If you thought the Nintendo M82 was obscure, wait until you hear about Nintendo’s Super Famicom Box. Launched in Japan in the early 90s, it was a video game system not unlike the beloved SNES / Super Famicom.
Coming complete with two SNES controllers, the dark-gray box was made specifically for use in Japanese hotels, and came with a “pay to play” system akin to arcade machines and the Neo-Geo Deck (a ¥100 coin would get you five minutes of play).
One strange feature of the SFB is it uses utterly humongous multi-cards as opposed to traditional cartridges to run video games.
And one of its system-specific cards (the one containing Super Mario Kart, Star Fox and the Super Mario Collection) holds within its tight, plasticky grip the unit’s BIOS, so it would be imperative to own that cartridge, alongside the unit, to actually boot-up the box. So keep that in mind when shopping for a Super Famicom Box.
But, interestingly, the SFB’s games are identical to the SNES’, despite the multi-cards’ massive size. You could fit a whopping twenty-eight 3DS games into one Super Famicom Box cartridge. What the hell?
Multiple Games In One Cartridge
Each multi-card contains up to two or three games, which was brilliant for Japanese hotels of the time. Y’know, because capitalism and all that. These include:
- Super Mario Kart, Star Fox and the Super Mario Collection – PSS-61
- Waialae No Kiseki (Waialae Golf) & Super Mahjong 2 – PSS-62
- Super Donkey Kong and Tetris 2 & Bombliss – PSS-63
- Super Donkey Kong & Bomberman 2 – PSS-64
Unlike the M82, the Super Famicom Box uses an on-screen display to run its game selection menu, a system unique to the box, and it also incorporates an overlay message box which coerces the user to chuck in a couple of coins to kick off game-time.
Super Famicom Box Specs
For you tech-minded zealots, let’s have a look at the Super Famicom Box’s innards.
- Processor: 16-bit 65C816clocked at 3.58, 2.68 or 1.79 MHz (adjustable)
- Working RAM: 128 KB
- PPU(Picture Processing Unit): 16-bit
- Video RAM: 128 KB total, 64 KB for setting plans and 64 KB for sprites
- Number of colours: 256 to 4,096 to 32,768 (according to graphical mode selected)
- Resolution: 256×224 to 512×448 pixels
- Number of sprites: 128 (maximum 32 per scanning line) each of size 8×8 to 128×128 pixels
- Graphics modes: 8 modes (0-7), each of which contain different display types, colors and resolution. Think Mode 7, the mode that created the scaling effect made famous by Super Mario Kart and F-Zero.
- Audio processors: Sony SPC7008-bit S-SMP at 32 kHz, S-DSP 16-bit at 32 kHz
- Sound: 16-bit, 16-channel, ADPCM compression
- S-SMP: musical synthesizer
- 8-channel ADPCM sound 16-bit at 32 kHz
- Polyphonic support for 8 notes simultaneously
- S-DSP sound processor
- 3-way 16-bit ADPCM at 332 kHz
- Acoustic effects: chorus, reverb, vibrato
- RAM audio: 64 KB + usage of cart RAM
- Storage: ROM carts
- Two controllers
- One expansion port
- Support for adding additional processors (Cx4, Super FX (version 1 or 2), SA-1, DSP and S-DD1)
- Hardware manager for specific system screens
The prices for the SFB can range from $300 up to $1000 dollar depending on the overall condition and completeness. Since the system was heavily in use in their time, it has gotten really hard though to find a piece that is near mint condition. We have found a few ongoing auctions on Ebay though, that range between $548.00 and $600.00 right now.
Ongoing Ebay Auctions
So far there are multiple SFB system for sale on Ebay. Here you can find the five most recent ones:
“Super Famicom Box Console Nintendo JPN No Key Tested PSS-001” – Price: $650.00
“Super Famicom Box Console Nintendo JPN Mario No Key Tested&working” – Price: $579.59
Nintendo developed a number of demonstration units for their consoles over the decades, and the M82 was one of the more common ones to be found in the stores of NA and Japan. But due to the availability of the Super Famicom Box being limited solely to Japan, this renders it one of the rarest Nintendo consoles to boot.
Pretty magical, right?! Good luck to all of you in your hunt for two of Nintendo’s rarest consoles. May the big N smile upon you!
Former content manager and editor for Movie Pilot Inc & Now Loading