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Obscure 90’s CD based consoles

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....

I actually agree with you. That sampled MOD sound the SNES has roots it squarely in the early '90s, and the SNES's limited storage space, especially in early cartridges, meant being subjected to very short and very low-quality samples sped up and slowed down to the point of ridiculousness. Even so, it was 100% digital audio, which was where the future was headed. The next generation of systems improved on the tech, and consoles haven't had any hardware operators or oscillators since.

....

Most definitely and the Amiga line did it for the masses in 1985 (with the A1000) but really in 1987 (with the "affordable" A500).

 

EDIT: Wrt non digital/digitized sound how would one compare the Ensoniq chip in the Apple IIgs vs the 2612 in the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive? Something tells me the 32 voices of the Ensoniq have the edge over the Yamaha chip but it's been a long time and the IIgs was never really something I'd consider. Just making sure some of the history of that era is not lost.

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On another note, personally I found out that if a console is a compatible derivative of a computer it's not gonna end up well (at least for me) .... meaning sooner or later the other part of the library will have such an allure that here pops a keyboard, a mouse, a storage media etc...etc.... in specific I'd stay away from GX-4000, C64GS, XEGS, CDTV, CD32, FM-Towns Marty (and Pippin by extension) if you don't want to have to deal with computers (that's what they are).

 

Note about the XEGS, if you go in and treat it like the pastel brother of the A800/XL/XE then it's all good, as a console though .... let it be or you'll end up with a U1MB, SIDE2, SD2SIO and round and round other upgrades, updates will lure you in (nothing wrong with any of them btw).

 

FM-Towns Marty .... surprisingly quite a few SCUMM kind of games (here comes the floppy disk needed to save progress, the floppy reader is conveniently integrated) mouse advised, and a couple that require you to boot from floppy. Yes it does have many arcade ports too but it is what it is.

CD32 .... lots of A500/A1200 games but a keyboard will pop-up sooner or later (I know I have one), the CDTV even has a floppy port already ...

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As far as least-useless-as-a-game-machine systems go, one console I don't think I saw mentioned yet (and one where I've actually occasionally toyed with the idea of picking one up) is the NeoGeo CD. As far as I can tell, that one actually has a modestly playable library, although it's typically SNK, where it's essentially a half-dozen different franchises with 36 games each (jeezus, how many King Of Fighters games are enough?). But there's still cool stuff like Viewpoint, Metal Slug/2, Aero Fighters 2/3, Puzzle Bobble, etc.

 

And if you like King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, World Heroes, and Samurai Shodown, then more power to you. :P

 

Along with the PC Engine CD and 3DO, I would probably count the NeoGeo CD among the more worthwhile "obscure '90s CD consoles."

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I got both a NeoGeo CD (top-loader) and a NeoGeo CDZ (modestly faster load times) .....
my suggestion is to just get an AES/MVS with NeoSD (or UniBIOS 4 and 161-in-1 BananaCart, UniBIOS 4 with PickNMix support is awesome with that crappy multi cart).

Back to the NeoGeoCD, if you can avoid most of the fighters then loading times are fair (and the library is surprisingly varied all considered).
Since the time I bought an AES and NeoSD I have not once turned on my NeoGeoCDs, just hoarding.

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loading times of the NGCD are famous for being horrid, and lets be honest they aint great

 

but for the size of games over a single speed CD rom with the price delta of the time, it wasnt a bad option

 

now days it seems the systems are about on par in terms of price, course the media tween the two are still night and day

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Back to the NeoGeoCD, if you can avoid most of the fighters then loading times are fair (and the library is surprisingly varied all considered).Since the time I bought an AES and NeoSD I have not once turned on my NeoGeoCDs, just hoarding.

For enthusiasts, sure, but for the average Joe you are talking a pretty huge price different (the Neo SD itself is $400, not even taking into account the cost of the AES).

 

A top-loader Neo-Geo CD and a spool of CDrs will cost you about $180. It's a worthwhile tradeoff in my opinion. It's best to stay away from certain types of games on the system, but most of the action, sports and puzzle games (which makes up a good part of the library) have reasonable load times (usually one long one in the beginning, then very little if any after).

Edited by Austin
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For enthusiasts, sure, but for the average Joe you are talking a pretty huge price different (the Neo SD itself is $400, not even taking into account the cost of the AES).

