Press Start!: The Super FX Chip Was Where The Real Shit Went Down!

If there’s one thing I was certain about when I was a young kid gaming it up back in the day it was this: that advertisers were obviously pretty smart people who had my best intentions in mind. They saw me, they knew it. I had these guys and gals over at Marketing Place 101 to thank for my awareness of all the latest and greatest in the 16-bit era. It was a pretty simple relationship. Through various devices they’d transmit the objects I absolutely needed  to have. Commercials with lots of yelling? Fuck yeah! Magazine advertisements with convincing arguments. Why yes, Atari Jaguar. Yes. 16 x 4 does indeed equal 64. You win, you win the round. I’d proceed to roll around on the floor tear-soaked and tell my parents I couldn’t possibly, at all, hope to ever, ever, be a real gamer if I wasn’t blast-processing on my Sega Genesis-CD-32X.

Weren’t they good parents?

Didn’t they understand?

So I amassed my collection of gadgets, appreciating them all for the fleeting amount of time a 10 year-old baked under the sun of a Materialist Culture can expect to appreciate anything. Over the years though, even as I fondly reflect over my times rocking out to  Knuckles’ Chaotix for the 32x or even at the time being confused as to why I ever wanted Sewer Shark for the Sega CD, one thing has become clear: The Super FX chip is the unsung hero of the gaming gadget  diarrhea  blast of the 16-bit generation.

Nintendo didn’t really get the edginess thing going on in the 1990s. I’ll never forget that they took the blood out of the original Mortal Kombat. Oh Jesus Christ did that not fly in the playground. If you were one of those poor sons-a-bitches who couldn’t rip off an errant Kano skull with Sub-Zero you were the consummation of a mating ritual between a pussy and an idiot. A term which used to carry a lot more gravitas. Nintendo’s inability to read the field carried over into the whole marketing of their wunder-chip (and also their desire to continue using cartridges but that may have been hubris too – alas) that they were popping into copies of Star Fox. Super FX chip? Really? While Sega was screaming “Blast!” and slapping a pretty edgy inexplicable X onto things, Nintendo was so tame.

The Super FX chip could have done a lot better if they had called it something like “Smash-Cannon Technology!” That would have gotten all of us little monkeys picking at the snot-bubbles in our ass hair for spare change. “Smash-Cannon Technology! Pumping out more power  per cartridge than ever before!” Someone get me the time machine, I’m going to make some money.

Even with its weak-ass name and non-existent marketing domination, I got into the Super FX chip. I was a completionist. The same kid who was buying every fucking holographic tin-foiled gold-plated limited edition variant cover of Gen-13 #13a there was out there. I had to. It was something told to me from the Lords Above, or at least my buddies in Advertising. Cooing to me as to how I could dominated adolescence and arrive at Contentment. Years later it’s quite clear I’m not particularly over how I was handled by my friends there. Alas.

So I played the games, and they were just games back then. Games. Eh. I played countless games. Looking back though, it’s pretty obvious: The Super FX (Smash-Cannon Technology!) was fucking beastly. The Little Chip That Didn’t Really was the core processing power behind Star Fox. Drink that shit in! Don’t tell me you’re not down with The Fox. At least OG Foxxy. Most people don’t make the correlation between Smash-Cannon Tech and Fox McCloud. That’s why I’m here. Every time I wind up underneath some Fox furry in some seedy bedroom getting service, I scream, at the top of my lungs, “SUPER FX”. It’s only barely audible over the groans, moans, and lurking thuds of subwoofers. But it’s there. I know it.

There were there other games too. Stunt Race FX: about as much fun as a young kid could have driving a batch of goofy Disney looking cars around for hours. Doom! Doom was dropped, and it was as if Nintendo was all of sudden your Dad when he realizes he’s not cool anymore. All of a sudden Nintendo is Dad is telling your friends that he once smoked weed and trying to show them his album collection,  “I don’t like blood in my games? Take this! Fucking Doom!”

Smash-Cannon Technology (boom!) was responsible for all of that. All of that, and perhaps one of the most  under-appreciated  games ever: Yoshi’s Island. Oh sure around gaming fanatics it is respected, even coveted. Ask the general asshole with no taste for gaming history! (holy fuck I’m getting old and ornery) and I’m sure they’ll look at you slack-jawed. Derpa derp, is that a CoD map? Then I light them on fire with my eyes. Fuck yeah. You think that rolly-poolly scaly bosses would have been possible without a Super FX chip coursing through the cartridge’s guts? No. Way. No way.

It may have never had the dopest of names. Smash-Cannon Technology-X^X it wasn’t. It came out right when Battle Arena Toshinden was getting to strut into the world. Yet the Super FX chip deserves a beer for bringing the world the Glory of McCloud and Yoshi’s own fucking Island. Here’s to you, Super FX chip. May you someday receive the publicity you deserve.