Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (commonly shorthanded SNES or Super Nintendo, and known as the Super Famicom in Japan) is Nintendo's second home console, the followup to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console was released to Japanese audiences on November 21, 1990. The F-Zero series made its debut appearance on this system, with F-Zero being released for it as a launch title in Japan, and a stand-alone game in other countries.
The SNES was the best-selling console of the 16-bit era, beating out the other fourth generation competition despite its late start and the Sega Genesis's success in North America. Although it was slower than some of its rivals, the SNES featured superior tiling, scaling, and rotation effects (such as Mode 7, which the original F-Zero made extensive use of), and could display many times more colors.
The SNES was the successor to the NES, a system which had dominated the home console market since the mid-eighties. That dominance was challenged, however, by the NEC TurboGrafx-16 (released in 1987) and the Sega Mega Drive (released in 1988), both of which featured 16-bit architectures that outperformed the NES in graphics and audio. Though reluctant to replace the NES at first, Nintendo eventually decided to create a system that could compete with its more powerful rivals.
The console was designed by Masayuki Uemura, the designer of the original NES, and shipped in Japan as the Super Famicom on November 21, 1990. Throughout its active lifetime, which ended in 1999 in North America but continued to 2003 in Japan, the SNES sold 49.10 million units. The system was so successful that it remained popular well into the 32-bit era.
Released in Japan as one of two launch titles for the SNES on November 21, 1990, F-Zero, the first game in the F-Zero series, is a futuristic racing game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. Set in the year 2560, the game focuses on the "F-Zero" Grand Prix races, a new form of entertainment funded by multi-billionaires and based on the Formula-1 races, that features racing between vehicles that hover one foot above the track. The series introduced four playable characters: Captain Falcon, Dr. Stewart, Pico, and Samurai Goroh.
F-Zero is considered to be the game that set the standard for future racing games. With its fast-paced, challenging gameplay, multitude of tracks, and use of the Mode 7 graphical mode to create a 3-dimensional effect (a technique that was innovative at the time), F-Zero helped give new life to the racing game genre and inspire numerous new racing titles.
BS F-Zero Grand Prix series
Released several years after the original F-Zero, BS F-Zero Grand Prix was a Japanese-only title released for the SNES Satellaview expansion. It introduced new tracks along with retaining the 15 from the original, and added four new vehicles.
BS F-Zero Grand Prix was followed up with a sequel, BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2, also released via Satellaview, which featured a new league containing five new tracks.
Mode 7 is a graphics mode developed for the SNES console by Nintendo that allows the background layer to be scaled in size and rotated on a scanline-by-scanline basis to create the illusion of moving in a somewhat 3D environment via scrolling. In actuality it is an alteration of perspective rather than 3D. The background layer remains 2D, but the effect transforms the textured map into a horizontal plane that trades height for depth while still remaining 2D, thus creating the impressive illusion of 3D graphics. F-Zero was the first game to use this effect and it would later become the basis for maps and over-worlds in many Nintendo and SNES games to follow.
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System on NintendoWiki, a wiki dedicated to consoles and other general info on Nintendo
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