Saturday, August 27, 2016

Gaming Bits: Nintendo Satellaview

Has anyone in the early 90s who have been the right age to be a Nintendo kid and wanted a Sega channel like service for the SNES? What if I told you that was a thing,, but only in Japan. If you got some foreign exchange student to get you a Super Famicom Plus a Satellaview back in the day and wondered why it didn't work, which none of that happened to any of you, but it's totally hypothetical, but if it did happen to you, here's what happened...

In 1995, Nintendo worked with St.GIGA (which was founded a a few years earlier) to broadcast their games through satellite. So they made the Satellaview, which combined the words satellite and view, It came with a cartridge known as BS-X, Because the games were broadcast via satellite, and X just made it sound cool, it was the mid 90s so that's what they did. Basically the data is sent to the satellite dish, then decoded via the BS Tuner you got from St.GIGA.The data is sent from a AV Selector, and sent to the TV so you could watch your Seinfeld or whatever. The part where the SuFami came in was you attached the peripheral to your System, go to the appropriate channel and you play your games for a limited amount of time or you could store them on the 512 kbits on the cartridge or the 8 mbit expansion pack.

This addon wasn't cheap, with the Satellaview costing around $160, St.GIGA Offering their subscription stuff for $365 or $10 a month, and the Expansion pack costing $60, but the service was kind of popular Japan even with the Saturn and PS1 and the imminent release of the N64, because even with new consoles, the Super Famicom was the most popular console for a while, and if you ask many Japanese person about the Super Famicom, they'll know what it is. It remained popular for most of the 90s.

The Main cartridge was known as BS-X: Sore wa Namae o Nusumareta Machi no Monogatari, or BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen. You could choose your gender and navigate the town. Once you download the game, which took 7 minutes, you could play the game for bout 50 minutes sometimes with realistic audio, and voices throughout the game, after your 50 minutes were done, 3 minutes were dedicated to housekeeping. There were plenty of games which were on Satellaview, here are just a few of them...


BS Zelda, 4 games including an original game you can't get anywhere else, Zelda Ancient Stone Tablets.

F-Zero Grand Prix, a sequel to F-Zero before F-Zero X...

BS Super Mario USA. An Improved/Gaiden version of Super Mario Bros 2.

1. These games were divided in to episodes (much like some games today) and sometimes rebroadcasted.
2. Most games offered prizes like phone cards (ask your parents), statues, clothes, pins, electronics, and even some games were offered.

Most of these games are not available anymore, but you could always emulate them, Go Ahead, Nintendo won't bite for these otherwise lost games. So yeah, I'm starting to get writer's Block from this but anyhoo...


Joe Tokugawa: Dude, Konami's evil, I mean really... They abuse their workers, betray the Gamers, and...
*A. Yoshi presses Peripheral Character Mute Button*
A.Yoshi: I Know, I'm looking at a "good era" Konami franchise...

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