3DS Nintendo

Nintendo Explains Why SNES Games Only Run On New Nintendo 3DS

One of the big things which was took away from the recent Nintendo Direct presentation is that Super Nintendo games are now playable on the New Nintendo 3DS. The problem is they’re only playable on the new system and not previous Nintendo 3DS models. Nintendo of America has provided an explanation regarding why this is to Game Informer. Here’s what they told the publication.

“As previously announced, New Nintendo 3DS has an improved CPU, which enables Super NES games to run on the system with quality results,” Game Informer was told by a Nintendo representative. “The Super NES games also include Perfect-Pixel mode, which allows players to see their games in their original TV resolution and aspect resolution.”

Source

Thanks, Anubis, God of Death

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128 comments

    1. still sounds like a huge pile of bullshit to me. They’d sell more if they open it to the regular 3DS and ppl won’t buy thenew 3DS to play SNES games on it. And goddammit, are they really … I mean …. REALLY trying to make us believe the 3DS couldn’t run SNES games with like 100times the performance of the original hardware???

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Emulating games demandd much more hardware than games made for said hardware. Anyways, if Nintendo could sell SNES games on 3DS, I bet the would, too much money lost just to sell the New 3DS. I’m betting it’s more of a “The original 3DS couldn’t emulate SNES good enough to meet their standard”.

        Liked by 8 people

      2. Sorry. Not buying it.
        The N3DS can play WiiU and Wii games, but the reg 3DS can’t even play an SNES game?
        Thr N3DS is faster, and stronger, but to male the leap from only being able to play NES games to playing all games? I think that’s fucking bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You don’t seem to understand what Lazara just said… Take Xenoblade Chronicles for example: yes, it is a Wii game running on N3DS, but it is a port, it was adapted to run natively on N3DS. On the other hand we have SNES games. Yes, they are less demanding than a Wii game, but they are not porting them to run natively in 3Ds, they are EMULATING SNES, and then running a SNES game on this emulator. So they need more power. Have you ever run a SNES emulator on a regular Windows PC? It took years for a game to run on PC as smoothly as it originally was on SNES, versions and versions of the emulator came out. You should be even grateful that Nintendo will publish a lot of games, and they will run as if there was no difference between a SNES and a N3DS

        Liked by 5 people

      4. Nintendo is choosing to take the route that forces people to upgrade. I’ve played many Sega 16-bit games on my 3DS to know this isn’t a discussion about playing SNES games, or how powerful the SNES was. It’s easily doable.

        Nintendo is making a choice to develop an emulator using the N3DS specs. They are choosing to force people to upgrade to play virtual console games, most of which will be overpriced anyway.

        SNES games could run on the regular 3DS. But then how would that bump their falling N3DS numbers?

        Like

      5. Since when did the 3DS play games from Wii and Wii U? Sure, there’s Smash Bros, and Xenoblade chronicles 3D, but with Smash Bros, that’s because Wii U version was limited as much as necessary to make a 3DS port possible. And Smash Bros, the only Wii U port on the system (ignoring a bunch of little known third party content) is original 3DS compatible. Aside from Chronicles 3D, if you look at the remakes they’re making, with substantial graphical downgrades, it becomes clear that N64 is a struggle.

        However, I do agree that it does sound a little suspect to not be able to run SNES games on a 3DS. GBA could handle solid ports from the SNES.

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      6. There are only a couple. Ports yes, but if they can port Wii and WiiU games, I’m not sure how building an emulator for hardware that is vastly obsolete is such a problem.

        More or less, I think you get my point though. :]

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      7. “Since when did the 3DS play games from Wii…”

        Since @ least DKC Returns 3D; a port from last gen on the original 3DS hardware. Obviously not quite the same quality as DKCR Wii, but nice looking & more than playable.

        6th gen? There’s the port/remaster of MGS 3D Snake Eater, originally a PS2 game.

        5th gen? 3 remasters of N64 games: Star Fox 64 & Zeldas OoT & MM.

