Since its establishment back in 2011, Analogue, Inc. has focused on producing premium consoles designed to play classic games at the highest fidelity possible. Its first three consoles are well engineered machines housed in premium wood and aluminum materials but each one carries a hefty price tag. The original Neo-Geo based Analogue CMVS sold for $649 (£480) while the Analogue Nt and Nt Mini, both of which play NES games, started at $499 (£375) and $449 (£340) respectively.
The brand new Super Nt announced today takes a different approach to pricing with an easier to swallow sticker price of just $189 (£140). The idea is simple – provide a way to enjoy real Super NES and Super Famicom carts from any region on a modern piece of hardware via pristine HDMI output with zero input latency. The results promise to be more responsive than emulation, including Nintendo’s SNES Mini, and even real hardware fed through a Framemeister while providing a superior image.
For the Super Nt, Analogue has made the jump to a plastic enclosure this time with four unique variants including a pair themed after the Super NES and Super Famicom color schemes. From what we’ve been told, the plastic housing is unique to each design with variation in texture and finish. The elegant design also features two Super NES controller ports on the front in addition to power and HDMI output.
While the exterior is certainly attractive, it’s what’s inside that interests us the most. Following in the footsteps of the Analogue Nt Mini, the Super Nt is driven by an Altera Cyclone V FPGA housed in the same motherboard designed for the Nt Mini. For those unfamiliar with FPGA technology, it’s essentially an integrated circuit which can be customised by a designer to perform a set of operations. In this case, it has been designed to play Super NES games with the accuracy of an original Super NES console.
Kevin “Kevtris” Horton returns as the FPGA architect having spent the last 14 months perfecting its design. The 16-bit Super NES is a more complex machine than the NES, after all, and getting right via an FPGA is no small feat. According to Analogue, the company has spent an obscene amount of time testing the entirety of the system’s library with the new FPGA core and have run into no issues or incompatibilities. Kevin’s work on the Nt Mini was nothing short of spectacular so we have every expectation that the Super Nt will impress.
In terms of video output, the Super Nt is exclusively HDMI based this time unlike the Nt Mini which offers analog RGB output as an option. This was a key feature with the Nt Mini as real NES consoles lack support for RGB without modding but the Super NES natively supports this option. It’s a fair cut to make in this case if it means a more affordable product as most users will be interested in playing on a modern display instead. Most importantly, the Super Nt shares the same HDMI transmitter and AV components found in the Nt Mini enabling a zero lag experience from the unit itself.
The Super Nt is expected to begin shipping in February 2018 and can be pre-ordered starting today. When the unit becomes available, we’ll be sure to put it through its paces as we did with the Analogue Nt Mini earlier this year. If the Nt Mini is anything to go by, however, it’s safe to say that the Super Nt should be a great way to enjoy Super NES games on a modern TV.