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90's arcade hardware was a joke

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As opposed to the multi-GHz consoles we have today that just play pointless cut-scenes featuring dead-looking characters in between scripted game play? Yeah, I think it's funny. Funny how 15 year old arcade hardware trumps today's consoles in pure game play value and entertainment. :P

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Does anyone find it funny how arcade machines took so much power just to run a simple 1 vs 1 fighting game. They needed a 20 Mhz 68000 and hundreds of hardware sprites just to display 2 guys with jerky movement.
I'm not sure I follow what you mean by "so much power." A 20mhz 68000 is nothing compared to today's processors and video cards. You still have to process AI, UI, sound, graphics - all the same stuff as games before and after. It was just another step on the technology ladder, and games did what they could with the hardware at the time. Or are you saying that 90s arcade machines didn't compete with home computers and consoles of the era? Even then I'd disagree to a point. SNES/Genny ports of fighters were great, but not arcade perfect. Edited by BydoEmpire
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They needed a 20 Mhz 68000 and hundreds of hardware sprites just to display 2 guys with jerky movement.

 

You're making it sound like they needed all that hardware to play Atari 2600 "Karate". The graphics were sophisticated for the time.

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I'm pretty sure he means relative to what the arcade hardware was capable of. And it's somewhat true. Arcade games in general for the early 90's didn't push those limits of these systems. Though, I'm thinking more in the graphic capabilities (and un-needed audio co-processors). I guess the idea was ease of restrictions to get quicker/easier development cycles.

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They needed a 20 Mhz 68000 and hundreds of hardware sprites just to display 2 guys with jerky movement.

 

You're making it sound like they needed all that hardware to play Atari 2600 "Karate". The graphics were sophisticated for the time.

 

They still had a lot of wasted hardware when it came to fighting games. I think SHMUPS took far better use of arcade hardware, since they actually needed the extra sprites and CPU power to run them.

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I'm pretty sure he means relative to what the arcade hardware was capable of. And it's somewhat true. Arcade games in general for the early 90's didn't push those limits of these systems. Though, I'm thinking more in the graphic capabilities (and un-needed audio co-processors). I guess the idea was ease of restrictions to get quicker/easier development cycles.

 

Yes, that is what I meant.

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They needed a 20 Mhz 68000 and hundreds of hardware sprites just to display 2 guys with jerky movement.

 

You're making it sound like they needed all that hardware to play Atari 2600 "Karate". The graphics were sophisticated for the time.

 

They still had a lot of wasted hardware when it came to fighting games. I think SHMUPS took far better use of arcade hardware, since they actually needed the extra sprites and CPU power to run them.

 

maybe you should change the thread title to 90s arcade fighters were a joke, then? It seems like thats your actual complaint. :) I disagree, unless you mean Mortal Kombat, because all of those games suck.

 

and even so, games don't have to push the limits of the hardware to be fun and enjoyable. The belief that you have to push the limits of the hardware to produce something worth playing is a belief for idiots.. Plenty of games that don't tap the full potential of hardware (early games for a platform) are usually just as fun if not better than stuff in the last days of that platform.

 

Example: Sonic, Castle of Illusion, Super Hydlide and Zoom are some early genesis titles that are perfect fun and playable. None of them come close to pushing anything hardware wise, and they are arguably more fun or as fun as later games like Comix Zone, Ristar, and Vectorman.

 

 

OR

 

Look at Adventure. That don't push Atari 2600's hardware at all, and man is it fun as hell.

Edited by Arkhan
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and even so, games don't have to push the limits of the hardware to be fun and enjoyable. The belief that you have to push the limits of the hardware to produce something worth playing is a belief for idiots.. Plenty of games that don't tap the full potential of hardware (early games for a platform) are usually just as fun if not better than stuff in the last days of that platform.

 

I'm not complaining about the games. I'm just laughing at how arcade owners had to pay so much money for them.

 

arcade owner - "Oh shit, I have to buy the expensive new CPS2 just to make play Super Street Fighter 2. What was wrong with the old CPS1?"

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I think what made the graphical difference between the CPS1 and CPS2 was more of an art-shift + bigger ROM sizes than the actual hardware running the games. If you compare CPS1 and CPS2 game screenshots, they both run in 384x224 RGB444, but somehow CPS1 games tend to look "blockier" and less colorful. They don't look blockier and less colorful because they were on less powerful hardware, they look like that because they were drawn that way.

 

BTW, I'm a big fan of the Disney-esque look that a lot of Capcom arcade games took after the switch from CPS-1 to CPS-2. I don't like the blocky pillow shading a lot of CPS-1 games had, although some people may prefer the blocky pillow shading more than the more colorful Disney-style cell-shaded look, just as I still prefer CPS-1 graphics over 3D playstation-like graphics.

