Thursday, July 29, 2004

Generations 1985 - 2001

The article below taken off the ‘Console Wars’ section at my personal webpage. I checked it for spelling errors and some grammar mistakes with Microsoft Word. http://www.geocities.../consolewars_v4.html

NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) (1985 - 1996)

NES was the first console of Nintendo's big business as a console manufacturer. It gets very confusing who Nintendo's competitors were. Atari 2600 was still competing against Nintendo in 1985. I've heard sites that said that it was the Itellivision. It is true that some developers were waiting for Atari to declare bankruptcy. Atari was highly guarded for successfully lengthen the life of the Atari 2600 to up to 1989 (that’s 8 years). There were still games coming out for Atari 2600 in 1986. Atari was most successful in the late 70s, and early 80s, but lost money due to inflation, and the inability to produce at better product. As a result Atari became a multiplatform developer where it still exists in one form or other creating games for Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. I am not clear on the story on "The Crash of 1984." Around this time, Nintendo had Super Mario Bros. along with Duck Hunt and Track & Field, and it was sold with the console to offer some sort of value package. The package sold really well. People loved the plumber so much that he began his carrier starring in several more games, and people end up buying every game starring Mario and Luigi. In 1987, it came apparent that SEGA, formally a US Army division called Service Games, had a more powerful console called the SEGA Masters System just after they became a console manufacture. SEGA didn't have the 3rd party developer support that Nintendo had. Those years of the NES was the time that people were passion to play games over and over. Nintendo made highly regarded deals with videogame developers since the U.S. government regulated monopolies like Microsoft. Nintendo turned out lucky that it wasn't one at the turn of the decade.

Nintendo had the same success with the Gameboy, which is basically a NES shrunk down into a smaller device. The original Gameboy was in green and black. Technology was too expensive to develop a color LCD screen in 1989. So Nintendo produced a monochrome green and black screen. A monochrome LCD screen was less costly then black and white version. So Nintendo chose to create games in "Green and Black." The finished design of Gameboy was the exact replica of the NES design. The 8-bit handheld stayed in the market for 11 years without any significant drops in popularity. Gameboy sales / games had a 3:1 ratio over Nintendo 64. Everyone loved Gameboy. Nintendo became a monopoly in the handheld market for 10 years since 1989, and are said to sell more GBAs than Playstation 2s. The government had trouble classifying Nintendo has a monopoly because it wasn't in the console market. They classified Nintendo as a monopoly in 1988 when Nintendo had a contract that each videogame developer had to supply the NES with 3 titles until it could supply 1 title to another console. Still today, the former Nintendo President, Hiroshi Yamauchi, owns the Seattle Mariners, and a NBA team. Nintendo owns large stock in both teams. I can only tell you that I own five Gameboy Advance games, so I missed out on the Gameboy entirely.

Nintendo Specs

• RAM Memory: 16 Kbit (2 Kb)
• Video RAM: 16 Kbit (2 Kb)
• Game Program Memory: 128K, 32K, 16K or 8K Bytes, 1 Meg, 256K, or 64K Bits
• Game Character Memory: 128K, 32K, 16K or 8K Bytes, 1 Meg, 256K, or 64K Bits
• Scrolling: Horizontal and Vertical
• Sound: PSG sound (2 Square Waves, 1 Triangle Wave, 1 White Noise)
• Minimum Sprite Size: 8x8 Pixels
• Maximum Sprite Size: 8x16 Pixels
• Maximum Sprites: 64 sprites
• Maximum Sprites per Scanline: 8
• Minimum Cart Size: 128 Kbit
• Maximum Cart Size: 4 Mbit
• Picture Resolution: 256 x 240

Most Popular games on NES according to Gamestats.com:

