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Why were Scaling 2D arcade games not brought to Home Systems?

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By Scaling 2D I mean those Pseudo 3D scaling effect you saw in many action, first-person arcade, helicopter, and racing games. Sometimes even boxing, like the gif below Super Criminal Termination:

zKGQnZ.gif

 

We had the console that could run them from 1992-1998 heck even PC and Home Computers could run these games. I'm baffled why these games were among the only ones in the Arcade that were not brought over to Home Consoles/Computers. Instead we got some very stripped down unrecognizable versions on earlier consoles that could not even come close to running them, but once we started getting more powerful systems most of them never came over.

 

You'd thing SEGA would have brought a bunch of their own stuff over but even they didn't do that and the Saturn/Dreamcast (arguably, maybe, the 3@X as well) were more than capable. Now I get after 1996 everyone was obsessed with 3D, but that doesn't excuse the years before or having some companies throw some after 96 for a quick buck. Some of them would be easy ports as well.

 

Sadly, you need to emulate arcade machines to play most of them.

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There were plans to bring Powerdrift to the Mega Drive/Genesis.

 

Dempa had planned to port it to the Mega Drive, but it was later moved to the Sega CD, before the project was eventually cancelled.

 

When Dempa's license expired, Sega b started work on a 32X version which was also abandoned.

 

I found it bizarre i had grown up to see Chris Butler pull off a conversion for the C64 for Activision, knew to avoid the ST and Amiga versions but there was never a version on the 16 bit Sega console or it's add on's

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It's pretty simple; home systems like Genesis and SNES weren't powerful enough to really run ports of those games well, and while there were some obvious efforts (AfterBurner and Outrun ports to Genesis and Sega CD for example), they were generally quite poor compared to the arcade versions.

 

And by the time home systems WERE powerful enough to run those games w/ the 5th generation, I guess those developers figured since they were, essentially, 2D games using sprite scaling to emulate 3D, that home audiences by that time would not be as impressed w/ arcade-perfect ports of them vs., say, Ridge Racer or Virtua Fighter 2, or home efforts like Super Mario 64. Basically, the timing for super-scaler 2D ports being big mainstream releases for home consoles had passed.

 

As for why there weren't more on say the 32X, well, the 32X turned into a dumpster fire and at the end of the day it was a dying add-on. Dev and porting costs simply likely didn't justify the efforts to port such games to it vs. investing in the upcoming systems of the time.

 

I think the best option for ports of those games during the 4th gen would've been either the Neo-Geo, 3DO or even Jaguar. Jaguar in particular, since it was pretty affordable, tho the system already had an image problem of not being "true" 64-bit and games looking like barely-better 16-bit releases b/c of "lazy" developers. It would've needed more fresh and visually-pushing content than ports of late '80s/early '90s arcade 2D super-scroller games to turn that narrative around.

 

All that said, it is kinda surprising more of those games didn't make it to the Sharp X68000 in Japan; they would've been REALLY perfect for that thing over there.

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We had the console that could run them from 1992-1998 heck even PC and Home Computers could run these games. I'm baffled why these games were among the only ones in the Arcade that were not brought over to Home Consoles/Computers. Instead we got some very stripped down unrecognizable versions on earlier consoles that could not even come close to running them, but once we started getting more powerful systems most of them never came over.

 

It's simple: No one wanted pseudo 3D by the mid '90s, polygons were all the rage.

 

That's not to say no quality ports exist though. Saturn in particular got several ports of some of Sega's various other Super Scaler games (OutRun, Space Harrier, After Burner II, Power Drift, and Galaxy Force II). Taito's Night Striker was ported to a variety of systems too, including the Saturn.

Edited by Austin

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It's pretty simple; home systems like Genesis and SNES weren't powerful enough to really run ports of those games well, and while there were some obvious efforts (AfterBurner and Outrun ports to Genesis and Sega CD for example), they were generally quite poor compared to the arcade versions.

 

And by the time home systems WERE powerful enough to run those games w/ the 5th generation, I guess those developers figured since they were, essentially, 2D games using sprite scaling to emulate 3D, that home audiences by that time would not be as impressed w/ arcade-perfect ports of them vs., say, Ridge Racer or Virtua Fighter 2, or home efforts like Super Mario 64. Basically, the timing for super-scaler 2D ports being big mainstream releases for home consoles had passed.

 

As for why there weren't more on say the 32X, well, the 32X turned into a dumpster fire and at the end of the day it was a dying add-on. Dev and porting costs simply likely didn't justify the efforts to port such games to it vs. investing in the upcoming systems of the time.

