After 33 years, a modder has finally fixed the SNES's fatal graphical flaw

(Image credit: Future)

The SNES is an all-time great, but there's a flaw in the console's video output that has been causing consternation to retro enthusiasts for years - but now, finally, a fix is in the works.

The original SNES model - the one you're likely to have owned if you had the console back in the day - has a ton of noise in its video signal, and one of the system's graphics chips is bad at transitioning between different colors, resulting in a streaky effect on-screen. This would've been basically imperceptible on a '90s TV with a common video cable, but now that retro gamers are using fancy upscalers to play games on 4K TVs at ultrasharp resolutions, those flaws are a lot more noticeable, and it means that games played on an original SNES model can look very, very blurry.

Fans have nicknamed this original model with the blurry video output the "2CHIP" SNES, in reference to the two picture processing units that create the system's graphics. Nintendo later made an under-the-hood revision to the SNES that combined the two picture processors together, and while this wasn't intended to be a major upgrade, these "1CHIP" models offer much sharper video output - at the cost of an over-brightened image and a few less obvious graphical artifacts. Nonetheless, 1CHIP consoles are growing increasingly desirable for collectors on the secondhand market.

Now, finally, you can get the best of both worlds thanks to prolific console modder Voultar, who has developed two SNES mods that work in tandem to clean up the video output of that original 2CHIP console. The SNES Edge-Enhancer mod fixes the streaky color-switching flaw, while the 2CHIP Bypass mod makes the system, well, bypass the noisy video signal produced by the original picture processor.

You can get an extensive breakdown of how the mods look across a wide variety of video scaling options in this video from YouTube channel My Life in Gaming, but in short they look effectively just as sharp as a 1CHIP console without any of the caveats. It's very good news for anyone who wants to get cleaner video output out of their aging consoles.

Voultar plans to launch an installation service for this mod through his website soon, with a DIY kit to be available sometime later. There's no word on pricing for the service, but Voultar's other mod installation options have typically been priced around $100.

What a time to dig into the best SNES games of all time. 

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.