[Mod Files] Super Nintendogetting your Super Nintendo to play Japanese titles!

To kick things off, I'll begin with a console that's very easy to modify to play Japanese games, the Super Nintendo.  This is one of the classic modifications to perform, mainly because it's very simple to do.  Not a whole lot different from most other cartridge based systems, the Super Nintendo uses a simple hardware lockout to prevent play of import games.  Good thing for introductory import gamers, this lockout is a quick one to bypass.

First off, to perform this modification you're going to need a pair of wire cutters or needle nose pliers.  It only takes about a maximum of twenty minutes to complete this project, so you'll be playing Super Famicom titles in no time!  Ready?  Let's begin!

Here we have an original Super Nintendo in all it's 16-bit glory, one of the greatest 2-D and RPG game systems ever to grace this planet.  Now, how are you going to play that shiny new copy of Parodius you just got off eBay?  Or that Sailormoon puzzle game that you found at the local import store?  Simple, but to understand how to modify this system, let's first look at why Japanese Super Famicom games won't fit in it.

It's a tale of three cartridges, really.  The above picture will help to sort this out.  The copy of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (above as Super Nintendo 1) is one of the original Super Nintendo cartridge designs, with the anti-removal slot in the front that prevents the cartridge from being removed when the console power is on.  This was changed in the later version of the Super Nintendo cartridge design (above as Super Nintendo 2) as shown on the copy of Illusion of Gaia.  Instead of holding the cartridge inside, the sloping slot simply shut the power off if the cartridge was suddenly pulled out of the system.  The third cartridge in the picture (above as Super Famicom) is a copy of the Sailormoon S blocks puzzle game, carrying over the original design on the front, although instead of being boxy, the sides slope off in a smooth curve.

The big difference really lies on the back of the cartridges.  The Super Famicom cartridges are flat along the back while the Super Nintendo cartridges have a set of grooves, as seen above with the red arrows.  These groves go around notches inside the Super Nintendo console, absence of the grooves in a Super Famicom cartridge is the reason it won't fit into the Super Nintendo deck.  Rather than chop grooves into your Super Famicom games, there is a much easier way to resolve this problem.

The red arrow here is pointing at one of the grooves inside the Super Nintendo console, now here's where you want to grab your pliers or wire cutters, it's time for the SNES to go under the knife.

Grab onto the notch with your pliers, making sure to stay clear of the cartridge inputs, you may want to hold the console dust door open if you don't want any scratches on it.

Ever so gently wiggle the notch back and forth and it will loosen.  Personally I find it easier to go back and forth twice and then down all the way toward the center of the console.  Just make sure that you don't damage the cartridge inputs.

Eventually, the notch will pop out, make sure to remove the little plastic notch from inside the console and throw it away.. don't want it getting stuck inside a cartridge or anything.  It may not break off flush to the bottom of the console, but that's okay, as long as most of it is gone you're in good shape.  Now you want to do the same to the notch on the other side, again being careful not to damage the cartridge inputs.

There you have it, now Super Famicom games will easily fit into your domestic Super Nintendo.  The cartridges are going to fit a little loose, so don't go wild wiggling them around inside the deck or you'll loosen your connections in the console and possibly crack your cartridge leads.

Don't be fooled into purchasing an expensive converter to play Super Famicom software, just pop out the notches and you're in business.  On the smaller SNES II systems performing this modification is handled in exactly the same way, however the tabs seem to be a little more difficult to break out cleanly.

Now, getting a Super Nintendo game into a Japanese Super Famicom unit is a totally different matter, the Super Famicom cartridges are rounded and have a smaller surface area.  This carries over to the Super Famicom design.  To get a Super Nintendo game into a Super Famicom you either have to take the top off your Super Famicom, open your Super Nintendo cartridges and just use the PC board inside, cut up your Super Famicom top so the Super Nintendo cartridges will fit, or grind down the shape of the Super Nintendo cartridges until they can fit inside.  Of course, all these are a total pain and will ruin any value of your items and will take up a lot of time.  I don't recommend doing any of the such.  If you have a Super Famicom and want to play SNES games, just go buy a Super Nintendo and save yourself the headache.

The tools needed for this modification are:

1 pair simple needle nose pliers or wire cutters.

Written on 6-9-02 by David, insanedavid@classicplastic.net
Last amended 1-18-11 by David, insanedavid@classicplastic.net

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