Since the first arrival of news on the unreleased Super Nintendo CD collaboration with Sony, we’ve closely watched the hidden past between the two companies unfold. With more than enough to be talking about, the last thing we ever expected to be reporting on was the SNES CD’s boot ROM landing at our headquarters.
Having tackled the subject from a very neutral standpoint, and awaited concrete evidence before screaming ‘hoax’ we never once thought we’d be handling software from this failed project ourselves. Early this morning, however, we were greeted with an anonymous email containing a screenshot of the ‘SuperDisc’ BIOS screen and a link to download a file named SDBR_v0.95.sfc.
Curious, we quickly downloaded the file and jumped to the nearest Super Nintendo emulator we could find and began testing. To our amazement an identical image to that seen in photographs of the prototype’s reveal in Hong Kong began animating on the screen. Whether or not this was an elaborate home brew creation made to trick ourselves and the community remained to be proved – but we kept digging.
Following this we opened the ROM up in a hex editor. Although not expecting to find much, there was some descriptive content – namely a reference from a developer who worked on the project at Sony: Tomomi Abe.
Further following this line of investigation, we were able to find a patent (US5285275 A) which clearly indicates that this developer was indeed working on a Sony CD peripheral for an existing game platform. The patent doesn’t mention the Super Nintendo, but it seems to be the obvious candidate. So not only does the ROM seem legit, it also helped uncover a patent connected to the mysterious SuperDisc previously unknown. Futher helping its fight for being the real deal, we’re pleased to report that the boot ROM works on the original hardware through an Everdrive flash cartridge (as shown above), but not the more powerful SD2SNES.
While we investigate further and attempt to uncover the truth, and potentially the identity of our source (who will remain anonymous), there is hope for others wanting to take a look. Several key figures in the emulation community have apparently also been sent the ROM and begun distributing it. Keep your eyes peeled for the ROM’s leak, but at the same time we’ll hold our hands up and admit that we have been duped before with a certain Michael Jackson Mega CD hoax. Nevertheless this is retro gaming history in the making!