Using the SNES SA-1 Chip to Speed Up Games

Developer Vitor Vilela has once again used his knowledge of the SNES’s SA-1 expansion chip to improve SNES games, this time focusing on the game Gradius III.  Previously, Vitor has focused on games like Super Mario World, but has also dedicated his time to help create dev tools and start SNESLab, a place dedicated to unifying the SNES hacking community.

In the simplest terms, Vitor’s SA-1 patching offloads some of the processing from the SNES’ CPU and PPU onto the SA-1 chip itself.  This will allow original Super Nintendo and Super Famicom consoles to either run games it was previously unable to play, or remove slowdown from games that suffered when there was a lot of movement on the screen.

Vitor’s work can be enjoyed on real cartridges via manual ROM patching, on the SD2SNES and SD2SNES Pro ROM carts and also via emulation.

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