1. Legend of Zelda
2. Super Mario Bros. 3
3. Zelda II The Adventure of Link
4. Super Mario Bros.
5. Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt
6. Super Mario Bros. 2
7. Final Fantasy
8. Metriod
9. Metal Gear
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
11. Mega Man 2
12. Mega Man 3
13. Dr. Mario
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Arcade Game
15. Dragon Ball Z Gaiden
16. Dragon Ball Z II
17. Dragon Ball Z 3
18. Dragon Ball 3
19. Dragon Ball
20. Dragon Ball Z Gekitou Tenkaichi Budokai

Super Nintendo (1991 – 1996)

Super Nintendo is probably another successful attempt by Nintendo. It was released in 1991, and it’s first game was Super Mario World. It’s the only console that went from 2.7 MHz up to 21 MHz. The first chip to be capable of very low sprite based 3D is DSP. I don’t know what this stands for, but it makes the 16-bit console capable of 3D. Remarkable really since 16-bits isn’t enough to run 3D games on the PC unless it’s Doom or Wolfenstine. Games which run on the DS chip were Super Mario Kart and PilotWings. It wasn’t really much to look now a days, but this is when the first 3D games first came out. It brought the SNES from 2.98 MHz to 3.58 MHz. That’s not even the most powerful chip on SNES cartridges.

The Super FX is the most famous chip of the 16-bit generation. This made the underpowered SNES more powerful (10 MHz) than Genesis. The most famous game to use it was Star Fox because it looked better than anything else in 1993. The studio to make it was Argonaut which developed Star Fox. Vortex was another game, but I haven’t heard of it. I knew about Star Fox because of the sequel, Star Fox 64, which I own and beaten. Then the Super FX 2 came out clocking SNES at 21 MHz. Games to use it are Micro Machines, Super Mario World 2, Street Fighter Alpha 2, and Doom.

For compression, since SNES by itself had none, was a use of a decompression chip sort of like WinZip acting to decompress a compressed archive. This chip was for very large carts like Super Mario RPG and Kirby Land 3. Super Mario RPG was the last game to be released for SNES. I know that the Super Mario RPG rom was something like 42 MB and that rom file was compressed to about 6.5 MB.

It’s funny that the biggest upgrade from NES and Super NES was the ability to rotate sprites from a bird’s eye view. I remember the NES had Metal Gear, and it was the few games that used this technique. The best way to describe this is the NES’s sprits were mostly GIFs. Everything was frames much like how animated gifs are made. The SNES was powerful enough to move the main character all by itself using advance sprite engine. Just like polygons do.

The way that Super NES games were copied was from the Super Nintendo Disc system. This was basically a device that could copy SNES games on a floppy disk.

To make it simpler

10 frame animated GIF sprite 210x210 – 30K (NES)
10 frame sprite 210x210 (using the SNES hardware) – 10K

The SNES CD that was never released – yet it was under 3rd party.

Nintendo canceled the SNES CD because of the début between them and Sony. The SNES CD would mean Nintendo games on CD, which would mean CD-Quality music and no space concerns for developers. Nintendo decided not to release one at the last minute. UFO, who also did their famous N64 backup device (which I haven’t seen ever), released Super UFO, which could backup on floppy disk. UFO was superior because it could read Game Doctor or Pro Fighter files. For games that could fit on floppy disk, Bung makes a CD Drive for SNES called the Game Station. Game Station was the predecessor of the Doctor V64 which backed up N64 games.

Most Popular games on SNES according to Gamestats.com:

1. Final Fantasy II (US)
2. Super Mario RPG
3. Super Metriod
4. Legend of Zelda : Link to the Past
5. Super Mario World
6. Chrono Trigger
7. Super Mario All Stars
8. Donkey Kong Country
9. Super Mario Kart
10. Yoshi’s Island (Super Mario World 2)
11. Donkey Kong Country 2
12. Mega Man X
13. Final Fantasy II
14. Donkey Kong Country 3
15. Star Fox
16. EarthBound
17. Killer Instinct
18. F-Zero
19. Secret of Man
20. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest

Sega Genesis (1989 - 1996)

