The Nintendo Entertainment System was one of the most popular game consoles of all time and Nintendo thought they could keep this success going for years to come. Even with the announcement of the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive in 1988, Nintendo were still happy with their NES and thought 16-bit was premature or unnecessary. That was until they noticed the Mega Drive taking over the market due to its superior quality. Nintendo quickly began development of the Super Famicom.
Nintendo CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi once again put Masayuki Uemura in charge of creating the system. The Super Famicom would be 16-bit, just as they had originally wanted for the Famicom, but due to the high prices of such components at the time of making the Famicom, almost a decade before, it had to be 8-bit. But now, during the design of the Super Famicom, the prices had fallen much lower and could now be used in the console while still keeping production costs down.
The Super Famicom was released on the 21st November 1990 in Japan, and basically took over the market (about 80% of the market was eventually taken by the Super Famicom after it had been established). A shortage of supplies meant that the Super Famicom's US release would be delayed one year, meanwhile the success of the Genesis (The American version of the Mega Drive) continued to grow with its arcade ports and quality sports games.
It was September 1st 1991 when the Super Famicom was released in America at a price of US$200. It was renamed the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and designed differently, however, some PAL versions of the Super NES look the same as the Super Famicom. The American version was designed in a way that you could not rest a drink on top of it. Often what occurred with the NES was that people would rest their drink on the console (which could be easily done on the flat surface), which would sometimes be spilt into the console, causing problems. The American Super NES has many curved surfaces, making it almost impossible to balance a drink on.
Although the Super NES took time to catch up with the well-established Genesis, it finally made it. This is largely due to the exclusive games made for the SNES, considered some of the best games ever made. SNES was released in the UK in April 1992 for £150 and a few weeks later in Germany. In 1997 Nintendo released a new design SNES which was smaller and lighter. It sold for US$99.99 and was brought out just to make a few last sales to anyone still interested in 16-bit games during this time of 32-bit consoles. The RF output and expansion ports are not present on this version and so hopes of a SNES-CD completely died.
In the end, the SNES library was larger than the Genesis and the amount of consoles sold was almost twice as many. Nintendo had won the 16-bit war.
Information on this page has been sourced from Console Database.