A lot of modern gaming PCs aren't equipped to handle ray tracing, but the 30-year-old Super Nintendo is tracing rays all over the place without missing a frame. Of course, that's not without the help of developer Shironeko Labs (opens in new tab), which used a homebrew catridge expansion chip to give the Super Nintendo ray tracing capabilities.
Amazingly, the Super Nintendo itself (technically a Super Famicom) wasn't modded for the experiment - aside from having its case removed to make room for cabling - just the game cartridge. The game Shironeko Labs used to test was "an awful Pachinko game" found at a second-hand shop. Anyway, check out the Super Nintendo running a game with real-time ray tracing, something even the most high-end PCs struggle with. Notice the realistic shadows and reflections around the moving parts.
I won't blaspheme the developer here by trying to explain how this all works, but if you're interested, definitely check out this blog post (opens in new tab) that details the whole process in-depth. Or you can check out the video below, which also goes a lot deeper into the technical details.
"What I wanted to try and do was something akin to the Super FX chip used in titles such as Star Fox, where the SNES runs the game logic and hands off a scene description to a chip in the cartridge to generate the visuals," Shironeko writes. "To that end I've deliberately tried to restrict myself to just using a single custom chip for the design, not making use of the ARM core available on the DE10 board or any other external processing resources."
Cheers, Gizmodo AU (opens in new tab).
Looking for something that can handle ray tracing *and* more than 16 bits? Check out our round-up of the best pre-built gaming PCs in 2020.