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Atari VCS vs Nes

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This has been done many times before but I decided to add a twist to it. Instead of arguing over which is better than the other, I made this topic to hear your guys' opinion on which console had more of an impact on the video gaming industry.

 

Which console had the better legacy? Which console is more important? These two consoles have changed video games and have saved it (Atari saved the industry crash of 1977, Nintendo revived the industry in 1985). No doubt, these two video game consoles are legends and easily the top 10 (or top 3 arguably) greatest video game consoles of all time.

 

Again, which console has made a bigger impact in the video game industry. I don't want to know what console you prefer or which is better, I simply want you guys to debate (keep it friendly please) on which console has a better legacy, had mor impact on the industry, etc.

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I'm probably biased because I had the system when I was a kid.

 

It's important to keep in mind that the VCS was groundbreaking then. And is still groundbreaking today in a minimalism sort of way. Check out the homebrews. None of that was envisaged back in the day.

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I would argue that the VCS/2600 helped create the industry crash of 1983. It seemed that Atari management had more interest in home computers than consoles. The Atari 2600 should have been discontinued in 1979/80. Imagine if 2600 Pac-man never happened, and millions of the next generation atari console were sold so people could play atari 400 pac-man. More higher quality games. The 2600 was very difficult to program well, what some programmers were able to achieve was miraculous. Nintendo moved everyone to left handed gamepads. Not sure if Nintendo's control over game software in the 1980s was good or bad. It may have limited the types of games being developped.

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If you're looking at it from the scope of the industry in its first few decades, Atari. Even at the NES's height, it was still looked upon as being "the new Atari", and everything Nintendo did was judged on if they did it better or worse than Atari. Atari was the gold standard until AT LEAST the release of the Sega Genesis.

 

However, if you're looking at the entire history of the hobby, the NES was more influential. It established the modern gaming marketing model, which despite a few tweaks is what we use today. It created the modern concept of home video games, and de-emphasized the importance of the arcade. The NES also invented, advanced, or laid the groundwork for the genres that are popular today.

 

Today, the Atari VCS represents a very specific style of gaming, from a very specific time. Interestingly enough, both systems still have games on the shelves today... you can't really say that for some of their successors.

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From the scope of the US industry; tho.

 

Looking from Europe, the VCS had much less impact, unlike the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and later Atari ST and Amiga.

Not to say it wasn't important - hell, the last commercially available Atari 2600 games are PAL release, with one release being as late as 1992 (man, I'd LOVE to have a picture with brand new Atari 2600 games sold alongside Super Nintendo games...), but it certainly didn't had a following cult, and until recently, when someone said "Atari" people though about Atari ST, not the 2600.

Strangely the interest in the 2600 is quite recent, from US game testers and homebrews. But I have a hard time finding people interested in the 2600.

 

Anyway, both consoles were influencial. Tho, as they came from different times and different markets it's hard to compare, that would be like comparing a Ford T and a Citroën DS - different eras, style, target, etc...

Without the Atari 2600 the NES probably would have never existed, the whole console market wouldn't exist, maybe, being made of computers.

And without the Atari 2600, as mr_me pointed out, there wouldn't have been the American game crash, and the NES might have never reached the US, if Nintendo had even created it as a console in the first place, and it wouldn't have beeen that influencial because Nintendo created the NES and it's marketing scheme after observing the failures of the VCS model. Thus, no VCS = no NES.

 

For me, the VCS proved that video games were a working business, something you could make cash out of it. But the NES shaped the market into a viable and stable model... Up to 1994 when the Playstation threw the old Nintendo model out of the window.

Edited by CatPix
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Still makes me laugh when the rest of the world was 16-bit gaming (ST, Amiga) with a bunch of super excellent games, America went backwards to 8-bit gaming.

Edited by high voltage
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Still makes me laugh when the rest of the world was 16-bit gaming (ST, Amiga) with a bunch of super excellent games, America was 8-bit gaming.

This is a rather pointless observation considering that the Amiga and ST were very expensive 16 bit computers here in the US that offered little in the way of utility outside gaming and the video toaster. It was cheaper to buy an NES and wait on the console market to catch up.

 

I mean it's not like Commodore and Atari ended up closing their computer lines and going out of business, selling their niche product to niche Europeans.... oh wait.

 

Also "Super Excellent Games" my ass. While the rest of the world moved on to games that utilized more than one action button, you poor things were stuck playing games where you had to to struggle with the controls and using 1 button joysticks. The Amiga port of Castlevania for example is downright broken.

 

And that goes for any platformer, puzzle platformer, run and gun or Shmup that uses buttons to cycle through weapons load outs.