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I don't fully understand the title, how it relates to MJM's fuzzy logic (remember Fisher's "AI" focusing system?) or the complaint about arcade gaming from the 90's at all. Seems the OP has it entirely backwards.

 

Proprietary hardware from the 70's, 80's and 90's is where it's at. It was/is efficient and there's nothing "jerky" about it. the Street Fighters, the Mortal Kombats, anything from Neo*Geo, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage, etc. are all as smooth as silk. All done with modest processors and co-processors, minimal RAM, no hard drives, etc.

 

Today's arcade gaming hardware is a totally different story and *IS* a joke. Overpriced, non-proprietary, Windoze PeeCee clones with active cooling on their video cards (some games such as Blazing Angels) AND oversized powersupplies to name a few complaints. Despite the RAM, fast bus speeds, multi-ghz processors and accelerated graphics, ALL of these new machines from the 2000's still exhibit the famous Windoze glitchy graphics syndrome we all know and hate. Not to mention how fragile these POS towers they stuff in these cabinets are. I'm constantly replacing RAM modules, power supplies, video cards, network cards, harddrives and CPU's out of these damn things.

 

On top of this, the cost of todays gaming hardware has risen disproportionately with the economy, making it near impossible for ANY small to medium sized gaming company to stay in business, let alone be profitable and instead of exploiting themselves or the industry they're trying cling to, the handful of manufacturers left are creating and banking on delivering an experience not so easily captured at home. Motion captured feedback, moving/rumbling seats, cockpits, VR headsets, etc. And that's all well and good, but they're still junk comparatively.

 

MOST of the machines produced today cost an operator between $5k-$15k, yet they're utilizing <$1k generic PeeCee's and car audio amps and speakers. You read that right. 12v car audio amps inside of today's arcade games and let me tell you, they sound about as good as you'd expect icon_wink.gif

 

I'll take my 90's Virtua Racing arcade game with its custom hardware, perfectly smooth scrolling and awesome sounding speaker system over any racing game Raw Thrills is pumping out today thank you very much icon_wink.gif

 

PeeCee clones running Windoze. Loading games from a harddrive. Pffft. icon_rolling.gif

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I don't fully understand the title, how it relates to MJM's fuzzy logic or the complaint about arcade gaming from the 90's at all.

 

Obviously, judging by your post. Quite a bit of early 90's games ran on hardware that was much more than what was shown off. I.e. it seems a waste of money to have less complex designed games (graphics/FX) running on a very capable setup. Simple as that. Also, what does hard drives have to do with anything?

 

Z80 3.5mhz could pull off some impressive ports...

 

A larger chuck of what you see, i.e. graphics and moving objects etc, is directly related to the video processor/controller - not the main processor. If that port was running with arcade video hardware side, but the same main processor, it would look incredible (much-much more so than that vid).

 

 

 

MJM's thread assumes you (the reader) know something about/have experience with arcade/console programming and are familiar with the arcade hardware on a lower level.

Edited by malducci

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Proprietary hardware from the 70's, 80's and 90's is where it's at. It was/is efficient and there's nothing "jerky" about it. the Street Fighters, the Mortal Kombats, anything from Neo*Geo, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage, etc. are all as smooth as silk. All done with modest processors and co-processors, minimal RAM, no hard drives, etc.

 

 

I can easily tell the frames apart. Maybe I just have very sensitive eyes when it comes to animation. Then again, I'm talking strickly animation, not about how smoothly do the characters scroll when they jump.

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I was in a local arcade this evening (we were hosting a birthday party for my nephew there), and at one point we ducked into one of those self-service photo booths with the curtain over the door. The monitor had a scrolling, flickering, Windows 98 style "blue screen of death" on the screen. I've also seen them on drive-in monitor displays. Like it or not, PCs running Windows seem to be just about everywhere.

 

I think the main reasons arcades have moved to off-the-shelf hardware are ease of development and lower cost. Arcades can only compete with home computers and consoles if they offer something you can't easily get at home: multiple screens, force-feedback controllers, etc. It's easier and cheaper to put together an elaborate arcade cabinet which includes all of these things if it's built around standard computer hardware. I'd also imagine that it's easier to develop the game software--and easier to make it portable to other platforms--if the target hardware is a standard PC rather than a more proprietary architecture. I think it's a shame, because for all the reasons stated here, proprietary designs are more efficient and more stable.

