The successor to a resounding success in the video game industry, part of one of the most bitter console wars in history and a favorite of many families in North America, the SNES turned 30 years old this week.
August 23, 2021 is a particularly significant day for Nintendo enthusiasts since the SNES was released in North America precisely 30 years ago. That’s correct, the public first had access to this 16-bit system in 1991, and they were able to play legendary games like Super Mario World, F-Zero, Super Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
“Now you’re playing with Power… Super Power”
It was the catchphrase that molded the SNES’s transit through the North American market 30 years ago, and it was a term that spurred many players at the beginning of the 1990s. It is three decades since Nintendo’s system debuted in one of the world’s most significant marketplaces, leaving a legacy in the industry and an imprint on millions of gamers who spent countless hours playing it.
Nintendo took a fresh stride towards the future of 2D video games on August 23, 1991 with the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. With a different look than the Super Famicom, it was created to appeal to the North American market, although it used the same hardware built by Masayuki Uemura.
SNES vs Sega Genesis
The SNES sold 49.1 million units over its life cycle, including a redesign in its last years. That’s behind the NES’ more than 60 million units sold. At least partially to blame was the overall market growth with a variety of consoles and an intense rivalry with the Sega Genesis / Master System.
The SNES was released on the specified date, but its stock was distributed in specific areas and with limited units. It already had competition from the Sega Genesis, a rival console that had enchanted the public in the United States and Canada, which led to one of the most storied rivalries in the industry.
Back then few households had more than one current-gen console. So you were either a Sega or a Nintendo kid. That fed into both company’s advertising strategies with Sega taking direct aim at the market leader. Remember the “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” ads?
A technological leap
The system did not take long to boast about its visual display, which was powered by the now-famous Mode 7. At the time, it was marketed as the closest thing to 3D.
Along with its hardware capabilities, the SNES launched with a fantastic catalog of titles, several of which became immediate classics, including Super Mario World, F-Zero, and Pilotwings. In addition, Final Fantasy VI and one of the best-selling versions of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior were released on Nintendo’s legendary platform.
In the past 30 years, the console has amassed a massive fan base, with many of them still developing SNES games today. We hope that the SNES legacy will continue to provide joy to future generations and will never be forgotten.