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Thread: Do 32X games have more color than Genesis games ? Really ?

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    Banana (Level 7) WCP's Avatar
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    Default Do 32X games have more color than Genesis games ? Really ?

    Ok, hear me out on this...

    I know from a technical standpoint that the 32X could produce way more color than the Sega Genesis, but I'm not talking about statistics on paper. I'm talking about actual reality. I honestly don't see any more color on 32X games than Genesis games. At least, not enough to be obvious. I play all these systems on RGB monitors, and the Super Nintendo and TurboGrafx-16 seem more colorful to me than the 32X.

    Not that 32X games look horrible or anything like that, but they just look like any other Genesis game to me, from a standpoint of color. I think the 32X had a palette of over 32,000 colors to choose from, but I'm not sure how many it could put on the screen at the same time. I know the Genesis could only put 64 colors on the screen at the same time, and it was a huge limiting factor for the Genesis, despite great looking games like Gunstar Heroes that seemed to have tons of color.

    Maybe I'm on my own island with this, and everybody thinks the 32X is just as colorful as SNES, if not more so. I know the original 32X marketing would try to insinuate that, but I'm just not sure that it was ever actual reality.

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    Strawberry (Level 2) ccovell's Avatar
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    The 32X's video is simply a 256/32768-colour framebuffer that can superimpose the Genesis' video over/under(?) it. So what you are seeing most often are some of the Gen's BGs and sprites being scrolled around with the 32x layer in there somewhere. Some notable exceptions would be Space Harrier, Kolibri, etc, which don't look like they use the Gen's layers much if at all.

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    Sure are a lot of NEC avatars in this 32x thread.

    When you hook up your 32x, run the video from the gens rather than dumping it into the 32x, and you can see just the genesis stuff that has all their limitations imposed.

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    I'm not really interested in the technical breakdown of exactly how the 32X is working, my original question is more just along the lines of... "Do you think the 32X is really providing a big boost of color over the Genesis ?


    If you look at the 32X packaging, I remember it really tooting it's horn in regards to 32,000 colors or something like that, but the point that I'm trying to make is that I'm not really noticing all those colors, and was just wondering if it's just me, or do other people also think that maybe we didn't really get the kind of color that Sega was promising, in regards to the 32X.


    The Atari Jaguar, also made extraordinary claims in regards to the colors it could put on screen, but anybody that has played Dino Dudes on a RGB monitor knows that the Jaguar really was throwing a ton of color on screen (at least in that games backgrounds). Some parts of Trevor McFurr in Crescent Galaxy are extremely colorful as well.

    I guess Kolibri on 32X might have had the most color, but it didn't really seem to be to the level of the SNES or even maybe the TG-16.

    All of this is just my personal opinion, and I was just trying to get a sense of.... am I on my own island with this particular opinion, or does anybody else also wonder about all this supposed color that we never really got with the 32X?

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    Cherry (Level 1) 8-Bit Archeology's Avatar
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    I would say yes, I think it has more color. Only because of Mortal Kombat 2. Not because I saw more colors from a standpoint of wow they have a bigger box of crayola, it is mainly because everything that had color was more blended. The different shades of blue on sub zero looked smoother than than of the genesis version. Its all just smoother textures. Not really a vibrant thing. Thats my take at least.

    I do want to see a side by side, so now I have to borrow a genesis copy.

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    Mindbender The Adventurer's Avatar
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    It's definitely more of a 'larger color pallet per sprite' which makes for better color blending. Also, 16 bit vs 32 bit, isn't that 256 colors vs millions of colors in general?
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    wait, the 32X had games?

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    Well, the 32X did have at least one really good game. I think the 32X version of Virtua Racing is quite good. I like it better than the Saturn version of Virtua Racing that wasn't even made by Sega (Time Warner Interactive or something ? )

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    Big time agree, the 32X version of Virtua Racing is the by far the best version! As far as color palettes go, I always thought Kolibri looked awesome. It must be displaying thousands of colors at any given time.

