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View Poll Results: Did the SNES win the 16-bit console war?

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  • Yes, it outperformed the Genesis commercially.

    64 37.65%
  • No, Sega moved on to the Saturn.

    106 62.35%
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Thread: Did the SNES really win?

  1. #271
    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    Edit: moved my response here: http://sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13272&page=12
    As it pretty much reverted to the premise of that topic.


    Quote Originally Posted by kokujin View Post
    Besides Shmups, there's not much on the PSX that's good.SotN was good, wish the US got the Saturn version.
    Space combat sims, 3D platformers, sports games (generally speaking), racing games, vehicle combat games, railshooters, RPGs, etc, etc.
    And you had good arcade ports: not always up to Saturn spec, but good nonetheless. (including 2D fighters, shmups, run n' gun, etc)
    6 days older than SEGA Genesis
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

  2. #272
    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Not sure if this article's come up on here before or not, but I just ran into it and it seems to go into more detail about the crucial 1994 year

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...l+kombat&hl=en

    It says -

    "In February (1994) Sega saw its share of the 16-bit hardware market top 60%, While Nintendo's dropped to below 40. Sega estimates its share of that market at 54% for the first 9 months of 1994"

    "But Sega's share recently began to fall, 46% to Nintendo's 54% in the 3rd quarter"

    "Sega lost some business after Nintendo released several hot games, such as Super Metroid and Mortal Kombat II, its Donkey Kong Country is expected to be one of the biggest sellers this christmas.

    "Sega also didn't promote its products much during the traditionally slow summer"


  3. #273
    Outrunner roundwars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    In February (1994) Sega saw its share of the 16-bit hardware market top 60%, While Nintendo's dropped to below 40.
    Hmm, maybe the release of Sonic 3 had something to do with that. I still think they'd have gotten more milage out of it if they'd just pushed back the release by the necessary 8 months and released S3K as one game.

  4. #274
    Master of Shinobi Gentlegamer's Avatar
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    The Genesis lead a couple of quarters while the market was transitioning from NES to SNES.

    As for Sega "moving on" and that explaining the difference: Genesis had a two year head start on SNES to begin with, so it is "fair" to give SNES those extra quarters to "count" towards sales and market share.

    Fact: during the lives of the Genesis and SNES, SNES sold more, millions more. During the time when both were contending (92-95), SNES sold more, overcoming the two year head start of Genesis.

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    Outrunner roundwars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gentlegamer View Post
    The Genesis lead a couple of quarters while the market was transitioning from NES to SNES.

    As for Sega "moving on" and that explaining the difference: Genesis had a two year head start on SNES to begin with, so it is "fair" to give SNES those extra quarters to "count" towards sales and market share.

    Fact: during the lives of the Genesis and SNES, SNES sold more, millions more. During the time when both were contending (92-95), SNES sold more, overcoming the two year head start of Genesis.
    It did sell more, but not by much -- UNTIL the market shifted massively in Nintendo's favor after 1994. Also the Genesis had the lead for a lot more than "a couple of quarters" as the newspaper/magazine articles posted here show.

    By the end of 1994 the Genesis had sold 14 million units and the SNES had sold 15 million (and the sales the Genesis had prior to the SNES's release were a very small fraction of that). However, the total US sales of the two systems ended up being 24 million for SNES and 19 million for Genesis, giving the two systems 9 million and 5 million respectively in the post-1994 period. That's a pretty major shift.

    Also sales numbers don't really tell the whole story about which system was perceived to be "winning" at the time. For example, even when the Genesis's hardware numbers were slightly lower its total software sales were still higher (perhaps because it was popular with an older audience with more disposable income, or perhaps because the SNES had so many "big-name" games that soaked up most of the demand). And even when the Genesis had the lead, the SNES still had more new games coming out (though the Genesis still had more games total, because of its two-year lead).