 

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Edited by empsolo
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Yeah, and in UK a NES game was GBP 50 when compared to GBP 29,00/19,00 for an Amiga/ST game. Of course ST and Amiga ruled, and the games were better.

Let's see, NES 8-bit game, 50 bucks, we did 8-bit on Spectrum, or an excellent 16 bit Psygnosis game for the Amiga for half the price. It was a no-brainer

Edited by high voltage

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Yeah, and in UK a NES game was GBP 50 when compared to GBP 29,00/19,00 for an Amiga/ST game. Of course ST and Amiga ruled, and the games were better.

Except that a good 90% of the European catalogue is outright shovelware and are in a lot of ways cheap conversions of their better console counterparts. Castlevania, Gradius, Contra, New Zealand story, outrun, Street Fighter, or any version of Double Dragon or Ninja Ryukenden for that matter.

 

Just because you were happy with getting stuck with a shitty home computer doesn't mean the rest of the world isn't glad it dodged a bullet with an over expensive console that offered little for the family as whole here in the US.

 

 

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Edited by empsolo
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I had an Intellivision and 2600 before I had an NES. The NES is my favorite console. But, despite it bringing the video game industry back from death, the fact remains that Atari essentially created the video game industry. There would be nothing for Ninty to revive if there was never a Nolan Bushnell with PONG and the VCS. So my vote goes to Atari.

 

 

Imo, the NES is still a far superior gaming machine. Better games, graphics, sounds. But I'm probably younger than most of you Atari junkies. Nostalgia plays a big role in how many are gonna lean towards one or the other. I got my NES for Christmas in '87 @ 11 years old. That was probably about the age many of you received your Atari 2600. That being said, my vote was completely unbiased (obviously).

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I actually think both systems get too much credit. They were both influential, but subtract either one from the gaming world and I don't think the overall landscape would look a whole lot different. We'd just be talking about the Intellivision vs. the SMS or something right now instead.

 

Neither the 2600 nor the NES was first or even best, they both just rode a wave that was already breaking. People talk about the NES as if it "saved" or "revived" an industry, and I've always thought that was way overdramatic. The crash of 1983 lasted just one year, and it was largely an American (maybe European?) phenomenon. People didn't give up video gaming; they just didn't buy enough systems or games to sustain what by today's standards were small, fragile toy companies. Sony and MS have both absorbed far larger losses than that for an extended period of time in their gaming divisions since then; the only difference is they're bigger to begin with and can handle it. So the NES didn't really "revive" anything; it was just the next attempt at making money from a pre-existing market, and one that at that point had a year's worth of pent-up demand.

 

The Famicom and SG-1000 were actually launched in 1983, so it's not like the crash was even felt in Japan. Some Japanese console would have taken over in the US eventually anyway, and if not, Atari would have eventually released the 7800 to no competition. (That move, assuming Nintendo didn't exist, would in itself probably finally have drawn Sega over here, so you'd have had a 7800 vs. SG-1000 war instead of an NES vs. 7800 war.)

 

As for the 2600, it was the first really popular system and I'll give it credit for that. If I had to pick one system as more influential, I'd probably pick it for showing the world that the console market was even viable. But again, if it didn't do it, some other system would have. The fact is video games were coming whether or not these two systems existed.

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This is purely apples to oranges. One was influential in its era (late 70s to mid 80s), and the other was influential in its era (mid 80s to early 90s). Long-term, the NES definitely proved more influential for a variety of reasons (it came later, the company survived longer, it had broader international appeal, it had more games, etc.), but it's not like it happened in isolation. Everything builds off what came before it in some way. It's enough to say both have monumental, significant impacts on videogame history. It's not like we're arguing the impact of something like an RCA Studio II or a Memorex VIS here. The 2600 and NES are part of a very short list of wildly influential platforms that had significant industry impact.

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Let's see, NES 8-bit game, 50 bucks, we did 8-bit on Spectrum, or an excellent 16 bit Psygnosis game for the Amiga for half the price. It was a no-brainer

Really? The ZX Spectrum? The little computer that that the MSX runs rings around? The system that has a very small pallet, terrible audio, and limited hardware scrolling?

 

Really? This is the vaunted 8 bit computer that the British offer up as one of their choice gaming machines?

 

Now I'm confused.

 

 

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Edited by empsolo

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Really? The ZX Spectrum? The little computer that that the MSX runs rings around? The system that has a very small pallet, terrible audio, and limited hardware scrolling?

 

Really? This is the vaunted 8 bit computer that the British offer up as one of their choice gaming machines?

 

Now I'm confused.

