Written by Paul Monopoli
I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again: The Japanese are electronic geniuses. That’s it, that’s my opening statement & I stand by it. Why do I have this opinion? Well, not only do some of the finest TVs in the world come from Japan, but so does the Super Famicom / Nintendo. Not only that (this is where it gets good!!), but the television with a built in Super Famicom also came from Japan. The name of that piece of electronic genius is the Sharp SF-1.
The Sharp SF-1 came out in 1990, before some countries even had the SNES console. It was a successor to the earlier TV model Sharp released that had a Famicom built in. That particular TV made it to North America under the title of “Sharp Nintendo Television”, but sadly the Sharp SF-1 never reached English speaking countries.
The first thing to note is that for a TV this thing is HEAVY, particularly around the front. I have a standard Sharp TV that’s the same size sitting next to it & it’s nowhere near as heavy as that sharp SF-1. As for that other Sharp TV, we’ll make use of that a little bit later on. For now, let’s check out what the Sharp SF-1 has to offer.
Everything you would find on a Super Famicom is present. You have 2 controller ports in the lower left corner of the set, the cartridge slot up top with your standard power, reset & eject buttons, & a hidden compartment in the back. Move the slider along & you see a standard AV out connection & the expansion port. I can’t imagine plugging a Satellaview into that, but who knows? Maybe you can. It wouldn’t be a pretty sight though…
As for as being a TV is concerned it’s NTSC so no watching standard TV for me (being that I live in Australia which is a PAL country), which sadly means I miss out on those wacky Japanese gameshows. Man those shows are messed up… anyway, the Sharp SF-1 does have AV input which means other devices can be plugged in (NTSC only of course) so it’s not completely useless. Unfortunately one of the AV ports on the back of my particular unit needs replacing, but that’s an easy enough fix.
The SF-1 also came with specific SNES controllers that had the Sharp logo on them. For the record this one isn’t mine, I got the image from an Ebay auction. Mine didn’t come with any Sharp controllers.
The Sharp SF-1 came in 14” & 21” models. This particular model is the 21” set & while some sources online state that picture quality is better on an SF-1 than a standard TV set I can’t say that I noticed any real difference. Still, let’s plug in a game & check it out. I have Final Fight Guy sitting next to me so we’ll put that in & see how it goes.
When you turn on the Super Famicom switch all TV activity ceases & it goes into Super Famicom mode, which is handy as the TV controls are all in Japanese. If I had change it manually you wouldn’t be reading this article right now as my Japanese is pathetic. As for the game, well it’s Final Fight & it’s playing on a TV with a built in SNES… not much more I can say about that. Let’s check out the AV out.
Taking a standard SNES/N64/GC AV cable let’s connect this SF-1 to the other Sharp TV sitting next to it.
Excellent, the picture is now on both TVs. Now THAT’S how you play 2 player games, with one picture each!! Except… the SNES versions of Final Fight were one player only… Dammit… I’ll bitch about that another time. For now let’s plug in something else. As anyone who has read my review knows, Super Bomberman 4 is (in my opinion) the best of the 5 Bomberman games released on the Super Famicom / Nintendo. Enough of that, go read the review if you haven’t yet cos all I’m gonna do right now is play it.
Nice… Imagine having these 2 TVs back to back & having a few people playing off one set & a few using the other. Now, I give you the ultimate Super Bomberman setup. This effect can also be achieved with any standard TV with AV out.
You can’t really improve on an article that has Bomberman playing across multiple TVs with a multitap, so I’m going to end this right now…