        4th gen? Oops…

        I guess according to Nintendo PR we’re supposed to believe that the original 3DS is incapable of running SNES ports. More like it’s too much time, effort, &/or money to even port. Yet 3DS has its own, more powerful exclusives, & console ports/remasters from 5th to 7th gens. Kinda pokes a hole in their decision.

        Certainly, the SNES ports are artificially exclusive (to handheld). Oh, exclusives are fine & can be vital in defining & selling a platform (or it used to be). But when said exclusives are from the same company & of older, less intensive games, there’s a problem. Of course Nintendo must try & make 3DS.5, er, NEW 3DS more alluring. & it seems they’re screwing something up…again.

        Oh well, I had a hunch New 3DS would be like DSi: nothing particularly new worth my money & a portent of a soon-to-arrive successor. GBA SP & DS Lite made better use of their respective upgrades than does New 3DS (I’m biased, though, uninterested in amiibo & buying another version of Xenoblade Chronicles, & it’s too late for dual circle pads for my 3DS library & wishlist). & if NX is 3DS’ successor (or new “3rd pillar”), it might as well be a prototype release, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Thanks. I guess, the new argument in this thread is that you need a really strong emulator to get an antique game to run. Meh. I honestly don’t know about the power differential between porting a game and emulating it. Which means I can’t intellegently argue against it, but I think I’m bowing out of the argument. I heard Nintendo is charging $7.99 each, and I don’t think those of us who already bought the SNES games once, or twice, will get a discount.

        Like

      9. The pricing of the VC is indeed a problem. It’s so expensive that I only buy a few games I know I’ll enjoy.

        Like

      10. Let’s address in the simplest way possible the games you mentioned:
        DKCR3D: runs at half the framerate of the original.
        MGS3D: runs at 15fps, with drops.
        N64 games: ported from the ground up to the new hardware.

        Is it possible to port the SNES games to the 3DS? Of course, the 3DS would be able to run them.
        Now, the real question is: are you willing to spend +15 euros for a 16-bit game?

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Yeah, that’s the major issue. If you want SNES/GBA games on the 3DS to the quality standard Nintendo’s looking for, you’re gonna be looking to pay way more than $8 for them, because they’d be ports, not emulated roms. Nintendo would have way more luck full-scale doing HD remakes of some of these games, but even then, we’re not gonna get the library we’d get through just VC releases.

        On the other hand though, it could mean things like remaking Super Mario RPG or Earthbound, which would be /cool/, but unlikely to happen thanks to other problems at hand with licenses and the fact that people like their games to be accurate to their memories, many times.

        Liked by 2 people

      12. I know, my only point is that the N3DS can’t run Wii U games with a downgraded resolution. You have to do A LOT of texture downgrading and polygon lowering and lighting changes, the whole kit and kaboodle.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Well, they could probably easily remake the games, and then put them on the original 3DS, because of course the original console can do much more than the SNES can. But seeing as they don’t even want to port them, just put them on the eShop, ready to emulate, it’s not that hard to believe that the original 3DS couldn’t emulate the games the way they wanted.

        Liked by 2 people

      14. I hear what you’re saying, but they could design the emulator to only run with WiiU specs and make the same excuse.

        Like

      15. A potato can emulate an SNES game in much higher res then the snes. Nintendo are just bullshiters and milkers, trying to sell us an almost identical system. After getting a normal 3ds, then years later a 3ds xl, they can go to hell if they think the smart consumer is going to get a new 3ds for next to no reasons at all. Will wait for the NX, and for this reason alone everyone should stop supporting nintendoes old games and just download roms, save the spending cash for something not milked to death. A snes game rom for $5-10??? How about a big fuck no lol

        Like

      16. So not only are they too lazy to actually port the snes titles like they do for the wii u, they emulate them and lie in order to get people to upgrade to the new model 3ds, before it becomes obsolete when the NX releases.

