNES palette. Up to 96 colors can be displayed on the backgrounds, 24 colors per layer. * Mode 1: 3 layers, two using 16-color palettes and one using 4-color palettes. Up to 120 colors can be displayed by the first two layers and 24 colors by the third layer. * Mode 2: 2 layers, both using 16-color palettes. Each tile can be individually scrolled. Up to 120 colors can be displayed on the screen. * Mode 3: 2 layers, one using the full 256-color palette and one using 16-color palettes. The 256-color layer can also directly specify colors from an 11-bit (RGB443) colorspace. Up to 256 colors are displayed by the first layer and 120 colors by the second layer. * Mode 4: 2 layers, one using the full 256-color palette and one using 4-color palettes. The 256-color layer can directly specify colors, and each tile can be individually scrolled. Up to 256 colors are displayed by the first layer and 24 colors by the second layer. * Mode 5: 2 layers, one using 16-color palettes and one using 4-color palettes. Tile decoding is altered to facilitate the use of the 512-width and interlaced resolutions. Up to 120 colors are displayed by the first layer and 24 colors by the second layer. * Mode 6: 1 layer, using 16-color palettes. Tile decoding is as in Mode 5, and each tile can be individually scrolled. Up to 120 colors can be displayed on screen. * Mode 7: 1 layer of 128×128 tiles of size 8×8 from a set of 256, which may be interpreted as a 256-color one-plane layer or a 128-color two-plane layer. The layer may be rotated and scaled using matrix transformations. A programming technique called HDMA can be used to change the matrix parameters for each scanline to generate perspective effects.


Audio

The audio subsystem is called the S-SMP, which is a dedicated single chip consisting of an 8-bit CPU, a 16-bit DSP, and 64KB of SRAM. It is designed and produced by
Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mult ...

Sony
and is completely independent from the rest of the system. It is clocked at a nominal 24.576 MHz in both NTSC and PAL systems. It is capable of producing stereo sound, composed from 8 voices generated using 8 bit audio samples and various effects such as
echo In audio signal processing Audio signal processing is a subfield of signal processing that is concerned with the electronic manipulation of audio signals. Audio signals are electronic representations of sound waves—longitudinal waves which ...

echo
.


Regional lockout

Nintendo employed several types of regional lockout, including both physical and hardware incompatibilities. Physically, the cartridges are shaped differently for different regions. North American cartridges have a rectangular bottom with inset grooves matching protruding tabs in the console, and other regions' cartridges are narrower with a smooth curve on the front and no grooves. The physical incompatibility can be overcome with use of various adapters, or through
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of the console. Internally, a regional
lockout chip In a general sense, a lockout chip is a chip within an electronic device to prevent other manufacturers from using a company's device to perform certain functions. A notable example is the lockout chip found in Nintendo's Nintendo Entertainment S ...
( CIC) within the console and in each cartridge prevents the PAL region games from being played on Japanese or North American consoles and vice versa. The Japanese and North American machines have the same region chip. This can be overcome through the use of adapters, typically by inserting the imported cartridge in one slot and a cartridge with the correct region chip in a second slot. Alternatively, disconnecting one pin of the console's lockout chip will prevent it from locking the console; hardware in later games can detect this situation, so it later became common to install a switch to reconnect the lockout chip as needed. PAL consoles face another incompatibility when playing out-of-region cartridges: the
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video standard specifies video at 60 Hz but
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operates at 50 Hz, resulting in an approximately 16.7% slower framerate. Additionally, PAL's higher resolution results in letterboxing of the output image. Some commercial PAL region releases exhibit this same problem and, therefore, can be played in NTSC systems without issue, but other games will face a 20% speedup if played in an NTSC console. To mostly correct this issue, a switch can be added to place the SNES PPU into a 60 Hz mode supported by most newer PAL televisions. Later games will detect this setting and refuse to run, requiring the switch to be thrown only after the check completes.


