In the beginning of the 90s, the Taiwanese videogame market was booming. The Super Famicom (SFC), the Mega Drive (MD) and the PC were all making a lot of money and there was no sign of slowdown. Funtech Entertainment Corporation (also known as Dunhuang Technology), a Taiwanese company, decided to release its own console hoping to take over the local market. At that time, Funtech was a company with no experience in video game. They were known for the Geographic Information Systems and for office equipment and office supplies. But, as they were a subsidy of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), they were in good posture to create such a device. To achieve this, Funtech strategy was to release a console that was more powerful than their counterpart and to heavily entrust local developers to develop content exclusively to their market. With the SFC and MD hardware starting to show their age, it was easy for Funtech to create a device with more capacity while still being in the same price range.
The design of the console and the programming of games turned out to be more complex than anticipated by Funtech, and the released was pushed back to October 25, 1995. The 32-bit era was already beginning and Funtech was forced to plan a video processing add-on similar to the Sega 32x and a CD-ROM add-on in hope to salvage the project.
The Super A’Can was officially released on October 25, 1995. With only a few titles available at launch, Funtech started an aggressive marketing campaign comparing the Super A’Can with the SFC and MD, printing a magazine filled with the upcoming released and praising the 30+ games that would be released imminently. From January to March 1996, the company held a 65,000 yuan prize contest. Strangely enough, the contest was not a gaming competition, but rather a knowledge-based contest where contestants were quizzed on Super A’Can games.
Many factors explain the demise of the Super A’Can. Obviously, the delay in production is a major factor as the console was now in competition with PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64 instead of the SFC and MD. Game development was another problem for Funtech who gamble everything on the local developer. Not only programming for a new console take more time, but the development tools for the Super A’Can were crude which lead to slower overall development. Many games planned were never released and while original content was a great idea, opening up the development to Japanese and American developers could have led to port of popular games franchise to the Super A’Can. Lastly, the console design was visibly borrowed from the SFC, to the point where Nintendo did pressure the different retailer and manufacturer into dropping the Super A’Can.
Funtech Entertainment Corporation lost $6 million USD in this venture. In 1996, they pull the plugged and unsold units were disassembled and were parted out to various companies in the USA and abroad. The massive loss of revenue due to the Super A’Can failure forced UMC to close Funtech Entertainment Corporation
In the recent year, a lot of “New Old Stock” Super A’Can console was found which drove down the price considerably for a while. Although still incredibly rare, these consoles were once considered as the holy grail amongst all other consoles due to its rarity. Nowadays, it can be found sporadically amongst eBay and collector circle, but the price is on the rise again. Games price have also exploded since the availability of the console increased but not the one of the games, making the demand for games higher than it has ever been.
Fú Ěr Mó Shā Dà Duìjué
Sānguózhì Wǔjiàng Zhēngbà
|The Son of Evil
Xié’è Zhīzǐ (邪惡之子)
Yīnsù Fēilóng (音速飛龍)
|Super Taiwanese Baseball League
Chāojí Zhōnghuá Zhí Bàng Liánméng
|Super Dragon Force
Chāojí Guāngmíng Zhàn Shǐ
Mó Bàng Zhuàngqiú
Bào Bào Dòngwùyuán
|CPU||Motorola 68000 clocked at 10.738635 MHz|
|Memory||256 KB SRAM clocked at CPU speed|
|Audio||UMC UM6619 outputting stereo 16-track PCM|
|Cartridge||Max size of 112Mb, with built-in SRAM of 16-64kb|