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      17. Well, I have no idea how they usually do it, I believe they’ve always just emulated the games. Also, I have no official information, just voicing my opinion on the matter.

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      18. It could easily run a port, but running a decent emulator is a different kettle of fish, usually requiring 10-20x the original system’s hardware power to emulate the system + game. I think that the 3DS could be pushed to do it, but the N3DS has that much more power that it doesn’t struggle to run them. It does drain the battery hella quick though.

        Liked by 4 people

      19. And the fact the N3DS can play Hyrule Warriors? How much stronger does that make the N3DS to the WiiU?

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      20. SNES games, like every VC game, I believe, are emulated. Every other game is ported, and therefore optimized to run on f.e. the 3DS hardware. Hyrule Warriors is not only ported, it’s heavy downgraded.

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      21. Thank you, exactly. The fact is, Nintendo is deliberately limiting the hardware the Emulator will run on. Whatever they may say, they want to push the N3DS. That’s the bottom line.

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    2. This is not even the right answer. The real answer was due to the ambassador program…which still gave Snes games a version of perfect pixel. The new 3DS is a upgraded version of the 3ds. Thus its being sought as an excuse to sell SNES games to old users without upsetting ambassadors who earned those games as exclusives. So while it might sound like a decent exuse. The real reason has nothing to do with system power (not even close). The real reason is not to upset early adopters who got a 3DS before they were popular, why? Cus when NX comes out they want those customers to be early adopters again.

      Like

      1. Ambassador program didn’t include any SNES game. If you are talking about Yoshi’s Island or something alike, then you are talking about the GameBoy Advance ports, not the SNES versions

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Hardware wise, the GBA could handle 32,768 colors, same as the SNES, and had a 32 bit processor.

        Hardware is not the issue here.

        Like

      3. And what is that supposed to mean? Tell me what having a 32-bit processor has to do with anything. The GameCube, Wii, Wii U, DS, and 3DS had 32-bit processors. Looking at the large gap in what those systems are able to do, do you think their 32-bitness says all that much about them?

        See, you’re look at it like a power level thing and it’s not a power level thing. Emulation is used to adapt code made for very different hardware or operating systems. In the case of the SNES, it used a Ricoh processor which uses it’s own instruction set. The GBA uses an ARM processor and thus the ARM instruction set. The DS and 3DS also use the ARM instruction set so GBA games require less to be emulated than an SNES game as it can run most instructions directly. An SNES emulator has to emulate ALL instructions and the CPU architecture as a whole, meaning that one SNES instruction can easily turn into ten or more 3DS instructions.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Tell me how that has anything to do with what’s harder to emulate. The GBA, DS, 3DS, GameCube, Wii, and Wii U all use 32-bit processors. Does that mean they’re equally easy to emulate?

        You’re looking at emulation as a matter of a hardware’s “power level” but it isn’t. It’s all about how different one system is from the other. The SNES uses a Ricoh processor with it’s own instruction set. The GBA uses an ARM processor with an ARM instruction set. The DS and 3DS also use ARM meaning that they can run most instructions from GBA games directly, without emulation. The 3Ds would have to emulate everything about the SNES’s CPU so one SNES instruction could turn into 10 or more 3DS instructions. Also, when it comes to using the 3DS’s GPU to help emulate graphics related tasks, it’s usually accessed through an API which has it’s own overhead.

        Emulation is also very hard to multi-thread so older systems are often only emulated on one core. In this case, the New 3DS runs at more than twice the original’s clock speed which helps out a lot with emulation.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It could easily run a port, but running a decent emulator is a different kettle of fish, usually requiring 10-20x the original system’s hardware power to emulate the system + game. I think that the 3DS could be pushed to do it, but the N3DS has that much more power that it doesn’t struggle to run them. It does drain the battery hella quick though.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you for clarifying to folks that, yeah, emulation is a whole different ballgame for a system to do. It’s all different when you have to make a dedicated program just for emulation, huh?

