A noble but ultimately half-hearted attempt by Funtech, a subsidiary of UMC, to compete with the more established consoles, the Super A'Can marked a departure from the countless NES clones and bootleg games being churned out by shady companies in Taiwan and China during the 80s and 90s.
By the looks of it, you'd initially think this is nothing more than an SNES clone, and there is indeed a resemblance. Under the bonnet however is a Motorola 68000, the same architecture as used in the Sega Genesis and Apple Macintosh amongst others. By all intents and purposes, this made the A'Can essentially a Genesis of sorts, though on paper it boasted superior capabilities to the Genesis and SNES with faster clock speed, bigger RAM, the same amount of colours as the SNES, 16-channel PCM audio, as well as bigger and more sprites per screen...
...if not for the fact that it was released too late in the market, just as gamers were more excited about the real next-generation consoles - the PlayStation, the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn, all of them obviously able to effortlessly smoke the A'Can both on paper and in practical terms. That, coupled with the combined mind share of foreign consoles versus a homegrown console nobody has heard of, let alone care about, along with UMC's dubious reputation for copyright and patent infringementnote , sealed the A'Can's fate and brought the console and Funtech to oblivion. With the console discontinued, unsold units were scrapped and UMC left the console business, shifting its focus on being a merchant foundry instead, manufacturing chips under contract for various OEMs.
Plans for peripherals similar to the Genesis, namely a CD-ROM add-on and a 32X-esque co-processor were announced, but those never panned out due to the console's failure, leaving the expansion port on the A'Can unused.
Despite being of little value to all but the most dedicated of video game historians and collectors, the A'Can became an interesting footnote in video gaming history owing to it being perhaps one of the few original video game hardware released by a Taiwanese company, besides living on in the form of a MESS emulator core for posterity's sake.
- CPU: Motorola 68000, clocked at 10.738635 MHz
- GPU: UMC UM6618 with 128 KB VRAM displaying 256 out of a possible 32,768 colors at 320x240 resolution. Max sprite size of 256x256. Supports scaling and rotation similar to Mode 7.
- Work RAM: 96KB
- Video RAM: 128KB
- Up to 320×240 resolution.
- 256 out of 32,768 total colours
- 16-bit stereo PCM (UMC UM6619)
- ROM cartridge: max size of 112Mb, with built-in SRAM of 16-64kb
- SNES-style joypad. Connectors are mechanically but not electrically compatible with other Atari-style joypad connectors.
- African Adventures (1995)
- C.U.G. (1995)
- Formosa Duel (1995)
- Sango Fighter (1995)
- The Son of Evil (1995)
- Speedy Dragon (1995)
- Super Taiwanese Baseball League (1995)
- Boom Zoo (1996)
- Gambling Lord (1996)
- REBEL (1996)
- Super Dragon Force (1996)
- Magical Pool (1996)
Tropes associated with the A'Can include:
- Dummied Out: Downplayed with the expansion slot. It appears to be fully functional and an add-on has been announced to be plugged into it, but those fell through leaving the slot ultimately unused.
- Follow the Leader: The Taiwanese company wanted a piece of the pie in the console market, but unlike most who simply clone the NES and call it a daynote , this one is a more or less original effort if not for ripping off the Genesis in some way e.g. the processor and (cancelled) peripherals.
- Shoddy Knockoff Product: Most of the A'Can's game library is this, like Speedy Dragon being more or less a Sonic the Hedgehog clone with a human protagonist. In fairness they aren't simply hacks with assets lifted off popular video game franchises, but their lack of originality and depth made gamers snub the system. This is besides the fact that the console itself is of poor build quality compared to its rivals.
- Technology Marches On: Suffice it to say, Funtech were waaaaaay too late for the 16-bit party, just as when more advanced systems showed up on the marketplace. The A'Can was basically dead on arrival when it was released in 1995.
- Up to Eleven: The console's capabilities are a notch or two above both the Genesis and SNES, but at the time of its release, it couldn't hold a candle to the PS1 and Saturn, let alone the Nintendo 64.
- What Could Have Been: Addons for the system were proposed and announced in local magazines, taking a page from Sega's Genesis, but given how the system failed miserably in the marketplace, would anyone care much about it?