Following the success of the NES, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had a lot to live up to. Thankfully for us Nintendo fans, it turned out to be one of the greatest systems ever made.
The iconic grey and purple home video game console took hold of the world in 1990. It remained popular even after the 32-bit era of gaming tried to push it out of the spotlight.
Nearly 30 years later, this system remains one of Nintendo’s most-loved. With hundreds of games featuring characters like Mario, Kirby, Fox, Samus, Link, and Yoshi, it’s no wonder people like it.
Furthermore, gameplay was upped to a whole new level upon its release due to the advancing technology of the time. It was exciting to see Nintendo continue to pick up the pace.
Although the world had to say goodbye to the Super Nintendo eventually, many systems following it have revitalized the games we’ve grown up playing. Nintendo even released a mini version of the Super Nintendo that's available right now. Its legacy lives on, and we won’t ever stop talking about it.
There’s a long history to this popular system and a handful of game secrets that are worth knowing. Whether you’ve played a hundred Super Nintendo games or one, you might as well read on. Don’t you want to impress your friends with your vintage video game knowledge?
If you want to win one of the early Zelda games in five minutes or learn about the TV that came with a video game console built in, this one's for you.
Get ready for some 16-bit fun because we’re ready to learn all of the Super Nintendo’s secrets.
27 Super Nintendo Arcade
Even if you couldn’t afford the $200 system back in 1991, you might have been able to spare a quarter to play Super Nintendo games.
Nintendo created an arcade cabinet called the Nintendo Super System.
It allowed players to play from a collection of Super Nintendo games including Super Mario World, F-Zero, Contra 3, Ultimate Tennis, and RoboCop 3. While you would miss out on a lot if you stayed within the limits of this arcade system, it was still a way to get a taste of the Super Nintendo awesomeness.
26 Don’t Drink and Play
Unlike the NES, the Super Nintendo does not have a flat top. Rumor has it that it was designed this way to discourage players from putting their drinks on the console. Supposedly some thirsty NES players were victims of soda-console spills, and Nintendo wanted to prevent this from happening in the future.
The Super Nintendo loaded on the top rather than the side, so players were more prone to keep their drinks on the table. Smart move, Nintendo.
25 Selling Steady (Over 49 Million Sold)
In the end, the Super Nintendo beat out its competitor’s sales. Twenty-nine million Sega Genesis consoles were sold, but over 49 million Super Nintendos were purchased. While it didn’t quite reach the ranks of the NES, which sold over 10 million more units, it did manage to beat the two Nintendo systems that came after it. The N64 sold nearly 33 million units and the GameCube sold around 22 million. The Wii sold nearly as many units as the Super Nintendo, N64, and GameCube did combined, but that doesn’t discredit what these older systems did do. The Wii simply had newer technology.
24 1,757 Releases
That big number up above is the number of games released for the Super Nintendo.
There were 721 titles released in the West and 1,447 in Japan.
Of the Western titles, 112 were NA exclusives. That’s sure a lot of games to win, huh?
A similar number of games were released for its NES predecessor in the West. That being said, the N64 followed the Super Nintendo with only 389 official releases, 296 of which were available in West. It seems quantity had to be traded for quality.
23 Goodbyes Are Tough (It Stopped Production In 1999)
Nintendo quit producing the Super Nintendo in 1999, which was about two years after the release of Kirby’s Dream Land 3. This was the last first-party game created for the system.
The Japanese version of the Super Nintendo, the Super Famicom, continued to be made until 2003. New games were even made up until 2000.
It’s a shame production ever had to end, but we’re glad that Nintendo has brought back the classic games through platforms like the Game Boy Advance, Wii, Wii U, and the Super NES Classic Edition. We’ll be playing our favorites for a long time.
22 Super Nintendo Add-Ons
Nintendo came out with a handful of add-ons for the Super Nintendo overtime. The video game company came out with an arcade-like joystick and a mouse in the traditional gray and purple colors. These extensions were compatible with specific games.
The mouse, for example, was originally designed for Mario Pant. This game allowed players to explore Mario’s more artistic side by creating images and simple animations. It was far different than the more adventure-oriented Mario games we’re used to today.
21 Super TV
Why buy a Super Nintendo when you could just buy a TV with it built in? This was possible in Japan in 1990. Sharp released the Super Famicom Naizou TV SF1 – a television set with a Super Nintendo built in.
Playing Super Nintendo games on one these TVs supposedly made the picture look superior in comparison to TVs with the Super Nintendo simply plugged in. The cartridge slot was on top, and the Satellaview feature was easily supported. Strangely enough, the great picture was accompanied by a mono sound system.
