In 1995, Funtech Entertainment Corporation released the first original gaming system in Taiwan - the Super A'Can. Produced and sold exclusively in its native country, the console and controllers feel very fragile, constructed of thin plastics that belies its strong, dark grey outwardly appearance and extremely high price tag. This system is often mistaken as a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) clone due to both the physical design and the processor powering this unit. A closer inspection of this rare oddity reveals a different picture.
Appearing just at the end of the hugely successful 16-bit era, the Super A'Can utilizes dual Motorola processors to deliver its gaming experience. The first of these central processing units (CPU) was the 16-bit Motorola 68000, which was also the driving core used in the Sega Genesis and Neo Geo AES systems. The 8-bit Motorola 6502, which originally debuted inside the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), comprised the second CPU. This dual engine rendered games using a 32,768 color palette and was quite powerful compared to the rest of the 16-bit systems. This processing power would have been a significant advantage for the Super A'Can if this console was released in 1989 instead of 1995. 32-bit technology was already being fully utilized within the gaming market at the time of its release and the Super A'Can was technologically obsolete before it hit the store shelves.
The twelve (12) confirmed games, with an additional nine (9) rumored to be in existence, were released in rather large, SNES-like cartridges. Games came presented in flamboyant, cardboard boxes which included a plastic game holder and instruction manual (also well presented). This matched the fun and playful design of the systems packaging. Overall game graphics and play are very similar to the Neo Geo and SNES. Bold, vibrant colors are pleasantly displayed in 2D environments. One of the best games for this system is C.U.G., a Super Mario type clone. The complete list of confirmed games for the Super A'Can :
- Dragon Force
- Formosa Duel
- Gambling Lord
- Magic-Stick Billiards
- Monopoly: Adventure in Africa
- Rebel Star
- Sango Fighter
- Sonic Flying Dragon
- Super Taiwanese Baseball League
- The Son of Evil
The Super A'Can failed miserably due to utilizing outdated technology and being initially offered for sale at an exorbitant price. Very few of these systems were sold, and it has been reported that Funtech Entertainment Corporation lost $6 million USD in this venture. Unsold units were disassembled and were parted out to various companies in the USA and abroad.
Collecting for this console is an expensive proposition, due to the limited number of units that were purchased and the exclusivity to the Taiwanese market. Expect to invest heavily if pursing this console - $100/$150 USD for a loose system, $250 USD plus for complete in box (CIB). Unfortunately, games are more rare that the system itself and usually run around $50 a piece for the common games more for the more elusive titles. Super A'Can systems and games are most commonly found from Taiwanese sellers. Shipping costs to the USA will run you a few dollars, but overall are quite reasonable compared to other countries.
Overall, the Super A'Can is a pretty rare console solely due to its failure in the gaming industry. There is nothing extraordinary about the system or the game library for it. Only serious console/game collectors should pursue purchasing the Super A'Can - the system itself does not warrant the high investment by the casual gamer.
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