A Look At Nintendo's Satellaview

A Look At Nintendo's Satellaview

Exploring Nintendo's 1995 Super Famicom satellite modem
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Over the years, Nintendo has become known as the experimental company in terms of gaming hardware design. By this point, many of us are already accustomed to their trailblazing approaches to motion control with the Wii, or touchscreen gaming with the handheld DS family, but many in the West aren’t familiar with one of their most interesting experiments: the Satellaview.

In 1995 Nintendo joined forces with St.Giga, a satellite radio service in Japan dedicated to playing ambient and New Age music. While this may not sound like the most sensible combination in ‘90s gaming, Nintendo had a plan. Through this collaboration, the Satellaview was born, a satellite gaming peripheral designed to broadcast games and events to players across Japan.

The Satellaview attached to the expansion port on the bottom of the Super Famicom console (Japan’s Super Nintendo) and ran through the same wiring as a satellite television. Nintendo designed the games and planned the events while St.Giga was left in charge of data maintenance, server managements, and the sound broadcasting of “SoundLink” games.


These “SoundLink” games allowed Nintendo and St.Giga to circumvent the Super Famicom’s low quality audio systems and take advantage of satellite broadcasting’s higher quality sounds. Music and announcer narration would be broadcast live to gamers as they played whatever game had been scheduled for that hour. The games were positioned on a fixed time slot called the Famicom Hour, which worked like a television schedule where gamers “tuned in” to download the broadcasted game, and play them alongside the live music and narration.

This is where the concerns with the Satellaview come in. Due to the impermanent broadcast nature of these games, they pose a huge problem in terms of preservation. Without physical copies released at the store, the only way to preserve a Satellaview game is to keep it saved to whichever memory cartridge it was originally broadcast to. While this may not seem like a major issue, the problem lies in the fact that each of these memory paks only held about one game, meaning that to keep a game the player would have to never use its memory pak to download another broadcast, as it would rewrite the previous file. Because of this there are a great deal of Satellaview games that are either no longer available or cobbled back together by online communities such as some of the Legend of Zelda events.

Another problem arises in terms of background music and narration. Since Nintendo sought to achieve higher sound quality through live broadcasting the only way to preserve the music and announcer’s narration was to actually record the sounds yourself. Since most people playing a videogame don’t think to set up a tape recorder there are quite a few games where the game itself has been preserved, but there is a distinct lack of music in some sections.

The Satellaview is one of the fascinating stories of 1990s gaming, and a testament to Nintendo’s weird, experimental nature in terms of hardware. It also stands as a strong argument for further preservation efforts in tech and gaming. With St.Giga now long defunct and Nintendo having moved on past its satellite broadcasting experiments, the only way to preserve these games at present is for gamers to piece them back together. Some of these games were released episodically over the course of multiple events, while others lack recorded sounds to reconstruct the announcements and music. Without the continued efforts of preservationists and online fans many of these games would be lost.

Cover Image Credit: images.everyeye.it

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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.
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We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.


2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^


8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.


14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.

16. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.


18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”


23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

Cover Image Credit: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8289/7759302068_fac2dfd31d_b.jpg

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6 reasons why the importance of libraries transcends both technology and Privilege

Believe it or not, libraries are more relevant than ever.

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Being in the middle of 2018, we're living in the age many would dub "the future." The past decade, technology has changed the way we study, conduct research, keep up with the news, write, and read. While the convenience and innovation of technology has been largely positive, it's caused us to question the relevance of a good old-fashioned public library. And while this is a valid quandary, our access to technology is also often a matter of privilege. After all, digital reading and media sources are not as universal as a physical library space. In any case, it's clear that the presence of libraries is vital and irreplaceable, regardless of society's increase in technology and financial privilege.

Libraries are the ideal option for low-income readers.

Although the public book-lending cornucopias we call libraries are relatively universal, they sometimes seem to be hidden in plain sight. Likely, this can be accredited to the fact that many modern consumers have the financial means to purchase new books and E-readers. As satisfying as it can be to splurge on a new book at Barnes and Noble from time to time, this luxury is not available to everyone. And it is a luxury-- new paperback books are seldom under $15.00, and hardcover books often cost at least $30.00. E-readers, on the other hand, can cost up to $200, and the tablets many of us use to read cost many times more. And while many people could afford this, many others (particularly avid readers) understandably couldn't. Those who see libraries as irrelevant forget that low income families and individuals rely on libraries to borrow books for school, for research, or for the unadulterated enjoyment of a novel.

Libraries provide access to new media.

Beyond traditional carbon-based books, libraries house a plethora of audio books, digital resources, and movies for anyone to enjoy. Although subscriptions to audio book apps, digital news media, and video streaming are widely used, some of us may find that we either can't afford all of these subscriptions or merely won't use them enough for what they cost. In any case, free digital sources are always a viable option for anyone who may need them, whether to substitute or to just supplement the services at our fingertips. Aside from these digital resources, most public libraries are equipped with computers that patrons can use to surf the internet or create documents. If an unemployed individual needs a computer to fill out online applications or draft a resume, the library is always available to them.

Libraries host a wide array of free community events.

Aside from hosting book clubs and book signings for various ages, libraries host workshops across topics, from genealogy, to robotics, to screenwriting. These can provide free fun for all ages and help build a stronger sense of community, particularly for children and young adults. Academically, children can benefit from reading and math clubs, and storytime-style reading events are available for children as young as newborns. For adults, libraries often host free workshops in topics like business and financial literacy. Typically, bilingual workshops are available in public libraries for non-native English speakers, and English lessons and seminars are not uncommon either.

Libraries are an inclusive public space.

With very few exceptions, most public spaces won't allow individuals to sit down, read, work, or use the restroom in their facilities without making a purchase. Since libraries are for everyone, anyone can come and go as they please without being kicked to the curb. This is especially important for people who may not have anywhere else to go, such as the homeless or children from neglectful homes.

Utilizing the library motivates us to keep reading.

For those of us who wish for more time to read, the pending due date of a library book is key to holding us accountable and pacing ourselves as readers. Even if you need to use a renewal, the presence of any deadline will motivate you to finish your book. Visiting the library to return and check out books regularly makes the process of finishing books quick, natural, and routine in a way that digital platforms of reading don't provide. In a world dominated by visual entertainment and social media, it's more important than ever to prioritize basic literacy and keep reading.

The library is timeless.

Overall, libraries remain one of the most inclusive and rich public learning spaces. Although the idea of a library is, in itself, rather ancient, libraries have a way of holding true to their original purpose while evolving and acclimating to our culture. Regardless of our technological advances, the accessibility and value of these spaces is truly timeless.

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