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SNES Test Program

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Title Screen

SNES Test Program

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: SNES


CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.


The SNES Test Program is one of around four discovered cartridges once used by Nintendo World Class Service to test and diagnose problems with the SNES and controllers (the SNES Burn-In Test Cart being another).

While the main menu is dated 1991, the inclusion of functionality for the Super Scope and SNES Mouse, plus a hidden message, date this build to no earlier than July 29, 1992.

Download.png Download SNES Test Program
File: SNES TestProgram.rar (194 KB) (info)

Earlier Build Leftovers

Graphics for earlier builds of the test programs are left in the ROM. Nintendo reused the main code for every test cart, updating it every so often for new accessories and the like.

Alternate Select Graphics

SNESTestAltSelect.png

A variation of the Choose/Begin Test text using the larger of the two fonts included in the ROM. This was probably changed when the Accessories Test option was added to the menu, as there was no more room.

Japanese Fonts

SNESTestJapaneseSmall.png

Since this isn't a Japanese test cart, they wouldn't use Katakana, would they?

SNESTestJapaneseBig.png

The larger font is also stored in the ROM.

Large Unused Characters

SNESTestSymbols.png

Only the ampersand is used by the test program. The other symbols are unused.

Burn-In Test

Better than burning out...

The Version 1.02 Burn-In Test was present in an earlier version of the test cartridge, as documented here (Warning: embedded MIDI). The Burn-In Test consists of a quick hardware test, followed by graphics and color tests. These tests repeat until the console is turned off.

This number is still in service! Call now!

This advertisement for the Nintendo World Class Service was displayed during the 1.02 Burn-In Test as well.

Set Controller

Set it and forget it!

Text from an earlier version of the Controller Test. Since "set" had previously been used by Nintendo as a mistranslation of "insert" for the Family Computer Disk System's "PLEASE SET DISK CARD" message, it's possible that this was an instruction to insert the controller (plug it in).

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Jingles/Sounds

The purpose of these jingles is unknown, although the second and third songs are the same jingle but with different instruments:

These sounds may have been intended for Super Scope testing. The third sound is the second sound reversed.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Early Super Mario World Graphics

Hmmm...
To do:
There's more.
SNES Test Program Super Mario World
Early stuff. Lots more stuff.

Easily the most interesting thing about the Test Program is that it contains graphics of an early Super Mario World, most of which match up with prerelease screens of the game.

Note that not all of these graphics seem to be from the same build of Super Mario World. Individual graphics may have been updated along with the Test Program, while others were left alone.

Major Differences and Unused Graphics

Mario

It's-a early me!

The main difference between these sprites and the final's is the palette, the version here using darker reds and blues than the final. Super Mario's graphics are largely the same, the only significant change being that his hat was redrawn slightly for the final.

I'm walking, look at me... He'd be perfect for "Adventure".

Small Mario, however, looks very different. In fact...

SMWPrerelease1.jpg

...it's the same sprite used in an early (1989) build with the mushroom-shaped map.

Brick

Ouch, my melon!

A different version of the standard brick, based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 brick.

Stone Block

SMWEarlyBlock.png

An early version of the stone block, based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 fortress blocks.

? Block

SMWEarlyQuestionMarkBlock.pngSMWEarlyQuestionMarkBlockUsed.png

Also based on the respective Super Mario Bros. 3 graphics.

Coin Bonus

SMWOldCoinCounter.png

Originally, there were objects in the game that gave you coin bonuses. These are still coded in the final (you can get 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25-coin bonuses), but the graphics were removed and the only way to get them without hacking is by bouncing repeatedly on "calm" Wigglers as Mario alone.

Fire Flower

I recognize you!

An early Fire Flower, again based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 graphic, with an erroneous green pixel on the flower.

SMWPrerelease3.jpg

This version can be seen in pre-release screens.

Goomba

Squishy squishy.

At one point, the Goombas of Super Mario World would have been squished when jumped on, like in previous Mario games.

At least they didn't spawn babies...or did they?

Early screenshots of the game showed that Goombas more resembled their Super Mario Bros. 3 forms, so the idea to keep them squishable was around long enough to survive the redesign.

Raccoon Leaf

Redrawn, but still recognizable.