20 Late-Coming Console
The Super Nintendo was an amazing console, but it took its sweet time to get there. While it might have been the best, it was not the first.
The 16-bit Sega Genesis was released in 1989. The NES was still gaining players, so Nintendo wasn’t in a rush to release their own 16-bit console. Nintendo eventually rolled out the Super Nintendo about a year and a half later in November of 1990. The NES continued to sell games alongside it and wasn’t discontinued until 1995.
19 Three-Game Release
When the Super Nintendo was released, there was not a mega lineup of games ready for people to buy. There were only three, each of which came with the system. If you wanted to play something that wasn’t F-Zero, Pilotwings, or Super Mario World, you were out of luck.
When the console launched in the West, gamers were also given the option of Gradius III and Sim City. I guess the original players had to just trust that Nintendo would release some awesome content in the years to come.
18 Super Mario World Success
Of all games that were released for the Super Nintendo, Super Mario World sold the best. It didn’t hurt that it was included in the system’s bundle. Nintendo ended up selling more than 20 million copies.
This game has been remade and re-released on both the Game Boy Advance and the Wii due to its success.
Yoshi also gets a starring role in this one. He’s on the cover, after all. This game is the first one that our favorite little green character appears in.
17 Alternative Style
The West’s Super Nintendo looks different than Japan’s for some good reasons. The Japanese version of the Super Nintendo, known as the Super Famicom, looks sleek with rounded edges and primary colors. The West's Super Nintendo, on the other hand, is chunkier and features a gray and purple color scheme. This alternate look was given to the Super Nintendo so that it had more of an edge in the West. The final version of the Super Nintendo looks like a piece of hardware because its design better matched other technology in the region
16 Downloadable Content?
While the Western version of the Super Nintendo had a hefty design, the Japanese version was the one with Satellaview. This add-on would match up with a satellite and allow players to download games and other material as it got released. These items would stay on the system until new content came out and rewrote it.
The problem was that the St.GIGA satellite that was used would only allow you to download games during specific time windows. The subscription fee and price of the add-on also weren’t appealing, so this early downloading system needed some work.
15 Star Fox Black Hole
Star Fox was a jammin’ game. If you played this classic, we sure hope you’re aware of the secret levels by now.
The Black Hole could be accessed from Level 1-2. Once you find a gold asteroid alongside four spinning grey asteroids, blast it. Then, fly through the space in which the gold asteroid was previously located. Repeat this, and an asteroid with a face will appear. Shoot it until a black hole appears. Not that it’s any huge surprise, but going through it will bring you to… well, the Black Hole.
14 Yoshi’s Big Break
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was originally rejected, but we’re sure glad it became a game in the long run. The game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, reworked the game to look more dreamlike after his original pitch was thrown away.
Yoshi’s Island was well-received, and Nintendo made the most of its success.
Yoshi’s Island trading cards were distributed through the Nintendo Power magazine. Additionally, a promotional VHS tape for the game came out and Yoshi’s character even took over Tetris Attack.
13 Yellow Super Nintendo
Most Super Nintendo systems turned yellow after a little while. It didn’t mean there was anything wrong with them, it simply meant that Nintendo could have chosen a better type of plastic.
After being exposed to ultraviolet light and heat long enough, the plastic on the Super Nintendo begins to discolor.
It doesn’t look as good as the light the gray color it originally sports, but it is iconic. After all, nearly everyone’s Super Nintendos looks like this by now. The years have passed quickly.
12 Unlimited Super Mario World Lives
We can’t talk about the best-selling Super Nintendo game of all time without talking about one of the greatest cheats in the game. This one gives you unlimited lives.
Start by going to the level Forest of Illusion 1 with a cape. Once you get to the platform with three Wigglers on it, hop on all of them while holding down the jump button to get up high. They’ll get mad at you, but glide off the screen with your cape and return to the platform. They’ll be calm again, allowing you to repeat the process. Every time you do this your life-count will go up.
11 Star Fox Alternate Ending
This second secret level is actually more like an alternate ending to the game. In Level 3-2, you’ll find a giant asteroid on your left. You’ll then reach a giant asteroid on your right, and you’re going to have to shoot at it until it’s destroyed. Don’t shoot the bird-like create that flies out of it. Push into it instead to transport yourself into an alternate dimension.
The boss here doesn’t have a health bar. He’s actually more like a slot machine, and you’ll need a 7/7/7 to win. You’ll then be required to battle the credits and destroy letters to spell out “THE END.” How crazy is that?
