The Super FX chip was a groundbreaking piece of tech; a “console on a chip” which massively enhanced the SNES, allowing it to push polygons with aplomb.
Created by Argonaut Software, a small UK-based firm, the chip was created when Nintendo enlisted the help of Argonaut’s Jez San to assist the company in making 3D games.
It’s already known that, at one stage, there were discussions within Nintendo about building the Super FX chip into the North American version of the SNES. That ultimately didn’t happen, but Jez San reveals that there was a later plan to put a version of the chip into the unreleased SNES PlayStation, a joint venture by Sony and Nintendo which was canned when the latter got cold feet and left the former standing at the altar.
San told us:
When we designed the Super FX chip for Nintendo, It was too late to make it into the Japanese version of the SNES. But with the American version, they were contemplating having it built in, which would have made the games cartridges much cheaper, and would have also meant that 3D was a standard in the console. In the end, we missed out on that. But then, initially, Nintendo and Sony were going to do a PlayStation with a CD attached to a SNES, with our chip in it – ours was going to be the 3D chip inside the original PlayStation. Then Sony and Nintendo fell out.
Could the Super FX have given the SNES PlayStation the power to mix it up with the likes of the 3DO and Jaguar? We’ll never know, but it’s interesting to know that it almost made it into not one, but two consoles.