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Which system do you think has been pushed the most?


Keatah
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Which system do you think has been pushed the most?

 

I will start with the VCS. The VCS has been shown to do quite a lot with so little in-machine resources. It seems to me that most all the other systems still have a lot of untapped potential.

 

An example is that they didn't make an attempt at Gyruss on the Apple II.

 

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I have to agree, especially if homebrews count. In terms of sheer disparity between what a machine was designed to do and what it ended up being made to do, it's hard to think of anything that beats the 2600.

 

I'm not the least bit familiar with it, but I think there is a "scene" out there for making crazy demos on old computers that do things way outside of what you'd think was possible, but I assume we're talking about games only here.

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Although the C64 has much more hardware resources to begin with than the 2600, the original (*) Sixtyfour has been pushed and beaten quite a lot too. And it has an extremely active demo scene and a bit in the hidden, a rather active game development scene too.

 

(*) Everytime someone relates to the Nintendo 64 as "the sixtyfour", a part of me cringes with disgust and fear.

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I'm not the least bit familiar with it, but I think there is a "scene" out there for making crazy demos on old computers that do things way outside of what you'd think was possible, but I assume we're talking about games only here.

 

Mostly games in this thread. Yes. Because that's what these consoles were made for. But don't be afraid to point out demo excellency either.

 

Speaking of pushing the VCS as far as possible, how about the Starpath Supercharger's ability to increase the RAM from 128 bytes to 6KB. That was quite the jump. That's probably different from what you were looking for, but I think it's still worth mentioning.

 

It is. That's part of the discussion.

 

Some consoles/computers had expansions made out of necessity to advance the capabilities or even enable a certain specific game to be made. Born of a need to get extra speed or memory space. This is SuperCharger and Harmony/Melody.

 

Yet other consoles/comps had expansions made because someone had an idea that it would be cool to make a new product and maybe even see what would become possible later on. This is F18A. Or a new soundcard or graphics standard.

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As far as three things go in my book:

Console: NES

Handheld: 8bit Gameboy

Arcade: Neo Geo

 

The NES because of all those insane chips especially later in life from the MMC5 to the junk we missed like the VRC6 and 7 from Konami, the accessories that added a lot like the FDS that stayed in Japan. What was once a coleco-ish level console got driven into insane new heights in comparison from 1983-85 era towards 1990 and beyond (CV3/3j, Kirby, Lagrange Point etc.)

 

Gameboy is an easy one, look at the launch stuff, then look where things got in the later b&w era or even some middling, and then with the GBC too still using the same hardware. We went from like Tetris and Alleyway to Dragon's Lair, Warlocked, and more.

 

Neo Geo look at the launch stuff like Baseball Stars and NAM and then look at the mid 90s into the 00s stuff as they figured out a lot of tricks and kept throwing even more chips to store even more insane stuff in games. Compare the early fighter of Art of Fighting/World Heroes and run and gun Cyber Lip to Metal Slug 5, Mark of the Wolves and the others -- no one would have ever guessed it.

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It's easy enough to point to the systems that have been pushed to their limits. It's usually the systems that were on the market the longest, or at least competed in their respective generations the longest. Atari 2600, Intellivision, C-64, Apple II, NES, Genesis, SNES, PlayStation, etc. It's hard to think of very many systems with very short commercial lifespans (two to three years or less) that we could conclusively prove were topped out.

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Definitely the Atari VCS.

 

Later systems that did amazing things are less impressive to me, just because they were purpose-built for polygons and texture mapping, with easy to use programming libraries.

 

By this standard:

Sony PlayStation is like a modern, fully automatic automobile with driving assists, all kinds of sensors, and GPS. Yeah, Metal Gear Solid and Tekken 3 are spiffier than Ridge Racer and Battle Arena Toshinden, but not in a way that screws with your mind.

 

Atari VCS is like a cluster of bottle rockets attached to a plastic sled. It just shouldn't be able to do the stuff it can do. It was designed for Combat, Breakout, Night Driver, and Air-Sea Battle. If you showed PacManJr, Solaris, Pitfall 2, and Battlezone to an original customer from 1978, heads would explode.

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Definitely the Atari VCS.

 

<snip>

 

Atari VCS is like a cluster of bottle rockets attached to a plastic sled. It just shouldn't be able to do the stuff it can do. It was designed for Combat, Breakout, Night Driver, and Air-Sea Battle. If you showed PacManJr, Solaris, Pitfall 2, and Battlezone to an original customer from 1978, heads would explode.

 

In that regard we have to give it to the Commodore 64 on the computer side, since the same base hardware can run 99% of the software.

 

If you compare this from 1982:

 

 

To this from 1992:

 

 

It's like two different systems.

 

And then there's this on the homebrew side, similar to how amazing it is on the Atari 2600 side:

 

 

Of course, it's still about pushing the system, not necessarily the biggest gap from launch to end-of-life, so I think my earlier comment still stands if those are the parameters.

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Hey Bill -- I don't disagree with you, just commenting after you did. Yes, time allows a system to "ripen."

