Questions tagged [game-consoles]

For questions relating to a number of different video game consoles, or to game consoles in general.

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13 votes
2 answers
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What was the first game console to ship with an official C development SDK?

I'm pretty sure (but please correct me if I'm wrong!) in the 4th generation (e.g. SNES, Sega Genesis) assembly for whatever chip the console had was still the most common development language(s) and ...
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the first games console to be as powerful as the Sega Model 2 board? [closed]

Back in the day, Sega's Daytona USA was the king of arcades. All those polygons flying around at 60 frames per second, it was incredible. It was also hugely expensive. What was the first games console ...
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Were there any enhancement chips that vastly outperformed the main CPU?

Were there any enhancement chips in officially-released games that were CPUs themselves and which ran the game code itself, relegating the role of the main CPU to that of a thin client? To elaborate, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
305 views

What game is this music from? (probably a Shoot 'em up)

Back in my teenage years (around 1992) I recorded in VHS (but overrecorded it afterwards) a certain console game's opening sequence from a game TV show and attempted to transpose the background music ...
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28 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why did Nintendo 64 (1996) memory cards require a battery inside them to retain data whereas the PlayStation (1994) ones did not?

The Nintendo 64 was released in 1996. Its "Controller Pak"s, which was the name of the memory card that you put inside the controller to save the progress in certain games, require a battery ...
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  • 283
6 votes
1 answer
340 views

Why did the Atari 5200 revert to only two controller ports?

The Atari 5200, released in 1982, had four controller ports, an unusual feature which as far as I know had never been seen before, and would not be seen again until the late nineties. The 1983 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
232 views

Which pong console is this?

Sorry for the poor quality of the image, I'm trying to recognize the exact model of this console, you can see it on the movie "Stridulum" a.k.a "The visitor" 1978 USA at minute 00:...
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  • 543
5 votes
2 answers
765 views

What was the reason that the original Western NES console had a "cartridge bed" that had to be pushed down to play?

In Japan, they had the Famicom. You put in the cartridges on the top, just like with the later SNES and other consoles. But for Europe and the USA (and the entire "West"), the "NES"...
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  • 77
4 votes
2 answers
839 views

How could/can there exist NTSC->PAL converters for SNES and other classic game consoles?

Re-reading my old video game magazines from the mid-1990s, there's constant mentions of "USA import" games which were not released here and which "require an adapter". Many of the ...
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27 votes
3 answers
3k views

Odyssey game console: what's the deal with "English Control"?

I've just read about the original Magnavox Odyssey console. Interesting story. But what I'm wondering about are the game controllers, and in particular the knob labeled as "English". This ...
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4 votes
1 answer
314 views

Why did the Speak & Spell have an alphabetic keyboard?

Many of us remember the original Speak & Spell from 1978: Image source: Wikipedia One of the interesting things about this early handheld educational game console is the keyboard. It's not normal!...
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4 votes
2 answers
285 views

Is a S-VIDEO-to-RCA cable worse video signal quality than an S-VIDEO-to-SCART cable?

When I got my Sega Saturn way back, it came with a video cable that is S-VIDEO in the Saturn end and SCART in the TV end (no adapter). It has always given me very crisp and nice picture on all the TVs ...
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29 votes
5 answers
5k views

Were the classic game consoles *technically* able to play both NTSC and PAL games, if ignoring artificial region lock-in?

I'm not asking if they were region-free; I know they weren't generally. I'm asking if, given an NTSC-supporting PAL TV, an NTSC game cartridge, and a PAL NES/SNES/N64/whatever, and also given some ...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was PAL or NTSC encoder IC a critical component in early video games?

I have an old Philips Videopac C52 video game console of the  Philips Odyssey 2 family like the G-7000 with 128-byte RAM: While checking its boards to compare with the schematics I got for the G-7000 ...
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  • 1,025
-7 votes
2 answers
351 views

Why do PlayStation 1 CD-based video games (nearly?) always have to reload the entire level each time you start over? [closed]

Billy Bob boots up Tomb Raider on his PlayStation. He loads the saved game from his memory card and it loads up the level he is on. Then Billy controls Lara in a sloppily manner, so that she dies. Now ...
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6 votes
1 answer
424 views

Did the Saturn fail because of game distribution issues?

The Sega Saturn sold only nine million units, well short of the ambition with which Sega launched it, and as it would turn out, well short of what was needed to ultimately keep the company in the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
723 views

Why the 50/60Hz speed rule didn't apply for arcades but did for consoles?

Take the NES, the Super NES and say, the PlayStation, they all have something in common : games on PAL regions were about 16.7% slower than their NTSC counterpart. Now if on you play an arcade game, ...
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  • 5,786
0 votes
1 answer
375 views

How were console games ported to DOS?

Many popular DOS games were ported from video game consoles: Earthworm Jim Mega Man The Lion King The Lost Vikings Turrican 2 Rayman Oscar Zool Video game consoles generally have wildly different ...
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24 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why were pack-in games not usually incorporated on the console mainboard?

In the old days, game consoles were usually sold with a pack-in game, including some iconic titles like 2600 Combat and NES Super Mario Brothers. This makes sense; it provided clear value for the ...
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is the NeoGeo capable of raster effects?

