50

Video game hardware, whether for home consoles or arcade machines, is designed pretty much from scratch. Hardware designers have pretty much free rein on choosing what CPU to use, basing their choice on factors like cost and ease of programming. The Intel 8086, quite frankly, was a poorly designed processor and was never well regarded. While you could ...


24

The very same article you link says in German Wikipedia (rough translation): At the time of the North American crash the European market was strongly dominated by games for home computers, thus the crash had next to no consequences. My memory completely agrees with that - There was no such thing as a Video Game (console) hype, so as such nothing that ...


20

In general, no. Cartridges from the first few generations were really only breakouts for ROM chips and thus were mostly a collection of address and data lines with a +5V and GND at minimum and perhaps a few others. In the case of the Intellivision, it also had SYNC, serial lines and a video passthrough (to support IntelliVoice, Atari 2600 module, etc.). The ...


18

The Mega Drive/Genesis is the obvious answer, but I can also make a case for the earlier Master System. Initial models were fully compatible with Sega's prior console, the somewhat obscure SG-1000. However, with the removal of the card slot and expansion port in later revisions this was severely eroded. Some games on cartridges may still work, but anything ...


16

The original PlayStation supported a link cable much like the Gameboy's out of the box via its serial port; e.g. you can see that European launch title, Wipeout, supported it by inspecting the row of features starting near the bottom left of the back of the box: It is a passive cable, and became available in 1995. If you'll allow intelligent peripherals ...


16

A prime example is Atari burying thousands of unsold game cartridges in landfill. Well, that may have had its source with hubris over overestimated sales numbers (and licensing fees), in combination with less than desirable conversions regarding quality (Pac-Man) or story (Raiders of the Lost Ark) or combinations of both (ET). However the effect on ...


16

A console is a piece of furniture. Originally only meant to describe a kind of writing desk to stand up to, usually with a tilted surface. In technology it got used to describe control boards, which often looked alike in the early days. In general usage it describes today a self supported furniture (standing on the floor), meant to hold other items on top ...


15

The first major console to incorporate an IEEE 754 floating point unit would be the N64. The main use of them in games is for the mathematical operations involved when transforming in-game 3D objects into 2D shapes for rendering on the display. An important secondary use is for games that have physics engines. Previous consoles typically did this by means ...


15

The use of the term "console" in reference to home video game systems arose because of the association of these systems with TV's in the U.S. At the time these systems were gaining popular acceptance in the 1980s, most U.S. homes had a single main/larger TV that existed as a piece of furniture in the Living Room or Family Room. These were commonly referred ...


11

There's no single commonly-accepted definition; the dividing line has shifted over time. In 1977 when the Apple II, PET and TRS-80 collectively invented home computing the difference was pretty obvious: the computers had the ability to display good-quality text, and provided a textual interface. That codified into a home computer having a keyboard and ...


11

There is some anecdotal evidence that often there was no real source control or archival system in place, just ad-hoc backups. For example, a number of machines from 90s developers have been recovered recently, particularly Amigas. One belonging to Psygnosis and one belonging to Team 17 have surfaced. No evidence of any version control or systematic backups ...


11

The Mega Drive 1 and 2 can run Master System software via the Powerbase Converter. Neither the Nomad (the portable Mega Drive) nor the Mega Drive 3 are capable of doing so without further internal modification. I therefore posit the Mega Drive.


10

The Cray you're describing there is nothing but a block of pure processing power. You're not describing any sort of input or output, so the question is very vague. You could put any sort of rendering front-end onto a generic computer like that: Older 8-bit home micros could have bitmap modes, or tile modes with sprites, or some combination of these, making ...


9

Konix Multisystem: 6 MHz 8086 (1989). Sure, it was cancelled just before release, but it got amazing press (I remember Jeff Minter raving about it at Earls Court) and some of it lived on as the (68k based) Atari Jaguar.


9

The question is a bit unclear on what is considered local. Edit: Tommy's good answer included the Jaguar and JagLink which may be the right 'first' here. Something I forgot even though I had one back then - including JagLink and DOOM. Except and unlike implied, the JagLink box doesn't change communication in any way like a LAN adaptor. Any right wired ...