 

I think the best option for ports of those games during the 4th gen would've been either the Neo-Geo, 3DO or even Jaguar. Jaguar in particular, since it was pretty affordable, tho the system already had an image problem of not being "true" 64-bit and games looking like barely-better 16-bit releases b/c of "lazy" developers. It would've needed more fresh and visually-pushing content than ports of late '80s/early '90s arcade 2D super-scroller games to turn that narrative around.

 

All that said, it is kinda surprising more of those games didn't make it to the Sharp X68000 in Japan; they would've been REALLY perfect for that thing over there.

Your first sentence basically ignores the OP.

 

As for the rest of your post games like the gif above were still played in arcades at least until around 1996 which also was the height of companies focusing primarily on 3D so at that's 3+ years of PSX/3DO/JAG/Amiga etc. where no one expressed any interest in bringing these over.

 

Also it's not just for the time either we still are emulating most of them NOW despite compilations and retro download titles having a market. it's always seemed weird to me.

 

Oh and BTW Neo-Geo couldn't run most of these types of games. Maybe the late 80's ones but the 90's ones I don't see. In fact, I'm not sure any Neo-Geo game shows it can move sprites fast enough to have those effects. In terms of 2D, even at the time, I think that the Neo-Geo is constantly overrated in terms of its capabilities honestly. I can see the 32X doing some though, but like the Neo-Geo likely late 80's primarily. i can see 90-91 on 32X but for only a few select games.

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It's simple: No one wanted pseudo 3D by the mid '90s, polygons were all the rage.

 

That's not to say no quality ports exist though. Saturn in particular got several ports of some of Sega's various other Super Scaler games (OutRun, Space Harrier, After Burner II, Power Drift, and Galaxy Force II). Taito's Night Striker was ported to a variety of systems too, including the Saturn.

 

We had capable consoles before 96, as it says in the OP. #d isn't really a reason that makes sense. Even computers didn't get any brought over and there were capable for an even longer period than consoles.

 

As for the Saturn those games are 80's scaler games that can run on weaker hardware. Super Chase and 90's scaller games can easily be run on systems like the Saturn yet we got none. I'm don't think Sega ever brought any of their 90's ones if they did it was likely only a few.

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I don't get making statements that done line up. Austin pointed it out, those super scaler games did pop up in some number made by Sega on their Sega Genesis/MD hardware. I used to own quite a few of them, and they were pretty fun. They weren't just on PC, and really given the parity in years, the PC versions sucked compared. Nintendo made selling stuff like that kind of hard when they dropped their FX bomb with Star Fox. Polygons got hot then at home and Sega was sent scrabbling to deal with it which helped wreck their consumer confidence in them with their shattered development of the chipset into the 32X, the spun off into the $100 Virtua Racing Genesis cart, and then the wonky made Saturn. The scaling stuff was possible and done, it was just uncool to do it when you could do flat shaded and textures triangles instead.

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It always seemed weird to me that home consoles basically skipped 2D scaling and rotation and jumped straight to 3D graphics. I'm assuming the arcade machines had dedicated video hardware that could handle those functions, but was it so expensive that it was unfeasible to bring to 16-bit systems (that weren't Neo*Geo) short of Mode-7?

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Your first sentence basically ignores the OP.

 

As for the rest of your post games like the gif above were still played in arcades at least until around 1996 which also was the height of companies focusing primarily on 3D so at that's 3+ years of PSX/3DO/JAG/Amiga etc. where no one expressed any interest in bringing these over.

 

Also it's not just for the time either we still are emulating most of them NOW despite compilations and retro download titles having a market. it's always seemed weird to me.

 

Oh and BTW Neo-Geo couldn't run most of these types of games. Maybe the late 80's ones but the 90's ones I don't see. In fact, I'm not sure any Neo-Geo game shows it can move sprites fast enough to have those effects. In terms of 2D, even at the time, I think that the Neo-Geo is constantly overrated in terms of its capabilities honestly. I can see the 32X doing some though, but like the Neo-Geo likely late 80's primarily. i can see 90-91 on 32X but for only a few select games.

 

Well, I basically explained why we didn't see those ports on 5th gen systems, which fall inside that '92-'98 range you mentioned. But aside from those, being completely honest what sub-$300 consoles or PCs were around at the time that could've ran those type of games comparable to their arcade versions? The 3DO's already out b/c that was way above $300. The only systems I can think of are 32X (which was dropped very quickly), and the Jaguar, which could've been both what I mentioned earlier regarding that plus Atari possibly not having the budget or internal dev teams on-hand to handle ports of those games that took advantage of Jaguar's hardware.

