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Why do Sega SG1000 Mark 1 games look worse than ColecoVision games when they are same system?

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Look at these Images:

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Top CV Bottom SG1000


I look at the specs I see at best a ram difference that doesn't really explain the gap? I hear rumors SG1000 processor is slower but can't find any documentation. Maybe that is why they quickly release Mega ColecoVision (Master system) to replace it because it was weaker than the hardware it was trying to imitate? CV could compete with early Famicom before upgrade and SG1000 apparently did not, something is wrong. Where did Sega mess up at?



Edited by ColecoKing

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They are veeeery similar as they used some of the same chips (Zilog z80 processor, TI TMS9928A for Video and a TI SN76489 for audio) from what I've seen online. Same RAM/VRAM too. The main difference was the SG-1000 lacking the CV's boot ROM, and differences in RAM addressing I think. Nothing major.

I always assumed that the differences had to do with the talent of (and time available to) the programmers making the games.

These days, I believe games have been ported both ways, so it isn't a raw capability issue. The Dyna 2 in 1 IS both consoles in one, after all. It's like looking at the differences between Atari and Activision's output for the 2600... they almost look like two different consoles. And that's because the Activision folks were really, really good. I assume the same is/was true of the Colecovision programmers vs. the SG-1000 people?

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From what I recall some of the examples I posted in the OP were made by the same developers and just brought over to the SG1000, some games like Bongo got adjustment from Sega but other than that I don't know why HERO or BUCK ROGERS has such big difference.

Sega is one who made Buck Roger arcade game in first place!

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8 hours ago, ColecoKing said:

Sega is one who made Buck Roger arcade game in first place!

SEGA had different teams for arcade and consoles for a long time.

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Sg-1000 Hero was programmed by Sega.  I like the simpler design but they really changed things with the scale, doubling the size of the characters.

 

Sg-1000 buck rogers by Sega; colecovision buck rogers probably programmed at coleco.

 

Whoever programmed the sg-1000 congo bongo struggled with isometrics.  The graphics is one thing but faking the movement isn't easy.

 

What games were ported over from colecovision to the sg-1000?

Edited by mr_me

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Same reason that games with unique versions for Famicom and NES look different. Different teams, developmont conditions, budgets, rom sizes, etc.

 

Personal opinion obviously plays a role as most of OP's examples look better to me on SG-1000. Especially the font and HUDs.

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SEGA had different teams for arcade and consoles for a long time.



OK, but why make a worse console port on your own system with console team than some other console version?


As for HERO yeah it looks simpler but lack of detail would have been a big issue back in the days. Detail was a big selling point for arcade and even original releases like HERO, which I don't think was an arcade game just console game.

Lack of foliage, colors, and rock graphics is strange given SG is same machine.

Q*bert is also strange it is not only brighter, more detail in graphics slightly, bigger blocks, and SG version does not have multicolor disc but yellow disc very strange since Q*bert is very simple game easy to port, no hardware being pushed.

007 is the only one that looks mostly even to me in detail.

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Me_me

Sg-1000 buck rogers by Sega; colecovision buck rogers probably programmed at coleco.



You saying that Coleco outprogrammed Sega at their own game? That would be quite a bad look for Sega.

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I was about to suggest that perhaps SG-1000 ROMs are smaller, but a quick comparison says otherwise:

 

H.E.R.O.: ColecoVision 16K, SG-1000 32K

Choplifter: ColecoVision 16K, SG-1000 32K

James Bond 007: ColecoVision 16K, Othello Multivision (SG-1000) 16K

Q*Bert: ColecoVision 8K, Othello Multivision (SG-1000) 8K

Congo Bongo: ColecoVision 24K, SG-1000 24K

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26 minutes ago, ColecoKing said:

Me_me
 



You saying that Coleco outprogrammed Sega at their own game? That would be quite a bad look for Sega.
 

I don't know who programmed the coleco cartridges but congo bongo itself was a bad look for sega.