 

I think the C64 is an OK but not perfect example, because unlike the stuff that came before it, C64 had hardware tuned for games, a great sound chip, and a lot of garage appeal. Awesome tech demos are less astounding to me on that machine than they would have been on something craptacular like a VIC-20 or Odyssey 2.

 

I think the curve is flattening out -- and the long development cycles and huge art teams of modern games smooth out technical rough spots. Late PS3 games aren't all that more impressive than early ones, for example. OG Xbox games are still fun, and always looked good. They look really good when run through XBone's rendering hardware. I'd be hard-pressed to find a game from that generation that would make me say, "wow, I can't believe this is running on just an Xbox."

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Atari VCS is like a cluster of bottle rockets attached to a plastic sled. It just shouldn't be able to do the stuff it can do. It was designed for Combat, Breakout, Night Driver, and Air-Sea Battle. If you showed PacManJr, Solaris, Pitfall 2, and Battlezone to an original customer from 1978, heads would explode.

 

Showing them to a developer would cause a nuclear catastrophe.

 

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I know a kind of modern one to peg a big range of low end mediocrity to who knew it could do that-- Gameboy Advance. You have these lower tier games almost GBC in quality if not for a few added colors and some audio mixed between the processors, and then these insane 3D engines that blew people away such as the Blue Roses (Wing Commander Prophecy) and V3D engine(V-Rally through 3rd person platformer Asterix and Obelix.)

 

No one would have ever imagined the lowly GBA would go from some 100 color basic platformer or boring puzzler up to a very similar to look/performance grade stuff you'd get from the Sega Saturn with that V3D engine.

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If you havent yet, check out mike99mccarthys video about PRGE. Theres a Bosconian playing on a VCS that looks amazing from what I could see. Dont know what kind of tricks theyre using, but Id like to play it.

 

Edit: Just watched it again. They call it Draconian or something. Homebrew with arm processor. Looks like Bosconian. At about the 2:45 mark.

Edited by Eltigro
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I think a lot of systems the longer they've been out and still have people making games for them the more they are pushed. So naturally I am going to agree the 2600. Systems that weren't out long such as the Jaguar belong on the other end I think of pushed the least.

 

When you say pushed the most do you mean back when they were still supported or much later with homebrews and such? As far as that goes I might could say no about the 2600 after seeing the bus stuffing demos and knowing I never saw anything like that on the 2600 when I had one as a kid. And Princess Rescue as well. So depending how you meant it I guess it could be a yes or no.

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When you say pushed the most do you mean back when they were still supported or much later with homebrews and such? As far as that goes I might could say no about the 2600 after seeing the bus stuffing demos and knowing I never saw anything like that on the 2600 when I had one as a kid. And Princess Rescue as well. So depending how you meant it I guess it could be a yes or no.

 

Either way.

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They call it Draconian or something. Homebrew with arm processor. Looks like Bosconian. At about the 2:45 mark.

Yes, it has been featured in the Homebrew section of the forum for a long time. Spiceware has blogged a lot about it, and even held a level design contest some weeks before PRGE. It is a great game, but not something that sprung out of the unknown at the expo. :)

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It's easy enough to point to the systems that have been pushed to their limits. It's usually the systems that were on the market the longest, or at least competed in their respective generations the longest. Atari 2600, Intellivision, C-64, Apple II, NES, Genesis, SNES, PlayStation, etc. It's hard to think of very many systems with very short commercial lifespans (two to three years or less) that we could conclusively prove were topped out.

I don't know that I'd say that about either the NES or the SNES. So many games had add-on chips in the cartridge. The SNES had the DSP family, the SA1, SuperFX, etc. and the NES has a legion of mappers that did all sorts of stuff, and it's hard to tell where the system stopped and the add-on chips began. Two potential exceptions are Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger, neither of which used the chips but looked gorgeous. They were exceptions, though, from what I can tell.

 

The Genesis has two games total with extra chips (from its original run, anyway): Super SF2 and Virtua Racing. Yes there was the 32X and Sega CD, but those add-ons incurred up-front hardware costs and were marketed as distinct platforms. The PlayStation had zero add-ons, so developers were stuck with what they had. Not sure about the pre-NES computers (although certainly they had upgrades available) or the VCS, but they may fall into this category, too.

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Console wide, I'd say 2600. I mean its just an advanced pong console, that's literally all it was designed to do, then you have huge complex games units own lifespan like kung fun master or pitfall 2. Or more modern homebrew stuff like halo or the massive princess rescue (super Mario bros) as well as tech demos like coke zero or chrono color Christmas cart which uses POV to show 8 color pictures.

 

64, from early crappy looking games up to SNES quality looking stuff, I'm not familiar with the modern homebrew scene, but was really impressed with things in the 80's and early 90's

 

Gameboy. From Tetris and Mario to dragons lair or the RTS warlocked, even some 3d games. Yes most the later was GBC, but other than the color, the system is minimally different (probably less so than the difference from the 64 breadbox to the slimline 64)

 

More modern stuff impresses me less due to having higher capabilities and intents from the get go. Don't get me wrong, Xbox impressed the hell out of me on release, but there was little at the end of its life that made me feel like it was a totally different system.

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