February 19, 2023

The Forgotten Eject Button on the SNES: Did Anyone Ever Use It?

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The Forgotten Eject Button on the SNES: Did Anyone Ever Use It?

By Nick | February 19, 2023

If you’re a retro gaming fan, you know that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was one of the most popular consoles. But did you ever notice that weird little grey button nestled between the power and reset switches?

Believe it or not, this button had a purpose, and it wasn’t just to confuse gamers either. Let’s look at why the SNES included an eject button and what it was really used for.

 In this blog post, we take a look at the forgotten eject button on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and ask if anyone ever used it.

The Purpose of the Eject Button

In the 90s, video game cartridges were less reliable than they are today. There was even a term for when your cartridge wouldn’t work; it was called “blowing into it," in which gamers would blow into the cartridge to get it to work. Unfortunately, this process was a hit-and-miss and left many users with no other options. This is where the eject button comes in.

When gamers encountered an issue with their cartridge and couldn't get it to work, they could press and hold down the Eject button on their console while turning on their system. This would force the console to recognize that there was no cartridge inserted, reset itself, and prompt them to insert one.

Of course, if nothing else worked, then gamers could remove or reinsert their cartridges manually, but if all else failed, pressing and holding down the eject button did come in handy.

The other use of this mysterious little button can be found in certain games from Japan that utilized multiple cartridges at once (such as Street Fighter II). Players could press and hold down both Eject buttons simultaneously while turning on their system to switch between cartridges without having to take out each one manually. This would cause any currently-inserted cartridges to be ejected from both slots so players could switch them out quickly and easily.

But the real reason the 'eject' button was left intact was straightforward: it was used for entertainment. Gunpei Yokoi, a top game designer and long-time Nintendo employee suggested including an eject button to keep players entertained. Of course, this feature was unnecessary, but Yokoi believed that younger players, who were not old enough to play certain games, would still find value in helping their older siblings 'eject' games.

Eject Not Defect

So there you have it, the forgotten Eject button on your SNES served several distinct purposes back in its heyday and why this odd feature has gained so much history and lore. So whether you use it for blowing into your game cartridges, changing between multiple cartridges, or simply having your kid brother feel helpful, the Eject button has its uses.

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