The game catalog of the Super Nintendo is quite immense. From space shooters, epic RPGs, racing games, and of course, the infallible adventures of Mario Bros.
It features every genre that you might want to play, and that’s a gold mine for any retro fan. But, sometimes, we want to try new experiences and expand our horizons.
If you’re one of those types of gamers you can easily look to some of the best Super Famicom titles that never made it to the US, And if you already have a Super Nintendo, you’re in luck.
You can play Super Famicom games on your SNES, but first, you must perform a small modification on the console, Don’t worry, it is quite simple and we will explain how below.
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The Problem, SFC Games Do Not Fit In a Super Nintendo.
The main reason why Super Famicom games cannot be played on a SNES directly is that each console’s cartridges are a different shape, so their slots will only fit cartridges designed for that system.
But the shapes are similar, and the pin connectors are the same, so a quick hardware modification to the design of your original Super Nintendo, and you can start playing SFC games on it. However, the mod has its pros and cons.
The pros are that you will be able to play a lot of Japanese games, whose catalog surpasses the size of the SNES. In addition, the Super Famicom cartridges are much cheaper.
On the disadvantages side, the most obvious is the language. If you’re the type who enjoys stories, you’re going to have a lot of trouble unless you know Japanese.
The second disadvantage is that the modification is permanent, and it does require you to “damage” the system, albeit in a small inconspicuous place.
Lastly, once you do the modification, Super NES game cartridges will fit lose and can move around a bit in the read slot, and that could reset the game. However, it is quite rare for that to happen.
Before we start, it should be mentioned that there is a SNES adapter created to play titles from its Japanese counterpart. So if you have reservations about breaking your console, you can go that route. However, it’s quite hard to get even in online stores, so it’s not the most viable option.
Modding Your SNES To Play Japanese Super Famicom Games
The first thing you have to do is to look at the slot of your Super Nintendo. There you will find two little plastic pieces that, as insignificant as they may seem, are the main culprits for not being able to enjoy the Japanese catalog.
No software prevents the games from running, and both types of cartridges have the same set of pins.
It all lies in the physical design of the cartridges and these 2 plastic clips. Super Nintendo games have two small openings for those plastic parts to fit perfectly, the Super Famicom ones do not.
The solution: get rid of them.
It can be done in a few different ways. Some use a small hand saw, others use a hot knife, but we recommend pliers, which give you better control of the situation. With just a quick twist, you will be able to expand your SNES to a new universe of adventures.
Steps To Remove The Tabs:
1. Open the console slot to expose the plastic tabs.
2. Hold the pliers tightly to the plastic pieces and wiggle each one until they are removed. You must be very careful not to scratch the slot cover so that your console still looks great
3. Place the Super Famicom game in the slot to check if it works.
And that’s it, that’s how simple it is to mod your SNES to play Japanese games. The best of all is that despite being an aesthetic modification, it will not be noticed at first sight, and it is only noticeable if you open the slot and look inside.
It’s worth noting that the pliers will not exactly make a clean cut. You can try soring the tabs with an exacto knife first to try and guide where the break will occur. You can also use a file or some sandpaper to clean things up a bit when done.
Modification Of The Super Famicom Cartridges
This is the least popular option, but there are many fans, especially collectors, who do not want to make any changes to their console. Either for nostalgia or to maintain its value.
You can modify your Super Famicom cartridges, To make them act like the SNES ones. For this, you will need to be a skilled cartridge sculptor, but it is not impossible.
Since a Japanese cartridge already has two small holes in the bottom corners, it’s a matter of scraping the plastic down to those holes and turning them into openings just like the American cartridges. But be careful, because these are the screws of the case.
Almost any tool that can scrape plastic will do, such as a hot knife, a saw, and of course, the trusty pliers. Even your teeth if you are a vampire.
Once the openings are made, testing the cartridges in your SNES console is just a matter of testing.
As you can see, this procedure requires more expertise than the previous one, but it is perfect for those who don’t care about the cart, but want to keep their console intact (although it is quite tedious to modify each cartridge one by one).
Final Thoughts On Playing Super Famicom Games On A SNES
Expanding the capabilities of your SNES just requires a little effort and the right tool. There are a few other alternative methods used by other gamers, but modifying your console is by far the best way to play Super Famicom games working on your SNES.
If you don’t want to touch your original console, you can always buy a second SNES just to play Super Famicom titles, or just buy a SFC. But of course, be prepared with your wallet.
Enjoy your new and powerful SNES X SFC!