SEGA Genesis (MEGA DRIVE to the rest of the world) is not Sega’s latest console, but Sega's most successful system. I don’t know myself because I never own Genesis or any console for that matter before 1996. The debut price was better than Nintendo's SNES selling at 190 US dollars. Sega finally got to steal the market for a little while before the Super NES came out. What is interesting about it is that it had some original titles like Nintendo, but it had a mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. His debut in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was the top selling game for the console. He was fast and everyone liked him. Sonic Team soon made three sequels (including Sonic CD), and Traveler’s Tales made an enhanced Sonic 3D Blast late in the consoles life. Sega never really gained back the market after Super NES took over in 1992. SNES games just were too good for Sega's luck. Nintendo and Sega both survived the crash of the videogame industry in the late 1980s known as “the great videogame crash of 1984”. Atari was sold off to Hasbro Interactive. And all the Atari clones of that time disappeared.

Who could forget Castlevania on the Genesis? The Castlevania series has had a repetition of being good. Same goes with Castlevania - Blood Lines (1994). Castlevania is a well known game today as it was back then. It was a horror survival title for mature audiences and had a twist that made people like it and play long hours. Sega released Shadow Dancer (1992) as a sword action game. Ever played any of these games myself. Other games that came along that people liked are : Mortal Kombat II (1992), and a enhanced version of Mega Man (1993), Ecco the Dolphin (1992) Golden Axe (1989), and Strider (1990) and Shinobi ( 1993 : before the remake on Playstation 2 )

Sega also released the Sega CD add-on in 1993 with their flagship title Sonic CD. Sega set one milestone, the first 3D game called Virua Fighter became the first 3D game ever, and it's in the Smithsonian in Washington CD. Sonic CD turned out to be pretty good with improved graphics over Sonic 2. Although some people bought the CD add on, many people ignored Sega CD for whatever reason. I learned that Genesis was more popular than SNES. It was released under the best attentions. Sony was going to make Nintendo's new CD peripheral, but it never took off. It was scrapped months before it went under mass production.

The same year Sega came out with the Sega 32x which made the Genesis 32-bit. Sega made the wrong decision in making it, and the developers didn't have enough time to develop any high profile games for it. Doom, and Virua Fighter was developed for it. That cost Sega millions of dollars that they couldn't invest into the Saturn, in my opinion.

In 1996, Sega released a 16-bit version of Sonic 3D Blast. It resembled closely to the Saturn counterpart. It didn't do as well as Sega hoped it would. But it was a pioneer as 16 bit titles go.

Sega Genesis had an unusually long life of seven years in the United States (1989-1996). It is still popular in Brazil and Australia, South Korea and a few Asian countries today.

Model Number: MK-1601 (r1), MK-1631 (r2).
CPU: Motorola 68000 at 7.61 MHz
1 MByte (8 Mbit) ROM Area
64 KByte RAM Area
Co-Processor: Z80 @ 4 MHz (Not Present in MK-1631)
Controls PSG (Programmable Sound Generator) & FM Chips
8 KBytes of dedicated Sound Ram

Graphics:
64 simultaneous colors of 512 color palette.
Pixel resolution: 320 x 224
VDP (Video Display Processor)
Dedicated video display processor
Controls playfield & sprites
64 KBytes of dedicated VRAM (Video Ram)
64 x 9-bits of CRAM (Color RAM)
3 Planes: 2 scrolling playfields, 1 sprite plane

Sound:
PSG (TI 76489 chip)
FM chip (Yamaha YM 2612)
6-channel stereo
8 KBytes RAM
Signal/Noise Ratio: 14dB

Most Popular Games according to Gamestats.com
1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
2. Sonic the Hedgehog
3. Sonic the Hedgehog 3
4. Sonic and Knuckles
5. John Madden Football ‘93
6. NCAA Football
7. Sonic Spinball
8. Mortal Kombat
9. Mortal Kombat II
10. Disney’s Aladdin
11. Streets of Rage
12. Streeets of Rage II
13. NHL ‘94
14. Sonic 3D Blast
15. Spider Man – Venom: Maximum Carnage
16. Spider Man – X-Men Arcade’s Revenge
17. Spider-Man
18. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
19. Separation Anxiety
20. Revolution X