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    Hah Virtua Racing, that was basically better on any format other than the Saturn. I put good time into the Genesis game and it's a shame it went so high when it was new but I got it years later from sega-parts.com for $20 new which was a lucky break as it was an untapped source of heaps of new Genesis, 32X, SCD, GG, even Pico titles.

    If I follow this right the argument is the base 32x is like the SNES with 256 colors on screen and a max table of 32K to pull from, but depending how the 32X was used you could use another layer from the Genesis with its gimped palette to add some more. The SNES kind of did this too depending how you coded stuff, but it was super rare someone would be that non-lazy or smart because technically you could split the layers on there with some use of the transparency I think it was to go with 256 per layer but it really wasn't very useful, just possible, kind of like how a few SNES gmes had a high res mod too (Spriggan Powered, Secret of Mana menus, etc.) There's lots of tricks people figured out to use with these systems when someone got inventive and ignored the corporate tool kit and books from the console maker. Hell look at the GBC, I'm sure no one ever thought the laser disc game of Dragon's Lair would have happened, but it did.

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    On SNES, 256 was only in mode 7 (1 8-bit bitmap layer + sprites), I think the others could do at most 16 colors per layer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy_98 View Post
    When you hook up your 32x, run the video from the gens rather than dumping it into the 32x, and you can see just the genesis stuff that has all their limitations imposed.
    This. A lot of games used the 32x for the only for the sprites and the Genesis for the entire background (Knuckles, MK2) so the vast majority of what you're viewing on screen is what could have been done on a Genesis anyway. I always found it ironic that one of the ugliest (and shittiest) games, Motocross Championship, didn't use the Genesis for anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SparTonberry View Post
    On SNES, 256 was only in mode 7 (1 8-bit bitmap layer + sprites), I think the others could do at most 16 colors per layer.
    That is correct regarding the Mode 7 background layer was a single, 256-color plane.

    Truthfully, with programming trickery, the SNES could display it's full palette of 32,768 colors, but other than purposes of technical demonstration, it doesn't serve any practical use:

    32768 Color Demo by Joshua Cain (512x224)

    However, with the SNES' color addition/subtraction, their could be instances where more than 256 unique colors could be displayed during gameplay. I don't have any examples at the moment, but a game like Donkey Kong Country is displaying well over 200 colors on screen between sprites/background layers in most areas of the game.

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    This topic got me thinking, so I did a little more digging.

    I'm with the OP that the 32x's abilities likely were not utilized to their fullest extent, but I'm going to posit that some of that comes down to rushed development and potential tepid investment by developers leading to poor art direction. Basically, games being rushed out the door and the presumption of a small install base = limited development teams leading to subpar releases.

    Take Doom for example. Resolution/speed aside, the 32x version of Doom is actually more "colorful" by color count than the SNES version of Doom. However, the SNES version of Doom utilizes a wider range of colors due to the use of textures that are more faithful to the PC original while the 32x looks like a brown and grey turd.

    It's a shame that there wasn't better investment in this hardware.

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    Part of the problem with the lack of examples is because they only made about 30 games for the system. Developers were still getting used to it, and there was very little in depth stuff done. There was never a point where the system was mature enough for devs to push it to the limit. Given more time and support I feel some amazing titles would have emerged for the system. The first round of games for almost any system pales in graphical prowess to the later titles when devs have learned a lot of the tricks to it.

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    Tempo is almost painfully bright and colorful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS14AXo-RiA
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    the obvious comparisons to make are the 32x cd games versus the standard sega cd versions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisbid View Post
    the obvious comparisons to make are the 32x cd games versus the standard sega cd versions.

    You know what... You're right. Night Trap and other FMV based games did have more color. I wonder if this was something that helped FMV, but didn't really help the normal games that much ?

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    Nobody wanted the 32X. Sega of America were dead set against, as were most of their publishers and developers. Sega of Japan had a lot of hardware development projects at that time which were fairly open ended. It led to some great products, and some utter crap. The 32X was one of those. It was conceived as a 32-bit standalone system (backwards compatible to Genesis), which would have made little sense at that point in time. SOA got them to allow a release as an add-on.
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