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Thread: game sizes chronology & first 32 meg cart?

  1. #1
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    Genesis game sizes chronology & first 32 meg cart?

    Below is a list of the first MD games to get to XX Meg count in cartridge (well, rom) size.

    Like with the SNES, 32 meg (4 MB) was the cart size limit (vs 330 for the Neo-Geo) without using bank-switching mechanism (which gave us the Giga shock experience...), though I'm not sure if there was a minimum size limit (some sites say 4 meg though it cannot be as there are even 1 meg games -Ms Pac-Man, Columns, etc.)

    MEGA POWER in ascending order (not by date anymore):

    1 Columns 1990
    2 Osomatsu-kun Hachamecha Gekijou (japanese exclusive) 1988
    3 Mystic Defender (japanese version) 1989
    4 Space Harrier II 1988
    5 Ghouls 'n' Ghosts 1989
    6 Phantasy Star II 1989
    8 Strider 1990
    10 Genghis Khan II (japanese version) 1993
    12 Star Control 1991
    16 Landstalker 1992
    20 Panorama Cotton 1994
    24 Street Fighter II' 1993
    32 Saturday Night Slammasters 1994
    40 Super Street Fighter II 1994 *
    48 Sonic VR (unlicensed hack) 2011 *
    64 Pier Solar (unlicensed) 2010 *
    80 Paprium (unlicensed) 2018 *
    80-104 Ultimate Mortal Kombat Trilogy + Revelations (unlicensed hacks) 2004-2014

    *: uses bank switching technique to stay within the 32 meg limit visible to the system
    BOLD: biggest game ever at the time of release (on cart)

    UMKT size goes beyond 80 meg if you count the streamed horrible techno tracks included in some builds (they do not fit the game at all). The game doesn't even use a mapper so not playable on real hardware if not loaded via Mega Everdrive?

    There were only 18 maximum capacity (32 meg) games released (counting Duke Nukem 3D which is a brazilian exclusive):
    College Slam
    Duke Nukem 3D
    Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball
    Jurassic Park 2 - The Lost World
    Mortal Kombat 3
    NFL Quarterback Club 96
    Pocahontas
    Revolution X
    Saturday Night Slam Masters
    Sonic 3D Blast
    Toughman Contest
    Toy Story
    Triple Play '96
    Triple Play Gold
    Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
    Virtua Fighter 2
    WWF Wrestlemania Arcade
    X-perts


    Thoughts?
    Last edited by chilled; 10-08-2017 at 05:23 PM. Reason: updated and added info

  2. #2
    Bite my shiny, metal ***! Hero of Algol retrospiel's Avatar
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    Streets of Rage 2 was the first 16 meg game to be released outside of Japan. We did not know that Landstalker came first until Sega published their release dates list at their Archives website:

    http://archives.sega.jp/

    seems it recently got a facelift!? - oh wait, here it is: http://sega.jp/fb/segahard/md/
    Last edited by retrospiel; 11-17-2013 at 07:16 PM.
    The Mega Drive was far inferior to the NES in terms of diffusion rate and sales in the Japanese market, though there were ardent Sega users. But in the US and Europe, we knew Sega could challenge Nintendo. We aimed at dominating those markets, hiring experienced staff for our overseas department in Japan, and revitalising Sega of America and the ailing Virgin group in Europe.

    Then we set about developing killer games.

    - Hayao Nakayama, Mega Drive Collected Works (p. 17)

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    Outrunner robotscandance's Avatar
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    wow I didn't know SSF2 was a 40 meg cart. That's pretty cool.

    also the back of the S&K box says:

    "lock-on with sonic 3 and transform floating island into a huge 34 meg sonic epic..."

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    Nameless One Carnavas's Avatar
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    People please, I believe it's known as "mega power".

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    Raging in the Streets Aarzak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carnavas View Post
    People please, I believe it's known as "mega power".
    Ahem, MEGA POWER.

    Never knew that Slam Masters was 32 Meg. Capcom was the only Japanese third-party to break the de facto 24 MEGA POWER limit that Sega of Japan had imposed on Mega Drive games. I wonder why that was....perhaps they thought 32 MEGA POWER was too cost-prohibitive, or they were reserving such cart sizes for the 32X (which was barely supported by them anyways), U.S third-parties were the ones who made most use of the 32 MEGA POWER cart on the Genesis. I dunno. The SNES/SFC on the other hand had a healthy amount of 32 MEGA POWER carts released in both Japan and the U.S.