        The 3DS could be /pushed/ to do it, but it’d end up messy and people would just be mad it isn’t perfect.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Yeah, if no one buys into this, then there’s no point in really putting in that extra mile.

        I pointed out below, but a lot of this problem would probably be solved if Nintendo had the resources to treat GBA/SNES software as ports for the 3DS, but that’s expensive on both the consumer and the company to really do, since it involves making a specific program for each game, instead of getting the rom to work in the shell emulator.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. This makes no sense… As GBA games were able to run fine as Ambassador titles, which proves emulation can work. Suddenly SNES games are too hard to run on a 3ds? What about all those 3d Genesis titles? Not buying it. It’s a scam to try and get me to buy the NEW 3ds with lazy transparent tactics. I might’ve wanted to buy one if they released a game that required the NEW 3ds… But this is pathetic. Not buying your shenanigans this time Nintendo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Uh, that’s just it though: GBA games did not run fine on the 3DS!

      Yeah, they ran, but they had to shut down the entire operating system of the 3DS to do so. That’s the problem. This has been said and explained basically numerous times, but the GBA games could not run in conjunction with the 3DS’s own system features. The 3DS literally could not handle it, and Nintendo did not want that when the Restore Point feature is an actual selling point for a lot of these games.

      I know people get sore about this, but it’s time to face the reality of the situation: the 3DS was not that powerful. We would not have Wii games digitally on the Wii U if there wasn’t already the hardware built into it, and that’s likely why we haven’t gotten Gamecube games either. The 3DS doesn’t have the GBA hardware inside of it, so it takes all that much more to get them to work– and SNES games are on the same threshold, perhaps even higher, than the GBA. Meanwhile GBC/GB/NES titles take the most minimal amount of processing power to achieve.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The 3D Sega Genesis titles are likely more ports than emulation, given that they have 3D effects added into them.

        It’s kinda like how the 3D Classics NES games were not emulated. They were ports cause they had effects and enhancements added onto them.

        To translate this, it means probably the SNES/GBA games would run better if they were treated as ports, but that involves making a separate “program” for each one instead of using a universal shell like the emulator does. That’s why you don’t see a whole lot of them. Stuff like the 3D Sega Genesis games are kinda special, while meanwhile, we only get Master System games in terms of “emulation”.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It really is not a small difference when you are talking about porting when that’s not what Nintendo is doing. That’s what you have to understand. Could they have ported the games to the original 3DS? Absolutely. None denies that.

        That’s not how the Virtual Console works, though. Each game is just, as Linka said, a shell emulator optimized case by case to run that particular rom flawlessly. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about GB(C), NES or SNES games, every single game Nintendo puts up on that service works that way besides Excitebike 3D.

        It’s not like they chose this method just to spite O3DS users. As you know, they’ve been using it since the Wii. This is a result of how underpowered the 3DS’s hardware is, nothing more.

        Like

  2. To me, it appears as though Nintendo has been struggling with getting 3DS users to switch to the New 3DS. They probbly think “Ok, so it’s much harder to convince the older audience to switch. Oh hey, why not persuade them with nostalgia?? They always buy into nostalgia, and it will be exclusive to the New 3DS!”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. Thank God Nintendo finally came out with hardware strong enough to play SNES games!

    With any luck, the NX will Be strong enough to play N64 games!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I’m playing SMW on my n3ds right now and it runs flawlessly. I’ve played a bunch of snes emulators and they are always at least slightly glitchy or horribly glitchy. I think they could have made the snes games available on the old 3DS but I bet they’d at least be slightly glitch. I’m honestly impressed at how well SMW runs as an emulated game on the n3ds.

        Like

    1. As someone who doesn’t own anything from the 3DS line- the price gap is so substantial, and the advantages so few, that I’m not even contemplating getting New 3DS. Hell, I’d get 2DS over New 3DS, simply because of the price gap. The only addition I care about it solid 3D, and that’s not worth 60 dollars. Oh yeah, and of course, it’s actually more, since they didn’t include a charger.

