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Useful Notes / Satellaview

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The Satellaview setup: a Super Famicom, the Satellaview device itself attached beneath it, and the BS-X cartridge with a memory pack inserted into the Super Famicom. Not pictured: the rest of the incredibly-complicated setup.

[...] what the future used to look like.
—The description of the in-game Satellaview outfit in Super Mario Odyssey

Even most hardcore Nintendo fans don't know what this is, never mind having actually played one, partly due to a combination of No Export for You and one of the more bizarre examples of Keep Circulating the Tapes in video game history.

Some time after the SNES CD-ROM was canned (cue Epileptic Trees about a Plan B), Nintendo signed a deal with St.GIGA (a now-defunct Japanese Satellite Radio company) to have a Super Famicom add-on which allowed users to both download software and stream Satellite Radio. This setup was eventually released in 1995 as a special-mail-order, subscription-based service.

The add-on had a bit of an unusual setup — downloads were broadcast in timeslots much like radio and TV shows. Some downloads were expected things like old Super Famicom releases, demos of new games, and original game content. On the stranger side were some downloadable magazines full of Japanese celebrities drawing Squicky pictures of Mario with an Asian face. While snagging all this content, the Satellite Radio would stream various programs which attempted to tailor to the gamers' tastes, and were hosted by J-Pop Idols and comedians.


Eventually the bright idea came around to have a game set up to play alongside the Satellite Radio playing unique game-specific audio, and thus the Satellaview's most remarkable and famous accomplishment was noted — the SoundLink games, which did just that, using the functionality to bring new stories for some of the Super Famicom's most prominent titles, like The Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.

Unfortunately, most of the Satellaview's unique features came with "catches" that would lead many to turn "BS" into an Incredibly Lame Pun (for reference, the original meaning is a generic Japanese term for "Broadcasting Satellite", tagged onto various programs transferred via satellite). The Satellaview is one of the first notable examples of DRM used in console gaming — many games were set up to have limited boot-ups, and many others were only allowed to play at the specific broadcast times. Much of the contents are presumed to be lost forever because of the limitations of people merely being able to download data.note 


Much of the actual capabilities of the Satellaview were unknown to the non-Japanese for the longest time, leading to various rumors and misinformation. Fortunately, quite a lot of the issues can be cleared up by watching various video archives of gameplay from the original broadcasts on Nico Nico Douga. The Satellablog is devoted to recovering and archiving footage of and info about the Satellaview, and is perhaps the most complete English-language resource on the Satellaview there is; it's related to a project which aims to eventually restore as much functionality as possible to Satellaview emulation, possibly including SoundLink transmission. The Other Wiki has some very in-depth information on the technical side of the system.

To date, the only Satellaview titles to be rereleased in any form are the four BS Fire Emblem chapters, which were remade as bonus content in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, the Nintendo DS remake of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem; the remakes do not incorporate the voice acting of the originals.


  • The Satellaview's user interface is presented as a game itself, titled BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Has Been Stolen. The system's content and options menus were accessed by visiting buildings around the town, which all looks rather reminiscent of EarthBound.
  • Numerous SoundLink titles, where the game was played alongside radio-streamed audio; these include BS F-Zero, BS Super Mario USA, etc...
  • BS The Legend of Zelda, basically a SNES-powered third quest/fourth quest for the original Zelda. Notable for being the first game where one can play as Zelda.
  • Radical Dreamers, Koi ha Balance, and Treasure Conflix, three SquareSoft original releases. Plus a Chrono Trigger beastiary, sound library and a standalone version of the "Jet Bike" minigame.
  • Satella-Q, perhaps one of the most obscure Mario spinoff games ever — a J-Poppy quiz game starring Toad.
  • Excitebike: BunBun Mario Battle Stadium, a remake of the NES Excitebike with Mario characters and Mario Kart 64 voice effects.
  • BS Famicom Detective Club: Lost Memories in the Snow
  • Sutte Hakkun
  • Genjuu Ryodan
  • Marvelous Time Athletic and Marvelous Camp Arnold
  • Kirby no Omocha Bako, a series of mini-games starring Kirby.
  • An adaptation of Win, Lose or Draw, of all shows- odd, considering it had been off the air since 1990 and was never imported to Japan
  • Special variants of games, such as Wario's Woods, with celebrity cameos or other changes.


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