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The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNESa and Super Nintendo) is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia, and Brazil between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the Super Family Computer, Super Famicom, or SFC for short. In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent direct compatibility.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo's second home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities that compensated for its relatively slow CPU, compared with other consoles at the time. Additionally, the system's support for numerous enhancement chips (which shipped as part of certain game cartridges) helped to keep it competitive in the marketplace.

The SNES was a global success, becoming the best-selling console of the 16-bit era despite its relatively late start and the fierce competition it faced in North America from Sega's Genesis console. The SNES remained popular well into the 32-bit era, and although Nintendo has dropped all support for the console, it continues to be popular among fans, collectors, and emulation enthusiasts.

To compete with the popular NES/Famicom, NEC launched the TurboGrafx-16/PC-Engine in 1987, and Sega followed suit with the Genesis/Mega Drive in 1988. Both systems were built on 16-bit architectures and offered improved graphics and sound over the 8-bit NES. However, the NES would continue to dominate the gaming market for several years before Sega's system finally became successful. Nintendo executives were initially reluctant to design a new system, but they reconsidered when the NES hardware began to show its age. Seeing its dominance in the market slipping, Nintendo was compelled to create a new console to compete with its 16-bit rivals.

Designed by Masayuki Uemura, the designer of the original Famicom, the Super Famicom was released in Japan on November 21, 1990 for ¥25,000 (US$210). It was an instant success: Nintendo's initial shipment of 300,000 units sold out within hours, and the resulting social disturbance led the Japanese government to ask video game manufacturers to schedule future console releases on weekends. The system's release also gained the attention of the Yakuza, leading to a decision to ship the devices at night to avoid robbery.

With the Super Famicom quickly outselling its chief rivals, Nintendo reasserted itself as the leader of the Japanese console market. Nintendo's success was partially due to its retention of most of its key third-party developers from its earlier system, including Capcom, Konami, Tecmo, Square Co., Koei, and Enix.

In August 1991, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a redesigned version of the Super Famicom, in North America for US$199. The SNES was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April 1992 for GB£150, with a German release following a few weeks later. The PAL region versions of the console use the Japanese Super Famicom design, except for labeling and the length of the joypad leads. Both the NES and Super NES were released in Brazil in 1993 by Playtronic, a joint venture between the toy company Estrela and Gradiente.

The Super NES and Super Famicom launched with only a few games, but these games were well-received in the marketplace. In Japan, only two games were initially available: Super Mario World and F-Zero. In North America and Europe, Super Mario World shipped with the console, and other initial titles included F-Zero, Pilotwings (which demonstrated the console's "Mode 7" pseudo-3D rendering capability), SimCity, and Gradius III.

The rivalry between Nintendo and Sega resulted in one of the fiercest console wars in video game history, in which Sega positioned the Genesis as the "cool" console, with edgy advertisements occasionally attacking the competition and more mature titles aimed at older gamers. Despite the Genesis's head start, its much larger library of games, as well as its lower price point, market share between the SNES and the Genesis was about even in April 1992, and neither console could maintain a definitive lead for several years. The Super NES eventually prevailed, dominating the American 16-bit console market, and would even remain popular well into the 32-bit generation.

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