Here’s why that new Street Fighter 2 SNES cart might burst into flames

Nostalgic Street Fighter 2 fans were giddy with excitement last month when self-described "creative production company" iam8bit announced they were joining forces with Capcom to release a tantalizing new SNES version to celebrate the game’s 30th anniversary.

However, it came with the mother of all safety warnings: it might make your SNES actually catch on fire. And now we know the reason why - it’s not really intended to be played.

We reached out to iam8bit for their response as to why this gorgeous piece of swag comes with such a terrifying warning:

"We understand that the warning may seem extreme, but the reason for it is logical. We are releasing a new cartridge for SNES compatible hardware, but we are NOT releasing a new console.

As a result, we cannot be responsible for - nor could we possibly anticipate - the state or condition of vintage SNES-compatible consoles on which this cartridge may be used. The warning is a necessary precaution due to these unknowable factors surrounding aging hardware. While this is a functional game cartridge, first and foremost we consider it to be a collectible item."

Though you can reacquaint yourself with Ryu and the gang, it turns out the game’s primary function is as a piece of memorabilia - albeit a damn gorgeous one. 

So why is it that your beautiful new SNES cartridge could all of a sudden catch fire? Dhalsim Yoga Flame special edition, anyone? Nope, it’s all to do with electrical requirements and limitations of the cartridge and console. The original SNES console and the memory chips in its cartridges operated at a level of 5 volts. However, these memory chips aren’t easy to get your hands on anymore, and now that technology has moved on, most similar chips now run at around 3 volts or less.

Using a 3v cartridge in a 5v console is where you might hit a (potentially fiery) problem, as the two aren’t designed to work together. That can cause overheating, especially if your SNES isn’t in great condition.

It’s not a certainty that your SNES will burst into flames at the first hadouken. iam8bit is keen to assure players that everything should be absolutely fine, stating that "all cartridges are designed, assembled and tested here in the U.S.A. with great pride taken in their quality and craftsmanship." A special component called a "voltage level translator" has been inserted to prevent excessive wear and risk of damage, which should ensure you have a totally fire-free gaming experience. As you’d expect it to be.

So while there may be as much chance of the game catching fire as me winning a bout of Street Fighter 5 (opens in new tab) online (i.e. very little), best to keep a fire blanket on hand just to be safe.

Chris is a freelance movie & video game scribbler who one day dreams of owning his own cinema where crisps aren't allowed. He's completed Ocarina of Time more times than you.