An absolutely wild mod has brought real-time ray tracing to the SNES

A picture of a Famicom console with many wires coming out of it, hooked up to a TV
Photo: Ben Carter

Ray-tracing technology, available for a few years on PC, has finally come to consoles: the PS5 has it, the Xbox Series S and X have it, and, 30 years after its release, the SNES is getting it. No joke — the Nintendo console from 1990 has had ray tracing run on it, thanks to an incredible mod by programmer Ben Carter (via Gizmodo). And it’s done by a chip he’s calling SuperRT.

Ray tracing is usually used to make games look more realistic by simulating the way light bounces off of surfaces, leading to color bleeding from bright objects and reflecting off of shiny surfaces. As you can see from the video demo above, the tech on the SNES isn’t pushing any graphics boundaries, but come on — it’s an SNES.

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Author: Mitchell Clark