Playstation (1994 - Present)

Sony Playstation was released in the US in December 02, 1994 costing 400 dollars. Sony was really successful a year later around Christmas of 1996. No good games came out in 1995. Although Nintendo 64 was a bit better nudged in with the competition, PSone was going to see it's console triple any console that existed in homes across America. One reason was because after 1996, Sony designed a new Playstation had been bug free unlike the original. Sega Saturn looked like an expensive alternative compared to Playstation which ultimately lead to it’s death. When no software is developed for it it’s considered ‘dead’. Playstation stayed number one because it was on shelves since 1995. Playstation has games like Spyro the Dragon (1997), Madden 2000 (1999), Final Fantasy 7 (1997), and Resident Evil II (1998) to name a few. It had a long enough life span were you could see a sequel or two for your favorite game. The list is too large after 1997 to name all decent titles for Playstation.

Originally Sony was asked to build a CD add-on for Super Nintendo. Nintendo had the right idea there. But Sony Entertainment shot Nintendo in the foot and said, "We are going to compete against you, Nintendo." They paid off all their debts they owned for manufacturing, and became everyone's favorite videogame system from 1996 - 2000.

Sony also made a developers kit version for PSX called the Yaroze. It was very expensive, but it made it possible to create your own games running an advanced platform such as the Playstation. Most computers weren't as fast. I suppose that the Playstation 2 version is called Yaroze 2. I am fantasizing a bit, but wouldn't you be able to import your Yaroze game to a Yaroze 2 to run on Playstation 2. Think of it, you can have your own underground ps2 game coping business. All you would need is a DVD burner and they've come down in price since 2000 when it first appeared commercially. .

I enjoyed games like Ridge Racer Type 4 because it was racing game. I also played Dino Crisis 2 and got somewhat far into it. I found out the red raptors are inventible! I got hurt badly from the raptors so I didn’t play anymore. I also played Final Fantasy VIII, and got to the end of the 2nd disc and somehow I wasn’t powerful enough to defeat one of the bosses near the end. I also played Chrono Cross on it. That was pretty good. Then I got into Crash Bandicoot 2 (a little late, 2004) because it was a platform game. Anyways, I listed to specs below.

Processor - 32-bit R3000A

* Processor clock speed: 33.8688 MHz
* MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second): 30
* Bus speed: 132 MB per second
* Cache:

Graphics:

* Resolution: 640x480 maximum (five interlaced and four non-interlaced modes supported)
* Colors: 24-bit (16,777,216) maximum; other modes supported are 4-bit (16), 8-bit (256) and 15-bit (32,768)
* Maximum sprite size: 256 pixels high x 256 pixels wide
* Polygon rendering: 360,000 polygons per second
* Geometry engine: Provides additional hardware rendering of polygons to include Gouraud shading, texture-mapping and lighting effects
* Memory: 1 MB RAM
* MPEG decoder

Most popular Playstation Games according to Gamestats.com

1. Final Fantasy VII
2. Final Fantasy VIII
3. Final Fantasy IX
4. Final Fantasy Anthology
5. Final Fantasy Chronicles
6. Metal Gear Solid
7. Final Fantasy Tactics
8. Final Fantasy Origins
9. Chrono Cross
10. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
11. Resident Evil 2
12. Resident Evil 3 : Nemesis
13. Suikoden II
14. Xenogears
15. Gran Turismo 2
16. Grand Theft Auto II
17. Grand Theft Auto
18. Resident Evil
19. Vagrant Story
20. Valkyrie Profile
21. Legend of Dragoon

SEGA SATURN ( 1995 - 1998 )

