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The Xband was a unique peripheral that allowed for networked multiplayer of SNES games. Thanks to neviksti for some of the information here.

By: Evan G
Last updated: March 3, 2012

Released by Catapult Entertainment Inc. The modem cost (originally): $19.95 US. Subscriber Fees were $4.95 for 50 credits, 15 cents for additional credits, or $9.95 for unlimited credits. Optional Keyboard: $29.95.

This device was released on both the Genesis and the Snes, and was used for networked gaming. Users connected the Xband modem to their phone lines and played against people all across the US. This device was licensed by Nintendo. It was first introduced in November 1994 in select cities, and eventually distributed across the US. The device uses a 2400-baud modem, which allowed access over phone lines. Although the modem is slow, the Xband worked by sending controller instructions, by intercepting code from the game, and patching it with its own instructions, much like the Game Genie works.

The system worked by dialing up the main server, which was located in Cupertino, California. The server then sent the Xband newsletters (called Bandwidth and Xband News). It also sent any patches that were needed. You could then search for opponents. Long distance service cost $3.95 an hour. There was some lag with this system, but apparently it was not really a problem.

The system had a rating system that determined your level of skill. The more wins you had, the higher the rating you got, and the rating you your opponent had determined how much your rating would go up with a win. If an opponent pulled the plug on the modem during the game, the person would automatically lose.

The keyboard was not as common as the modem, and it is likely very difficult to find. It connected to the second controller slot.

Games Supported:

  • Doom
  • Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball
  • Killer Instinct
  • Madden NFL '95
  • Madden NFL '96
  • Mortal Kombat II
  • Mortal Kombat 3
  • NBA Jam TE
  • NHL '95
  • NHL '96
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Weaponlord

The Xband also had many built in codes. Here are some:

  • Killer Instinct: To turn off random select after one win, both players must hit select at the controller config screen when they are done configuring
  • Mortal Kombat 3: To make Smoke a playable character, both players have to select as the controller config screen fades in
  • Background Effect: At the Xband title screen, press Up, Up, Left, Right, and the background will roll around
  • Maze Game: At the main six icon screen, press Down, Down, Left, Left, Right, B
Front of the cart. Courtesy of neviksti.
Japanese X-Band. Taken from an old Yahoo! Japan auction.
X-Band with rare keyboard accessory (link)
X-Band prototype with a clear casing. Picture by csgx1

Archive of 7 pages of a discussion on the X-band from the Zsnes board in 2003



  • Gamepro, The Cutting Edge, Publication date: February 1995, Volume: 77, Pages: 18
  • X-Band information at The Cutting Room Floor (link)
  • Thread on Digital Press discussing a prototype X-Band unit (link)
  • X-Band source code (link)
  • Thread about the X-Band on Acmlm's Board (dating to 2005) (link)
  • Recollectoins of the X-Band by David Ashley (who did hacking for Catapult) (link)
  • X-Band revival forums (link)

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