 

A top-loader Neo-Geo CD and a spool of CDrs will cost you about $180. It's a worthwhile tradeoff in my opinion. It's best to stay away from certain types of games on the system, but most of the action, sports and puzzle games (which makes up a good part of the library) have reasonable load times (usually one long one in the beginning, then very little if any after).

Maybe, but I walked down that path myself by first getting a NGCD TopLoader then given the load times (for the fighters mostly) I found myself a CDZ and still .... loading ...., finally got an AES with MagicKey and the 161-1 (aka bananacart) with its set of issue (they did screw up quite a few especially with the AES), eventually then NeoSD came out and bam, full library (even if flashing some games takes its toll). I then upgraded to Unibios 4 and the bananacart with its 98 unique games all of a sudden works so much better.

Uni4 + NeoSD even allow you to see the "winner don't use drugs" screen on AES in a couple of US MVS games (stock AES + adaptor shows garbage as it doesn't have the char ROM required).

So in the end all considered the NeoGeo (one form or another) set me back quite some dough .... not unexpected given it's the NeoGeo.

It's unfortunate that the bananacart MVS + MagicKey adapter is(was) basically close to the price of the NeoSD (the bananacart AES runs[or used to] even hotter).

UniBIOS is a must imho, the work Razoola put into it is just outstanding, even if I was entitled to free upgrades I paypal-ed him the full amount of Unibios 4 just because.

 

The NeoGeo CD allowed me to see most of the library on the very cheap (all games with copy protection have a crack available) and I have to say I like the NGCD gamepad more than I'll admit. So by any means start with the NGCD but beware that the force is powerful with this one.

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Can I ask you why did you get interested?

 

Usually one goes into "obscure" territory once he's done with mainstream, the depth at which each one dips into obscurity differs.

 

My reason for going into some obscurities of the '90 (PC-FX, FM-Towns Marty, CD32, GX-4000) was that I had collected the rest (including a Jag-CD) may as well experience something "different" [and couldn't really get much into 8bits or late 70s aside the usual suspects] .... I almost got myself also a Pippin, CDTV and Super A'can but managed to stop as my trend was at that point obvious to me .... discover something obscure, obsess about it, put it in the back-burner for a few months, buy it anyway, giddy-up once it shows up at the door .... then feel absolutely nothing and jump onto the next one just because I could.

 

What are your reasons? Or expectations?

 

For example:

my reason for the Pippin was because of the ports of Marathon and Marathon 2 from Bungie, the precursors of the Halo franchise on the XBox(es)

the CDTV just because it is more compatible with Xenon II CDTV than a CD32 (obviously but ....)

Super A'can just because it's so weird/niche and at the time for other reasons I had been in Taiwan 3 times in 2Y

Great questions and comments thank you. To sum it all up: yes, I have become very bored with what is considered mainstream and what the majority likes to talk about, review, and play. Im open minded to failed consoles or systems that are not talked about as much. Im also open minded to a variety of different games because to me there is no such thing as a bad game (like movies), the only thing that makes a game bad is if its boring. Im also one of those people that like the so bad its good kind of stuff lol.

 

I think its important to remember and celebrate these consoles instead of JUST the run-of-the-mill SNES, Genesis, & 2600, and not let them be forgotten in time. Obviously not everyone will feel the same way about these systems and games, so I feel its people who have an appreciation for the niche will be the ones who pick up the pieces.

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For enthusiasts, sure, but for the average Joe you are talking a pretty huge price different (the Neo SD itself is $400, not even taking into account the cost of the AES).

 

A top-loader Neo-Geo CD and a spool of CDrs will cost you about $180. It's a worthwhile tradeoff in my opinion. It's best to stay away from certain types of games on the system, but most of the action, sports and puzzle games (which makes up a good part of the library) have reasonable load times (usually one long one in the beginning, then very little if any after).

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that "horrid loading times" are just AES fans trying to shun newbies away from the Neo Geo CD.

I have one, and frankly, most games have loading times that are the same loading times you'd find on PS1 and Saturn; and as you mention, it's usually a 30 second long one at first,then a 5 seconds one between levels so... where is the harm?

I guess, the harm to pay 1000$ for a game that costs 55$ in CD version :D (such as Metal Slug).

