Nintendo had its own Game Pass almost 30 years ago and it was the most revolutionary thing you can imagine – SNES

There was a time when console manufacturers went crazy making peripherals. You probably know the case of Sega with its Megadrive, to which it put an add-on to play games with CDs, and later an even more powerful expansion to become a 32-bit console. Well then, Nintendo He also wanted to play in that league, but in his own way, of course.

It probably doesn’t sound like much to you, but satellite view It was quite a revolution at the time: a product ahead of its time. It consisted of a satellite modem that was attached to the Super Famicom (Japanese SNES), and it allowed something fascinating: that your console was connected through a satellite dish to the Nintendo servers. Purpose? Pretty cool to talk about where you were in 1995 – downloading games, updates, news and even magazines. all with one monthly subscription, what does it sound like? Well, follow me and I’ll tell you everything.

satellite view

Original Satellaview box. Photo:

Nintendo Game Pass

The history of Satellaview is the most curious. Back in the early 1990s, in Japan there was a successful company that boasted of having the first digital satellite radio station. His name was St.GIGA, but for various reasons it was about to close, until Nintendo arrived, saw an opportunity, and bought a good part of its shareholding. The objective? Create a most unusual peripheral, just at the time when the VirtualBoy it was already on the market. As you can see, back then Nintendo did not skimp on crazy ideas.

His price was restrained, some 150 dollars At the time, it was only purchased by postal order, it had the support of several companies such as Square Enix or Konami, and even Microsoft was interested in the technology to use it in Windows (something that went nowhere). But what interests us: he had games, many, in total a catalog of 114 titles. One of its exclusives was a puzzle and platform game, sutte hakkunwhich had the particularity that it received new levels by download, something incredible at that time.

satellaview logo

stella view logo

I only had one drawback, and that is that for connect to satellite you had to wait for it to be over Japan (a few hours each afternoon: from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.), although you could save the downloaded file in a memory card attached to the device. So that you understand what this madness was about, there was a version of Dragon Quest that weekly offered a different level, but also something that very few people know: a continuation of f-zero which contained new clues. there was even remakes of the first Zelda and the classic Excite Bikewith graphics adapted to the 16-bit Super Nintendo.

satellaview city

The city HUD by Satellaview

Satellaview had games, many, in total a catalog of 114 titles

In short, Satellaview had news, but above all adapted versions of already known games (such as Dr Mario either mario painting), here with better graphics, new content or different functionalities. They even organized tournaments. Now comes the best. There were titles that took advantage of the feature SoundLinkwhich allowed you to listen to narrated versions of the games (yes, with real voices), as well as enhanced versions of the original soundtracks, which were received directly by the satellite connected to the console.

satella view zelda

BS The Legend of Zelda by Satellaview

I would need another article to tell you all the curiosities of this device, such as that there was a particular “Earthbound City” style menu that allowed you to move with your own avatar between the different options available. However, I think it has become clear to you that it was not a minor peripheral. were counted 100,000 subscribers in Japan and it had continued support until five years later it fell into oblivion. The arrival of a new generation of consoles, together with the economic collapse of St.GIGA, prevented this dream from continuing. Sad ending, but not for that reason uninteresting to know.