Exploring the Unique Characteristics of the Super Famicom Prototype

As technology enthusiasts and retro gaming collectors scour the internet for hidden gems, a recent discovery on the Japanese Yahoo Auctions site has caused quite a stir. An apparent pre-production version of the Super Famicom, the Japanese counterpart of the Super Nintendo (SNES), has been listed for sale. This prototype boasts several distinct features that set it apart from the console that Nintendo eventually released in 1990.

One of the standout differences of this prototype is the inclusion of a headphone jack and a volume wheel on the side of the console. This unique design element adds a layer of functionality that was not present in the final version of the Super Famicom. Additionally, the prototype features a big red power switch and controller ports positioned on the left side of the console, differing from the centered layout of the production model. The front-facing expansion port on the prototype also deviates from the bottom placement seen in the official release.

Upon closer inspection, the Super Famicom prototype shares similarities with early design concepts showcased in 1989 Nintendo press demonstration scans. These design touches, including the headphone jack and other unique features, were eventually scrapped in favor of the more conventional SNES design that made its way to the market. The evolution of Nintendo’s console designs over the years is evident when comparing these prototypes to the final products that consumers are familiar with.

The discovery of the Super Famicom prototype is not the first instance of a rare Nintendo find surfacing in the collecting community. Examples such as the Nintendo / Sony PlayStation prototype and the unreleased wired version of the Wiimote for the GameCube have captivated enthusiasts with their unique features and historical significance. These lost prototypes shed light on the iterative design process that companies like Nintendo undergo before settling on a final product for mass production.

As the Super Famicom prototype continues to attract attention on the auction site, bidders are vying for the opportunity to own a piece of gaming history. With the current bidding price surpassing one million yen (nearly $7,000 USD) and several days left in the auction, the final selling price is expected to reflect the rarity and desirability of this unique console variant. For collectors and enthusiasts alike, the chance to own a piece of gaming nostalgia like the Super Famicom prototype is a truly special opportunity.


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