The biggest impact the Star Fox franchise's had on the gaming world, hands down, was introducing gamers to the realm of 3D-rendered polygons in the original Star Fox title back in 1993. This was arguably the start of the biggest transition to ever occur in the history of gaming, freeing us from the shackles of sidescroller hell to let us explore open worlds at our heart's content. At the core (literally) of the game was the chip that made it all possible-the Super FX chip, which managed to math it's way into overclocking the Super Nintendo's processors. Developed by a small third-party company, Argonaut Software, it allowed for the system to run at an estimated 40x faster than the original specifications would permit. This permitted the Super Nintendo to render basic 3D polygons, allow for parallax-scrolling sprites, and even apply basic texture maps to polygons. This little wonderchip found it's way into several other major titles-Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Doom, Star Fox 2 (oh what could've been!). However, by the time these games were making it to market, Sony had already ushered in an entirely new generation of gaming with the Playstation, which could provide graphics and sounds that were lightyears ahead of what even the best Super FX titles could produce. The sudden appearance of the Playstation is what led to the untimely cancellation of Star Fox 2, as Nintendo feared that it and other Super FX titles would be negatively compared against their Playstation equivalents, and that their efforts would be better spent on developing 3D games for the N64.
This is a really fascinating video, and goes into great detail about the chip, Star Fox, and the rise and fall of Argonaut. Props to LoneWolf for digging this up!