The Neo Geo has incredibly powerful sprite based hardware, but can it do raster effects? Raster effects are where changes to the graphics hardware registers are made mid frame, usually timed to be in ...
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52 votes
8 answers
14k views

How is it possible that classic 3D video games such as Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time can contain such bizarre "glitches"?

I've been watching "speedrunners" play those games for quite some time. I still can't believe what my eyes are seeing. Somehow, they have managed to find bizarre bugs in the games which ...
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  • 527
-6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is Sega Saturn mysteriously missing from No-Intros.org's hash database? [closed]

https://datomatic.no-intro.org/index.php?page=download This website has the worst, most cryptic and broken interface I've ever seen in my life, but eventually, I managed to download a big archive ...
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9 votes
1 answer
677 views

Large number of Famiclones

I was looking the other day some NES clone footage, and I was surprised to find out that there is a ton of them. I am wondering, how could they be so many since Nintendo did not use standard off the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
131 views

Is there any statistical data about the modern vintage games marketshare by system?

I know that every year there are still at least a couple of new games for old systems like VIC-20, C64, Amiga, different ZX Spectrum and Amstrad variants, DOS, different games consoles, and so on, ...
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  • 545
3 votes
1 answer
314 views

What is the first documented instance of video game console "Frying?" [closed]

An early example of this can be seen on the Atari VCS (2600) console. With the "Space Invaders" game, one could hold down reset when powering on the machine and get a two shot mode. As ...
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  • 764
42 votes
6 answers
7k views

How did old games from 8-bit era game consoles store music?

Some time ago I found that the audio of a game called Ninja Gaiden 1 (NES) is around 1 hour. This is excluding the sound effects like jump and hit e.t.c. Then I found that the entire game size is ...
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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

How did most fifth-generation consoles avoid wobbly graphics?

According to Why do 3D models on the PlayStation 1 “wobble” so much? the PlayStation had a problem with wobbly graphics because Filling a triangle involves visiting every pixel within it and deciding ...
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1 vote
1 answer
589 views

How good a Cray could be as a video game console? [closed]

The stats are: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-1 Memory‎: ‎8.39 Megabytes (up to 1 048 576 words) CPU‎: ‎64-bit processor @ 80 MHz The 24-bit address arithmetic was performed in an add unit and a ...
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  • 399
4 votes
2 answers
742 views

How well can a NEO GEO theoretically run Sega´s Super Scallers Games?

The Neo Geo had a remarkable capacity to scale sprites, as we can see in fighting games, but it does not have any racing, flight or any game that simulated a non ray casting pseudo 3D to my knowledge. ...
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  • 399
3 votes
1 answer
425 views

Connecting Computer to GameCube Controller Port

I want to have my computer listen to messages between my Nintendo GameCube and a controller. (This is just for fun, not for streaming or anything.) I've spliced into the cable as described here in ...
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  • 133
13 votes
5 answers
7k views

Does switching on an old games console without a cartridge damage it?

This is inspired by the question "What does a Nintendo Game Boy do when turned on without a game cartridge inserted?": Growing up in the 80s and 90s in the UK, it was "common knowledge" amongst my ...
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11 votes
5 answers
2k views

What was the difference between a Games Console and a Home Computer?

In the world of home entertainment and video games, two terms that were commonly used to describe machines from the 1970s onward are "games console" and "home computer". Some devices appear to ...
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20 votes
3 answers
3k views

Term “console” in game consoles

Not sure if this exactly fits here, but I’m interested in the history of word “console” in game consoles and in computing in general. I can see at least two usages for the term, which at least ...
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  • 1,760
8 votes
5 answers
928 views

Source Code Archival in early Game Developement

During the latest gaming press release, Square Enix released remastered versions of all of the classic Final Fantasy games excluding Final Fantasy VIII. The alleged reason is due to the lost source ...
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  • 919
13 votes
3 answers
5k views

When did game consoles begin including FPUs?

Floating-point coprocessors (FPUs) were an expensive, niche, add-on product for early desktop and home computers. but became commonplace by the mid-1990s, as they began to be included within the most ...
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26 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why weren't discrete x86 CPUs ever used in game hardware?

Please don't point out APUs with x86_64 cores used in current generation game consoles, these are not part of the question I cannot recall a single arcade system or game console that ever used x86 ...
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  • 56.8k
20 votes
4 answers
4k views

What was the first console to have temporary backward compatibility?

The first five generations of game consoles typically had no backward compatibility. New console, new hardware design, new games. (An exception was the Atari 7800, which as far as I know was the first ...
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13 votes
5 answers
4k views

What was the first games console to support linking consoles together for local multiplayer?

Most video game consoles allow you to connect multiple controllers to them, for multiplayer gaming. Handheld game consoles, on the other hand, were designed to be used by one person at a time, but ...
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  • 7,644
24 votes
4 answers
6k views

What was the effect of the Video Game Crash of 1983 outside of North America?

The Video Game Crash of 1983 is well known for the effect that it had on the video game console market in North America. A prime example is Atari burying thousands of unsold game cartridges in ...
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