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Attention: These instructions are only for the original Super Nintendo and not the smaller “slim” model, if you do not know which one you have, the older SNES has a large rectangular purple slider for the reset function and the slim model has a small purple button.

Today with websites like eBay it is easier than ever to obtain import Japanese games, however, it is still fairly expensive and hard to get a hold of the import game consoles. Fortunately it is quite easy to be able to play import Super Famicom games on your console. The Super Famicom is the Japanese only version of the Super Nintendo, it has the exact same controller and the same internals as the North American SNES. The only difference is in the shape of the cartridges. The North American carts are a little bigger and have two indentations on the bottom of them that are absent on the Japanese carts. If you look into the cartridge port on your Super Nintendo you will see that there are two plastic protrusions or "tabs", which match the indentations on the cartridge. These tabs are the only thing that prevents the Super Famicom games from being played on the Super Nintendo.

There are two options for you at this point, you can buy a cartridge adapter, which is basically a pass through spacer which allows you to play the games, or you can manually remove the tabs in the cartridge port. Removing the tabs is definitely the cheapest and most elegant solution in my opinion, and you could be playing the Japanese games in less than an hour. Modifying the Super Nintendo in this way is fairly simple and does not require any soldering or any modification of the electronics.

Note: The games will still have Japanese text no matter what way you choose to play them, however some games may have an English text option. If you want to play an English version of a Super Famicom game there may be fan translated ROMs available online, assuming you already own the game.

Also: This will only allow you to play Japanese Super Famicom games in a North Amercian Super Nintendo, not vice versa. Super Nintendo cartridges are bigger and will not fit in the Super Famicom console, and even though European Super Nintendo games are the same size as Japanese cartridges, they WILL NOT WORK in the American or Japanese consoles. The European games run on the PAL video standard and the American and Japanese game use NTSC, they are not compatable.

What You Will Need:
  • 4.5 mm security bit. (The Super Nintendo’s outside casing screws use this special bit. You can find it online for a couple of dollars, it is also common in bit sets.)
  • Screwdriverhandle.
  • Phillipsscrewdriver or bit.
  • Pliers or wire-cutters.
  • Small metal file.
  • Small tweezers or needle.
Optional
  • Old toothbrush.
  • Cleaning solution or water.
  • Drying cloth.

Step 1: Remove Outer Casing Screws

Turn the Super Nintendo on its top and remove the security bitscrews on the bottom of the console. There is one in each corner and two near the edges. Set these screws aside in a safe place, in a bowl or lid, as it would be bad to lose them. Set the console right side up again.
<p>#supernecropostbutwhatever</p><p><br>The SNES had a lockout chip that had to match between cartridge and console. The chip for America and Japan is the same because these markets were 'protected' by the physical difference in the cartridges, but the European version had a different chip because it shares the same cartridge shape with the Japanese version. This is why you have to deal with lockout chips if you have want to use other cartridges with a European SNES, but only need a knife/wire cutters if you want to use Japanese cartridges in an American console and vice versa.</p><p>Edit: Posting this here because I can apparently not reply to five year old comments...</p>
<p>I recently took apart and refurbished/inspected/cleaned a friend's SNES and he performed the above mod using snips and a file. It worked, but now every time we put any game in (SNES or Famicom) the cartridges have to be lifted up a couple millimeters (before turning the console on of course) in order for the them to register on the TV/be playable. I don't recall having to do this before the mod. I took a look at his sanding job and it looks like he did a good job of sanding the tabs flush/flat (I'm happy to take a picture if it would help). Does anyone have any idea what could be going on, and more importantly have a suggested a fix? =)</p><p>Much thanks,<br>-Snipe</p>
My question was if you needed an additional software or hardware mod...but now seeing this...this means that both Super Famicom and SNES are entirely compatible? <br>The only limitation was the &quot;plastic design&quot; that does not fit the carts? <br>Thanks!
<p>even the NES and famicom were compatible. you just need a pin converter and it plays perfectly</p>
<p>Yeah! Totally! Thanks for answering!</p><p>All Hail Quorthon!!</p>
<p>Wouldn't it be easier to swap the circuit boards from the cartridges?</p>
woh woh woh i thought the snes had a lock out chip similar to that of the nes's except it delt with the problem with the coc lock in chips.......but apparently not so
That's what I thought too, but it's so easy to mod it. The Super Nintendo never ceases to amaze!
you can cut the tabs without unassemble the console. I did this way 20 year ago, eheheh.
I suppose if you don't have the security bit that would be the best option. I attempted to do it once without opening the console, but I ended up scratching the case a bit.

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