Analogue applies FPGA wizardry to its Super Nt SNES clone

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.

Comments closed
    • SuperSpy
    • 2 years ago

    I wish Sega would commission this company to make a modern Genesis instead of the terrible AT Games version that can’t even properly emulate sound let alone the games.

    • superjawes
    • 2 years ago

    I really like the “just because” setup of original GB game > Super Game Boy > FPGA-emulated SNES. Plus a wireless SNES controller!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    This thing is neat if you’ve got a hankering for some old console games.

    The Nt mini post-launch received a “jailbroken” firmware that makes it compatible with a bunch of extra systems and can load ROMs from an SD card. I’m holding out hope for the same thing here. As relevant as Nintendo is today, I was a Sega kid in the early-mid 90s. If kevtris ultimately releases some other 16-bit cores (he mentioned Neo Geo in the video, so the Genesis should be a cakewalk) I’d be all over it.

    Until then, I have my Genesis and it’ll soon be connected via SCART to an Open Source Scan Converter on my big TV. Don’t get much better than that, though I’d welcome a native HDMI implementation like the FPGA can provide.

    [quote<]early access to the Super Nt lead engineer Kevin "kevtris" Horton and posted their impressions in the video above[/quote<] This sentence is weird. They were given early access to the guy or the system? Both, I suppose.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    I’ve been dabbling in emulated SNES games lately and suspect that latency is making me worse than I remember when playing the console.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      There was some discussion of that in [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=119821&start=30<]page 2 of this thread[/url<], and if you're using a RasPi on a regular HDMI TV there's almost assuredly upwards of 50+ milliseconds of input latency. Even on my desktop monitor where I can't feel lag, I can still feel lag in the Pi. The SNES Classic is much better, as long as you're not installing RetroArch and playing games there - the SNES Classic's built-in emulator "Canoe" is much faster. Connected to [url=https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/tcl/p-series-2017-p607<]my TV[/url<] set to game mode (measured as around 14ms of lag) I feel like the lag is basically gone even though I know some is still there, both from emulation and from the TV.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 2 years ago

        Wow, that might explain why I am worse at some games than I was 25 years ago… or I might be getting old.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          For me I’m sure it’s a combination of the two. Same reason even the most successful esports players end up retiring before 30.

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            Nah, most of them end-up moving to something else. There are plenty of harden arcade and fighting games(KOF, SF, MK, Tekken etc) veterans that are just good at those games back when they were new.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            [citation needed]

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            Most of those games are more about understanding the game mechanics and exploits then raw reflexes. Most of the progamers retire because real life responsibilities eat away at free time they use to keep in practice or simply grow bored of it.

            It is similar to how professional athletes are able to stay competive their career far beyond their physical prime.

      • jdevers
      • 2 years ago

      Don’t underestimate the latency imposed by 25 years on your own body.

        • drfish
        • 2 years ago

        Ha, this comments can’t get enough up-votes.

        • Krogoth
        • 2 years ago

        It is more likely that OP simply forgets how difficult older arcade/console games were and probably spend countless hours of their “youth” getting to be “good enough”.

        They only remember the times they managed to get good enough but forgot how long it took to get to that point.

        • Concupiscence
        • 2 years ago

        It’s both, really. For old games I beat into muscle memory I’m still fine, but have to adjust a split second to account for my HDTV’s latency. It can take a little while to get into a groove, but once I’m there I can still demolish it. Newer games are not quite as easy to pick up and dismantle as they once were, alas…

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