The Sattelaview connected to the Super Famicom.
|Controller input||Super Famicom controller|
The Satellaview was a retail satellite modem that was made specifically for the Super Famicom. It was never released in America or Europe, and was quite pricey at ¥18,000, which was then nearly $200. The Satellaview, a Nintendo developed and published device, was made possible by the broadcasting company St. GIGA who would send signals during the self titled Super Famicom Hour. During these hours people could download games to their memory packs or the console itself, which plugs into the bottom of the Super Famicom.
The word Satellaview is supposedly a mixture between the words "satellite", through which the console receives the broadcasts, and "view", a word whose purpose is unknown. The full name of the console is Broadcast Satellaview X, or BS-X for short. The meaning of the X at the end of the name has been a source of debate. Many think it stands for "transfer", when others think it means "unknown" or something similar. Because the term BS-X is widely used, many people didn't or still don't know what it stands for, some falsely claiming that it means "Bandai Satellaview X". Bandai, however, has not had anything to do with the console.
The Satellaview is plugged into the bottom of the Super Famicom, similar to the Super Game Boy. A bracket that came packaged with it would provide the power to Satellaview once plugged into the Super Famicom. An application also came included with the overall package which some consider a game. The characters in the application where the characters who would later appear in the Legend of Zelda remakes for the service. An 8-Megabit Memory Pack also came with the game which could be rewritten. The actual unit had memory as well, however if a game required a lot of memory then the Memory Pack would come in handy.
Games that were offered through the service were mostly handled by Nintendo. Other companies delivered some titles, though in the long run Nintendo did most of the work when it came to publishing and developing. Many third parties would develop a video game and have Nintendo publish it for them, though some, such as Squaresoft, would do it themselves. The games themselves were free, though the player had to pay a monthly subscription fee not to mention purchasing the system in the first place.
The games would be made available for download when St. GIGA set a date. During that date, you would not only have to download, but for some you'd also have to play that game within a set time limit. If a game would be made available at 4:00, then you'd only be given a few hours to play and then would have to wait next week to play again. Other games you could download to the harddrive of the console or the memory pack that came included in the Deluxe package.
Satellaview games were broadcast from April 23, 1995 to June 30, 2000.
Some games, such as the two BS Zelda games , featured a "Live Voice", where a "narrator" would guide and give helpful hints and advice to the players through the game. Because of the inclusion of the Live Voice, some of the games; like the two BS Zelda's could not be played at any time like the other BS-X games, but only during the set hours.
- It is likely that the device was not released outside of Japan as there was no equivalent service for the device to work with and St.Giga is a Japan only service. The unpopularity of audio dramas in the US probably played a part as well. Also it might be the difficulty of voice translation.