Raccoon Mario was set to return in Super Mario World before being replaced by Cape Mario.

I wonder if you had to tap B?

Two sprites of Raccoon Mario. One is clearly the end-of-level victory pose, but the other is not so certain: it appears to be Mario spinning his tail, although it is more likely to be one of the frames used when punching the flipping nets.

SMWProto Racoon.jpg

This is another element that was present in the early screenshots of Super Mario World.

Spinning Platform

That's one big Twinkie.

A version of the circular spinning platform seen in Yoshi's Island 3 and other places, with graphics from Super Mario Bros. 3. It can be seen in the Fire Flower picture above.

Venus Fire Trap

A cannibal flower?

Another Super Mario Bros. 3 remnant, the Venus Fire Trap was completely left out of Super Mario World with no hint of it ever existing, unlike the Piranha Plant. Strangely, its open-mouthed graphic doesn't fit very well atop the stem, hinting that it was something slightly different than in Super Mario Bros. 3.

Placeholder P-Switch

SNESTest-MiniPSwitch.png

A tiny P-Switch. Based on its appearance and placement in the graphics, it was likely used as a placeholder for tiles that change after a P-Switch is pressed.

Minor Differences

Block

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
Flippy blocks *and* brick blocks? Nope, just flippy blocks.

A minor difference in shading. The old block has some additional, darker shading on the right side, two pixels of which remain in the final.

Ground

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
SMWEarlyGround.png SMWFinalGround.png

Again, a minor difference in shading, in this case near the top of the grass. The palette is also brighter than in the final.

While this style is used for all the ground graphics in the Test Program, in Super Mario World only the two top tiles that make up the ground in Yoshi's House were kept.

Pipe

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
Get some meat on your bones! Thank you.

The final pipe lids have a more rounded appearance, while in the Test Program they're more angular. The actual pipes are also wider in the final.

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
We're gonna blow (*clap*) you up! Another satisfied customer.

The same transformation is present in the horizontal pipes.

Rubble

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
Looks like lights. That's more...rubble-y.

It's possible that the graphics that appear where the rubble would be in the Test Program weren't used for the same purpose, but it looks similar enough.

Dust

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
It's just a circle. Dusters dust dust!

The final's dust cloud is a lot more interesting than that of the Test Program, which is based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 style.

Koopa Shell

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
*Very* alert little guy, isn't he? I'd be bored, too.

A slight change in shading. That's all.

Bullet Bill Cannon

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
SMWTestCannon1.PNG Now it looks...streamlined.

This starts the trend of the loss of asymmetry. In the Test Program, the topmost 16×16 part of the cannon uses four unique 8×8 tiles; in the final, this was reduced to two, with the left half being flipped and reused as the right half as well as being reshaded.

This change proved to be completely unnecessary, as the spare tiles were not actually used for anything. In fact, the lower-right tile of the top is still present in the graphics, but unused.

Coin

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
One coin. A little less...coin-y.

The asymmetry of the first coin frame was kept for the final, but the second and third frames are stored in VRAM as single 8×8 tiles that get flipped vertically to make the whole coin.

P-Switch

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
The "P" stands for "PUSH ME". ...Okay, not really.

Another shading difference related to the way the graphic is stored: while it's stored as-is in the Test Program, the final stores it as a single 8×8 tile.

Trampoline

SNES Test Program Super Mario World
Boingy boingy. Still very boingy, I bet.

The trampoline lost the most by the final: the first two frames went from being stored as one 16×16 tile to being stored as one 8×8 tile that is repeated and flipped horizontally and vertically to make a 16×16 sprite. For whatever reason, only the first two frames were reshaded.

Interestingly, Super Mario Maker seems to use the Test Program version for the Super Mario World theme.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Developer Message

Mouse Test Software, Ver 0.0  July 29, 1992
Written by Khanh Le
(c) 1992 NINTENDO

This message by Khanh Le, the programmer of the mouse test, is present in the ROM. It also helps to date this particular build.

SNESTestProgram-KhanhLe.png

Also, holding L + R on the Mouse Test main menu will bring up "SOFTWARE ENGINEER: KHANH LE".

(Source: Original TCRF research)