Remember the Mini Nt? If your memory is a bit foggy (happens to all of us as we age, don’t worry) the Nt was an aftermarket NES manufactured by Analogue, Inc. It wasn’t just any run of the mill NOAC console, though, as it ran on FPGA hardware, was fabricated from a solid block of aluminium and cost a staggering $449. There was even a 24K gold edition that cost $5000 for the one percenters among you – but looking aside from the insane build quality (and price), what really allowed this to stand high among the hundreds of cheap clones out there was the FPGA hardware.
FPGA stands for field-programmable gate array, and this chip was designed specifically for playing NES games. It should be stressed, this was not emulation – it’s a recreation of the original hardware. The chips architect was Kevin “Kevtris” Horton who did excellent work, and thankfully, he’s been spending the last 14 months refining the hardware for a SNES sequel.
Announced on the 16th, the Super Nt will include the Altera Cyclone V FPGA closely following the design of its predecessor. This has been touted as being compatible with the entirety of the SNES’s and Super Famicom’s library as well as the accessories; “All the way from the Super Gameboy to Mario Paint”, as they put it.
You might be thankful to know that it won’t decimate your wallet this time either. While there are no solid pieces of aluminium, the release price will be a more affordable US$189. The trade-off is plastic, but I don’t think anyone will be minding that when the hardware will still be up to the same standards.
An RGB output is also sadly another omission, but there will be HDMI out with zero latency. Other features include extra video modes (scanlines and the like), as SD card slot for firmware updates and two original controller ports. There will also be Bluetooth built-in for some wireless controllers created in partnership with 8Bitdo. However, no controllers come bundled with the system.
Considering how much of a runaway success the Nt was, I expect great things from the Super. The new price point should help a lot too, as the previous steep price tag no doubt locked out a few potential customers.
Pre-orders have started with an expected shipping date of February, next year.