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Carlsson

H.E.R.O.: ColecoVision 16K, SG-1000 32K



Choplifter: ColecoVision 16K, SG-1000 32K

James Bond 007: ColecoVision 16K, Othello Multivision (SG-1000) 16K

Q*Bert: ColecoVision 8K, Othello Multivision (SG-1000) 8K

Congo Bongo: ColecoVision 24K, SG-1000 24K



Interesting! How did you find these numbers?

Strange that the cartridges are bigger yet not taken advantage of. If it wasn't for powerful graphics chip for 3rd remodel (master system) Sega may have been in big trouble if their home console team was not very competent.

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I went to dubious ROM warez sites and downloaded the games, then checked uncompressed file size since those sites only print the size of the zip download.

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Another possible explanation is style. If Japanese customers were expected to like a certain style of graphics detail, different from what US and European customers wanted, it explains why the games were reprogrammed with different visuals. I don't know about how many levels, difficulties, other forms of gameplay variations.

 

For that matter, you can compare some ColecoVision and TI-99/4A games. Both have the same VDP, aimed on the same customers (assuming that people playing console games and computer games are comparable) but quite a few officially licensed games have different visuals, games from Atarisoft, Parker Bros etc. Of course it could also be explained by them having separate development teams and no easy way to share data files between them, or each team confident that they could solve it on their own.

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On 9/29/2020 at 5:25 PM, ColecoKing said:

From what I recall some of the examples I posted in the OP were made by the same developers and just brought over to the SG1000, some games like Bongo got adjustment from Sega but other than that I don't know why HERO or BUCK ROGERS has such big difference.

Sega is one who made Buck Roger arcade game in first place!

Say what? ColecoVision owns Buck Rogers. Gaming History Source rates Coleco to have the best version. Too bad they didn't review Buck Rogers Super Game because that is considerably better.

 

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On 9/30/2020 at 10:34 PM, lushgirl_80 said:

I dig some SG-1000 games actually. The Castle and Star Force are my faves from that console!

In general, the SG-1000 has a weak library. However, there are a handful of excellent games: Girl's Garden, Bomb Jack, Bank Panic, Flicky, The Castle, Lode Runner, and Star Jacker come to mind. Luckily, all those are now available on ColecoVision, and in some cases, programmers improved them. For example, Bomb Jack was ported from SG-1000, but it looks like a different game with vastly improved graphics and colors. 

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If you look at early NES and ColecoVision games, they are similar. For example, it's hard to differentiate Antarctic Adventure.

 

Why did NES games go on to be so good? The answer is four reasons: designers, programmers, engineers, and time. Designers steered games to play to the system's strengths. Programmers need to work with the system for years to learn the hardware and how to overcome limitations. Good engineers can devise technology to add to carts to improve the games further. Finally, business executives need to give development teams a sufficient amount of time to create good games.

 

The more of those four variables working in a systems favor, the better the games. Late NES had all those things going for it. SG-1000 had none of those things going for it.

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I've always thought of SG-1000 HERO as a sort of re-design experiment.  He wears a jetpack instead of a helicopter to start with.  There must have been at least some creative discussion about how to make it look like an updated version.  I suspect all of the reasons already listed were (even if briefly) taken into account. 

 

Stuff like this probably all mattered

  • Audience
  • Skill of the development team (or individual)
  • Personal preference of developers
  • Fit with the platform
  • Estimated cost

 

I think the approach to being creative with a port is a positive one, and today I appreciate the variation that is offered by the SG-1000.  For example, Coleco HERO looks almost the same as the C64 HERO, but SG-1000 HERO is something new to discover.  That Congo Bongo makes me think about how they re-designed Zaxxon for the 2600.  Looks totally different, but perhaps the gameplay is better for it?

 

However, when you stack them all up like that, the approach they took definitely looks like a disadvantage for the SG-1000.  Of course, there were no consumers actually given the realistic option of choosing between purchasing a Coleco/Adam or SG-1000 right?  Were both of them readily available in any region?

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Miner Jumpman said:

If you look at early NES and ColecoVision games, they are similar. For example, it's hard to differentiate Antarctic Adventure.

 

Why did NES games go on to be so good? The answer is four reasons: designers, programmers, engineers, and time.