Released in November 1994, Sega Saturn took popularity from the Neo Geo Turbo. Sega Saturn was priced at huge 400 bucks for a combo w/ Virua Fighter (1994). But in 1994, all the good Playstation games continued development. Rage Racer from Namco, was Playstation's premiere racing game. This was an early driving simulation that had magnificent graphics for it's time. The control was also new at the time, but Rage Racer also was a high profile. Sega spent years trying to come up with a solid design for their console. Unlike Nintendo, Sega decided to go with optimal disc. Sega CD failed because the lack of good advertisement campaign, and with only one good game out, it wasn't worth it. Sega also had high profile games in store, like Panzer Dragoon (1995) Panzer Dragoon II (1996) with the following, Sega also had plans for Sonic in Sonic 3D Blast (1996), but became a lack luster because of it's bad control. It proves that 3D games are horrible with a digital pad. However, Sonic Team came out with another game called NiGHTS(1996), and released an analog controller (looks exactly like the Dreamcast controller). Nights had good graphics for it's time, it also featured a fully 3D engine. The death of Saturn was it hard in 1997 when Squaresoft released Final Fantasy 7 on Playstation. Final Fantasy went on to be a famous game which marked the beginning of 32-bit age after Konami’s Suikoden (1996) RPGs. It may surprised everyone, but Sega came out with 5 fantastic games, Radiant Silvergun (1997), Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998), Shining Force III (1999), Burning Rangers (1999), and Lunar : The Sliver Star Story (1996) in return to make up for that. Shining Force III, and Panzer Dragoon became ideal RPGs to bet when buying the console. 3rd party games like Grandia and Lunar were close behind with sales, but also were on Playstation too. So 3rd party RPGs didn't really sell well on Saturn. Sega also tried having laser gun action with games like Virua Cop (1994) and House of the Dead (1995). But it was all done, Sega announced Saturn dead later that year. In 1996, Sony updates the PSX to just ‘Playstation’ (version 1.1) which means they fixed a lot of bugs, and made the console more durable in the end. I mean there are still the originals around. The PSone is said to be more durable than all previous versions of Playstation including Playstation 2s which were released a year afterwards. Now, everyone who wants a Playstation can buy one (in 1999). Sega Saturn survives today through videogame retailers selling used versions. Playstation gets a lot more use, Saturn seems old to us now and outdated. Only Nights, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Reliant Silvergun, and Shining Force III stood the test of time on it. Dreamcast was not backwards capable with Saturn games. Saturn saw no support in Japan because Sega went completely to support Dreamcast, which was the predecessor. So sales dried up completely because of it. In a sense, Sega killed Saturn.

Main CPU 32bit RISC SH2 (28.6MHz, 25MIPS) x 2
32bit RISC SH1 (20.0MHz)
16 bit Stereo Sound, Audio DSP (32 Channel, 44.1KHz Frequency (CD Quality))
Resolution 320 x 224
16mbit Work Ram
12mbit Video Ram
4mbit Sound Ram

16.77 Million Colors, Sprite Enlargement, Reduction, Rotation, Transformation.

Double Speed CD- ROM

Dimensions
Width 260 mm
Length 230mm
Height 86mm

My personal Impressions on owning a Sega Saturn are moderate because I knew that Sega would have a good product. Sega Saturn feels empty inside and not built with as strong plastic as Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. The controller feels light in my hand. I am very use to the Playstation controller feel. So I reject some of the Saturn’s controller. Although, it is packaged away in my closet, I have played games like Sonic 3D Blast, Sega Championship Rally, Rayman, Gex, and Nights. Nights is my favorite Saturn title. I could never find a 3D controller for my Nights title, so I failed to make me play it for hours. Sega Rally is a good racing game. I like drafting all the time. It's an average game in my opinion. Not as fun as some of the RPGs on Playstation, but does have a little good playing it. It is 3D and I can understand that it can barely handle 3D racers. Playstation was supposed to be that way, until they came out with Gran Turismo, and that opened some eyes. Some never knew it was possible. So all and all I give Saturn a 6.0 out of 10.