 

But maybe it's because I'm used to load games from tapes on 8 bits computers.

I mean, try loading a game on a C64 from a tape or a floppy (oh the humanities... The only computer where loading from the floppy takes MORE time than from tape!) and I mean, that's, at the clock, 3 to sometime 10 MINUTES of loading.

Now after than, 35seconds of loading from a CD? That's zoomin'fast :D

Edited by CatPix
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure that "horrid loading times" are just AES fans trying to shun newbies away from the Neo Geo CD.

I have one, and frankly, most games have loading times that are the same loading times you'd find on PS1 and Saturn; and as you mention, it's usually a 30 second long one at first,then a 5 seconds one between levels so... where is the harm?

I guess, the harm to pay 1000$ for a game that costs 55$ in CD version :D (such as Metal Slug).

 

But maybe it's because I'm used to load games from tapes on 8 bits computers.

I mean, try loading a game on a C64 from a tape or a floppy (oh the humanities... The only computer where loading from the floppy takes MORE time than from tape!) and I mean, that's, at the clock, 3 to sometime 10 MINUTES of loading.

Now after than, 35seconds of loading from a CD? That's zoomin'fast :D

I mean, don't get me wrong. There ARE poor loading experiences on the Neo-Geo CD. King of Fighters '99 has the initial load sequence, but then has you waiting something like 45 seconds or more just to get into a match. If you are doing the standard 3-on-3 mode, you play for 60 seconds if you're lucky then wait another 20+ seconds for the next character to load in. I think most can agree that is a poor experience. The issue I see is that people take that sort of example and apply it to the rest of the library, which is disingenuous.

Edited by Austin
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I mean, don't get me wrong. There ARE poor loading experiences on the Neo-Geo CD. King of Fighters '99 has the initial load sequence, but then has you waiting something like 45 seconds or more just to get into a match. If you are doing the standard 3-on-3 mode, you play for 60 seconds if you're lucky then wait another 20+ seconds for the next character to load in. I think most can agree that is a poor experience. The issue I see is that people take that sort of example and apply it to the rest of the library, which is disingenuous.

Math is simple, NGCD has about 7MB of memory to fill, at 150KBs (single speed CD) it takes ~45sec.

So for any games whose original was < 64 Mbits (aka <8MBytes) an initial load in that ballpark is all that it takes.

Bigger games (usually fighters but not only) have to deal with up to 10 times that amount so they have to spread it around as you play, usually between levels (but not only).

 

On a side note NGCD has ~98 games while AES/MVS ~150, only ShamSho RPG is presently NGCD only (ADK World does not count ;-) , the other couple that were exclusive to the NGCD have been ported unofficially to MVS/AES afaik not sure to what effect wrt the soundtrack).

If you want to get your feet wet on the NeoGeo by any means a NGCD is a good and cheaper way to try it out but if I may those were games originally targeted at the Arcade so loading screens are really breaking in the action ... now the initial load of the smaller games is plenty acceptable .... even the NeoSD takes its time when flashing, it clocks at 4min for KOF2003 on my AES (at 716MBits it is the biggest game, there are reports of people on MVS that experience < 3mins instead but anyway just to say that an initial load is plenty acceptable)

 

Here's a list:

http://www.neo-geo.com/snk/masterlist.htm

 

BTW an even cheaper way to get some exposure is with the NG-mini (emulation) or even just MAME .... so you get to see if you like those games.

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ok here we go

 

genesis was doing 3d games before snes was a thing at a reasonable framerate

 

kind of sort of at the end of the snes life they farted out a 3d accelerated game or two, only 1 worth playing and the entire affair was quite a poor showing from both sides compared to the fairly reasonable cost computers of the time

 

now moving from facts to opinion, I have always hated the snes sound, it has this air of upper scale k-mart casio from the era of kurzweil, 99% of the time its very simplistic thin and melodically waffles like listening to a used organ salesman at the sad mall in your local city

 

the yamaha system sega used may have had its low points, and the later red box games just sounded like farts and grunts but musically it could put out if one tried

 

both are good systems though

I've got yk jump in here. Yep, the Mega Drive was doing 3D games on stock hardware before the SNES was even released. This is very true and the Mega Drive is better at 3D than a snes. It's a basic fact. However I do disagree that most snes music is awful. If you've only listened to mainstream games then I fully understand that opinion. Capcom and even Nintendo's own games sound crap compared to the quality stuff. Super Turrican on snes sounds great as does Super Aleste and many more. The Mega Drive also sounds great, especially for thumping bass or synth pitch bending. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses. Let's be honest, every American developed Mega Drive game sounds like shit because of the low tallent and crappy sound drivers they used. The Japanese really knew how to program FM synths.