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Today's arcade gaming hardware is a totally different story and *IS* a joke. Overpriced, non-proprietary, Windoze PeeCee clones with active cooling on their video cards (some games such as Blazing Angels) AND oversized powersupplies to name a few complaints. Despite the RAM, fast bus speeds, multi-ghz processors and accelerated graphics, ALL of these new machines from the 2000's still exhibit the famous Windoze glitchy graphics syndrome we all know and hate. Not to mention how fragile these POS towers they stuff in these cabinets are. I'm constantly replacing RAM modules, power supplies, video cards, network cards, harddrives and CPU's out of these damn things.

Geez ... I knew that the new arcade hardware is based on ordinary computer components, but I was hoping it was something more sophisticated or customized than an off-the-shelf Dell tower strapped inside the cabinet, which is what it's beginning to sound like.

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Quite a bit of early 90's games ran on hardware that was much more than what was shown off. I.e. it seems a waste of money to have less complex designed games (graphics/FX) running on a very capable setup. Simple as that. Also, what does hard drives have to do with anything?

Has everything to do with it. Load times. Proclivity to mechanical failure. Takes more power than necessary for said app and as a result, exudes more heat and attracts more dust - in which BOTH are destroyers to your a chinsely made PeeCee board it's typically huddled next to.

 

Check out an IT Silver Strike 2007 Bowling game sometime to see how adversely HD's and the Windoze file system affect modern video games. When you're done with that, tell me how much you reminisce the Windoze 3.1 screen saver running on a powerful 486 Packard Bell. Silver Strike's animation and graphical glitches are much, much worse and oft times, take seconds to clear itself before resuming its simple animation in attract mode or in-game play. There's absolutely nothing "smooth" about that incredibly popular games' graphics and animation. Even Atari 2600's Bowling and Intellivision's PBA Bowling does a better job of outputting smoother video. lmao

 

"Waste of money to have less complex games running on a very capable setup"? Re-read what you just said. And then re-read it again if you're still confused. In what instance can you say, yeah - that particular game took full advantage of the hardware it was running on? IF you can somehow rationalize that sentiment, you're not doing todays programmers any favors at all and are only creating more of a case for what hardware of yore did for gaming. And home computing for that matter.

 

MJM's thread assumes you (the reader) know something about/have experience with arcade/console programming and are familiar with the arcade hardware on a lower level.

Nobody here needs to understand low level programming to recognize how flawed the semantics are in both your and his comments.

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@JayBird3rd,

 

Surprise! It's not :(

 

Off the shelf and strapped in is exactly what it is. Oh... mind you, there exists an I/O board with (for the most part) non-serviceable surface mounted components that perform rudimentary USB input and sound distribution for the car stereo crap, but that's about it. Maybe a few 12v flashing bulbs or 3v LED's scattered about, benefit from being controlled too. lol

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Obviously, judging by your post. Quite a bit of early 90's games ran on hardware that was much more than what was shown off. I.e. it seems a waste of money to have less complex designed games (graphics/FX) running on a very capable setup. Simple as that.

That opener is not very nice. Also, there is no waste of money about it. You put a less-than-maxed out game on some hardware, as long as its fun and attractive, kids are going to shove quarters in it, thus making you money at the arcade. That is the big point of arcade machines: sell them to arcade owners with the promise that the games going to result in lots of quarters being jammed in. Kids/Players at large generally don't give two flying shits whats going on inside the machine. What they do care about is how much fun they just had with their quarter.

 

Most arcade games don't actually push the extreme limits of the hardware, and never really have. There is no time for that. The games need to be completed in a timely manner and put out to keep with the current market. Places don't have time for some zealot in a cubicle covered in empty popcans and dorito bags screaming I HAVE TO PUSH THE LIMITS OR WE CAN'T DO THIS GAME. IT NEEDS TO MAKE THE 68K CRY FROM BEING OVERWORKED.

 

The point of having powerful hardware is to accommodate the low-end and the high-end games. Usually everything hits around the middle. The average. When you're competing, or want to get paid, you stick with the average/slightly above average mark and hope your game concept was fun. Tons of flashy bullshit that maximizes the use of the hardware won't matter if the game itself sucks.

 

Its the same concept as games that don't push a home console's limits being released and selling well. It isn't really a waste of money. Sonic 1 < Sonic 3 as far as pushing the sega genesis goes, but that doesn't mean its a waste of money to buy it and that it isn't worth a damn.

 

Also, what does hard drives have to do with anything?

The entire second half of his post? Yknow, where he talked about PS3 and Xbox 360, etc. Did you even read it?

 

 

MJM's thread assumes you (the reader) know something about/have experience with arcade/console programming and are familiar with the arcade hardware on a lower level.

 

I disagree. I think his post assumes you just want to complain about clunky 90s arcade games (primarily fighters apparently) along with him.