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    Master of Shinobi midnightrider's Avatar
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    Revolution X was actually '95.

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    VA1LT CHIP ENABLED Master of Shinobi OverDrone's Avatar
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    Star Control, did it release before Fushigi no Umi no Nadia? SC is also a 12 MEGA cartridge.

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    Updated first post. Star Control was out one month earlier than Nadia.

    Landstalker got translated to western languages in 1993 but still, japanese played it in 1992. SoR II is copyrighted also in 1992 but got out in january 1993 (Cool Spot is another example of this: made in 1993 but out in 1994).

    As for the Sonic & Knuckles size, if they had just made one big Sonic 3 (with Knuckles) game, it would have probably been 24 MEGA POWER tops, but with this lock-on thing, it's hard to state which size it is.

    I've seen other sources pointing that S&K is not 16 but 18 MEGA POWER (so that would explain the 34 MEGA POWER that is stated on the back of the case), but rom doesnt says so. Also Sonic 1 & Knuckles is a weird 20 MEGA POWER (like Panorama Cotton, but I am not sure that this is the true game size: maybe the rom is overdump but as there is no alternative, it is not labelled as such).

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    Lets breakdown this S&K cart together with <game> to see what's happening on the insides. I'm giving units in Bytes instead of bits, because bits, megs and shit is just bullshit.

    As you may know, inside the S&K cart there are 2 roms: 1x 2MB and 1x 256kB (nicknamed UPMEM). The 2MB rom is where the regular S&K game is in it's entirety. You could even remove the small rom, and the S&K would run fine. So what is this little rom for? This is a modified Sonic 2 engine stripped down of all art basically. But I'm gonna detail it later.

    So S&K alone: there's the 2MB rom active and an invisible 256kB rom. In this gamemode the binary is 2MBytes (the CPU can't reach the UPMEM).

    When locking S3: S3 is 2MBytes as well. When the 2 go together you get a the full S3&K game as it was imagined. There is little redundancy (less than 512kB) between the split games but in fact there is some:
    Some bits of code;
    Sonic Art (Both carts have it);
    Common Art and SFX: rings, monitors, starpoles, flickies, sega screen, text, etc
    Tiny bit of Knuckles Art (NPC Knux on S3, unneeded on S3&K because S&K has the full tileset);
    Leftovers of proto S&K levels on S3 rom, like music and very small stuff related to Flying battery / Mushroom valley / Lava reef

    Everything else from S3 cart is used: Tails, S3 level layouts, art and music, Competition mode, etc
    Locking the 2 games together yields the S&K rom at the bottom (0-2MB range) and the S3 at the top(2-4MB range) while the UPMEM is invisible, so it's a 4MB game for all intents and purposes.

    When locking S2 the UPMEM comes into play. The Base S&K ROM is used for Knux art (0-2MB), the sonic2 ROM (2-3MB) is used for level layouts, art and music and the UPMEM is where the 68k runs code from (3-3.25MB) (It's needed mainly because the data pointers are different now, as the S2 ROM has a different base address, but in reality it solves a few bugs on original S2 and obviously fetches Knux art).

    With S1 or anyother game there's nothing special happening, S&K maps the game in the 2MB+ area and reads it's serial number which is 16Bytes or so. From there it generates random get blue balls stages.


    These "34Mbits figures" is what happens if you add S&K, S3 and the UPMEM together, but the 3 are never active at the same time. At best you can consider S&K to be 2.25MBytes looking at the installed rom memory inside the cart.

  10. #10
    Master of Shinobi midnightrider's Avatar
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    On topic: ^Well, that's marketing for ya.

    Off topic-ish: S&K was such a genius idea(a way to implement expansion packs for cartridges), it's too bad they only came up with it so late in that generation. Can you imagine if other lock-on cartridges had been made? One more standard Shinobi game, that would add new features to the previous ones. If instead of just Streets of Rage 3, it was a lock-on that could add all the playable characters to the previous games. Hell, even something like Super Street Fighter 2 could have been the 4 extra characters, with the 4 boss characters to make it standalone, and then lock onto SF2 for the full cast. Same with UMK3. They could have probably kept Shiva and the animalities, or just even lock onto MK 2 to fight with the characters that didn't make it into MK3(barring how the art style differed between each sequel). The possibilities could have been tremendous.

  11. #11
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    Moito obrigado Jorge, that was very helpful.

