Super Nintendo Entertainment System

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Type Console
Manufacturer Nintendo Co. Ltd.
Distributor AU Mattel Australia (1992-1994)
Nintendo Australia (1994-1997)
Released AU July 3, 1992
Discontinued 1997
Generation Fourth Generation
Userbase ?
Predecessor Nintendo Entertainment System
Successor Nintendo 64

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a fourth generation console manufactured by Nintendo Co. Ltd and distributed and marketed by Mattel Australia and Nintendo Australia. It was launched in Australia on July 3, 1992.

The Super Nintendo in Australia

Launch

Though the Super Famicom launched in 1990, the equivalent PAL systems and software were not ready until 1992. European operations, now being run directly by Nintendo, were given higher priority than Mattel's operations in Australia, leading to the Super Nintendo not being launched in Australia until the middle of 1992. The system launched for $299.95 and included a copy of Super Mario World and two controllers. Launch titles included F-Zero, Pilotwings, Sim City, Super Soccer and Gradius III. A national TV advertising campaign was launched featuring the slogan "Now you're playing with super power!"

Early struggles

The delay in launching the Super Nintendo left Mattel facing a tough challenge. Sega Ozisoft launched the Mega Drive, the Super Nintendo's main 16-bit competitor, some two years earlier, and its successful Master System line, which had dominated the Nintendo Entertainment System in the market, continued to sell well. This gave Sega as much as 80% market share before the Super Nintendo was launched. As a result of this situation, the Super Nintendo struggled to gain traction with all but the most dedicated Nintendo fans.

Trading blows

Fortunately for Mattel, Nintendo's market power in Japan gave them the opportunity to capture a key exclusive: Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. The game had breathed new life into the fighting game genre, and revitalised the arcade scene. Mattel promoted the release of the game heavily with a national advertising campaign, in-store demos and a bundle with the console and a controller for the same price as the standard SNES package. The game and the hardware bundle drew many gamers into the SNES, enough for Sega to retalliate with bundles of its own, first by giving away two free games via redemption, then by including Sonic the Hedgehog in the deal, and then both deals combined. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would restore Sega's momentum.

The software situation for the Super Nintendo improved remarkably in 1993, with major hits The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario All Stars and Starwing all launching in that year. An Australian version of the popular UK magazine Nintendo Magazine System was launched - the first dedicated Nintendo magazine for the Australian market. Nintendo coverage in local multiformat magazines had been poor at best - largely due to the fact that Megazone was published by Sega Ozisoft - so the magazine was an instant hit. Mattel continued its strategy of packaging popular titles with the hardware, and saw their userbase continue to rise. Nintendo Co. Ltd felt that they could do a better job of managing the Australian market, deciding not to renew their contract with Mattel and instead starting the process of opening a local branch of Nintendo named Nintendo Australia.

It would be a tough final Christmas for Mattel. While the Super Nintendo made a lot of ground in 1993, Nintendo of America's decision to censor the home version of popular fighting game Mortal Kombat saw a lot of players snap up the Mega Drive version of the game, which contained a code to activate the game's notorious blood and fatalities. Sega Ozisoft even advertised the exact button combination in television commercials for the game. The result was a literal bloodbath at the market, with the Mega Drive version of the game outselling the Super Nintendo version by as much as 5:1. Although Sega's key game for the holidays, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was delayed, the company countered with a variety of high quality titles - Streets of Rage II, their own version of Street Fighter II dubbed Special Championship Edition and Disney's Aladdin, a high quality adaptation of the smash-hit animated film of 1993, which would go on to be the second best selling title for the system behind Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Nintendo had a new Street Fighter II version of their own, Street Fighter II Turbo, but it was only on parity with the Mega Drive version.

Nintendo Australia takes over

Known Bundles

  • Not pictured: Donkey Kong Country Kong Kit (DKC + electronic diary) - originally $199 released July 1996

Super Nintendo Entertainment System games developed in Australia

Notes

AU Hardware

  • Standalone SNES (Mattel)
  • Standalone SNES (NAL)

?Are there multiple versions with different pictures on the back of the box from each manufacturer - Yes, NAL two variants, one with Super R-Type, F-Zero, SimCity, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Pilotwings, Super Ghouls'n Ghosts, Super Mario World, Super Soccer and Super Tennis featured on the back, and the second features Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Unirally, Donkey Kong Country, Super International Cricket, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Kirby's Ghost Trap, Tetris & Dr. Mario, Killer Instinct and Super Mario Kart. AU PAL English Language Exclusives

  • Alien vs. Predator
  • Space Invaders
  • Super Chase HQ
  • Harvest Moon
  • Lufia