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ZippyRedPlumber

Defining Generations

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We all know that the C64 was given the console treatment  as the C64 Game System to compete against Nintendo & SEGA, but what Console Generation does it really fall under.

Wikipedia says it Third Generation, but it launched in December 1990. The Forth Generation was already in full swing by then worldwide. The real question I'm asking is does it fall under Third Gen or Forth Gen?

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1 hour ago, ZippyRedPlumber said:

We all know that the C64 was given the console treatment  as the C64 Game System to compete against Nintendo & SEGA, but what Console Generation does it really fall under.

Wikipedia says it Third Generation, but it launched in December 1990. The Forth Generation was already in full swing by then worldwide. The real question I'm asking is does it fall under Third Gen or Forth Gen?

The hardware.  Console generations have less to do with the year they came out as it does with advancements in technology.  4th generation consoles were marked by the introduction of 16 bit processors, where the C64 game system was 8 bit.  Also, it's based on the same specifications as the Commodore 64 (minus the keyboard), putting it more in line with the NES, Sega Master System, and Atari 7800 than the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive or SNES.

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Yes. If you want to group the C64 with consoles, you would rather consider grouping it with Atari 5200 and ColecoVision than grouping it with anything newer. While the C64GS may have been released in 1990, the heart of the system was developed in the fall of 1981 and finalized during 1982.

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7 hours ago, carlsson said:

Yes. If you want to group the C64 with consoles, you would rather consider grouping it with Atari 5200 and ColecoVision than grouping it with anything newer. While the C64GS may have been released in 1990, the heart of the system was developed in the fall of 1981 and finalized during 1982.

What do you mean? 😕

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8 hours ago, carlsson said:

Yes. If you want to group the C64 with consoles, you would rather consider grouping it with Atari 5200 and ColecoVision than grouping it with anything newer. While the C64GS may have been released in 1990, the heart of the system was developed in the fall of 1981 and finalized during 1982.

I agree with this.   Only problem is the 5200 and Colecovision nowadays get lumped in with 2nd Generation.  I disagree very much with this labelling since they are a huge leap over actual 2nd gen systems like Channel F/Atari 2600.   Also 5200 and Coleco were called 3rd Gen systems when released,  but somewhere along the line the generations got renumbered from an NES-centric POV..    Everything before NES was the "dark ages" and all cartridge-based consoles from that era were basically the same.

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What I mean is that the Atari 5200 basically is an Atari 400 without the keyboard, different cartridge port and some minor changes.

 

The ColecoVision basically shares the lion part of its hardware with both Sord M5, Sega SC-3000 and of course the console version SG-1000. Except for the sound chip it is pretty similar to MSX computers too, to the point that I've always wondered why Coleco didn't aim for the ADAM to be a fully MSX compatible computer instead of developing their own format (but the same could be said about Sega too, and they probably were as much relevant to the video games industry as Coleco were by the time).

 

The C64 definitely is paired up against the Atari 8-bit computers, MSX etc. If you would move the C64 one generation further, you start to compare it with the Apple Macintosh, the Amiga, the Atari ST etc which clearly is pointless.

 

Also remember the Atari XEGS was released in 1987. It is a repackaged 65XE which in its turn is a repackaged 800XL with some changes. The 800XL in its turn is a slightly improved 800 from 1979, meaning the XEGS released right before the 16-bit consoles entered the market (Mega Drive in Japan in 1988 IIRC) still remains in the same "generation" no matter how you count, but the C64GS which essentially is the same but three years later to the market, would not?

 

And yes, if we talk in terms of generations there probably should be one generation inbetween the Atari VCS/Channel F/Studio II/Astrocade and the NES/SMS. Simply put the number of years between each technology leap was fewer in the beginning than it tended to be later on and today when we seem to have standardized around 5-6 years for each generation.

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15 minutes ago, carlsson said:

What I mean is that the Atari 5200 basically is an Atari 400 without the keyboard, different cartridge port and some minor changes.

 

The ColecoVision basically shares the lion part of its hardware with both Sord M5, Sega SC-3000 and of course the console version SG-1000. Except for the sound chip it is pretty similar to MSX computers too, to the point that I've always wondered why Coleco didn't aim for the ADAM to be a fully MSX compatible computer instead of developing their own format (but the same could be said about Sega too, and they probably were as much relevant to the video games industry as Coleco were by the time).

 

The C64 definitely is paired up against the Atari 8-bit computers, MSX etc. If you would move the C64 one generation further, you start to compare it with the Apple Macintosh, the Amiga, the Atari ST etc which clearly is pointless.

I agree  Atari 5200, Colecovision, Adam, MSX, Atari 7800, Atari XEGS, C64 should all be considered 3rd generation consoles or the computer equivalent of a 3rd gen console.

 

The only question is if NES is in the same generation or not.   I would argue that it is 3rd gen too since it's a 6502-based system like many of the others.   Maybe it had a few more graphical tricks up it's sleeve, but it wasn't a generational leap like the 16-bit consoles were.

 

Some people want to use the crash as a generational marker,  but to me 5200/CV are early 3rd gen, NES is late-3rd gen (although it was first introduced in 1983, only a year after 5200/CV, so not that late).  C64 spanned the entire 3rd gen.

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Yeah. The Famicom and the SG-1000 were released on the exact same date in July 1983. While the Sega machine more or less was a reworked ColecoVision from the year before, Nintendo had done their homework and developed custom chips that stepped up the game a bit. The fact that the Famicom & NES can use memory mappers make the games even more advanced. Alas Sega had to come back with the Mark /// which eventually became SMS with far improved graphics specs over the first one, while the Famicom hardware mostly lasted on its own terms through the NES lifetime. If we start to split generations with that amount of detail, pretty much every new system will be its own generation, in particular if they are released 1.5 - 2 years apart, building and improving on what the competitors just got out.

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