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    Default Best console technical spec design for its time?

    Which console balanced strong technical specs (computing power, the right type of media, etc) with affordability the best?

    I know that technically the PS4/Xbox One have the best technical specs ever, but for their time? Doubtful. The 3DO blew away the competition (the Sega Genesis / SNES primarily) but at 700 bucks, it was way too expensive for most gamers.

    Hereís some contenders:

    Sega Master System. The NES won because of games, but the Master System hardware was more capable at about the same price as the NES. Itís not a massive difference, some of the later NES games ended up looking better than anything the Master System has to offer because more sales = more games = more programmers learning how to make better and better games. But out of the box, the Master System offered more horsepower, more capacious carts, and you could get one t the same price as the NES.

    The 16-bit gen winner is the SNES. The Genesis was well designed enough, the Turbo Grafx 16 was underpowered, and the Neo Geo was great but massively expensive. The SNES offered more power to make the popular games of the time usually look and sound better on SNES. Not only that, but the SNES was designed to work easily with enhancement chips. This thing could even run DOOM! One of the best console technical designs of all time.

    Nintendo would win the 32/64-bit gen too but the N64 has a major hamper: cartridges. It makes it more reliable today, but in the late 1990s it hampered developers looking to put long, rich experiences in their games. Why make an RPG on N64 when PlayStation gives you a lot more space? The Saturn did use CDís, but it was a 2D prioritizing system in the 3D era, and was more expensive and harder to program for. That leaves us with the PlayStation, which wins this generation by a wide margin. Good 3D capability + an affordable price + CD + easy to program for = a real winner.

    The next gen Iím going with Xbox. It had a lot of power and a built in hard drive - no memory cards required!

    Overall, Iím going with SNES. That thing was a beast for the early-mid 90s, an affordable beast with tons of potential for good games (and a ton of good games). While I personally prefer the Genesis library by a small margin, itís a matter of taste. PS1 was also great in terms of offering the right specs for the time.

    And note that these arenít always the consoles that sold the most of their generation. Those consoles always have at least good technical specs though.
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

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    NES games surpassing Master System on a technical level wasn't just a matter of developers getting better but also because NES carts were using a lot of chips to enhance the games as well.

    The N64 using cartridges didn't really affect the length or complexity of its games. Look at how many cartridge games prior to the N64 that take dozens and dozens of hours to complete. Easily as long as the average length of a PS1 RPG. The extra space on PS1 discs was usually used on things like FMV, prerendered backgrounds, redbook audio, and other things that don't really contribute to the length of a game or complexity. The Dragon Warrior games on NES can take a long time to beat, and they're a tiny fraction of the size of any 5th gen game. But I do agree that PS1 was the best balance of power and price for its gen. The N64 wasn't particularly expensive, but I believe the PS1 was the same price or cheaper when the N64 launched, and if one was buying games at full MSRP, $60 for each N64 game adds up versus $40 for the average PS1 game.
    Last edited by Aussie2B; 02-21-2020 at 10:34 AM.

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    pfft 32X and SNES had better looking 3D games than 3D0 or Jaguar I swear.

    It's Neo Geo's hands down. Full arcade games that were absolute arcade-perfect versions. Not even ports, it was literally just the arcade game itself in a console smaller than an Atari 5200. You could even take the arcade cart and put it in your home console in 1991. That is unreal. Imagine If you could do that with Genesis or if Pac-Man was the actual arcade version in every way on Atari 2600. Crysis running fully on 360 in 2007 without any compromise. It was just unheard of. Expensive? ye sbut still amazing to think about. 1991! Same year as SNES! It would be like going from Wii to PS3 or something.



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    Another benefit of the PS1 being disc based is it being usable as a CD player, back when it came out CDs weren't as common compared to cassette tapes so that would have been quite beneficial.

    The PS2 was usable as a DVD player which I consider a very good selling feature, that way you didn't need to buy an additional DVD player and they were quite expensive at the time. With the Xbox did it play DVDs right out of the box or did you need to buy an add on too? Also the PS2 was backwards compatible with PS1 games so you would have access to a large cheap library, not everyone had a PS1 for the previous generation so this was a real benefit.

    Another comparison between the Genesis and SNES would be mentioning the backwards compatibility with previous generations, the Genesis could play SMS games and the SNES could play Gameboy games. I would say the SNES won that comparison as there were few good SMS games in North America and the ones that were good were very rare and hard to get.

    I'm not sure if the SMS hardware was overall better than the NES, the SMS D-pad sucked whenever I used it and the pause button is on the actual console which isn't convenient. I don't mind the controller when playing games that aren't strict about movement or controls, but anything precise is far more difficult than it should be. I like the SMS far more now than when I started collecting back in the early 2000's, I thought it was mostly junk at the time and most collectors felt the same way then.

    The 3DO wasn't really meant to compete with other home consoles, it was meant to compete with Multimedia PCs which were far more expensive at the time. Most of the games were PC ports.

    I also don't get the logic of why the SMS is listed as superior to the NES because of the processor speed, by that logic the Genesis should beat out the SNES as it has the faster processor. Sports games played better on the Genesis. I thought the Genesis had larger cart sizes too, or am I wrong about that? It's not very consistent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Another benefit of the PS1 being disc based is it being usable as a CD player, back when it came out CDs weren't as common compared to cassette tapes
    Were they really? I didn't really buy music until '97, but when I was trying to buy cassettes then, there was a tiny selection compared to what was available on CD at any store I went to. It's hard to imagine the music industry doing a complete 180 in just two years or less, with cassettes outnumbering CDs in '95. I do remember '95 was when practically every kid I went to school with wanted a portable CD player for their birthday or Christmas. I don't know if that would've been their first CD players, or if they already had boomboxes with CD players and just wanted a portable version. (In my case, my first portable CD player was my first CD player period. Didn't get a PS1 until '99. But my brother had already bought a boombox with a CD player a good bit prior to '97 and had a collection of probably at least 50+ CDs by then.) I'm sure the CD player of the PS1 offered some draw, but it wasn't even the first gen to offer CD players, since Turbo CD and Sega CD have built-in players too, so I'm guessing a lot of people already had at least one device that could play CDs by the time they bought a PS1.

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    Turbo GrafX-16 and PC Engine CD add on could play CDs in 1990. Every disc-based CD add on or system prior to PS1 could play CDs so that wasn't exactly new. I got my first Boom box in 1995 and it had a CD player. First Discman in 96. We are not wealthy by any means but my dad got a stereo for the house in 1992 and it had a 5 disc changer. I still listened to cassettes as well as they were often cheaper but we had a few CD players. All my friends family had at least 1 CD player.



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    I asked my husband out of curiosity, as he was frequently buying music much earlier than me, and he said CDs far outnumbered cassettes in stores even in '95. But that was in NYC. Maybe Canada was slower to switch over.

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