View Full Version : First widescreen game ever? World Cup USA '94

Joe Redifer
06-26-2007, 03:31 PM
I thought that maybe Virtua Fighter on the 32X was the earliest 16:9 game. But I recently found another one, World Cup USA '94 on the world-famous Sega CD (with a copyright date in 1993). There is a mode in the options which you can select between 32 (default) and 40. According to the manual, this enables you to play on either a 32 inch TV or a 40 inch TV. If you have a different size television, I guess you're screwed. But in reality it's a normal/widescreen selection, which is even more impressive since the entire game consists of bitmapped graphics, not polygons. That means it wasn't easy to implement 16:9... they actually had to put in effort! Here are pictures I took with my digital camera on my 4:3-only SDTV which is dedicated to 240p consoles (though it does have a 16:9 mode that I should have enabled for this pic).


What's cool is that EVERYTHING is anamorphic, even the text. They put far more effort into making this widescreen than most developers (besides Sega on the Gamecube) did at making PS2/Xbox/GC games support the feature where only the polygons are 16:9, everything else is stretched.

06-26-2007, 03:58 PM
To explain this, it's actually a resolution setting.. 320x224 or 256x224.. If you increase the resolution to 320x224, without changing the bitmaps, they get skinner..

Yes, you can call it a widescreen mode, but not intentional. The bitmaps are all the same, as the bitmaps were produced for the 256x224 mode..

Here's a demonstration.. This is also stemmed by the fact, that even though 256x224 and 320x224 are different resolutions, the Genesis outputs them both with the same width..

The circles in the following pictures were shaped for 256x224, for viewing on a 4:3 shaped TV. Watch the effect of re-using the bitmap when shaped to the 4:3 TV, has on them.



Now, watch what happens when they are outputted to a 4:3 shape...



So yes, THAT can be done to achieve a pseudo 16:9... Very cool trick..

Oh, and the terms 32 and 40 are NOT screen sizes. Whoever wrote that manual is stupid. 256x224 is called 32 Column mode, and 320x224 is called 40 Column mode. Why are they called Columns? Because believe it or not, our graphical Genesis is not so Graphical afterall. This stems from the VDP they used. The genesis is actually in a TEXT mode ALL the time. Don't believe me? Check out the development books from Sega, you can find on the internet. Those graphical resolutions are "based" on the text modes.

Joe Redifer
06-26-2007, 06:30 PM
Game looks perfect in 16:9.

06-26-2007, 07:20 PM
exactly, as I had just said, it's a side-effect from reusing the bitmaps on a resolution with more width in pixels...

Joe Redifer
06-26-2007, 09:10 PM
You say it's not intentional. I say it is.

David J.
06-26-2007, 09:26 PM
How is the 16-bit versions. I played this game on the SMS and GG and it was complete garbage.

Pretty cool feature, and I wonder why it was implemented?

06-26-2007, 09:26 PM
I'm saying it's it's not intentional in the sense that it was a side-effect cause by mixing bitmaps with the wrong resolution.

Sure, they may have known the effect, but there wasn't really any wide-screen TVs then. So that would make it unintentional

Also, it's not as hard as how you say it is. All it is, is a mode change, that's it. If Sonic was a 256x224 game, and you switched it to 320x224, you would make it wide-screen.. (granted, if the sprites were designed with the non-square pixels of 256x224 from the start)

Joe Redifer
06-27-2007, 12:42 AM
I know how they are doing it. I'm saying that they did it on purpose. Look at the 32 and 40 icons in my picture. The 40 has a wider TV. Why did they do it? Because they could and nothing more. That's the same reason Virtua Fighter did it (even though the Saturn versions didn't). The programmers knew that anamorphic images could be stretched for widescreen on the new TVs, and they figured "why not?", that's all. The programmers didn't just throw that feature in there and then say "OH SHIT WE ACCIDENTALLY MADE A WIDESCREEN MODE O FUK!!!!!!!" There's no reason to provide two different resolutions of the same thing.

David J, the game is indeed horrible. Apparently the Genesis version has the same mode. No reason for the Game Gear to.

06-28-2007, 01:47 AM
There actually were widescreen TVs back then. Not many, but they existed.

David J.
06-28-2007, 06:49 AM
I remember seeing them back in the day, but I don't know of anyone who actually had one. Now I just downloaded the Genesis version, and the option is indeed there.

Joe Redifer
06-28-2007, 04:50 PM
The GUI of that game is a bitch to figure out since nothing is labeled. Took me 20 minutes just to figure out how to start a game on the Sega CD version since I think it has extra modes like trivia and games where they only tell you of the outcome.

06-28-2007, 04:57 PM
I tried using the Genesis version, non of the Mac emulators work right.. One has no sound and freezes, and the other freezes with music playing but a blank blue screen..

06-30-2007, 06:03 PM
Thats very cool and a great idea to achieve 4:3 and widescreen modes on a 16-bit console.

The stretching/squashing circles are a bad example, because one is simply a cropped image of the other. What Joe meant by 'anamorphic' is that its not just a wider or warped image.

The elements of the image are repositioned in the 'widescreen' mode, creating the 2D equivalent of a 3D game's widescreen mode.