10 Backward Compatibility
What if you could play both Super Nintendo and NES games on the same system? This almost became a reality.
Before the Super Nintendo released, Nintendo had plans to make it compatible with NES games as well. Unfortunately, this would have shot up the price of the SNES by $75, and it didn’t seem worth it, especially if many of the Super Nintendo gamers were return NES players.
Nintendo later made plans to release an add-on that would play NES games on the system, although this idea never came to fruition.
9 The PlayStation-Super Nintendo
Believe it or not, there are actually some consoles out there that combine the Play Station and the Super Nintendo.
Nintendo and Sony made a deal that was never actually released to the public. Sony would make a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo and in exchange, the PlayStation would play both CDs and Super Nintendo cartridges. The plan fell through just hours after it was announced, and Nintendo partnered with Philips to create a CD add-on instead.
8 Reset It
Older game consoles had a few flaws due to the technology available at the time of their release. The Super Nintendo is no exception to this.
When you wanted to exit a game, your only option was to reset the entire console.
The Super Nintendo Classic offers a way to skip around this flaw. If you hold L, R, Start, and Select at the same time, you can reset your game without having to get up. It works like magic!
7 Play Game Boy Games
If you had a Game Boy, you weren’t limited to its tiny screen if you also had a Super Nintendo. The Super Game Boy adapter allowed players to play their Game Boy games on their TV through their Super Nintendo. Although this adapted seemed to work pretty well, there were some minor design flaws. For one thing, Game Boy games ran a little faster on the Super Nintendo. The games sounds are also slightly higher-pitched. None of that will stop us from trying out this secret!
6 Super Metroid Almost Didn’t Make It
Fans of the NES’s Metroid game were excited about the next one. They’re lucky Super Metroid was made because it was almost canceled three times. Nintendo’s higher-ups didn’t seem to be fans of the series. It wasn’t popular in Japan, and Metroid had a wildly different feel than the Mario and Zelda games. Whereas these games were much cheerier and light-hearted, Metroid was more dark and serious. Perhaps they didn’t like how this series felt a lot less Nintendo.
5 Win Zelda in Five Minutes
Link returns to the spotlight in the Super Nintendo’s Zelda: A Link to the Past. This popular game takes around 15 hours to complete, but a crazy bug will have you winning the game in five minutes. Go look up a few videos because it’s fascinating. Sure, it takes all the fun out of it. But you might as well try this glitch to say you’ve done it.
Fully completing the main storyline alongside all extras will run you around 18 hours.
But hey, 5 minutes work, too.
4 Free Donkey Kong Country Lives
Have you ever played the wild SNES adventure known as Donkey Kong Country? We sure hope so! The game-makers left a little gift for its players.
When you go to the File Select Screen, run over the flashing “Erase Game,” and press B, A, R, R, A, L, and select a game. This will allow you to start out with 50 lives!
If you’d rather go the glitch route, there’s a way to get up to 99 lives in Millstone Mayhem if you go in as Diddy Kong. Do a quick search on this secret if 50 isn’t enough for you.
3 Donkey Kong Player And Sound Swaps
Did we mention that the life code isn’t the only one the game offers players? Go to the Select Game screen and highlight “Erase Game.” Then, press B, A, DOWN, B, Up, DOWN, DOWN, and Y. This will allow players on the 2-play team mode to take control whenever they want to.
If you similarly select “Erase Game” and then press Down, A, R, B, Y, DOWN, A, Y and select, you can change the music. These programmers thought of everything!
2 Early N64 Games
Some of the greatest games on the N64 actually started out as Super Nintendo projects. The incredible Super Mario 64 actually started out as a Super Nintendo game and many elements of Star Fox 64 were taken from the unpublished Super Nintendo Star Fox 2 game. A game called Project Dream that was never released ended up becoming Banjo-Kazooie.
Nintendo had lots of challenging 3D projects it wanted to undertake.
It’s probably for the best that Nintendo decided on creating a new system to execute its big ideas.
1 Super Mario Kart Glitches
The Super Nintendo was the first Nintendo system to see a Mario Kart title. Mario and his friends weren’t even in an early version of the game, but we’re sure glad they were added.
The Mario Kart series is notorious for being filled with shortcuts.
This original game was stocked with glitches that allowed players to skip laps.
The game also had a glitch that let players continue driving after losing a balloon battle. If you hop over a banana peel on your last balloon, the music and screen changes, but you can still maneuver your kart wherever you want it to go.