Most popular Saturn Games (Gamestats.com)

1.) Gran Theft Auto
2.) Panzer Dragoon Saga
3.) Resident Evil
4.) Nights into Dreams
5.) Virua Fighter 2
6.) Doom
7.) Need for Speed
8.) MVP Baseball ‘96
9.) Wipeout
10.) NBA Action
11.) Johnny Bazookatone
12.) Steel Harbinger
13.) Tokimeki Memorial Forever with you
14.) Dead or Alive
15.) Saturn Bomberman Fight
16.) Tetris Plus
17.) Hardcore 4x5
18.) World Cup Golf
19.) World Series Baseball
20.) Worldwide Soccer

N64 ( 1996 - 2001)

This is my impressions of the Nintendo 64. The only console which went from low resolution to high resolution well almost. Some people thought Perfect Dark ran in high resolution. That’s because N64 had a 4 MB expansion pack released in 1998 with Star Wars Rogue Squadron. I have no idea how they made a 64 bit machine look like an early 128-bit generation game like in Perfect Dark and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. One thing that made Nintendo a recognizable console was Rare (which later moved to Microsoft Gaming Studios.) But kept the platform games favorable (especially Conker's Bad Fur Day) until Nintendo could reorganize a better plan for their next generation console. Nintendo had released Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (an exceptional game) The first game was another Mario platform surprisingly - Super Mario 64. Both are on the top 50 best videogames of all time (source: Game Informer Magazine.) Nintendo didn't get any support from any RPGs, so Final Fantasy never made it to Nintendo 64. So Nintendo missed out of Squaresoft's multimillion dollar high profile project due to Nintendo's old technology of cartridge-based games. Although most of the games used a midi version cd quality music found in most Playstation games. Nintendo did support MP3s in three N64 titles : Resident Evil 2, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark. MP3 fitted cd quality audio onto a 512 MB cartridge, their largest cartridge. If Nintendo had technology to produce a 1 Gigabyte cartridge, they may have pulled off the Final Fantasy 7 title in 1997. But the technology wasn't there to make 1 GB carts.

Games like Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, Ridge Racer, Madden Football, All Star Baseball, Turok 2, Orge Battle 64 and Rayman 2 kept the console alive along enough for people to not say, "Nintendo Sucks." Nintendo 64 was good enough, that it didn't suck though it didn't have the balls that Playstation has.

Nintendo 64 was expensive to make, but in 1996, the cartridge technology was improved enough that it would still be good to go. And this was 8 months before Intel came out with the Pentium II with 64 MB of RAM. Back them, Nintendo didn't scope out the cash and make the outrageous deal with IBM which they did in 1999. It was rather a large sum of money.

Then Nintendo released a disc drive in Japan. The most famous games for it were Mario Paint, Simcity 2000, and Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time – Master Quest. LoZ-OoTMQ was originally designed for the disc drive which was going to be brought out much sooner. The Master Quest has more dungeons and increases overall difficulty of Ocarina of Time adding more monsters in various places.

Most Popular N64 games

1. Legend of Zelda : Majora’s Mask
2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time
3. Conker’s Bad Fur Day
4. Paper Mario
5. Super Mario 64
6. Goldeneye 007
7. Perfect Dark
8. Donkey Kong 64
9. Super Smash Bros.
10. Mario Kart 64
11. Banjo Kazooie
12. Star Fox 64
13. Pokemon Statium
14. Diddy Kong Racing
15. WWF No Mercy
16. Resident Evil 2
17. Banjo Tooie
18. Pokemon Snap
19. Mario Tennis
20. Mario Party

Sega Dreamcast (1999 - 2001)