 

And I wouldn't say the Neo-Geo's hardware is overrated at all; yes its larger cartridge sizes help with visuals but on a lot of technical levels it simply outdoes the PC-Engine, MegaDrive, and SNES. It had some weird things to how certain graphical effects were handled, but then again what older system doesn't?

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Don't forget the Press reaction to games like Astral (Saturn), Rapid Reload (Playstation), Super Burnout (Jaguar), Afterburner and Space Harrier (32X) even Rayman....

 

 

Anything 2D/sprite based was openly sneered at and scorned.

 

These were not the type of games expected on £250+ , RISC based , 32 bit super consoles, they were seen as a throwback to the SNES/MD era.

 

It was the era of the Graphics Tarts as Sega Europe spokesman once claimed.

 

Everything seemed to be looked at in terms of texture mapped 3D and frame rates 1st and foremost.

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What little I know about the Neo*Geo hardware is that it could shrink but not enlarge sprites. I guess that's part of the reason their games were so big, because all sprites had to be stored at the largest size you'd ever need them to be?

 

 

Well, I basically explained why we didn't see those ports on 5th gen systems, which fall inside that '92-'98 range you mentioned. But aside from those, being completely honest what sub-$300 consoles or PCs were around at the time that could've ran those type of games comparable to their arcade versions? The 3DO's already out b/c that was way above $300. The only systems I can think of are 32X (which was dropped very quickly), and the Jaguar, which could've been both what I mentioned earlier regarding that plus Atari possibly not having the budget or internal dev teams on-hand to handle ports of those games that took advantage of Jaguar's hardware.

 

And I wouldn't say the Neo-Geo's hardware is overrated at all; yes its larger cartridge sizes help with visuals but on a lot of technical levels it simply outdoes the PC-Engine, MegaDrive, and SNES. It had some weird things to how certain graphical effects were handled, but then again what older system doesn't?

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Side note:

 

Cisco Heat was annouced for the Jaguar, as for any coding ever being started...

 

Caspain Software Zero 5 fame ) did sone peliminary coding on a Scaler type racing game for the Jaguar, Atari rejected it.

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What little I know about the Neo*Geo hardware is that it could shrink but not enlarge sprites. I guess that's part of the reason their games were so big, because all sprites had to be stored at the largest size you'd ever need them to be?

 

 

That might actually be the case; it's the logical conclusion one'd reach, anyway.

 

It very likely explains the cart sizes (which I think is a smart decision; better to scale down then scale up, anyone who works in graphics design can attest to that), but there's still other areas Neo-Geo has some distinct advantages over SNES/MegaDrive and nothing inherently preventing it from using custom on-cart chips like FX or SVP.

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I agree with the other posters, it's mostly due to trends and fashion. By the time home hardware was ready (Sega 32X, Saturn) the SuperScaler games looked old and tired.

 

The same thing happened to flat (untextured) 3D polygon graphics. The fast, smooth, high resolution graphics of the late 1980s Atari Games coinops like Hard Drivin, Steel Talons, or Sega's Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Star Wars Arcade didn't get the arcade-perfect ports they deserved, and were forgotten in favor of texture mapping when the tech was ready.

 

I wish I could find the EDGE/Next Gen review of Cruis'n USA on the N64, which was "sneered at and scorned" as LD says above. It was an old game, with cheesy sound and graphics, but using scaling sprites rather than polygons was seen as retrograde.

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The Saturn is the system to look to for most of these games. But the fact that Sega's superscaler arcade games were pretty much released as 10-year-anniversary editions tells you what you need to know about how much that technology cost to implement and how long it took for the price to come down to something reasonable for a mass-market system. Taito put out their own scaling games several years after the Sega games started appearing but by the time Chase HQ came along, Sega was making games like Galaxy Force, and in my opinion had just about arrived at the pinnacle of what can be done with that technology. Consumers were becoming more and more leery of investing $70+ in home versions of "short" arcade games, and all of that beautiful 2D sprite artwork (not to mention beautiful box illustrations) had to take a backseat to some very ugly artwork as 3D graphics came in.

 

If anything, maybe it's lucky that home systems didn't gain parity with arcade systems sooner... it allowed for a few more years of viability and creativity in the arcades.

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I agree with the other posters, it's mostly due to trends and fashion. By the time home hardware was ready (Sega 32X, Saturn) the SuperScaler games looked old and tired.

 

The same thing happened to flat (untextured) 3D polygon graphics. The fast, smooth, high resolution graphics of the late 1980s Atari Games coinops like Hard Drivin, Steel Talons, or Sega's Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Star Wars Arcade didn't get the arcade-perfect ports they deserved, and were forgotten in favor of texture mapping when the tech was ready.

