User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:05 am

IMG_6634.jpg
SNES / Super Famicon Station Rack, seen here with my custom stitched SNES dust cover.


In November, 2021, my 12-year-old son and I were deep in the throes of playing Donkey Kong Country on my original SNES. We were playing it almost every night and completing about one level per session. We'd played it in the past but decided we wanted to finish it from beginning to end. We became really wrapped up in the whole experience, and you know a game is a great game when it crosses the generational divide like that one does.

Best part? It has a "co-op" 2-player mode. So if I die, and I'm Donkey Kong, my son can take over as Diddy Kong and try to complete the level. Back and forth like that, it can actually make the game harder as it breaks you out of your rhythm. But it's a ton of fun.

Anyway, during that time somehow I learned of a really interesting contraption that was made and sold in Japan for the Super Famicom, which is just the Japanese name for the SNES. Over in Japan, which is pretty space limited in its major cities they created a Super Famicom Station Rack, or console case. This plastic thing somewhat matched the SNES plastic color and allowed you to put your console on top of the Rack to help keep things tidy when not in use.

Bonuses:
[*] It has wheels, so you could easily move it around.
[*] It has a drawer where you could store a lot of your games and other unsightly doo-dads!

Naturally, I wanted one. And I found a place on Ebay that was selling a bunch of them. To my surprise, the shipping from Japan was free. I couldn't even imagine how they could get any money out of the deal, but I wasn't going to complain about not being charged enough. Maybe, I thought, this is their way of recycling.

Anyway, I placed the order. About a month went by and a large box arrived. I pulled the Station Rack out and noticed a small plastic chip from somewhere fell to the floor.

That's a great sign, I thought.

I immediately set it up to test things out. Looks great!

IMG_6636.jpg
IMG_6635.jpg

I finally opened the tray to figure out how I wanted to organize things. And - to my utter astonishment - I discovered 7 Japanese Famicom cartridges had been left inside!
IMG_6637.jpg
I couldn't believe it! Chrono Trigger was the only game I recognized at all. The others seem to be about horse racing (2 different titles), bass fishing, baseball, and a couple others I simply couldn't identify (and I still haven't looked them up).
IMG_6638.jpg

But I really didn't care about that. It was more like finding treasure on the side of the road.

I did quickly discover that my SNES cartridges are slightly too wide for the cartridge stands, though. So I use the left side and just stack them for now along with several Amiibos we've gotten over the years. They can stand up in there and still have clearance (except for Link).

IMG_6639.jpg

All in all I'm extremely pleased with the addition to the TV/Game room. It's nice to have a place to store the SNES controllers and not be forced to put the console on the floor. And that shelf is a very nice bonus.

I'm going to get one of these cheap cartridge converters to check out the Japanese games later this month. Domo arigato gozaimasu!


ADDENDUM:
For Christmas, my 14-year-old daughter bought DKC Tropical Freeze for my son and I to play. Seeing how much we enjoyed the original, it was a really wonderful and thoughtful gift. We're playing that game on the Switch. It's gorgeous! I miss the old music - especially the water scenes - but Tropical Freeze is simply off the charts creative, beautiful and fun to play. Really impressive. And the 2-player co-op play is taken to a whole new level. Might be one of the best 2D platformers out there, period.

User avatar
Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Fri Jan 21, 2022 4:35 pm

That is pretty cool and the bonuses are awesome.

Before I saw the twitter post about this I was just thinking about pulling out my SNES. Now I have to.

Seeing all the games over the years that didnt get released over here always made me want to learn to read and speak Japanese. Well, itss a dream anyways. I do have a few PC Engine, PS1, and Saturn games from Japan and some of them are quite playable without but many are story heavy and while I have been able to make some headway with google and bing mobile translators it is still too much work.

User avatar
obitus1990
New Orleans, LA, USA

Posted Thu Jan 27, 2022 6:07 pm

That's a pretty cool setup.

You probably know this already, but, Super Famicom cartridges are of different form factor from SNES (as evidenced by your carts not fitting inside the rack's drawer). They are rounded at the corners and front, whereas US cartridges are squared at the corners and front. They don't fit into a US SNES and vice versa, as a result -- mechanical region lockout. The NES had a lockout chip in it, instead (and cartridge form factor was different between Famicom and NES, too). The NES was easy to defeat, though, by cutting a leg on the lockout chip and then shorting another leg to it, then using a Famicom to NES adapter.
IMG_2390.jpeg
IMG_2391.jpeg

I have an SD2SNES cart, which is universal and will fit in both the SNES and SFamicom:
IMG_2389.jpeg

As well as the SuperWildcard DX2 I bought back in 1992 or so which fits both (and, yes, I swapped it for a Gotek a couple of years ago, after I opened it up and discovered, to my horror, that it had a Varta battery inside it that had leaked on its board!).

IMG_2394.jpeg
IMG_2392.jpeg
IMG_2393.jpeg
Imagine contacting someone on a BBS on the other side of the world and arranging purchase of one of these, in the days before the internet, and having to send them a money order, to a P.O. Box, and keeping your fingers crossed they didn't steal your $300!

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Thu Jan 27, 2022 6:30 pm

@obitus

I got one of these, which arrived this week. I plan to test out the intriguing Japanese cartridges this weekend.

I'll throw the converter in the Station Rack's tray, of course. ;)
superfamicomconverter2.jpg
superfamicomconverter1.jpg

User avatar
obitus1990
New Orleans, LA, USA

Posted Thu Jan 27, 2022 6:37 pm

Cool...that should work. I think there is a region lockout chip on the SNES too, but, it's mostly to prevent PAL games from being played on NTSC machines.





Return to “Retro Corner”