    So, in short:

    - S&K contains an updated Sonic 2 engine (that would be REV02), only accessed when locked with S2, and is 2 MEGA POWER (its the S2 game minus its art)
    - S&K is 16 MEGA POWER alone (same goes for S3)
    - S2&K is therefore 26 MEGA POWER (actually the only game to be this size) but a lot could be removed (art from S&K except for Knuckles sprites?) and could be optimized to something like 9 MEGA POWER (8 - 2oldengine + 2neweng + 1art?)
    - S3&K is 32 MEGA POWER (the other 2 of the S2 engine are not even seen by the MD) but if we could remove the redundancies it could be optimized to be 28-29 MEGA POWER

  12. #12
    Hero of Algol
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    Quote Originally Posted by chilled View Post
    1988 first 2 & 4 meg games (Osomatsu-kun & Space Harrier II)
    Isn't Altered Beast the first Mega Drive game? It was 4 Mbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by chilled View Post
    There were only 18 maximum capacity games released
    Care to list them all, please?


    Quote Originally Posted by Aarzak View Post
    Never knew that Slam Masters was 32 Meg. Capcom was the only Japanese third-party to break the de facto 24 MEGA POWER limit that Sega of Japan had imposed on Mega Drive games. I wonder why that was....perhaps they thought 32 MEGA POWER was too cost-prohibitive, or they were reserving such cart sizes for the 32X (which was barely supported by them anyways), U.S third-parties were the ones who made most use of the 32 MEGA POWER cart on the Genesis. I dunno. The SNES/SFC on the other hand had a healthy amount of 32 MEGA POWER carts released in both Japan and the U.S.
    Actually Saturday Night Slam Masters was never published in Japan, so it doesn't break that rule, I think (it was probably the western divisions of Capcom which were responsible for publishing the game)...
    The Genesis version has several voice samples which are lacking in the SNES version and the two "bosses" playable in single player mode, thus why the bigger cart was used... But the sample playback quality is that Crapcom mess we know, the game runs in Genesis low res mode, lacks the awesome 4P mode of the SNES, has far worse entrance sequences for the fighters and lacks the judge in the ring as well (WTF?!)...

  13. #13
    I remain nonsequitur Shining Hero sheath's Avatar
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    The Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 ROM I have is 4MBytes (32 MEGA POWAH). When I downloaded it I thought I was told that the redundant assets were eliminated, but I guess not.
    "... If Sony reduced the price of the Playstation, Sega would have to follow suit in order to stay competitive, but Saturn's high manufacturing cost would then translate into huge losses for the company." p170 Revolutionaries at Sony.

    "We ... put Sega out of the hardware business ..." Peter Dille senior vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Isn't Altered Beast the first Mega Drive game? It was 4 Mbit.
    Care to list them all, please?
    Space Harrier II is one of the two launch games (in 1988), Altered Beast came later, packed-in with 1989 and 1990's Genesis and euro Megadrive launch, hence its undeserved popularity.

    Saturday Slammasters is crap. In fact most 32 meg games were, see the list:

    College Slam
    Duke Nukem 3D
    Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball
    Jurassic Park 2 - The Lost World
    Mortal Kombat 3
    NFL Quarterback Club 96
    Pocahontas
    Revolution X
    Saturday Night Slam Masters
    Sonic 3D Blast
    Toughman Contest
    Toy Story
    Triple Play '96
    Triple Play Gold
    Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
    Virtua Fighter 2
    WWF Wrestlemania Arcade
    X-perts

    I'm only keeping JP2, Sonic 3D, Toy Story and Pocahontas for my personal top 180. WWF can be kind of fun at times. The rest is utter shit. If I had to pick only one, it would be Toy Story, but doesnt mean it's that great. Most 24 MEGA POWER games are better than these.

    BW is there a limit to the bank switching technique used by SSF2 & Pier Solar? Could a 128 MEGA POWER game be done on cartridge? or a 512 one? or... 1 GIGA POWER???
    Last edited by chilled; 11-18-2013 at 11:44 AM.

  15. #15
    I remain nonsequitur Shining Hero sheath's Avatar
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    The only limit is the PCB size and how to fit that into a cartridge casing. You might end up with a tower of power or an evil black mushroom that half the forum loves to hate. I have also been told that there is no limit to how much individual sprites or backgrounds could be animated with the extra ROM even if it is banked.
    "... If Sony reduced the price of the Playstation, Sega would have to follow suit in order to stay competitive, but Saturn's high manufacturing cost would then translate into huge losses for the company." p170 Revolutionaries at Sony.

    "We ... put Sega out of the hardware business ..." Peter Dille senior vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment

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