The North American SNES Almost Shipped With Super FX Built-In
Posted by Damien McFerran
Idea was scrapped to keep costs down, says Jez San
The polygon-pushing power of the Super FX chip might seem humble in modern terms, but back in the early '90s it was a seriously potent piece of kit and allowed the SNES to produce games like Star Fox, Stunt Race FX and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
The chip — which was conceived by British developer Jez San, whose company Argonaut collaborated with Nintendo on many Super FX games — was placed inside game cartridges, dramatically augmenting the power of the SNES itself. However, according to San, there was talk of the chip making its way into the North American version of the Super Nintendo console, which was yet to hit the market when the chip was being developed:
Nintendo liked the idea of souping up their hardware - there was even talk of putting it inside the USA version of the SNES, which hadn't been released at that point - but in the end it had to go into the cartridge to keep the initial cost of the console low. It'd have been awesome if it was as standard on every SNES, so it's a shame that didn't happen.
You can read more about the fascinating development of the Super FX chip — and the making of the most famous game to utilise the technology — over at Eurogamer.