  6. #276
    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    Not sure if this article's come up on here before or not, but I just ran into it and it seems to go into more detail about the crucial 1994 year

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...l+kombat&hl=en

    It says -

    "In February (1994) Sega saw its share of the 16-bit hardware market top 60%, While Nintendo's dropped to below 40. Sega estimates its share of that market at 54% for the first 9 months of 1994"

    "But Sega's share recently began to fall, 46% to Nintendo's 54% in the 3rd quarter"

    "Sega lost some business after Nintendo released several hot games, such as Super Metroid and Mortal Kombat II, its Donkey Kong Country is expected to be one of the biggest sellers this christmas.

    "Sega also didn't promote its products much during the traditionally slow summer"

    There's a lot of mixed info on that: Kent's UHoVG lists those same figures but implies them as profits or revenue figures, so it's really unclear.
    One HUGE problem is that "market share" while in the context of hardware sales normally applies to units sold, may also apply purely to revenue (but never to profits), so that's a big issue. (you could have volumes stay fairly steady and profit margins increase but revenue drop significantly due to dropping prices -profit margins would increase in spite of price drops with even greater drops in production costs)


    And wasn't Sega hyping the 32x during the Summer of 1994?


    As for MKII, remember that the Genesis version still outsold the SNES version by a significant margin. (albeit it did mark the point when NoA finally started to embrace the idea of using ratings rather than forcing all developers to censor their games as they started doing back in '87, though they shied away from using the VRC and didn't adopt a standard until the ESRB was established)





    Quote Originally Posted by Gentlegamer View Post
    Fact: during the lives of the Genesis and SNES, SNES sold more, millions more. During the time when both were contending (92-95), SNES sold more, overcoming the two year head start of Genesis.
    That's only in Japan; for the rest of the world the MD and Genesis almost certainly outsold the SNES by a fair margin. However, unlike Nintendo, Sega never released final sales figures, so we're forced to work off more vague numbers. And those numbers would have been higher had Sega not pulled away from the Genesis (somewhat with the 32x but mainly with the Saturn in late 1995) so you had declining sales that could have been stronger, and as it was they halted production in 1996 and ran out of hardware in 1997 when Majesco made their offer to continue marketing and managed to sell at least 2 million consoles from late 1997 though 1999.



    Quote Originally Posted by roundwars View Post
    By the end of 1994 the Genesis had sold 14 million units and the SNES had sold 15 million (and the sales the Genesis had prior to the SNES's release were a very small fraction of that). However, the total US sales of the two systems ended up being 24 million for SNES and 19 million for Genesis, giving the two systems 9 million and 5 million respectively in the post-1994 period. That's a pretty major shift.
    The 19 million figure is still vague, but at very least that's Sega's sales only (up to 1997), and Majesco added another 2+ million sales to that, so it's at least 21 million in the US alone. (not counting the X'Eye, Nomad, or CD-X which should total to well over a million -some claim 1 million for the Nomad alone, but that seems a bit high)

    Also sales numbers don't really tell the whole story about which system was perceived to be "winning" at the time. For example, even when the Genesis's hardware numbers were slightly lower its total software sales were still higher (perhaps because it was popular with an older audience with more disposable income, or perhaps because the SNES had so many "big-name" games that soaked up most of the demand). And even when the Genesis had the lead, the SNES still had more new games coming out (though the Genesis still had more games total, because of its two-year lead).
    Yes, and another thing skewing that was the SNES's group of a few games that sold really big (million plus) vs much more distributed sales for Sega. (plus Nintendo had the Japanese market heavily inflating those million sellers)

    And Sega artificially limited their late Genesis market by shifting resources away too soon: in part with the 32x, but much more due to the Saturn which hurt everything across the board when they went all-in in late 1995. (plus 32x sales would have really been part of the Genesis sales too, so the only drawback is if combined 32x sales+genesis software sales were lower than had they pushed for the genesis and/or CD alone)
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 10-06-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

  7. #277
    Outrunner roundwars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kool kitty89 View Post
    As for MKII, remember that the Genesis version still outsold the SNES version by a significant margin.
    Are you sure? I thought the first Mortal Kombat was the only one where the Genesis version outsold the SNES version.