8

The Master System was the first really successful console in Europe; this was quite a while after 1983. Prior to that, video gaming was almost exclusively performed on home computers. Prior to 1983 the big names in Europe were luminaries such as Sinclair, Commodore, Acorn and Thomson. All of those companies survived into 1984, and the market even grew from ...


8

The original 8086 was quickly overshadowed by the Z80, which was somewhat compatible but easier to work with as it required less support hardware. Also many arcade developers preferred the 6502 and derivatives, and then later the 68000 which was easier to work with on both the hardware and software fronts. Another issue was that the development machines ...


8

The original Xbox was an ~$800 computer sold at a loss, with embedded hardware making it impossible to use it as such. To my knowledge, Microsoft was the first company to take that gamble: that it couldn't be hacked and used as a home PC, and therefore negate the sales of their peripherals or software that they get kickbacks on. They took that gamble because ...


8

The main difference is that games consoles only run games, not productivity software or a visible operating system. For example, compare the Commodore 64 and C64GS, the latter being a dedicated games console. The keyboard was removed, the BASIC interpreter largely hidden (and useless due to the lack of a keyboard anyway) and games booted directly from ...


7

An early example is the 1994 game Zero Tolerance for the SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis, which allowed for local multiplayer with two systems and two TV sets connecting both machines with a link cable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Tolerance_(video_game)


7

The documentation for the 6502 processor says nothing about what will happen if it attempts to execute opcodes beyond those defined by MOS Technologies. Among other things, the designer made no particular effort to ensure that such opcodes wouldn't cause bus-control wires to be pulsed in sequences that would not otherwise occur under any specified ...


6

The 3DO, launched in 1993, featured a custom FPU. Although the CPU is a standard ARM model, the FPU is a custom design for the system. It pre-dates the Nintendo 64 by 3 years.


6

Probably the Nintendo 64 was the first home console to use floating point math for its inner calculations, thanks to the graphics chipset provided by SGI. Other game consoles from its time, such as the Sony PlayStation, the SEGA Saturn, the Atari Jaguar or the Panasonic 3DO made use of integer fixed-point math exclusively. From this point on, basically all ...


5

I've recently done some research on the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's first video game console, and it appears that the term "console" was never used for it during development or when it was brought to market in 1972. Looking at the early marketing materials, it appears to have first been seen by the public on the TV show What's my Line in a programme ...


5

I would be very surprised if a console would cause damage to itself if it's turned on without a cartridge. That's a serious defect! I don't imagine there's any way to tell where this "lie" has come from. My guess is schoolyard scares, just like "you know if you call the police it'll actually recharge your phone battery?" (also a lie, don't do it)


5

My nephew used to have a Videopac 2000 (if I recall correctly). It worked with cartridges, and we sometimes used to remove cartridges and reinsert it (mostly with just a second or less delay), to see what happens. Sometimes the game got corrupted software-wise which meant for a quite unusual gameplay. We did this so many times, that I can assure the ...


4

I have no info about the gaming consoles but when I was creating my own HW computing stuff (for different purposes) I did not use Intel CPUs as they require additional ICs just to be able to work (It stuck till today as the PCs have a chipsets on board...). Z80 and or MCUs (even from Intel) was preferred by me as it did not need those and you know fewer ICs ...


4

The German market for video games and pinball machines had another crash at roughly the same time. From 1983 on, youth protection laws restricted those machines to locations where youth under age 18 had no admission. That pretty much killed all the video games in public places and pushed the sales of home video game consoles and especially the Commodore C64 ...


4

The recent release of the stack of Infocom source code is more the norm than not. Simply, backups of source code stored someplace rather than a formal source code version system. Part of the issue was that teams were very small. A great boon of VCS (version control systems) is the share of code among team members. The larger the team, the more the necessity ...


4

No. This was no more than an expected user error at the time. In fact some versions of the Master System (and I believe the Genesis) had an inbuilt game that would launch when you power on the console without a game inserted, and the GBA initiated a network reciever (for simgle-cart multiplayer games). The way a console would typically boot up, it would try ...


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