Satellaview (SNES)


The Satellaview (also known as the BS-X) is an attachment for the SNES game system. It was more or less a satellite uplink that allowed the user of the console to retrieve data from the broadcast satellite. The satellite was in actuality a satellite radio station, so the data was only to be downloaded during certain broadcast hours.

The main application that was loaded on the SNES when the Satellaview was loaded was more or less a very shiny interface for a hypertext system. It was capable of performing many interesting tasks which included reading and checking mail, magazines, and playing games that were downloaded from the satellite. The magazine reader was essentially a web browser, and the main menu system was more or less a map that was able to be explored that allows the user to wander and find services, more information, or start other applications such as games. The user could also usually save data from the satellite on a flash cart that plugged into the main cartridge.

One of the most notable games that was broadcast on the Satellaview, was BS-Zelda. This was a remake of the original Zelda, but played in real time with actual narration. The narration came through the SNES like a radio show would come through a radio, and since it was broadcast via satellite, many users could join in to this event, even though it only occurred for a short time. This release of the game was not playable after the initial release, due to the dependence on the real time elements coming from the satellite. Since this system, game, and service were widely distributed at the time, the resemblance to a distributed hypertext narrative, and other forms of media-driven fiction like movies is uncanny.

While this service was never offered in the US, it was offered from 1995 to 2000 in Japan.