  8. #278
    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kool kitty89 View Post
    There's a lot of mixed info on that: Kent's UHoVG lists those same figures but implies them as profits or revenue figures, so it's really unclear.
    One HUGE problem is that "market share" while in the context of hardware sales normally applies to units sold, may also apply purely to revenue (but never to profits), so that's a big issue. (you could have volumes stay fairly steady and profit margins increase but revenue drop significantly due to dropping prices -profit margins would increase in spite of price drops with even greater drops in production costs)
    I don't know why Sega would do that though, is that really common practice?

    the other source

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/artic...te-market.html

    said -

    "Sega accounted for 55% hardware 1994, and 55% software 1994"

    It goes on to say -

    "He added that his company estimates that it sold 23 million software units in 1994, while Nintendo sold 19 million units."

    23 million units out of a total of 42 would be 55% of units sold?

    Therefore the half of the sentence pertaining to software is probably talking about units, I don't see why he would be talking revenue for half the sentence, and software for the second half, so I would guess he's saying they had 55% of the 1994 hardware market in units.

    Its all very confusing though, I'm not sure why Sega would purposefully start quoting revenue as market share anyway unless they specifically wanted to confuse people (ie they sold fewer units, but wanted to make out they won)

    but If that was the case, then I don't get why Nintendo would go along with them

    "The company (Nintendo) did concede that Sega probably will finish the year with slightly higher hardware sales."

    If Sega were just talking about revenue, wouldn't Nintendo be better off bringing up their unit sales?

    I guess there's no real way of being definate, maybe its best just to look at "as of this date" sales figures, market share isn't really that important anyway and is too vague by the looks of things.

    Either way, Sega sold 4 million Genesis' in the US in 1994, so remember that number and if I run into a SNES figure we can just compare them.
    Last edited by Thenewguy; 10-06-2010 at 09:08 PM.

  9. #279
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    For me there was only one console in the 90s till Playstation hit the market - that being Sega Mega Drive. I come from Europe and SNES was hardly touching the commercial success of Sega's 16-bit wonder in these territories. I am so glad and proud of this.

    Great architecture, clever design, enough HW resources, optimized resolution of 320 pixels - much better than 256 wide....

    Sega says cheers to Europe and Europe says cheers to Sega!

  10. #280
    I DON'T LIKE POKEMON Hero of Algol j_factor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roundwars View Post
    It did sell more, but not by much -- UNTIL the market shifted massively in Nintendo's favor after 1994. Also the Genesis had the lead for a lot more than "a couple of quarters" as the newspaper/magazine articles posted here show.

    By the end of 1994 the Genesis had sold 14 million units and the SNES had sold 15 million (and the sales the Genesis had prior to the SNES's release were a very small fraction of that). However, the total US sales of the two systems ended up being 24 million for SNES and 19 million for Genesis, giving the two systems 9 million and 5 million respectively in the post-1994 period. That's a pretty major shift.
    I'm pretty sure that 24 million figure is for "Americas", not "North America". Nintendo's official numbers are for the former. In North America, it's approximately 20 million for SNES.


    You just can't handle my jawusumness responces.

  11. #281
    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    I'm pretty sure that 24 million figure is for "Americas", not "North America". Nintendo's official numbers are for the former. In North America, it's approximately 20 million for SNES.
    Right, I forgot about that tidbit.
    I was right in remembering that Sega outsold Nintendo in the US then, or rather the Genesis outsold the SNES, but not by Sega alone as Majesco moved on with it in 1997 and sold another 2 million to Sega's 19 million, and none of that includes the Nomad (supposedly 1 million), X'Eye, or CD-X. (and including south America would be a whole other story, especially if you included tectoy's sales)
    It's also not clear that the 19 million figure includes all of North America or just the US. (if so, that even more skewed with a notable amount of Canadian and even Mexican sales)










    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    I don't know why Sega would do that though, is that really common practice?
    Yes, they're all common practice depending on the context, but in terms of sheer hardware market, units are generally used, not revenue unless explicitly stated AFIK, but total market share may often apply to revenue especially if it's including software sales or sales for multiple platforms. (ie Nintendo's NES+SNES and possibly NES, though in any case of hardware or software being mentioned specifically -be it for multiple platforms or not- unit based figures are significant possibilities -but combining software and hardware tends to not make sense to do that for)