 

As far as that line of discussion goes:

 

MORTAL KOMBAT SUCKS. :D

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As opposed to the multi-GHz consoles we have today that just play pointless cut-scenes featuring dead-looking characters in between scripted game play? Yeah, I think it's funny. Funny how 15 year old arcade hardware trumps today's consoles in pure game play value and entertainment. :P

 

+1

 

Wow, well put. No pun or sarcasm intended whatsoever.

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So I guess that the hardware used in arcades these days isn't custom like it was back in the 70's/80's and 90's where everyone and his wife had their own idea of coin op hardware

 

I guess the reason why games in arcades these days are run by windows pc's is because what could be done in hardware years ago can now be replicated in software (so no need for custom hardware setup's like years gone by)

 

I wouldn't mind seeing a coin op machine based on say a 2600 or 7800 etc (after all, they did it for an amiga and St/A8 etc)

 

I guess they are trying the similar idea to the old neo geo, i .e making it easier for the coin op guy's to convert the coin op game to home format (since must games on modern consoles etc are programmed on windblowz pc#s anyway)

Edited by carmel_andrews

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Obviously, judging by your post. Quite a bit of early 90's games ran on hardware that was much more than what was shown off. I.e. it seems a waste of money to have less complex designed games (graphics/FX) running on a very capable setup. Simple as that.

That opener is not very nice. Also, there is no waste of money about it. You put a less-than-maxed out game on some hardware, as long as its fun and attractive, kids are going to shove quarters in it, thus making you money at the arcade. That is the big point of arcade machines: sell them to arcade owners with the promise that the games going to result in lots of quarters being jammed in. Kids/Players at large generally don't give two flying shits whats going on inside the machine. What they do care about is how much fun they just had with their quarter.

 

Most arcade games don't actually push the extreme limits of the hardware, and never really have. There is no time for that. The games need to be completed in a timely manner and put out to keep with the current market. Places don't have time for some zealot in a cubicle covered in empty popcans and dorito bags screaming I HAVE TO PUSH THE LIMITS OR WE CAN'T DO THIS GAME. IT NEEDS TO MAKE THE 68K CRY FROM BEING OVERWORKED.

 

The point of having powerful hardware is to accommodate the low-end and the high-end games. Usually everything hits around the middle. The average. When you're competing, or want to get paid, you stick with the average/slightly above average mark and hope your game concept was fun. Tons of flashy bullshit that maximizes the use of the hardware won't matter if the game itself sucks.

 

Its the same concept as games that don't push a home console's limits being released and selling well. It isn't really a waste of money. Sonic 1 < Sonic 3 as far as pushing the sega genesis goes, but that doesn't mean its a waste of money to buy it and that it isn't worth a damn.

 

Also, what does hard drives have to do with anything?

The entire second half of his post? Yknow, where he talked about PS3 and Xbox 360, etc. Did you even read it?

 

 

MJM's thread assumes you (the reader) know something about/have experience with arcade/console programming and are familiar with the arcade hardware on a lower level.

 

I disagree. I think his post assumes you just want to complain about clunky 90s arcade games (primarily fighters apparently) along with him.

 

As far as that line of discussion goes:

 

MORTAL KOMBAT SUCKS. :D

 

 

Cool down a bit. I actually agree with you. Hardware-wise it's better to go over the amount needed than going under the amount. It's a good thing that the average gamer isn't going to count the sprites onscreen or how many layer of parallax just to decide if a game is good, except for the losers on Sega-16.com. What I learned from programming is the closer you are to maxing-out the system, the more prone to glitches your game is, and your spending more time tweaking your engine, than working on the actual gameplay.

 

I got tired of programming the SNES with the people at Sega-16.com insulting me for not having enough sprites, sprites being too small, not enough parallax layers, not enough background animation ect. So much that I found most of my time tweaking my engine to prove that the SNES can handle X amount of sprites and Y amount of background layers at the same time, than focusing on actual gameplay. The more graphical trinkets I added the harder it was to add more important things like gameplay elements. They didn't understand there were more technical limitations than just the usual "not enough CPU power" where you can use any amount of sprites and background layers in any way, and it will work, just with a little slowdown if you do a little too much. The SNES doesn't work that way. There is only a small amount of memory devoted to sprites and backgrounds, with a small amount of time the CPU is allowed to access the PPU. No amount of FX-chips can fix these hardware limitations. Even the programmers of Star Fox and Yoshi's Island still had to deal with a small v-ram and a slow bandwidth.

 

Yes, having 128 sprites animated at 60 fps at 256x224 would be awsome, but I am happy with 96 sprites animated at 30 fps at 256x192, because it actually gives me room for gameplay, instead of constantly tweaking my engine everytime I want to change an enemy's AI.

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