 

 

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Yep, C64 came second though, but the computer with no space bar (ZX) won. And games came on tape.

Edited by high voltage

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Still makes me laugh when the rest of the world was 16-bit gaming (ST, Amiga) with a bunch of super excellent games, America went backwards to 8-bit gaming.

 

Not sure there were many super-excellent games on the 16-bit computer platforms. By and large the technical theme of 16-bit gaming on ST-Amiga were overemphasis on background music that kept repeating endlessly, and sprites that seemed a little bit disconnected from the world in which they played - like paper cutouts that were moved around.

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I actually think both systems get too much credit. They were both influential, but subtract either one from the gaming world and I don't think the overall landscape would look a whole lot different. We'd just be talking about the Intellivision vs. the SMS or something right now instead.

 

Neither the 2600 nor the NES was first or even best, they both just rode a wave that was already breaking. People talk about the NES as if it "saved" or "revived" an industry, and I've always thought that was way overdramatic. The crash of 1983 lasted just one year, and it was largely an American (maybe European?) phenomenon. People didn't give up video gaming; they just didn't buy enough systems or games to sustain what by today's standards were small, fragile toy companies. Sony and MS have both absorbed far larger losses than that for an extended period of time in their gaming divisions since then; the only difference is they're bigger to begin with and can handle it. So the NES didn't really "revive" anything; it was just the next attempt at making money from a pre-existing market, and one that at that point had a year's worth of pent-up demand.

 

The Famicom and SG-1000 were actually launched in 1983, so it's not like the crash was even felt in Japan. Some Japanese console would have taken over in the US eventually anyway, and if not, Atari would have eventually released the 7800 to no competition. (That move, assuming Nintendo didn't exist, would in itself probably finally have drawn Sega over here, so you'd have had a 7800 vs. SG-1000 war instead of an NES vs. 7800 war.)

 

As for the 2600, it was the first really popular system and I'll give it credit for that. If I had to pick one system as more influential, I'd probably pick it for showing the world that the console market was even viable. But again, if it didn't do it, some other system would have. The fact is video games were coming whether or not these two systems existed.

 

Nintendo revived the home video game industry in the U.S., specifically consoles. You can speculate about what might have happened if not for Nintendo, but it's a fact that it was Nintendo and not Sega or some other company that revived interest in video game consoles in the U.S.

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Not sure there were many super-excellent games on the 16-bit computer platforms.

 

I agree - there were some, but whenever I go back now and play 16 bit computer games, it's almost shocking how bad most of them were, and how poorly most of them hold up today. I'm not totally sure why this was, but it might just be an unfamiliar development environment combined with developers not putting their "A" teams on computing platforms, which is still an issue today.

 

The NES didn't have that much worse graphics than most 16 bit computers (go to YouTube and watch a comparison of California Games, which came out on a bunch of different platforms), but it definitely had better games.

 

If you compare 16 bit consoles with 16 bit computers, it's no contest. The 16 bit computers really just weren't great gaming machines, and I think that actually might even be one reason why consoles took off again in the mid to late 80's.

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Nintendo revived the home video game industry in the U.S., specifically consoles. You can speculate about what might have happened if not for Nintendo, but it's a fact that it was Nintendo and not Sega or some other company that revived interest in video game consoles in the U.S.

 

Nintendo didn't revive anything - that's what I said and that was my point. They just released a decent console. If anybody had done that, the same thing would have happened, because it had zero competition at that point. People were literally sitting and waiting for a new system to come out. The interest was always there; what wasn't there were good consoles from competently managed manufacturers.

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Yep, C64 came second though, but the computer with no space bar (ZX) won. And games came on tape.

Now I see why the 8 bit computers won in Europe. It had nothing to do with quality of the gaming or even bringing arcade games home.

 

It had more to do with convincing parents to buy them a shitty home computer so they could pirate cheap and cheaply made games that were made by cheap devs hoping to score what little they could get in revenue per game before the game was inevitably pirated.

 

The British should be the very last people on earth to act all snobbish to American gamers.

 

 

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Edited by empsolo

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Nintendo didn't revive anything - that's what I said and that was my point. They just released a decent console. If anybody had done that, the same thing would have happened, because it had zero competition at that point. People were literally sitting and waiting for a new system to come out. The interest was always there; what wasn't there were good consoles from competently managed manufacturers.

Except retailers and distributors were highly skeptical of a console revival. Nobody was interested in retailing Nintendo's or Sega's stuff at the previous CES. It literally took Worlds of Wonder leveraging their Teddy Ruxbin Dolls in order to force some of those big toy retailers to carry the NES.

 

 

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Edited by empsolo

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