Casing

All versions of the SNES are predominantly gray, of slightly different shades. The original North American version, designed by Nintendo of America industrial designer Lance Barr (who previously redesigned the Famicom to become the NES), has a boxy design with purple sliding switches and a dark gray eject lever. The loading bay surface is curved, both to invite interaction and to prevent food or drinks from being placed on the console and spilling as had happened with the flat-surfaced NES. The Japanese and European versions are more rounded, with darker gray accents and buttons. The North American New-Style Super NES (model SNS-101) and the Japanese Super Famicom Jr. (model SHVC-101), all designed by Barr, are both smaller with a rounded contour; however, the SNS-101 buttons are purple where the Super Famicom Jr. buttons are gray. The European and American versions of the SNES controllers have much longer cables compared to the Japanese Super Famicom controllers. All versions incorporate a top-loading slot for game cartridges, although the shape of the slot differs between regions to match the different shapes of the cartridges. The MULTI OUT connector (later used on the
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and
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composite video
,
S-Video S-Video (also known as separate video and Y/C) is a signaling standard for standard definition Standard-definition television (SDTV, SD, often shortened to standard definition) is a television system which uses a resolution that is not cons ...
and
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signals, as well as RF with an external
RF modulator An RF modulator (or radio frequency modulator) is an electronic device whose input is a baseband signal which is used to modulation, modulate a radio frequency source. RF modulators are used to convert signals from devices such as Portable med ...
. Original versions additionally include a 28-pin expansion port under a small cover on the bottom of the unit and a standard RF output with channel selection switch on the back; the redesigned models output composite video only, requiring an external modulator for RF. The
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system for retail preview of 11 particular SNES games in the United States, similar to the
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for
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NES
games. It consists of slightly modified SNES hardware with a menu interface and 25-inch monitor, that allows gameplay for a certain amount of time depending on game credits. Manufacturing of this model was discontinued in 1992.


Game cartridge

SNES games are distributed on
ROM cartridge A game cartridge, usually referred to in context simply as a cartridge, cart, or card, is a replaceable part designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console or, to a lesser extent, electron ...
s, officially referred to as Game Pak in most Western regions, and as in Japan and parts of Latin America. Though the SNES can address 128 Mbit,Unless otherwise specified,
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(kB),
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(MB), and
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(Mbit) are used in the binary sense in this article, referring to quantities of 1024 or 1,048,576.
only 117.75 Mbit are actually available for cartridge use. A fairly normal mapping could easily address up to 95 Mbit of ROM data (48 Mbit at FastROM speed) with 8 Mbit of battery-backed RAM. However, most available memory access controllers only support mappings of up to 32 Mbit. The largest games released (''
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'' and ''
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'') contain 48 Mbit of ROM data, and the smallest games contain only 2 Mbit. Cartridges may also contain battery-backed SRAM to save the game state, extra working RAM, custom coprocessors, or any other hardware that will not exceed the maximum current rating of the console.


Games

1757 games were officially released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; 717 in North America (plus 4 ), 521 in Europe, 1,448 in Japan, 231 on
Satellaview The is a satellite modem peripheral produced by Nintendo for the Super Famicom in 1995. Containing 1 megabit of ROM space and an additional 512 kB of RAM, Satellaview allowed players to download games, magazines and other forms of content through ...

Satellaview
, and 13 on Sufami Turbo. Many SNES games such as ''
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'' (1990), '' The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past'' (1991), ''
Donkey Kong Country ''Donkey Kong Country'' is a 1994 platform game Platform games (often simplified as platformer or jump 'n' run games) are a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device su ...
'' (1994), ''
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'' (1994), ''
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'' (1994), ''
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'' (1995), and others, are often cited to be some of the
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; numerous SNES games have been rereleased several times, including on the
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,
Super NES Classic Edition The Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition, known as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and the in Japan, and also colloquially as the SNES Mini or SNES Classic, is a d ...

Super NES Classic Edition
, and the classic games service on
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. It is possible to play all original Game Boy games on the SNES with the Super Game Boy add-on. In the intervening years many emulators List of SNES emulators, for SNES software have been produced. Some SNES games support
Mode 7 Mode 7 is a graphics mode on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console that allows a background layer to be rotated and scaled on a scanline-by-scanline basis to create many different effects. The most famous of these effects is ...
, a graphics mode that transforms the background layer into a two-dimensional horizontal Texture mapping, texture-mapped plane that trades height for depth.