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      1. You dont care about a bigger screen, basically a second joystick, better battery life, and a huge difference in load times? Ok, to each their own i guess.

        Like

      2. To be fair, after being a day 1 purchaser of the original 3DS, I didn’t care either. Now, once I educated myself about all the emulators that run flawlessly on it, I grabbed it as fast as I could. I’m very happy with it, it’s what the 3DS should have always been.

        Like

    2. Why would I trade in my original 3DS with a bunch of downloaded ames?! I would lose access to all of those downloaded games because Nintendo doesn’t have an actual account based purchase system. It’s all tied to the hardware which is idiotic beyond measure!

      Like

      1. Your games are attached to your Nintendo ID. I download games because they are safe. I had to fill out a police report once, after which Nintendo let me redownload my games. I mean, pick your poison. If my house burns down, I lose my carts. If I drop my 3DS in a pond, I lose my game saves. – but as long as you can retrieve the hardware, regardless the condition, or fill out a police report if it’d stolen, your digital library is safe.

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      2. Gamestop also allows you to buy the new 3DS take it home, do the transfer of your old games to the new system, then bring your old system in and still obtain the $100 credit.

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  4. You can play snes games with a flash cart on the original DS and 3ds.

    They’re lying, lol. You don’t need a new 3ds to play snes games. Moves like this encourage pirating, because if I already have a flash cart, no reason not to load it with everything I can

    Like

    1. Who the hell has parents that buy their kids that sort of thing?
      1. A large portion of 3DS user’s don’t live with their parents anymore.
      2. The most expensive gaming related gift I ever got was a preowned DS Lite, and that was only because dad had lost interest in it himself. Who has parents which give then a new console which is actually really expensive?

      Also, a bunch of these comments are from New 3DS owners, saying it sounds shady.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Consoles and smart devices have been dominating christmas surveys for years. Loads of kids get consoles, phones and tablets for christmas, not just adults lol. Not to mention Nintendo events are still flooded by kids all the time, whether it’s at a convention, a mall or during in-store demos. I got my gameboy, GBA, DS, Wii and first phone from my parents for christmas and birthday gifts, and I have numerous much younger cousins who’ve received much more updated electronic arsenals from their own parents.

        But apart from that I’m pretty sure you took his comment way too literally.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well he was being an arrogant dumbass, mor concerned about throwing insults instead of contributing anything remotely useful. :)

        And yeah, I’m sure there are a lot of kids also getting these. I mostly know of adults, but there has to be a huge Kid demographic

        Like

      3. And here is I chime in.

        As an adult who has no kids, but, have a niece that I spoil, I tend to buy her a lot of stuff. For the last 3 years, I’ve bought her tablets for Christmas, and consoles for her birthday. She owns 2 3DS’s. A launch an an XL, she also owns a hand down Wii (my old one) and a brand new Wii U with over 15 games. This year I’m thinking of getting her a laptop for christmas because she’s actually really good with computers. By the way, She just turned 6 a couple months ago.

        See, not everyone is raised the same way, and if I wasn’t in the picture, she wouldn’t have these things. Her parents don’t spoil her, I do. But that just goes to show you that not everyone has a crappy upbringing. Whether it’s an uncle, a grand parent, or a really close relative, some kids do get these sort of things.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Because the Wii’s hardware is built into the Wii U.

      The Gamecube’s hardware is not, so it requires a lot more effort/likely more processing power than the Wii U actually has.

      It’s a sobering realization.

      Like

      1. Had to look it up since man, that would be cool, and no one answered my question: But yes, it’s a homebrew thing. You apparently can’t even run the games straight off the disk.

        I mean, I could imagine it working, and it’d be neat to experience, but I feel like homebrew stuff shouldn’t be applied to the terms of what Nintendo’s quality assurance might want.

