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Thread: Was backward compatibility ever a real issue?

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    Default Was backward compatibility ever a real issue?

    I was just thinking about the "backward compatibility" arguments and debates of years gone by, and I've never really understood the argument being made in favor. Let me give a typical example, circa 1991:

    "I'm not sure if we're going to buy a Super Nintendo for Peter [I refuse to use "Johnny" or "Little Johnny"], because it won't play his old Nintendo games"

    I've seen this in print articles ad nauseum, with different variations in emphasis (dollars spent on older games/ space used by older games/ etc.), but I never understood the point. Buying a newer system does not require that you sell the old one, does it? Does the newer system change the refresh rate of your TV so that older games won't play on it? Is it that hard to hook up two different systems, or even alternate them when the urge strikes? Does the purchase of a newer system send a minor EMP ripple through the guts of your older system, striking it dead?

    I don't get it.

    The only scenario where backward compatibility could even be a legitimate issue would be for financial reasons (ie; selling the old system to offset the cost of the new one). If that is the case, wouldn't you stand to make more "offsetting" money by selling the GAMES with your old system? Isn't the point of getting rid of the old system "to make money"? Why keep your expensive and voluminous collection of games if it's necessary to sell the system itself just so you can afford the newer one? Certainly the selling price of the old system will not equal the purchase price of the new one, so you still have "out of pocket" expenses to cope with.

    I guess I just never understood this line of reasoning. Aside from convenience and/or living room aesthetics, can you give a reason for this idea to even exist? People would get angry becase their NES carts didn't play on SNES, SNES carts didn't play on N64 (don't bother telling me about the import scene: I know. I'm talking about Mom and Pop.), GC won't run N64, Saturn won't run 32X or anything else, etc. etc. etc.

    Did it never occur to these people that as long as they are keeping the old games to play, they might as well keep the associated system? Is it that hard to figure out?

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    To me, it wasn't ever a real issue. Hopping into the wayback machine, 2600 compatability is what got me the Atari 7800 because my 2600 was dead and I was able to convince my parents to get me the 7800 instead since it played the games we already had.

    Other than that tho, no real big reason for it i see. It is kinda nice just to have the one box to save space.

    Then again, I see people around here throw out snow shovels at the end of winter, and then see the same people throwing fits and complaining at stores after the first snowfall because there are no more shovels to buy. People just don't make sense sometimes.


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    One other advantage to the single box setup:

    ending the hell of tangles of spagetti behind the TV. switchboxes help some, but does anyone else remember the daisy-chain-from-hell kludge of RF boxes back there? At one point, and keep in mind this TV did not have RCA connectors, NES -> Genesis -> TG16 -> Game/TV switchbox through converter from twin lead for 7800 -> coax-to-twinlead from VCR with antenna coming from VCR.

    Yeesh.


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    backward compatibility is only needed for crappy consoles wich break up.

    playstation.

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    does anyone else remember the daisy-chain-from-hell kludge of RF boxes back there?
    Many the foolhardy soul has ventured into the recesses of my television cabinet, never to return...

    Backwards compatibility is, like the PS1's duel functon as a CD player, neat, but certainly not a major factor in the which-to-buy decision process.

    Another possible point is for the people who never had the first system. "If I get a PS2, I can also play all those PS1 games I missed out on."

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    I like backwards compatibility. It aids in saving space.

    I mean, at the moment I save space by having my Master System or PSone out because I play them on my Master System Converter and PS2 respectively.

    That gives me more space/more power sockets for other consoles to be out.

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    I think the PS2 having backwards compatibility helped sell more systems than it would have if it only played PS2 games. And it was the only system to offer that option at the time and up until now. So it's no surprise that Sony has been the leader of the console wars for a long time now. That little option of backwards compatibility put them on top and has helped keep them there.

    The next Gamecube/X-box/PS3/Gameboy will sure as hell have that option so I'd say it makes a difference to people when choosing to buy a new console.

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    Backwards compatibility has always cost a lot of money - the only reason the SNES has such a crappy processor was that they were looking at doing complete NES compatibility. Would've been expensive.

    Now, backwards compatibility is no easier, but it is very important for the Game Boy and PlayStation. I don't mind a new console not being able to play the predecent system's games, but I'm spoiled, eh?