Peripherals

The standard SNES controller adds X and Y face buttons to the design of the NES iteration, arranging the four in a diamond shape, and adds two shoulder buttons. It features an ergonomic design by Lance Barr, later used in 1993 for the NES-039 "dogbone" controllers, also designed by Barr. The Japanese and PAL region versions incorporate the colors of the four action buttons into the system's logo. The North American version's buttons are colored to match the redesigned console; the X and Y buttons are lavender with concave faces, and the A and B buttons are purple with convex faces. Several later consoles derive elements of their controller design from the SNES, including the
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, two Handheld game console, handhelds, a Home theater PC, media center, and a smartphone, as well as an online service and multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony ...
, Dreamcast, Xbox (console), Xbox, and Classic Controller, Wii Classic Controller. This same face button layout, including its exact letter designations, would also be used in future Nintendo systems, starting with the Nintendo DS. 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 Amusement arcade, arcade-style joystick with adjustable turbo settings akin to the NES Advantage. Nintendo also released the Super NES Mouse, SNES Mouse in conjunction with ''Mario Paint''. Hudson Soft, under license from Nintendo, released the SNES Multitap, Super Multitap, a multiplayer adapter for use with its popular series of ''Bomberman'' games. Some of the more unusual controllers include the BatterUP baseball bat, the Life Fitness Entertainment System (an exercise bike controller with built-in monitoring software), and the TeeV Golf golf club. Though Nintendo never released an adapter for playing NES games on the SNES, 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 touts several feature enhancements over the Game Boy, including palette substitution, custom screen borders, and access to the SNES console's features by specially enhanced Game Boy games. Japan also saw the release of the Super Game Boy 2, which adds a communication port to enable a second Game Boy to connect for multiplayer games. Like the NES before it, the SNES has unlicensed third-party peripherals, including a new version of the Game Genie cheat cartridge designed for use with SNES games. Soon after the release of the SNES, companies began marketing Game backup device, backup devices such as the Super Wildcard, Super Pro Fighter Q, and Bung Enterprises, Game Doctor. These devices create a backup of a cartridge. They can also be used to play illicit ROM images or to create copies of rented video games, violating Copyright infringement, copyright laws in many jurisdictions. Japan saw the release of the
Satellaview The is a satellite modem peripheral produced by Nintendo for the Super Famicom in 1995. Containing 1 megabit of ROM space and an additional 512 kB of RAM, Satellaview allowed players to download games, magazines and other forms of content through ...

Satellaview
, a modem which attaches to the Super Famicom's expansion port and connected to the St.GIGA satellite radio station from April 23, 1995, to June 30, 2000. Satellaview users could download gaming news and specially designed games, which were frequently either Video game remake, remakes of or sequels to older Famicom games, and released in installments. In the United States, the relatively short-lived XBAND allowed users to connect to a network via a dial-up modem to Online console gaming, 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
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Sega
's CD-ROM based add-on, Sega CD. Although a Super NES CD-ROM, SNES-CD prototype console was produced by Sony, Nintendo's deals with both
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Sony
and Philips were canceled, with Philips gaining the right to release a series of games based on Nintendo franchises for its Philips CD-i, CD-i multimedia console and Sony going on to develop its own
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, two Handheld game console, handhelds, a Home theater PC, media center, and a smartphone, as well as an online service and multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony ...
console based on its initial dealings with Nintendo.


Enhancement chips

As part of the overall plan for the SNES, rather than include an expensive CPU that would still become obsolete in a few years, the hardware designers made it easy to interface special coprocessor chips to the console, just like the MMC chips used for most NES games. This is most often characterized by 16 additional pins on the cartridge card edge. The Super FX is a Reduced instruction set computer, RISC CPU designed to perform functions that the main CPU can not feasibly do. The chip is primarily used to create 3D game worlds made with polygons, texture mapping and light source shading. The chip can also be used to enhance 2D games. The Nintendo fixed-point digital signal processor (DSP) chip allowed for fast vector-based calculations, bitmap conversions, both 2D and 3D coordinate transformations, and other functions. Refer to the command summaries for all four DSP versions. Four revisions of the chip exist, each physically identical but with different microcode. The DSP-1 version, including the later 1A and 1B bug fix revisions, is used most often; the DSP-2, DSP-3, and DSP-4 are used in only one game each. Similar to the 5A22 CPU in the console, the SA-1 chip contains a 65c816 processor core clocked at 10 MHz, a memory mapper, DMA, decompression and bitplane conversion circuitry, several programmable timers, and CIC region lockout functionality. In Japan, games could be downloaded cheaper than standard cartridges, from Nintendo Power (cartridge), Nintendo Power kiosks onto special cartridges containing flash memory and a MegaChips MX15001TFC chip. The chip manages communication with the kiosks to download ROM images and has an initial menu to select a game. Some were published both in cartridge and download form, and others were download only. The service closed on February 8, 2007. Many cartridges contain other enhancement chips, most of which were created for use by a single company in a few games; the only limitations are the speed of the SNES itself to transfer data from the chip and the Electric current, current limit of the console.


