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4 weeks ago, Nintendo released the highly anticipated SNES Classic Edition, also known as the Super Famicom Mini in Japan. The writer of this article got the Classic Edition on release day, and has been extremely happy. However, one thing that has bothered this writer is the fact that certain influential games were not included (ahem….. CHRONO TRIGGER), however that has changed. Before we get to what has changed, let’s discuss the Mini System’s hardware and software specifications first.
As for the actual hardware in the Minis, we have the exact same specs. Both have an Allwinner R17 SOC that contains four (4) ARM Cortex A7 Processor cores, an Mali400MP2 Graphics Architecture1, 512 MB of NAND Flash RAM for OS, Save State, and Game storage (300 MB or so of that is user accessible with roughly 75MB used for the built in games), and 256MB SDRAM2. What this means, in layman’s terms, is that if the system was used to it’s fullest capabilities, would likely function similar to the smartphone from 2009, Nexus S, albeit with a more powerful CPU installed.
One definite perk with both systems is the cross-compatibility of the controllers. The controller uses the same interface as the Wii Remote, so this means that any controller that works with the Wii would work on the Mini. This also means that, if you have an original Wii with Virtual Console games, the SNES Mini controllers are 100% personally confirmed as working with the Wii. In this writer’s opinion, Nintendo should make this connector the standard interface for all consoles, mini and otherwise, that Nintendo makes from now forward. With a standardized connector, the need for additional driver support and hardware modifications would be greatly reduced, and potentially speed up device production.
Also, while the system doesn’t have a built-in SD Card slot, the board itself has SDC0 pads on the board. While an SD card being inserted would override the normal NAND Flash booting, this option allows for the system to access a file system of more than 512MB. However, the process for the addition of an SD Card has not been solidified.
The operating system embedded in the mini is based on the Linux operating system, with an embedded emulator called Canoe. Canoe has been observed have a 75% capability to emulate SNES games, as of right now, the add-on chips that seem to have the most issues are the S-DD* used in games like Star Ocean and Street Fighter Alpha, the later of which has been patched to work natively within Canoe.
A week after the release of the Mini, ClusterM released a new, updated version of Hakchi which included baked-in capabilities for usage on the SNES mini. Included in this new program was an ability to access a third partition in the NAND, enabling an extra 50MB of storage for use with save states. However, it should be noted that Canoe’s save files are 2MB each, so it’s important to note that before using it.