    I think Kent's book may be misinterpreting that data though, especially as it implies revenue at one point and profits at another. (I doubt profit was ever the figures stated, it was either revenue or units, nothing else makes sense)

    "Sega accounted for 55% hardware 1994, and 55% software 1994"

    It goes on to say -

    "He added that his company estimates that it sold 23 million software units in 1994, while Nintendo sold 19 million units."
    Is that only for Nintendo and Sega published software or all licensed publications as well?
    But anyway, yeah, that strongly implies units vs revenue.
    23 million units out of a total of 42 would be 55% of units sold?
    Yes, though that would also imply they're using a very limited metric and not including other companies with small but notable market shares. (or if they strictly limited it to the "16-bit market" you'd at least have NEC and the Sega CD impacting things significantly, unless CD sales are included in that 23 million)

    Therefore the half of the sentence pertaining to software is probably talking about units, I don't see why he would be talking revenue for half the sentence, and software for the second half, so I would guess he's saying they had 55% of the 1994 hardware market in units.
    Yeah, but Kent's figures (and his sources) weren't talking about market share at all, but the ENTIRE industry declining in terms of revenue starting to slip at the end of 1993 and very noticeably declining in 1994.
    However, that trend didn't fully turn around until the 5th gen was in full swing in 1997.
    It seems to imply that it was a very different case than the 8-bit market had been in 1990, but it very well be the exact same sort of thing. (market analysts were crying "saturation" and "decline" in that same manner then and that took over a year to shift with the 16-bit market -one major difference with the 5th gen was general high prices of consoles for the first couple years on the market)

    Basically I'm referring to this:
    McFerran then calls for a consideration of "the state of the market at the start of 1994." 17 The editor claims the 3DO and Jaguar caused "nervous glances ... from Sega and Nintendo" before asserting "16-bit games were beginning to look look terribly outdated." 18 The only observation McFerran offers on the actual state of the market in 1994 is that "something was certainly needed to keep the momentum going." 19 In reality the US game industry, which Sega as a company had become dependent on, had entered "a three-year slump in 1993" with Nintendo reporting twenty-four and thirty-two percent drops in profits the next two years respectively.20 According to Financial World's Kathleen Morrison though, Nintendo actually lost forty percent of its profits from 1992 to 1993 whereas Sega's earnings dropped sixty-four percent the same year.21 Citing NPD group data, along with some of the same articles above, journalist Steven Kent observes in his book The Ultimate History of Video Games that the US console market dropped by thirty-six percent in total revenue from 1993 to 1995. 22


    The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Trachtenberg observed in September of 1994 that Nintendo and Sega were preparing massive marketing budgets to battle for revenue that holiday season. The article features Sega's William White and Nintendo's Peter Main extolling their respective marketing and advertising plans before citing Michael Wallace, an analyst with UBS Securities. Wallace reported that the world wide industry was expected to "slip to $2.8 billion this year from $3 billion in 1993." 23 Wallace was also directly quoted as saying: "The market is saturated, because almost everyone who wants a video game has one," to which Trachtenberg summarized that Wallace considered 35 million "16-bit players" saturation for the US market. In response the article cited William White again, who stated that Sega expected the 32X to be on the market for three to five years and sell one million units by April 1995.24
    See: http://sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14038

    And a while ago here: http://sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?p=290163

    I still haven't gotten an answer on the source for Pimuigi's revenue figures. (if they can be confirmed, that would contradict all of Kent's statements)

    Its all very confusing though, I'm not sure why Sega would purposefully start quoting revenue as market share anyway unless they specifically wanted to confuse people (ie they sold fewer units, but wanted to make out they won)
    Yeah, i think I got mixed up on the context earlier, that was all market share being referenced and I misread it: Kent's quotes referred exclusively to total market decline and looking at internal figures dropping for Sega and Nintendo respectively, not addressing market share at all.