Reception and legacy

Approximately 49.1 million SNES consoles were sold worldwide, with 23.35 million of those units sold in the Americas and 17.17 million in Japan. Although it could not quite repeat the success of the NES, which sold 61.91 million units worldwide, the SNES was the List of million-selling game consoles, best-selling console of its era. In a 1997 year-end review, a team of five ''Electronic Gaming Monthly'' editors gave the Super Nintendo Entertainment System scores of 5.5, 8.0, 7.0, 7.0, and 8.0. Though they criticized how few new games were coming out for the system and how dated its graphics were compared to current generation consoles, they regarded its selection of must-have games to be still unsurpassed. Additionally noting that used SNES games were readily available in bargain bins, most of them still recommended buying a SNES. In 2007, ''GameTrailers'' named the SNES as the second-best console of all time in their list of top ten consoles that "left their mark on the history of gaming", citing its graphics, sound, and library of top-quality games. In 2015, they also named it the best Nintendo console of all time, saying, "The list of games we love from this console completely annihilates any other roster from the Big N." Technology columnist Don Reisinger proclaimed "The SNES is the greatest console of all time" in January 2008, citing the quality of the games and the console's dramatic improvement over its predecessor; fellow technology columnist Will Greenwald replied with a more nuanced view, giving the SNES top marks with his heart, the NES with his head, and the PlayStation (for DualShock, its controller) with his hands. GamingExcellence also gave the SNES first place in 2008, declaring it "simply the most timeless system ever created" with many games that stand the test of time and citing its innovation in controller design, graphics capabilities, and game storytelling. At the same time, GameDaily rated it fifth of the ten greatest consoles for its graphics, audio, controllers, and games. In 2009, ''IGN'' named the Super Nintendo Entertainment System the fourth-best video game console, complimenting its audio and number of AAA (video game industry), AAA games.


Emulation

Like the NES before it, the SNES has retained a long-lived fan base. It has continued to thrive on the second-hand market, emulators, and remakes. The SNES has taken the same revival path as the NES. Video game console emulator, Emulation projects began with the initial release of VSMC in 1994, and Super Pasofami became the first working SNES emulator in 1996. During that time, two competing emulation projects—Snes96 and Snes97—merged to form Snes9x.(2007-05-01) Snes9x readme.txt v1.51. ''Snes9x''. Snes9x. Retrieved on July 3, 2007. In 1997, SNES enthusiasts began programming an emulator named ZSNES. In 2004, Higan (emulator), higan began development as bsnes, in an effort to emulate the system as closely as possible. Nintendo of America took the same stance against the distribution of SNES Read-only memory, ROM image files and the use of emulators as it did with the NES, insisting that they represented flagrant Copyright infringement, software piracy. Proponents of SNES emulation cite discontinued production of the SNES constituting abandonware status, the right of the owner of the respective game to make a personal backup via devices such as the Retrode, space shifting for private use, the desire to develop Homebrew (video games), homebrew games for the system, the frailty of SNES
ROM cartridge A game cartridge, usually referred to in context simply as a cartridge, cart, or card, is a replaceable part designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console or, to a lesser extent, electron ...
s and consoles, and the lack of certain foreign imports. Nintendo designed a hobbyist development system for the SNES, but never released it. Emulation of the SNES is also available on platforms such as Android (operating system), Android, and iOS, the Nintendo DS line, the Gizmondo, the Dingoo and the GP2X by GamePark Holdings, as well as PDAs. Individual games have been included with emulators on some GameCube discs, and Nintendo's
Virtual Console , also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational ...
service for the
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Wii
marks the introduction of officially sanctioned general SNES emulation. A dedicated mini-console, the
Super NES Classic Edition The Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition, known as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and the in Japan, and also colloquially as the SNES Mini or SNES Classic, is a d ...

Super NES Classic Edition
, was released in September 2017 after the NES Classic Edition. The emulation-based system, which is physically modeled after the North American and European versions of the SNES in their respective regions, is bundled with two SNES-style controllers and comes preloaded with 21 games, including the previously unreleased ''Star Fox 2''.


Notes


References


Bibliography

* *


External links

* {{Portal bar, Video games, Electronics, 1990s, Japan Super Nintendo Entertainment System, 1990s toys 2000s toys Discontinued products Fourth-generation video game consoles Home video game consoles Products introduced in 1990 Products introduced in 1991 Products introduced in 1992 Products and services discontinued in 1999 Products and services discontinued in 2003