A Look At Nintendo's Satellaview

A Look At Nintendo's Satellaview

Exploring Nintendo's 1995 Super Famicom satellite modem

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

Popular Right Now

Pros And Cons Of Living In A “Tracking” Generation

The impacts of living in a world of Find My Friends and Snapchat maps.

In this day and age, sharing your location with someone solidifies your relationship. Whether you share using Find My Friends or over the snap map, you are subjecting yourself to some advantages and some disadvantages.

Pro: knowing where everyone is and who’s together

This is the most obvious advantage. You get to know where all the important people in your life are, like, all the time! You can see if your friend actually left their house to come pick you up when they said they did. You can catch your friend sneaking over to that one guys house, the one she swore she’d never see again. Also, tracking allows you to easily catch your significant other being unfaithful or lying.

Con: your parents can know where you are all the time

This doesn’t apply to everyone. Nonetheless, there are plenty of people whose parents require them to share their location. This makes it tough to do the “Mom, I’m going to spend the night at *insert best friends name here* house tonight, if that’s cool?” when you really go out all night.

Pro: feeling safe

You might be forced to share your location with your parents. You might only allow friends to see your whereabouts. Either way, there is a sense of security that comes with knowing that your loved ones always know where you’re at. Hypothetically if something bad were to happen to you or you accidentally made a wrong turn into the unsafe part of town, there are people looking out for you and ready to help.

Con: getting caught lying

You better be leaving at noon if that’s what you tell your friends because they will definitely know. Also, you can’t tell people you’re staying in if you’re really just blowing them off to see other friends. So basically, tracking forces you to be a better person, which is annoying.


Tracking has caused people to get closer and relationships to end. No matter where you stand on tracking, it’s not going anywhere.

Cover Image Credit: instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Is the Deep Web Safe for Teenagers?

The internet, together with modern technologies, is taking over virtually every aspect of everyday life for human beings.

Our kids are getting introduced to web platforms at tender ages and continue to explore their extensive benefits as they grow up. With the internet, they have been able to quickly go through their education systems, develop their communication and even spark up their leisure.

And while this is advantageous, the unfortunate thing is that the internet is not entirely safe. In recent times, it has gradually become more vulnerable to threats that specifically target teenagers.

With this in mind, one significant internet peril—although massively underestimated—is the deep web. Unfortunately, only a few parents and guardians are informed about it compared to their kids, particularly teenagers whose curiosity for going against norms leads to them trying various experimental projects.

This excerpt seeks to provide a broader understating of the problem at hand. Here, you will get to understand “the deep web mystery” and its implications for internet users below 18 years of age.

What is the Deep Web?

There are numerous definitions and phrases surrounding the mysterious non-visible internet, and if you are to understand how it could be dangerous, then it is crucial that you know what it means.

In one of the simplest definitions, the deep web represents every web page which is unidentifiable by standard search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the likes. To give you an idea of this concept, you can find a comprehensive, categorized list of deep web links here.

Another commonly-used term associated with the deep web is “the dark web,” which mostly represents sites with illegal content of criminal nature. The dark web, which exists within the deep web, is also the home of various trading platforms that allow users to buy and sell illegal items and services.

In summary, the term “deep” represents online content that is not identifiable using standard search engines. Many sites on the deep web are not nefarious or illegal in nature—in fact, many deep web platforms (outside of the dark web) are meant for legitimate purposes like peer-to-peer communication using various forums or even academic research using databases such as WWW Virtual Library.

But within the deep web is the dark web, which tends to be a comfortable venue for criminal activity. Though many of the sites on the deep web can be visited using standard web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, they’re also accessible with the software tools inclusive of those used for the dark web.

The Danger in Complete Anonymity

To access the dark web, you need a special software program, namely the Tor Browser. The software allows you to remain anonymous online. Tor prevents a third party from being able to know your identity or online behaviors, including your location, the sites you visit and even the messages you send. And while this sounds remarkable, it is the reason why kids want to access the deep web.

Unknown to them is the looming danger that they’ll be exposed to malicious users on the other end looking to exploit unsuspecting visitors. This danger is particularly rampant on the dark web.

The aspect of anonymity attracts all forms of illegal and illegitimate activities including hacking, cyber-bullying, drug dealing, fraud, among others. In reality, it is impossible to quantify the degree and types of threats underage kids can get lured into when they’re browsing the dark web.

Illegal Access to Drugs

Imagine being able to go online, buy drugs (even illegal) and have them directly delivered to your doorstep. This is not some fancy joke, but a blatant reality on the deep web. Sites on the dark web in particular, such as the infamous Silk Road market, allow users to access and purchase all sorts of illegal drugs and have them delivered while maintaining their anonymity.

Minors with the ability to bypass the typical barriers to the deep web have unlimited access to a flurry of potential destructive and illegal drugs. And considering the number of scammers and malicious individuals also using the network, it is unimaginable what would happen if such cases went undetected.

Child Exploitative Content

Possibly the most unsettling thing about the deep web is the numerous cases of child abuse. Although the contraband and drug activities make up for most of the events within the dark web scene, it is horrifying to what extent the deep web also promotes despicable acts of child abuse.

And what’s even more worrying, one study found that more than 80 percent of the users accessing dark websites using Tor visited websites associated with the pedophilic content.

Summary: What’s the Prognosis?

As awareness of the deep and dark web continues to grow, its popularity is also following a similar trend. Unfortunately, this may subsequently push more kids to search for ways to access and explore it.

And while the deep web can also be beneficial for anyone looking for information that isn’t available on standard internet platforms, it should only be accessed by users who can completely discern their actions.

It is advised that parents and guardians take an active role in finding out what their kids are doing online and set boundaries on what they are accessing. Even so, there is a need to create awareness about the dark web and its impact—this serves a purpose to educate teenagers about its existence while also minimizing the mystery and anonymity behind it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments