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Thread: 2nd generation console discussion(Intellivision, Colecovision, 2600, Odyssey 2)

  1. #181
    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Guardian isn't that far ahead of say... ResQ on the Mega Drive, and certainly worse than Geograph Seal on the X68000. If such an overly powerful computer is not a fair comparison, than SoulStar on the Sega CD is something you're not finding on the CD32, but proper "6th" gen systems can easily replicate it. I would say the defining characteristic of the "6th" gen are texture mapped polygons.
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    Raging in the Streets Yharnamresident's Avatar
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    I found a ColecoVision/NES multiplat.

    NES:



    ColecoVision:



    This reminds me of NES vs Master System comparisons because its the exact same sound chips.
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    Road Rasher Loggo's Avatar
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    While the argument of splitting the 2nd gen into two generations has its merits, I don't feel that the "2.5 gen" consoles offer enough to justify themselves as a separate generation from the VCS.

    From my perspective, every generation of consoles is mainly characterized by two things:
    a) It offers a distinct "ballpark" of graphical fidelity (despite the idiosyncrasies of each system and the inevitable inequalities that may exist within a generation in terms of performance)
    b) But, more importantly, it has its own defining games that differentiate it from the preceding generation.

    When you think of the 3rd gen, you picture an X-style of graphics and games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Phantasy Star, Mega Man 2, Dragon's Trap, Contra etc. It's easy to separate it from the 2nd gen on both fronts. Similarly, when you think of the 4th gen, you picture a Y-style of graphics and games like Sonic, Super Metroid, Streets of Rage, Chrono Trigger, Rondo of Blood, Street Fighter II etc. Again, it's easy to separate it from the 3rd gen. Same goes for every single generation that followed.

    This just isn't the case with Gen 2.5 IMO, it just lacks an "identity" of its own to justify its separation from the VCS era. It's pretty telling that most of the defining console games of the early 80s/late 2nd gen (stuff like Pitfall, River Raid, Pitfall 2, HERO etc.) originated on the VCS. And while the graphics are better on the Intellivision/ColecoVision/5200 the difference feels more like going from Rayman 2 on the PS1 to Rayman 2 on the N64, or from the PS2 version of Splinter Cell to the Xbox version of Splinter Cell.

    From my point of view, the Intellivision and ColecoVision feel more like the N64/Xbox of Gen 2, with the 5200 being an upgrade similar to the PS4 Pro/Xbox One X. These systems provide the best way of experiencing Gen 2 games, but they don't really mark the beginning of a new era that has its own identity.

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    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Well like I said, from my perspective the 2.5D generation is the crash generation, so that might be why you find it to be lacking in so called defining games. Late Atari 2600 games like many of those you mentioned became big because more advanced games were not being developed at the time on newer consoles. The Atari had the biggest active userbase before the crash by far so it managed to retain some of its developers unlike the less established Colecovision.

    Still, even saying that, the biggest game in the US in the home in 1982 was Donkey Kong, and the 2600 version, unlike the Colecovision version, was awful. Miner 2049er was huge in the US in 1983, and again the 2600 version was heavily compromised in comparison to 5200/Colecovision.

    and if an optimised scrolling version of the Smurf's Game or something similar had come to the Intellivision in 1982 it could've blown away the competition. We might've had proper scrolling action games in large numbers on consoles much earlier if Mattel had gotten their act together and shown off their system's capabilities better.
    Last edited by Thenewguy; 11-30-2019 at 12:30 PM.

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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    The Intellevision needed larger carts. 8k wasn’t cutting it.

    ColecoVision could have survived, if Coleco didn’t bankrupt themselves by investing in the Adam computer.
    Last edited by gamevet; 11-30-2019 at 03:29 PM.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Loggo makes a good point on the style of games, but I still feel like it was a bit of a unique situation where the 2600 was just so huge everyone else played by its rules.

    Hardware wise the IV, CV and 5200 are a generation ahead, they're closer to the NES than they are to the 2600.

    The 2600 has 2 hardware sprites, 3 moving dots, and TWENTY fat pixels worth of background graphics. The CPU has to chase the video beam to accomplish anything. Sprites don't even have a true "X" position, they just have an offset, and the CPU has to trigger their drawing in the middle of a line. It is EXTREMELY primitive hardware.
    It was hardware explicitly designed to run Combat and little more than Combat, but could be repurposed for other purposes (and developers did amazing things with it).

    The Intellivision has 8 proper hardware sprites (and they can all be on the same line), tiled background graphics with 2 colors per tile, a pretty good soundchip (better than the CV or Master System), hardware scrolling and a 16bit CPU that doesn't have to waste time chasing the video beam. It can do NES style games even if they'll look a lot uglier. The 2600 cannot, and neither can the Channel F, Odyssey 2 or the Astrocade.

    EDIT: I mean, these are technically for the Atari 800, but all it has over the 5200 is RAM. Same CPU, same graphics, same audio. This is miles ahead of the 2600.



    Last edited by Kamahl; 11-30-2019 at 04:40 PM.
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    Raging in the Streets Yharnamresident's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loggo View Post
    And while the graphics are better on the Intellivision/ColecoVision/5200 the difference feels more like going from Rayman 2 on the PS1 to Rayman 2 on the N64, or from the PS2 version of Splinter Cell to the Xbox version of Splinter Cell.
    Bullshit. A lot of you guys really don't know what 2nd gen graphics really look like. Excuse my bluntness.

    Stuff like this(2600):



    Or this(Bally Astrocade):



    Or this(Channel F):



    So what do we see here in semi-technical terms? Single-colour sprites, way below 240p resolution, 2-5 frames of animation, single-screen gameplay.


    Now we move on to consoles with early 3rd gen hardware:

    ColecoVision:



    5200:



    Now we see multi-coloured sprites, native 240p or close to it, much more frame of animation, more sprites on screen, background music, etc.


    The point is, the ColecoVision/5200/SG-1000 are moderately below the NES, but they're much closer to the NES than to the Bally Astrocade/2600/Odyssey 2/Channel F. Which are the main 2nd gen consoles.

    Now the Intellivision is a mixed-bag. Its a 2nd gen console no doubt, but its so advanced that the ColecoVision/5200/SG-1000 don't represent a generational leap even though they're early 3rd gen hardware.


    The reality is, the ColecoVision and 5200 were killed before the 3rd gen started, so they're mostly filled with 2nd gen games. But if they stayed alive, we would've saw some ColecoVision-NES-5200 multiplats until like 1987. I would've loved playing Life Force on ColecoVision.
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    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Hardware capability wise, I would say the following are what set each generation apart from their predecessor.

    2nd gen: Programmable CPUs
    - RCA Studio II, Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Magnavox Odyssey 2, Bally Astrocade, Vectrex

    "2.5" gen: Multicolor tiled backgrounds. 4+ single color sprites on a single line.
    - Intellivision, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Sega SG-1000

    3rd gen: High resolution graphics. Multicolor sprites. Smooth scrolling. Music + SFX.
    - Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System

    4th gen: 4bit graphics. Large sprites that can cover the entire screen. Complex music and common PCM SFX. Parallax Scrolling.
    - NEC PC Engine, Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, SNK Neo Geo

    5th gen: Texture mapped polygons. Realistic sounding music and sound.
    - 3DO, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, Nintendo 64

    6th gen: Texture filtering. Smooth 3D models. Multi-texturing. 60 fps. Online play.
    - Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Microsoft Xbox


    EDIT: To qualify, a console must be able to accomplish all of the features in the list but not necessarily have the feature in hardware. E.g. the PC Engine can do pretty decent parallax but it doesn't have hardware parallax scrolling. The Dreamcast can just barely pull off multi-texturing.
    Last edited by Kamahl; 11-30-2019 at 06:02 PM.
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  9. #189
    Raging in the Streets Yharnamresident's Avatar
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    Lets talk about the RCA Studio II. Is the console too primitive for 2nd gen, even though it has a microprocessor and 512 byte RAM?:

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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yharnamresident View Post
    Now we move on to consoles with early 3rd gen hardware:

    ColecoVision:

    5200:

    Now we see multi-coloured sprites
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    "2.5" gen: Multicolor tiled backgrounds. 4+ single color sprites on a single line.
    - Intellivision, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Sega SG-1000

    3rd gen: High resolution graphics. Multicolor sprites. Smooth scrolling. Music + SFX.
    - Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System.
    I highlight this to point out that the Intellivision, SG-1000, and ColecoVision don't have multi-color sprites, so that if you see multiple colors in one character, it's because multiple sprites are being combined to make that character.

    The Intellivision has an interesting advantage over the SG-1000 and CV, in that all eight of its sprites can be displayed on the same scanline at the same time. (The SG-1000/CV hardware supports 32 sprites, but can only display four on a given scanline line.)

    And the Atari 2600 has an interesting advantage over the others, in that it can easily implement per-scanline color changes and have sprites with a theoretically unlimited number of colors (within the Atari 2600's 128-color palette), though with only one color per scanline. Not sure if the Atari 5200 can do the same thing, I've never been 100% clear on that, but from screenshots of 8-bit games like Alternate Reality -- not to mention the rainbow startup screen I grew up with -- it appears that it could.

    This is one of the reasons I don't like "console X is unequivocally better than console Y" equations, because it's always more complicated. Even the freakin' CD-i had something it did better than its peers, i.e. FMV.

    The Intellivision had lower resolution than the CV, but it also had hardware scrolling. The Odyssey˛ was able to push a lot of moving objects onscreen -- 12 at once, I believe -- which meant that it could occasionally do things that weren't possible on its competitors. The Astrocade had no sprite support at all, but had a blitter (or something like one), giving you as many moving objects as you wanted. And the Atari 2600 is terrible on paper but has incredible flexibility in certain ways, and under the right circumstances could push more onscreen colors than any of its peers.

    Everything involves a tradeoff, and the different tradeoffs made by different consoles are what make them interesting -- and difficult to meaningfully compare, except on a very specific, contingent, situation-by-situation basis. (Well, except the Studio II, I don't know anything that console did well. And maybe the Arcadia 2001 too: did that one have any unique strengths?)

    I find the ColecoVision/SG-1000 architecture to be the least interesting of the bunch, frankly, because that TMS9918 "look" is already available on the MSX, TI-99/4A, and so forth. For a TI-99/4A or MSX user, the CV can feel like a retread of those platforms, just as the 5200 probably feels pointless if you have an Atari 8-bit already.

    That said I played the CV a bit when it was on the market, and of course the bright, pretty graphics were enticing. (Too bad about the controllers, though.)

    BTW to address a point made earlier, the early Intellivision games were slow because the Intellivision EXEC restricted games to 20Hz. Once developers bypassed the EXEC and programmed their own routines for everything, then crisper, 60Hz gameplay became possible. The Intellivision never was an arcade powerhouse -- the controllers aren't a good fit for that, especially anything involving rapid fire -- but the 20Hz motion of the early Mattel games wasn't a hard limit, thankfully.
    Last edited by goldenband; 11-30-2019 at 10:28 PM.

  11. #191
    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    The RCA Studio 2 has no redeeming qualities. I'm guessing it was the cheapest? The Channel F is better than it in every way, the Studio 2 has no advantages over the Channel F what so ever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yharnamresident View Post
    Bullshit. A lot of you guys really don't know what 2nd gen graphics really look like. Excuse my bluntness.
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure most of the members on this board don't even remember what 70's arcade games looked like. Combat on the 2600 was pretty much Key Games Tank with added fights including planes. Night Driver was pretty much the same on the 2600, as it was in the arcade, minus the sticker for a hood emblem.


    The reality is, the ColecoVision and 5200 were killed before the 3rd gen started, so they're mostly filled with 2nd gen games. But if they stayed alive, we would've saw some ColecoVision-NES-5200 multiplats until like 1987. I would've loved playing Life Force on ColecoVision.
    I'd considered it a huge step up. Just seeing a decent version of Zaxxon on the CV blew my mind.

    The video hardware could have been updated with later revisions of the CV to remove that sprites per scan line flicker. Today, you can buy a replacement mod for the console that elimintates it.





    Coleco could have also used the expansion port to up the Colecovision's inter RAM. It makes it possible for the CV to run a much closer to arcade version of Donkey Kong, along with enhanced games with voice.

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    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
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    The Colecovision theoretically could have been upgraded in all kinds of ways and new software could have been developed that made use of it (you can't fix flicker in existing games), but you keep judging the Intellivision based on some its poorest software and ignore the Keyboard Component, Intellivoice, ECS and Tutorvision, which were all real bitd.

    The version of Intellivision III that actually existed in prototype form, which was backwards compatible, comparable to SMS/NES, has built-in Intellivoice and runs in Genesis resolution, would have been released in 1984 if the video game crash never happened. The Colecovision would have been obsolete either way long before imaginary revamps would have happened.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    Hardware capability wise, I would say the following are what set each generation apart from their predecessor.

    2nd gen: Programmable CPUs
    - RCA Studio II, Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Magnavox Odyssey 2, Bally Astrocade, Vectrex

    "2.5" gen: Multicolor tiled backgrounds. 4+ single color sprites on a single line.
    - Intellivision, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Sega SG-1000

    3rd gen: High resolution graphics. Multicolor sprites. Smooth scrolling. Music + SFX.
    - Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System

    4th gen: 4bit graphics. Large sprites that can cover the entire screen. Complex music and common PCM SFX. Parallax Scrolling.
    - NEC PC Engine, Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, SNK Neo Geo

    5th gen: Texture mapped polygons. Realistic sounding music and sound.
    - 3DO, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, Nintendo 64

    6th gen: Texture filtering. Smooth 3D models. Multi-texturing. 60 fps. Online play.
    - Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Microsoft Xbox


    EDIT: To qualify, a console must be able to accomplish all of the features in the list but not necessarily have the feature in hardware. E.g. the PC Engine can do pretty decent parallax but it doesn't have hardware parallax scrolling. The Dreamcast can just barely pull off multi-texturing.
    That looks right to me. After reading the book "Racing the Beam" I could never consider the 2600 in the same league as anything with real hardware sprites/tiles. The TIA chip is just so primitive. Even the Channel F had a framebuffer.

    The one that's iffy for me is the Turbografx, it came out a year before the Genesis and at the beginning looked a lot like an NES with more colors. It did get better games with time but if the Supergrafx had caught on I'd consider that more in line with the other 4th gen consoles in terms of RAM, multiple BG/sprite layers, 128 sprites on screen, etc. We only got to see a few games for it but I figure any console that can run a decent port of Ghouls 'n Ghosts at launch can probably handle most 16-bit platformers.

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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Tiger View Post
    The Colecovision theoretically could have been upgraded in all kinds of ways and new software could have been developed that made use of it (you can't fix flicker in existing games), but you keep judging the Intellivision based on some its poorest software and ignore the Keyboard Component, Intellivoice, ECS and Tutorvision, which were all real bitd.
    The F18a video upgrade fixed the flicker issues in all existing Colecovision games. It was a hardware issue that caused it. The F18a is a bit overkill, because it outputs RGB via VGA.

    My beef with the whole voice on Intellivision thing, is that you were passing it off as if it was being done with the native hardware and couldn't be done on the other consoles. Hell, the 2600 had a voice module too.

    Where are these games that I'm missing? I've seen a lot of this homebrew stuff for Intellivision and it still has a distinct Intellivision look to it, including Sydney Hunter and the Sacred Tribe.




    The version of Intellivision III that actually existed in prototype form, which was backwards compatible, comparable to SMS/NES, has built-in Intellivoice and runs in Genesis resolution, would have been released in 1984 if the video game crash never happened. The Colecovision would have been obsolete either way long before imaginary revamps would have happened.
    The Intellivision III is like the 7800. The 7800 is BC with the 2600 and also generates sound the same way as the 2600. Still, the 7800 is not an upgraded 2600 and neither was the Intellivision III just an upgraded Intellevision. It's not like you could just slide a module into the original Intellivision and turn it into an Intellivision III.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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