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    Default Re: Was backward compatibility ever a real issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wavelflack
    Did it never occur to these people that as long as they are keeping the old games to play, they might as well keep the associated system? Is it that hard to figure out?
    What if they no longer have the system, or never had it. When i was a kid i had a Mega Drive and a Master system convertor because MD games were expensive and MS games were cheap. We ditched the MS when we got an MD but i think we kept some games, and got some more MS games as well.

    If "mom and pop" bought a ps2 because theres a crap-load of cheap ps1 games on the shelves at EB but still want their kid to have the latest and greatest then i say more power to them.

    Another good point for backward compatabilty is the GBA. 1 less portable system to carry around but twice (thrice even) the amount of games to choose from.

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    backwards compatibility isnt really an issue for me, i dotn mind using numerous consoles for different games as long as i get to play them all... although if this issue was taken into consideration, i reckon some of the earlier consoles would have had a lot more later on releases and a longer shelf life!

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    Here's what I think

    1- Space/power strip/cable saver in your setup
    2- If you want to buy a PS2 and get a ton of really cheap, fairly GOOD games (if graphics aren't an issue) you can buy 3-5 PS1 games for every new PS2 game.
    3- Improves lifespan of previous system's games (there's more reason to still keep making them)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stark
    I think the PS2 having backwards compatibility helped sell more systems than it would have if it only played PS2 games. And it was the only system to offer that option at the time and up until now. So it's no surprise that Sony has been the leader of the console wars for a long time now. That little option of backwards compatibility put them on top and has helped keep them there.

    The next Gamecube/X-box/PS3/Gameboy will sure as hell have that option so I'd say it makes a difference to people when choosing to buy a new console.
    Well I always thought it was because it was a cheaper means of having a DVD player in the house back in 2000 (Since the DVD was just finally becoming a household name) and at $399 compared to $599 or $499 for most DVD players back then, it was a great price to the public..but that's just 1/3 of the real reason PS2 did so well.

    Another reason was Sony fans were so convinced that the PS2 was going to do so well, even before specs and hardware was mentioned. That hype alone did wonders.

    Now back to 7800, this proved that it's 2600 compatibility didn't mean much. Poor support, small library of titles for the 7800 Vs. the 2600, and everyone jumping on the NES band-wagon was the big problem. People could get an Atari Jr. cheaper then and you had a boatload of 2600 to choose from already!


    As for Sony, as of now..they already had the best support to date even before the PS2 arrived. Capcom, Konami, Midway, Square, Activision, EA, etc.

    People already felt comfortable with Sony's hardware and didn't want to budge unless it had "SONY" written on it.

    Sure we can sit here till we are blue in the face about Cube or Xbox to the people, but the majority of the public will choose PS2 for so much variety.
    These cartridges are dirty as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

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    its all about simplicity for me. When you have 10 systems spread over two TV's it makes things a LOT easier if you can have one system play the games from two. It would be a real mess if I had to hook up both the 7800 and the 2600, the PSone and the PS2, etc. There just isn't room.

    Plus its easier. Get done playing Madden (PS2), and want to play Castlevania SOTN, no problem, pop one out and the other in.

    Its a really neat feature, and very helpful, and it does factor in, a little, to whether or not I buy a system. It is by no means the deciding factor.
    SO not the Drama.

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    mmm backwards compatibility doesnt matter at all to me, I have all the systems and I have av selectors and i have a multi RF imput device, so its easy for me....just because if xbox 2 ends up compatible with xbox games im not gonna run out and sell my halo edition xbox....but after working in the game business (retail) for about 3 years now i can say backwards compatibility does matter to most casual gamers and there parents...when they come to buy a system they always ask if older ps1 games play on ps2 and alot of times thats why they buy the system, or that guy who ONLY has enuff for the ps2 system and no games...so i guess it helped sony alot...and gameboy for similar reasons
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    One good thing about backwards compatability is the fact that the newer consoles are often more durable than their predecessors. Earlier consoles also aren't available NEW. If I could go out to the store and buy something that played old NES games as well as SNES games, I would be all over that. As much as I like my old NES, it's still too finicky (even after a new pin thing installed) for my liking.

    Likewise, my old Game Boy has a blurry, puke-green screen, is heavy, and takes four AAs. I'll take my GBA SP over that any day.