 

I wish I could find the EDGE/Next Gen review of Cruis'n USA on the N64, which was "sneered at and scorned" as LD says above. It was an old game, with cheesy sound and graphics, but using scaling sprites rather than polygons was seen as retrograde.

 

The Edge review was January 97 issue i think.

 

IGN comments :

 

'So much has happened in video gaming that Cruis'n U.S.A.'s flat bitmappy graphics look very dated -- especially since Nintendo's own Wave Race 64 has shown what the N64 is capable of.

 

The pace is slow, the frame-rate often choppy (especially in city zones) and somehow excitement doesn't really kick in. For some strange reason I still felt compelled to drive through the whole country, just to be able to say: "There, I finished it!" Little did I know that it would only take me about two hours to finish the whole game.

 

The graphics look flat, but offer some nice detail in some of the levels (like Chicago). To achieve a modest feeling of speed, switch the viewpoint to a first-person perspective. There are some nice little touches, like flies that smack into your window and birds using your car for target practice, but that's about it.'

 

 

4.0

BAD

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I really don't get the 3D comments, from 1992-1996 fake-3D 2D was very popular until3D started to become aprimary focus, so it was indeed the "right" time to bring over those games on 3DO/Sat/PSX, and computers. The reason I never mentioned Genesis/SNES/Neogeo is because they were not capable of running the notable arcade ones.

 

 

Traditional 2D games were the ones that were fading back then, psudo-3D was King until 3D found a platform.

 

The only console or computer that brought a small handful over was Sega but only for the early ones from the 80's. They basically ignored there end of 80's/90's stuff which the Saturn could easily run instead releasing traditional 2D games that didn't have the wow factor.

 

As for Crusin' N64 that's a very odd subject to bring up as it was a bad port with bad controls and cut corners. So it wasn't just it being a 2D/polygon mix that gave it a low score. In the 94 arcade release Crusin' was praised greatly.

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SegaCD is probably the best console for the sprite scalers, IMO, but most of them weren't arcade ports (I don't think). It could have easily handled many of the homeless arcade titles well enough.

 

Come to think of it, I wonder if the large percentage of SegaCD spritesters got the console up to saturation point before the arcade ports were made.

Edited by Reaperman

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I really don't get the 3D comments, from 1992-1996 fake-3D 2D was very popular until3D started to become aprimary focus, so it was indeed the "right" time to bring over those games on 3DO/Sat/PSX, and computers. The reason I never mentioned Genesis/SNES/Neogeo is because they were not capable of running the notable arcade ones.

 

 

Traditional 2D games were the ones that were fading back then, psudo-3D was King until 3D found a platform.

 

The only console or computer that brought a small handful over was Sega but only for the early ones from the 80's. They basically ignored there end of 80's/90's stuff which the Saturn could easily run instead releasing traditional 2D games that didn't have the wow factor.

 

As for Crusin' N64 that's a very odd subject to bring up as it was a bad port with bad controls and cut corners. So it wasn't just it being a 2D/polygon mix that gave it a low score. In the 94 arcade release Crusin' was praised greatly.

 

Yes, Saturn couldn't ran those games in its sleep, but you're forgetting about context: there's a reason led the Japanese launch with Virtua Fighter and not, say, Galaxy Force II; that gen was going to be decided in terms of 3D games and they knew it. The boat sailed for super-scaler games to be in the limelight by then. Plus once you see the 3D PlayStation was pushing in the West, for Sega to try relying on those games to go up against Ridge Racer, Tekken, Toshinden etc. in the press would've been a marketing disaster, and they already shot themselves in the foot launching the Saturn that May way ahead of schedule.

 

3D arcade games and 3D PC games...even the very few 3D console games at the time (including the few standouts on systems like 3DO and Jaguar) had wet the appetite in the mainstream for 3D gaming. On a *technical* level the systems weren't ready to handle it, and another generation of 2D being pushed to its max would've found the super-scaler games in the limelight for sure (and imo would've been very interesting to see what could be done in that style; just imagining something like Sin & Punishment as a super-scaler game is pretty godlike).

 

But when you had movies like Jurassic Park and Toy Story being box office hits, and 3D dominating headlines, everyone and their grandmother could tell where mainstream preferences were shifting, and it wasn't towards 2D super-scaler games.