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Somewhat relevant to this thread, I recently obtained 2 of the rare wired controllers for the VIS, along with what appears to be debugging board/network card. Has anyone else here ever seen these, or can confirm if they were ever publicly sold?

 

I also realized that I'm only 5 boxed titles away from a full VIS collection, so I'm willing to pay well for the last few titles I need if anyone here wants to part with a few VIS games.

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But maybe it's because I'm used to load games from tapes on 8 bits computers.

I mean, try loading a game on a C64 from a tape or a floppy (oh the humanities... The only computer where loading from the floppy takes MORE time than from tape!) and I mean, that's, at the clock, 3 to sometime 10 MINUTES of loading.

Now after than, 35seconds of loading from a CD? That's zoomin'fast :D

 

You got that right!

I remember playing Duck Tales on C64 with floppy drive, load time was counted in minutes, it sucked when you died, I think it was re-loading the level before you could play again. It's been a long time.

So, 45 seconds is nothing.

I still would like to get NEOGEO CD.

Edited by amiman99

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I often put computer on display for use and play in events and yeah, unless I got a mod for the computer (ironically, I got an easy,handy, cheap one for the lesser-know Thomson computers :D) then it's loading from a tape or from my smartphone, which both take long... It's mostly on the Amtrad CPC 464 where the loading is 2/3 mins and there is no reload between levels, thankfully :D

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I did own a cdtv, but not back in the day. I sold it last year because i already have a cd32 and needed the money to buy a new mountainbike.

I did upgrade the cdtv with a mod that allowed me to use normal amiga joysticks and mouse on the system. Didnt need it for the mouse since the system i had was pretty complete with a black mouse, keyboard and external black floppy drive. Since the cd takes up a bit of memory, you couldnt run 1 meg games on the system without a hack. I added a switch to the system that disabled booting the cd-rom rom into memory at startup, so the system booted straight into 1.3.

It is a fun little system, but expansive and not easy to expand. If all you want to play is cdtv games, you would be better of buying a cd32. If you want to play a500 games and some cdtv games, you could also buy a a500 with a external cdrom, and you have a cdtv, without the hifi look.

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I often put computer on display for use and play in events and yeah, unless I got a mod for the computer (ironically, I got an easy,handy, cheap one for the lesser-know Thomson computers :D) then it's loading from a tape or from my smartphone, which both take long... It's mostly on the Amtrad CPC 464 where the loading is 2/3 mins and there is no reload between levels, thankfully :D

Would love to get me a cpc464. It was our first homecomputer, the Schneider version that is. I have a gx4000, so i can play some cpc464 games that dont use the keyboard a lot.
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It's dirt common here. I heard that depending on the country they are harder to find, but in France they sold like hot cakes and are really easy to find - if you mean finding a 464 over a 6128, that is.

Both AZERTY and QWERTY version exists so you can always check French sites every now and then, tho, checking forums would allow you to find cheap models. They will be Amstrad models with edge connectors tho; I do'nt know if that's important for you.

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On ‎2‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 12:13 PM, Blazing Lazers said:

Somewhat relevant to this thread, I recently obtained 2 of the rare wired controllers for the VIS, along with what appears to be debugging board/network card. Has anyone else here ever seen these, or can confirm if they were ever publicly sold?

 

I also realized that I'm only 5 boxed titles away from a full VIS collection, so I'm willing to pay well for the last few titles I need if anyone here wants to part with a few VIS games.

I meant to post this update a while back but forgot about it until now. The Wired Controllers were indeed sold, via the 1994 Radio Shack Catalog (see attachment). Almost nobody must have purchased them, though- only two other collectors I know of have them, and I've only ever seen two listings for them on Ebay. I also have a third Wired Controller, still unopened, if anyone is interested in trading.

 

VIS CATALOG 1994.jpg

0625191928.jpg

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