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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Super Famicom (Satellaview "BS" Roms)

The Satellaview was a satellite modem add-on for Nintendo's Super Famicom system in Japan. It retailed for ¥14,000.

The name "Satellaview" is assumed to be a blend of satellite and view. However the consoles full name is seldom used; the official abbreviation seen everywhere is BS-X; BS stands for Broadcast Satellaview, and X is literally "unknown" or "nameless".

It seems that at some point in time someone on the Internet started calling it the "Bandai" Satellaview, and most websites now refer to it as this, but there is no trace of any Bandai logo or name in any known documentation or indeed in the BIOS over-world interface itself.

The BS-X titles fell into several categories:

* exclusive releases, new entries in established series available only on the BS-X; they are still exclusive, as none has been re-released as of yet.
* re-releases, exact replicas of the cartridge data of normal Super Famicom games, except in a format for broadcast over the satellite
* remakes of previous Famicom games, often hugely enhanced, as in the cases of BS Zelda and BS Mario ExciteBike
* remixed Super Famicom titles were occasionally released, as in the case of BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets
* original creations; there were a handful of BS-X games that were not part of any established series.

No matter what the game was, it was released in weekly or sometimes daily installments, usually with a total of four parts. Some games went on to have multiple stages beyond the scope of the original game, such as BS Zelda "-Map2-" (the only known name), which included nine entirely new dungeons beyond the nine already featured in the first BS Zelda broadcast. However the player data could not be transferred onto the new maps, and, just like The Legend of Zelda's "Second Quest", the player had to start over.

* Satellaview adapter, attached to the bottom of Super Famicom and plugged into the (previously unused) expansion port
* L-shaped bracket; this supplied power to the Satellaview via the Super Famicom
* Application cartridge "BS-X : Soreha namae o nusumareta machi no monogatari" (translates as The Story of The Town Whose Name Has Been Stolen)

This application was like a game in itself. The player entered his or her name and chose his or her gender, then moved his or her player character around the town. Each house or shop in the town was a direct link to a particular game, which would load and be ready for play if the player chose to enter that building.

The deluxe system contains all the above, plus:

* 8-Megabit Memory Pak - (downloaded games are saved on this memory cart if you put it in)

The BS-X base unit contained some memory of its own, but not much (about 512 kB) so for larger games, or (it is to be assumed) for multiple games to be saved at the same time, the player needed to purchase this Memory Pak, otherwise previous data would have to be erased.

The BS-X was developed and released by Nintendo, and St. GIGA was responsible for the file servers and the maintenance side of things after each game had been added.

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