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Speaking of weird 3D moments. One that always hit me as strange in the period was a SNES game that was all polygons for what was going on there, but didn't use a FX chip. Star Trek Starfleet Academy. Sure about 50% of the screen was the bridge with a PC (25th Anniv DOS) style bridge and basic animations with good color use, but the view screen. Multiple ships, phaser beams, photon torpedoes, and explosions happened all using polygons and it wasn't like it was cutting out, choppier or slower than Star Fox either. That game could have gone all Wing Commander (which was on there too) with scaled and rotated sprite ships, but it didn't.

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It's pretty simple; home systems like Genesis and SNES weren't powerful enough to really run ports of those games well, and while there were some obvious efforts (AfterBurner and Outrun ports to Genesis and Sega CD for example), they were generally quite poor compared to the arcade versions.

 

 

This is all that really needs to be said. That's when those games were popular, and the hardware couldn't do a good job (see Super Monaco GP for Genesis for an example). And by the time the systems were powerful enough, those games weren't popular enough to bring in enough money to make it worthwhile...plus, we got close-enough versions of most of those games, just not arcade perfect ports.

 

Which reminds me...I gotta pick up a Sega Saturn :D

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If it was going to happen, it should have been with the Sega Genesis. It originally was going to have a scaling chip but was removed to lower the price of the console (at least that's what the internet had told me). I imagine that Sega was planning scaling HW because their first two games for the system were based on arcade super scaler games.

Edited by homerhomer

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What little I know about the Neo*Geo hardware is that it could shrink but not enlarge sprites. I guess that's part of the reason their games were so big, because all sprites had to be stored at the largest size you'd ever need them to be?

 

 

There is no good way even today on modern PC's to enlarge sprites and make them look good, the issue is that by enlarging you need to add detailing.

 

It always seemed weird to me that home consoles basically skipped 2D scaling and rotation and jumped straight to 3D graphics. I'm assuming the arcade machines had dedicated video hardware that could handle those functions, but was it so expensive that it was unfeasible to bring to 16-bit systems (that weren't Neo*Geo) short of Mode-7?

 

Yeah Arcade boards have special chips so they could use hardware assistance as Motorola 68000 or similar CPU's used during those days for Arcades didn't have the ability to run by software effects such as scaling without impacting the game's performance by themselves

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I really don't get the 3D comments, from 1992-1996 fake-3D 2D was very popular until3D started to become aprimary focus, so it was indeed the "right" time to bring over those games on 3DO/Sat/PSX, and computers. The reason I never mentioned Genesis/SNES/Neogeo is because they were not capable of running the notable arcade ones.

Traditional 2D games were the ones that were fading back then, psudo-3D was King until 3D found a platform.

The only console or computer that brought a small handful over was Sega but only for the early ones from the 80's. They basically ignored there end of 80's/90's stuff which the Saturn could easily run instead releasing traditional 2D games that didn't have the wow factor.

As for Crusin' N64 that's a very odd subject to bring up as it was a bad port with bad controls and cut corners. So it wasn't just it being a 2D/polygon mix that gave it a low score. In the 94 arcade release Crusin' was praised greatly.

 

Purely from a UK Press perspective:

 

The press had really been hyping the entire Next Generation aspect of the new generation of RISC based consoles, starting with the 3DO and Jaguar.

 

Both were going to make your SNES and Genesis look primitive, hardware prices (in Jaguar's case once you added on cost of the CD unit to the base hardware), above what you'd be paying for 16 bit cartridge based hardware.

 

 

Comments from likes of Bullfrog's Peter Molyneux that finally developers could leave the SNES and MD consoles behind.

 

Lot of expectations for types of games not seen outside of the arcades and high end PC's in terms of polygon 3D.

 

Consoles had been given a taste with the SNES FX chips and Sega's SVP chip...but there was only so much that could be done.

 

New and far more powerful hardware was needed and the biggest shake up of the console market in years was apon us.

 

Sprite based games were simply viewed as old hat.

 

This was a time reviewers honestly did get taken in by games with flashy visuals and very little else.

 

Stinkers like Rise Of The Robots pulled in fantastic reviews from some Amiga press and C+VG magazine.

 

Jaguar Crescent Galaxly got some rave reviews also....

 

C+VG i think gave Playstation Toh Shin Den something like 97% and review was all about it's texture mapped visuals surpassing those of Virtua Fighter...

 

Titles like Bladeforce on 3DO took flak for frame rate issues as it couldn't match latest Playstation titles in this area...

 

 

Imagitec Design and others have spoken of Atari wanting W.I.P Jaguar games to be beefed up with loads of texture mapping and lighting effects by Atari, even though Atari knew it would cripple frame rates, Jaguar had to be seen to be able to compete.

 

The 3D arms race, console wise, was in full effect.

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