    So THAT was the argument behind Sega and Nintendo both having to do "something" to push through the slump, many analysts even seemed to criticize Nintendo for "milking old technology" by pushing for a new wave of SNES games in 1994, which seems ridiculous in hindsight. (just as pulling NES software support in the 1990-1993 period would have been)
    Even then it should have been clear that all popular game consoles could enjoy a long and healthy late period life as they shifted into the budget market. (the 2600 being the most extreme case, but the NES fully demonstrating that as well, and pretty much ANYTHING popular in the European market up to the mid 90s -8-bit computers lasting ridiculously long and somewhat similar occurring with the Amiga and ST while the Master System still being a notable budget option up to about 1995)

    If Sega were just talking about revenue, wouldn't Nintendo be better off bringing up their unit sales?
    Yeah, again, I misspoke and was thinking of a different context as I mentioned above... albeit in terms of Revenue I think Nintendo's figures would get a boost compared to units due to SNES hardware and software being generally more expensive, though conversely the NES (if included) would get deflated due to low cost.
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 10-07-2010 at 09:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

  12. #282
    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Why does nobody ever actually bring up Canada BTW? are Canadian videogame sales usually really low? does their market generally follow the US one or are their distict differences?

    I've run into one set of figures for Canada which states that the SNES had sold 500,000 up until Feb 6, 1993, the US was on like 7 million odd SNES' by then I believe.

  13. #283
    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    Why does nobody ever actually bring up Canada BTW? are Canadian videogame sales usually really low? does their market generally follow the US one or are their distict differences?

    I've run into one set of figures for Canada which states that the SNES had sold 500,000 up until Feb 6, 1993, the US was on like 7 million odd SNES' by then I believe.
    You mean in discussions or actual figures?

    I intentionally say North America when referring to that market rather than the US. (ie the 7800 figures are for the US alone)

    It's a small market compared to the US, but still significant, and given anecdotal accounts from several Canadian gamers, it seems Sega stuff is exceptionally common over there.
    MN12Bird also seems to find an unusually high amount of Master systems around his area too, not sure if that's indicative of anything or just his local area, but it's interesting for sure. (there's also the anecdote about his parents buying him a Master System instead of an NES like he wanted because his dad got convinced by an uncle that the SMS was going to be "the bigger thing" -they ended up trading it in for an NES )

    Edit:
    It's in this is the video: at 2:00
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-34hx-PJpPw
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 10-08-2010 at 08:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

  14. #284
    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Also, Canada seems to have gotten some later Master System games never released in the US.

    I hadn't realised a different company handled the Master System and early Mega Drive releases in Canada either, apparently their original Mega Drive games are European boxart with "Genesis" branding.

    It would be interesting to know what the Canadian popularity breakdown would be like compared to the US one, but I can't find much information on Canada at all.

  15. #285
    Hero of Algol kool kitty89's Avatar
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    And in terms of market share I forgot to mention this site I found several months ago:
    http://vidgame.info/vid1994.htm
    A nice compiled chonology without commentary and direct list of sources cited. (it even lists additional market data from different points of the year and even contrasts some with contradictory information -you can draw your own conclusions by the detail listed and reputability sources provided)

    For 1994's year it lists Nintendo at a 57% share (Microprocessor Report, May 30, 1995, Volume 9, Number 7) and the total game sales to be 40 million at the end of the year (which is fairly close to the 42 million figure you gave).
    However for that figure and others, it's not clear that it's units and not revenue and if it's hardware or software sales being listed for market share. I believe that without added context it's normally hardware unit sales, but even then it could very well be total sales, not just the 16-bit market as the NES was still selling in 1994, especially for the budget market. (remember the $50 NES2 wasn't even released until late 1993 and I remember it prominently displayed at Toys R' Us still in 1995)

    And that's also assuming the handheld market wasn't included, which would REALLY skew things with Nintendo. (and in general due to the lower cost and different market -and that's where units would really inflate things over revenue due to the lower prices and likelyhood of a family owning more than 1) A lot of Japanese composite market share charts seem to include handheld systems too. (and that one Japanese market share chart YT video does just that as well -with breakdowns of all the systems too, so you can at least interpret that correctly)
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Dude it’s the bios that marries the 16 bit and the 8 bit that makes it 24 bit. If SNK released their double speed bios revision SNK would have had the world’s first 48 bit machine, IDK how you keep ignoring this.
    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    the PCE, that system has no extra silicone for music, how many resources are used to make music and it has less sprites than the MD on screen at once but a larger sprite area?

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