After the demise of the Saturn, could anyone say that Dreamcast sucked too? It wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible. Some people were surprised that Dreamcast was as small as it was. The controller is the almost the sized of the console. Playstation 2 was this too cool for Dreamcast. Sega continued relations with NEC to provide their processor. NEC, the 2nd largest microchip distributor in Japan. In my opinion, Dreamcast sounds better then Playstation or Nintendo 64. Sega reentered the console genre, this time a few new 1st party developers and all the other developers came back too (Activision, Capcom, Midway, Uri Soft, Namco, CBI, Crave, Infrogames) As for games went, Sega surprised everyone with Virua Fighter 3, the only fighter with 128-bit graphics at the time. The time was November 1998 when it was released. Sega released Sonic Adventure (1999), an improvement over Sonic 3D Blast (1996), on Dreamcast. It didn't sell over a million copies, but did get media attention. Sega wanted Sonic to be known as the blue blur revisited like Genesis games were known to be. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is one of the most popular Genesis games ever created. Sega had strike a very big deal with Namco to make a port of the arcade game, Soul Caliber (1999). Soul Caliber was the first Dreamcast title to sell over a million copies. The title was arcade perfect and looked better than any other launching title.

Sega was determined or desperate (what ever way you view it) to became focused in North America. The huge marketing campaign was unleashed in 1999 to show off Sega's new console with advertisements to support Sega’s flagship title, Sonic Adventure and also Soul Caliber, NFL 2K, and Power Stone. Later Sega advertised Resident Evil 2, Crazy Taxi, Jet Grid Radio, and Space Channel 5 on MTV. Resident Evil was a popular horror survival action game upgraded to Dreamcast. Space Channel 5 was a musical game dependant on pressing buttons to keep the beat just like Dance, Dance Revolution. I played neither in my life. Shenmue (2000) was in development for many years, and was the largest scale game on any console prior to it. The game was made by Sega’s internal developer AM2 who also makes Virua Fighter. It's about a man in his mid 20s trying to unlock what really happened to him long ago in this huge vast city environment with thousands of things to do. It’s the most expensive videogame ever produced.

Skies of Arcadia became Sega's new RPG from Overworks, the developer also made Shinobi for PS2 and Dreamcast. The Dreamcast version never came to the USA , but the PS2 version has. Gamers could also browse the web and search for Game Saves online. Many people were surprised that Sega brought back, and enhanced the Saturn version of Phantasy Star IV in form of Phantasy Star Online. The game had decent game play and really good graphics. In no way could it compete with today's games. There was only a few online titles, like Vanishing Point (2000), Chu Chu Rocket (1999), NFL 2K1(2001), Unreal Tournament (2001), Quake III (2001), Soldier of Fortune (2001), and Phantasy Star Online (2000, 2001) which went online. Atari came out with one quality title, Ikaruga, which is an overhead shooter, which had high resolution graphics and had tight control which had it over looked by many gamers. This game is coming out for Gamecube, and hopefully I will have the review up soon! All of the games went online for free but only lasted 6 months as a server. In 2003, those servers still alive, but no one is playing the online on Dreamcast anymore. The largest online game was Quake III which surpassed Phantasy Star Online because Quake III could be played with PC gamers too. Playstation 2 took a huge chunk for Sega's profits. In many ways, Sega underestimated the wrath of Sony's Playstation 2. By the end of 2000, Sega knew that Dreamcast wasn't going to last another year and changes had to be met for the company's survival in the industry. Sega prepared to become a third party. Sega gave Dreamcast source code to Pace which freely displayed it over the Internet. That made this whole underground department of running emulators to run on Dreamcast.

Hitachi SH4 RISC Processor (128bit 3D engine)
NEC CLX2 graphics processor
Yamaha 64 channel sound processor
Custom GD Rom technology with 1gb storage space
Networking Capability (i.e. 33.6k modem) allowing complete Net use
Four controller ports
Controller with 6 'fire' buttons, analogue and d-pad controls. Also features two expansion ports for Virtual memory unit and rumble pack.