    If I like the games on the old system, then the ability to play them enhanced (i.e. - faster loading times a la PS2, no blurry screen a la GBA, etc.) is a big bonus.
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    One day back around the first or second Christmas for the SNES I was at a large toy store and I decided to hang out in the video game section listening to the conversations that went on. In maybe 30 minutes there I heard 3 conversations between parents and kids where the parents said they weren't getting an SNES because it couldn't play their NES games. The average conversation went something like this:

    Kid: Ooh, Super Nintendo... this is the one I want
    Mom: Nintendo... does it play Mario?
    Kid: There's a new Mario that's better. This one has 10 times the power of the old one
    Mom: Do the tapes work on yours?
    Kid: No, this is _Super_ Nintendo
    Mom: Is that what the tapes look like? They don't look the ones you have. Does it fit your games?
    Kid: It takes new games
    Mom: You mean all those games you have aren't good anymore? Oh no, you're not getting a whole new thing when I just got you all those other games. I just spent all that money and I'm not throwing it out.

    After hearing 2 conversations like that, when I heard the third I had to jump in and ask why they thought they had to get rid of what they already had (they had no answer). I just couldn't believe the stupid mindset these people had. Interestingly, if a kid said he wanted a Sega Genesis, the parent didn't ask if their Nintendo games could work on it, and they weren't bothered by it being an incompatible system. I guess since the SNES was from Nintendo it was supposed to play NES games and if it didn't it was a problem, yet it wasn't a problem if the Genesis didn't play NES games.

    So does backward compatibility matter? Not to anybody with a clue. To the average idiot consumer, unfortunately it seems to be important.

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    I wonder how many people bought Saturnís thinking the cartridge slot on the back was for Genesis games?

    That's the first thing my wife asked me when I bought my Saturn earlier this year and it's not the first time Ive heard that question.

    If only!
    It could have done wonders for the Saturn if Sega had the foresight to include that as an option.

    As far as the PS2 and GBA/SP is concerned, hell yeah, I use the backwards compatibility to play the older games, it's nice to have the option and I've discovered some great older games because of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingpong
    One day back around the first or second Christmas for the SNES I was at a large toy store and I decided to hang out in the video game section listening to the conversations that went on. In maybe 30 minutes there I heard 3 conversations between parents and kids where the parents said they weren't getting an SNES because it couldn't play their NES games. The average conversation went something like this:

    Kid: Ooh, Super Nintendo... this is the one I want
    Mom: Nintendo... does it play Mario?
    Kid: There's a new Mario that's better. This one has 10 times the power of the old one
    Mom: Do the tapes work on yours?
    Kid: No, this is _Super_ Nintendo
    Mom: Is that what the tapes look like? They don't look the ones you have. Does it fit your games?
    Kid: It takes new games
    Mom: You mean all those games you have aren't good anymore? Oh no, you're not getting a whole new thing when I just got you all those other games. I just spent all that money and I'm not throwing it out.

    After hearing 2 conversations like that, when I heard the third I had to jump in and ask why they thought they had to get rid of what they already had (they had no answer). I just couldn't believe the stupid mindset these people had. Interestingly, if a kid said he wanted a Sega Genesis, the parent didn't ask if their Nintendo games could work on it, and they weren't bothered by it being an incompatible system. I guess since the SNES was from Nintendo it was supposed to play NES games and if it didn't it was a problem, yet it wasn't a problem if the Genesis didn't play NES games.

    So does backward compatibility matter? Not to anybody with a clue. To the average idiot consumer, unfortunately it seems to be important.
    Best post in the thread, makes a lot of sense!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingpong
    So does backward compatibility matter? Not to anybody with a clue. To the average idiot consumer, unfortunately it seems to be important.
    So you're trying to say that the large number of us here who like backwards compatibility don't have a clue and are idiots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FantasiaWHT
    Quote Originally Posted by kingpong
    So does backward compatibility matter? Not to anybody with a clue. To the average idiot consumer, unfortunately it seems to be important.
    So you're trying to say that the large number of us here who like backwards compatibility don't have a clue and are idiots?
    I don't believe he is...I believe he's talking about the type of people he mentioned in his post. The type of parents and consumers who make it a number 1 priority when deciding there purchase.

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