Star Fox
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Back in the '90s, both Sega and Nintendo knew that 3D was the future, and spent a small fortune creating special accelerator chips which allowed the Mega Drive / Genesis and SNES to display relatively complex polygon-based games, such as Star Fox, Stunt Race FX and Virtua Racing.

Fast forward to 2023, and homebrew developers are finding ways to make the base hardware shift 3D visuals – without any need for additional hardware. One such talented individual is @Gasega68k, who has created a Star Fox demo for Sega's 16-bit console which runs on stock hardware:

As you can see, the demo – which is still far from finished – is astonishingly close to the SNES original, an incredible feat when you consider there's no graphical assistance being used here.

The audio is a sample of the original SNES music, hence its rather scratchy nature – the Mega Drive's weaker sound chip would struggle to replicate that iconic opening stage music on its own – but outside of that, it's a close match.

Star Fox was the first game to use the Super FX chip, which was developed by UK company Argonaut. A second Star Fox game was completed but shelved and didn't see release until the arrival of the SNES Classic Edition in 2017. It was later released as part of the Nintendo Switch Online's SNES library.

In Sega's case, it developed the Sega Virtua Processor (SVP) chip, which was only used in one game, a port of the arcade title Virtua Racing, released in 1994. Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA ports were also considered using this chip, but work was moved to the Sega Saturn, which launched at the end of '94 in Japan.