        Like

      2. The Wii and Gamecube were virtually identical and completely compatible. The CPU was exactly the same, and the GPU worked identically, both were just clocked 50% higher. So anything that can run Wii games is capable of running GameCube games. That’s why, via homebrew, the Wii U can play Gamecube games.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. What I understand, is games from the Sega/ Genesis era CAN and do work on the 3DS, and Nintendo is opting for an option, and designing an emulator that will only run on the N3DS.

        Don’t just use the word “emulator” and expect your argument to be bulletproof.

        Like

  5. Okay…
    The New 3DS has double the CPU of the old 3DS, this leads to the New 3DS being capable of handling EMULATION (Not Porting) of the SNES to a point where the SNES games will run smoothly. Emulation needs the CPU to put pixels into its memory at precise moments to emulate the PPU (pixel processing unit). The NES has a PPU that operates at 5.37 MHz, while the SNES has not one, but two PPUs that work together as one that operates at 21.47MHz(GBA’s 16.78 MHz) and that is only the emulation of the visuals. The New 3DS’s CPU can handle processing the two PPUs and the speed, while the old 3DS’s CPU can not due to the 2x VFPv2 Co-Processor while the New 3DS has 4x VFPv2 Co-Processor like the SPEs in PS3. This is why the SNES games are exclusive, lets not be so quick to judge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. SNES games are exclusive because Nintendo decided to build an emulator instead of port the SNES games. I’ve gathered that.

      So… We can expect a ton of SNES games? Or just a couple first party games? I think we’ll see once the software begins to be released if this was a push to get people to upgrade, or they legit plan on releasing a huge chunk of the SNES library. Guess we’ll see.

      Like

      1. Well according to the direct we should be able to create a “vault” of snes games on our N3DS. So hopefully we get a lot of stuff, Super Bomberman with wireless multiplayer would be amaaaaazing ^^

        Like

  6. i got a new 3ds, i still dont have a reason to play with, now… i still dont have one actually, snes game can be played on my pc for free.

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  7. Question: how much more difficult to emulate are N64 games than SNES? The reason I ask is because the Wii could emulate N64 games on its virtual console, and I was under the impression that the 3DS was not THAT far behind the Wii in terms of power, so I am surprised that it cannot even emulate SNES games.

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    1. I’ve wondered the same thing. Specs I looked at showed the N3DS specs close to the Wii. So if power really is the issue, I expect we’ll see N64 emulation as well.

      Like

    2. Apparently N64 stuff is way less to do with power, and more that they run off of some really weird stuff. There’s some games, such as Harvest Moon 64, which we literally /can never get rereleased/ thanks to the weirdness in programming and making them run. It’s why Paper Mario experiences heavy slowdown in parts on the Wii but runs smooth as butter on the N64 itself.

      It’s a really weird scenario.

      Like

  8. LOL at all the complete morons who are incapable of understanding what Nintendo has said. To dumb it down for you: The New 3DS is more powerful than the old 3DS and SNES games cannot run on the old hardware. Simple as that. Trying to argue that fact as if you are a hardware manufacturer and understand the limitations of each is laughable and makes you look like an idiot. Yep, lots of you in here and on the internet over this issue. Think for a second. Do you really think Nintendo would turn down the hundreds of millions of dollars they could get off regular 3DS owners who would buy SNES games so they could use this exclusive service (SNES emulation) to sell a few more thousand New 3DS? Asanine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If y’all are seriously that hard up for playing SNES games on a mobile platform – PSP’s pretty much got you covered in spades. The screen is beautiful, the emulation is near-perfect AND it offers infinitely more customization options that anything Nintendo’s emulation platform could. PSP’s (not Vitas, mind you) are extremely inexpensive these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can. The answer N gave is a PR/marketing answer. The truth is – it isn’t cost-effective to build VC/emulated games on both platforms. They had to choose one or the other. If SNES games were going to be built to run on the New 3DS, then they’d have to be built separately for N3DS. Time = money, my friend.

      Like

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