 

 

The main reason is that NES has technical advantages over Colecovision such as hardware based smooth scrolling, better sprites, and helper chips on the carts themselves. Super Mario Bros. was a true next gen console game in 1985 and it didn't even need an extra chip. Colecovision could not do that.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, wongojack said:

That Congo Bongo makes me think about how they re-designed Zaxxon for the 2600.  Looks totally different, but perhaps the gameplay is better for it?

I played SG-1000 Congo Bongo in the beginning of August. It is different from the isometric versions on all other systems, but not necessarily better. It still only has two levels, the Donkey Kong-like first level and then some 2D top view platform level which is even easier than the fourth level on the other versions. If Sega had included four different, new levels on the cartridge it could have been an interesting game but as it stands, it mostly looks dumbed down. I think they changed the isometric view to 2D to avoid as many colour clashes as possible, since it still is a VDP system which can display 2 colours per 8x8 block + sprites on top of that.

 

And yes, the Famicom has much newer and more advanced graphics hardware which explains why Sega had to come up with Mark /// and Master System for international releases. The SG-1000 itself would have reminded too much about the ColecoVision even with more worked through games.

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SMB had mapper. It also didn't look like a next gen game it was a scrolling arcade game even had arcade cabinent the myth it was super new type of game is that, myth. It was popular buy heavy bundle and became associated with sales as result, including Duckhunt another basic arcade game.

I will agree Coleco could not run game very well as it is not tile base system. However Sega still had such games and all their first 3 game systems models including Master System were all based on CV hardware so it is possible that CV could do it in software, CV even has scrolling games in its own library, but it would take software to do it. Coleco would need an expansion like NES to run games as well without time wasted on software.

5200 Atari on other hand could run game like SMB. Single color sprites would be an issue though but many 5200 games had tricks around that, of course it would not look at nice without mapper and of course Famicom had more memory and other advantageous over 5200. Though why NES can run blazer from lucas art and 5200 can seem strange to me, as one could say Famicom is actually 5200 1.5.

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Miner Jumpman Coleco do not own Buck Rogers, it was port of Sega arcade game.

Wongojack

However, when you stack them all up like that, the approach they took definitely looks like a disadvantage for the SG-1000. Of course, there were no consumers actually given the realistic option of choosing between purchasing a Coleco/Adam or SG-1000 right? Were both of them readily available in any region?



CV and Sg1000 only sold together in Japan, Nintendo was inspired by CV when making famcom but I think CV only sold there until end of 1983 the rest import stores that is what I heard. Even before that not many shipped there so Sg1000 had basically market to itself.

Issue with NES early on is that CV could do games like Famicom, however Famicom had better sprites so Sg1000 would suffer compared to that, and with computers still being little bit popular in Japan at the time, though rapidly declining, many japanese games use same tile strategy as famicom. So Sg1000 was out the pie everyone else was jumping on with lack of tile hardware.

Here is comparison between sg1000 and famicom

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They actually aren't far apart but famicom better with tiles, some games though Famicom flicker more or have less enemies or objects on screen than Sg1000 version. But even Famicom additional graphic chips still have same problems it increase tile graphics but did not solve limitations. Sega could have retooled mark models to do that.

But Sega take Nintendo lead instead, Sega just replace expansion chips with releasing new model. Model 3 still basically a CV so it's Mega CV at best, good looking graphics, bad color palette, low object on screen, can't move them too fast, flicker, stacking sprites on top of each other for large enemies just like famicom. This is when 7800 shines but never really had release in Japan proper.

Master System or Mark III was too late though 1985 already two years after Model 1 and Model 2, it took until 1986 for games to come in for Mark 3 Nintendo and some runner ups already dominate Japan PC Engine announce come out the next year.

Sega was always going to be doomed with their Mark series, only with Mega Drive they have some success but I'd argue it was a fluke.

What Sega should have done with Mark series was at beginning Sega didn't want to deal with many japanese third party games because they use the Mark series as a way to access cheap reduced versions of Sega arcade games instead of a proper games console with some game from developers who made titles on CV because the Mark 1 was a CV in all but name. Outside that and some games here and there Sega never bothered contacting Japanese developers or using American developers to fill gap. Nintendo had their games and everyone elses games.




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