Most Popular Videogames of Sega Dreamcast (Gamestats.com)

1.) Soul Caliber
2.) Resident Evil Code Veronica
3.) Sonic Adventure 2
4.) Sonic Adventure
5.) NFL 2K1
6.) Phantasy Star Online
7.) Shenmue
8.) Crazy Taxi
9.) Jet Grind Radio
10.) Skies of Arcadia
11.) Mario vs. Capcom 2
12.) Grand Theif Auto 2
13.) Dead or Alive
14.) Grandia II
15.) Virtua Tennis
16.) Shenmue 2
17.) NFL 2K2
18.) Resident Evil 3
19.) Biohazard : Code Veronica (Japanese version of Resident Evil CV)
20.) Resident Evil 2
21.) Crazy Taxi 2
22.) Chu Chu Rocket
23.) Power Stone
24.) Power Stone 2
25.) Quake 3 Arena

Nintendo Gamecube (2001 - Present)

Gamecube is undeniably Nintendo's biggest project since the SNES. Nintendo called it Project Dolphin for a code name. We know it as Nintendo's only 128-bit gaming machine. Nintendo focused on games not extra hardware format so it allowed the Gamecube to be fast, yet have simple design. That’s why I say it’s Nintendo’s best offering since SNES. The SNES was ugly, but wonderfully designed. Nintendo made the Gamecube have the best compression rate of any console of it's class. A 4:1 Ratio. The design is compact. Nintendo wanted to spend money so it could save money in the long run. My sources say that Gamecube has the cleanest agriculture of any home videogame system to date. Code named Nintendo Dolphin in 1999, Gamecube was leaked on the Internet when Nintendo announced a new gaming platform at E3 1999. Nintendo struck a fairly large deal with IBM to make the central processor that would process the graphics in Gamecube which had a very high compression rate - 1:4 ratio with no image quality lost. It was called the Gecko, the most advanced technology on the market. ATI designed the graphics chip which is also really small in size. One major difference from the N64 and Gamecube is that Gamecube has a disk drive. This disk drive spends 80 resolutions per minute which allows the buffer to analyze data faster than a DVD rom could.

Gamecube is a good machine. It recently came out with Red Faction 2 Nintendo has 5 average to above average first person shooters for the Gamecube, and made 5 first person shooter titles in stock. Nintendo, being the largest videogame developer, has made hit titles like Super Smash Bros Melee, sequel to the N64 fighter. Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime (prequel to Metroid for the NES) , Resident Evil, Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker (sequel to Ocarina of Time) Sega became a 3rd party developer and brought quality titles such as Super Monkey Ball (2001 Puzzle), Phantasy Star Online (2002 RPG), NFL 2K3 (2002 Sports), NCAA Football 2K3 (2002 Sports), Sega Soccer Slam (2002), Sonic Action Pack (2002 Platformer), and Skies of Arcadia Legends (2003 RPG). Nintendo and Sega have worked together to bring out the next F-Zero game.

Nintendo has come out with a modem, but there is no software to surf the web. I doubt that a 3rd party will have a web browser out before 2004. Nintendo doesn't want gamers to download saved games off the Internet. In my opinion, Nintendo is only hurting themselves. Nintendo also released a Gameboy Advance cart reader which allows you to play GBA games on your television. In May 2003, Nintendo announced Gameboy Player add-on was attached to Gamecube right out of the box still being able to keep the package at 150 dollars. Now you can stick Gameboy cartridges in the side of the console to play it on TV. They reported to also create the Wavebird, a very nice wireless controller, maybe even the best. I believe it’s even 800 MHz, and very durable unlike 3rd party controllers.

But the LSD Display for Gamecube is the best add-on you can buy. If you have the money. The LSD Display makes Gamecube portable. Plug the adapter in your car's cigarette lighter, and you have an instant gaming machine of your dreams.

Stay tuned for Part 2 explaining hardware specs and development of Playstation 2 and Xbox.

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