Most folks are plenty happy relying on the magic of emulation to go back to the olden days of memory measured in KB and processors that ran at a handful of MHz. The widespread availability of emulated classic titles and the sales success of Nintendo's NES Classic Edition and Super NES Classic Edition bear out this assertion. More demanding gamers, however, require the accuracy and low latency deliverable only by bare-metal hardware or its equivalent.
Analogue produces its products for this later group. The company's latest product is the Super Nt, a console that promises fully-accurate emulation with zero latency. That feat is accomplished by using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) to accurately mimic the activity of real Super NES hardware. The Super Nt predictably runs Super NES cartridges but connects to a display using a modern HDMI port rather than an analog signal like the original console.
The company's original Analogue Nt machine was built with recovered NES chips, but the later Nt mini implemented the NES hardware on an FPGA. The Super Nt follows this same playbook, but it runs 16-bit Super NES games on its Altera FPGA. The Cyclone V FPGA chip isn't Altera's most sophisticated, but it's said to offer considerably higher performance than the unit employed in the Nt mini. The machine works with the original Ninendo controllers, and buyers can use fellow retro gaming hardware specialist 8bitdo's SN30 wireless gamepads, conveniently available in finishes to match the Super Nt.
Analogue says the Super Nt is compatible with the entire library of 2200 titles available for the Super NES and its international Super Famicom sibling. Retro gamers will have to supply their own games for the most part, though the package does include digital versions of European shooters Super Turrican: Director's Cut and Super Turrican 2. Nintendo's $80 Super NES Classic Edition comes with 20 pack-in games, but can't run any user-supplied titles without hacking.
The similarly-FPGA-powered Analogue Nt mini had an unofficial jailbreak that would give the device the ability to run software for other vintage video game consoles. The availability of such software for the Super Nt remains unknown. That versatility could add a great deal to the Super Nt's value proposition.
Analogue's Super Nt is available for pre-order now for $190. Available color schemes and finishes include Super NES style, a Super Famicom-like aesthetic, as well as black and clear acrylic finishes. The price is substantial, but it's a bargain compared to the substantial $449 tag attached to Analogue's Nt mini. The Super Nt comes with a USB power supply and an HDMI cable, though it doesn't include controllers nor any analog output options. 8bitdo's SN30 wireless pads add $40 each. Pre-orders placed before February 5 are expected to ship today, and orders placed afterwards will be filled starting March 1. The folks at retro gaming Youtube channel My Life in Gaming were given early access to the Super Nt lead engineer Kevin "kevtris" Horton and posted their impressions in the video above.