Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80's?

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SIR'86
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by SIR'86 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:44 pm

juice wrote:Also, many developers were held to ridiculously tight deadlines (Pacman and E.T. being two prime examples; Ghostbusters is another) and as Merman has noted, at least in the UK, technical information for "home computer" porting ranged from little to none, so the game mechanics had to be reverse engineered by observing the arcade game in use. And even this was relatively uncommon; this month's Retrogamer has an article on the development of TMNT; the Spectrum/Amstrad developer had no technical information provided to him and was given just one day to play the arcade game; aside from this, all he had was a video tape of someone else playing the game!
I had direct experience of this. I knew a dev-team working on a CDi (don't laugh!) version of Namco classics, including Galaga. They were given some technical info about the games, but had to reverse-engineer the Galaga attack wave patterns by pausing the game and tracing them on the TV with a felt-tip pen! It was a very painstaking process.

I've also seen other devs work on arcade conversions, and if they're lucky they'd get an arcade cab to study, but they wouldn't get things like source code, or graphics dumps.

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MattyC64c
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by MattyC64c » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:51 pm

psj3809 wrote:But you obviously didnt have a computer in the early 80's but back then kids would also use their imagination, a cassette box featuring a barbarian slaying a dragon looked great, loaded up the game and the dragon was a character 'U' and the fighter might have been an 'X' ! But as kids you used your imagination, computers were new to all of us back then, despite as you put it 'pathetic looking games' and 'weedy software' the playability of these games were superb. Plus in those early years kids imaginations helped
I have to agree with imagination. Before I started reading games magazines like Zzap!64 from cover to cover in 1989, the main thing that would entice me to buy a game was the cover art. I would of course look on the reverse at the graphics, but it was the cover that would convince me to buy a game, at least it did when I was only 7 or 8 years old. Then when I played the game about 50% of the fun was my imagination running wild.

The pictures the OP posted can easily be explained by time. The first game is Final Fight, which came out on a new type of Capcom arcade hardware in 1989. The capcom hardware contained a 16-bit Motorola 68000 running at 10MHz. The other picture is a port running on the Commodore 64. By the time this game came out, the C64 is a very pretty dated machine. It only had a 8-bit MOS 6510 running at just under 1 Mhz, and a vic graphics chip that only has 16 colours. By comparison, the Capcom hardware is many orders of magnitude more powerful than the C64. It's true, the C64 port of Final Fight was poor, but the host hardware is also an important part of that failure.

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by kiwimike » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:00 pm

Nemesis wrote:
Jagfest_UK wrote:They were never going to be exactly the same because of screen resolutions and different monitor types, control schemes and most of all the fact arcade machines cost thousands to make.

This is why the Neo Geo was so bloody expensive, which was an actual arcade machine in the home (also released in the 80's)

If all home machines had used the spec of arcade machines nobody would have been able to afford them or any games to buy them. How many people did you know who had a Neo Geo growing up? :wink:
Yeah, I agree with that. The main & probably the most obvious point, was that arcade tech was much more pricey. Neo Geo being the case in point. As a manufacturer, you are never going to sell to the mass market in huge numbers, particulary when looking at the price of the Neo's carts. Of course that changed with the PSX era when companies such as Namco started to produce arcade games running on hardware pretty close in specs to Sony's baby. One, it was cheaper to produce the boards & two, it was easier to port over to the home console. A win win.
Win/win, or win/win/lose? The arcade owners may not have been massively thrilled perfect arcade ports went to the living rooms of the world :lol:

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theantmeister
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by theantmeister » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:45 pm

On the subject of imagination, there are some arcade ports that I could have sworn were arcade perfect, but actually, when you look at it, they aren't close. That's imagination for you.

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Riddler
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by Riddler » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:00 pm

Just hang on a minute!

Chiptune has a point. Sega for example were making consoles AND arcade games. So WHY the heck did they make an 8-bit machine to begin with when the technoloy WAS there to start with at least a 16-bit machine?

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thevulture
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by thevulture » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:18 pm

Riddler wrote:Just hang on a minute!

Chiptune has a point. Sega for example were making consoles AND arcade games. So WHY the heck did they make an 8-bit machine to begin with when the technoloy WAS there to start with at least a 16-bit machine?
Technology may well be there, but looking at current generation hardware might help shed some light-Kinect on 360, originally it was to have it's own onboard CPU and a higher resolution camera, than 1 currently in use, but camera was downgraded and onboards CPU removed.Why? cost cutting measures...MS wanted to get more profit from each unit sold, so lowered the specs.

There's also the issues of supply on higher tech components (only to look at say PS3 with Blu ray drive:Launch held back till avaiable stocks built up, or Apple with components for it's i-devices being made in Japan and production drastically down after the disaster that hit etc).

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by The Laird » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:19 pm

Riddler wrote:Just hang on a minute!

Chiptune has a point. Sega for example were making consoles AND arcade games. So WHY the heck did they make an 8-bit machine to begin with when the technoloy WAS there to start with at least a 16-bit machine?
Because as several have already pointed out, NOBODY would have been able to afford it.

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by thevulture » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:27 pm

As others said, you've really only too look at what the purpose of the 8 Bit hardware such as the ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, A8 range were back then.They were never intended to be dedicated gaming hardware as such (indeed CBM saw the C64 as a buisness machine initally, despite having specs designed for gaming:smooth scrolling, sprites, powerful sound chip etc, Sir Clive wanted the Speccy to be an affordable home micro and so forth).

If you look at the magazine adverts at the time, you'd see the hardware being promoted that mum and dad could do the home accounts on, kids could play games, learn to program on, create music, draw with etc.

Your arcade hardware was custom designed to draw punters in and keep them pumping in their 10p's, 20p's etc, keep the credit rolling in, so they could survive long enough to see what wonders the next level held graphically.

The Micro companies were out to get mass market sales, hardware had to be affordable.

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by Lettuce » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:28 pm

Well seeing as an arcade PCB probably cost in the region of £400 and a speccy £100 back in the day then obviously theres a cost factor there and your not going to get the same tech for a fraction of the price. Add to the equation that every arcade game had custom made PCB for said game to some degree, and so 1 computer would be hard pressed to recreate all these different PCB's in one computer.

And the obvious point that an arcade PCB was probably 10 times more advanced than a speccy or even an Amiga

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by Pixiu » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:32 pm

ChipTune wrote:...but would it really have been such a costly exercise to make a home console with the same specs as the arcade machines?
Short answer: Yes.

Longer (and more interesting) answer: See Juice's post on previous page.

The closest you'll get to what you're envisaging prior to the Neo Geo is the Sharp X68000 (released in '87, according to wikipedia) and the Fujitsu FM Towns (first released in '89).

Both those systems had upgrades/revisions, however, and probably the majority of their most notable arcade ports only appeared on later revisions. I don't know much about either system, really, but they certainly had some impressive ports.

To give you a taste, here's R-Type on X68000: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiTqEgL1chI

And here's Raiden on an FM Towns system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1EqSnld-Lw

edit: Here's a vid showing off a bunch of X68000 arcade ports: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI1tMeW2vaQ
Last edited by Pixiu on Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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thevulture
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by thevulture » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:34 pm

:lol: Also, if we're honest:Just how many of us convinced our parents to buy us a Speccy, C64, A8 etc as it'd 'help with our homework'?.

If we'd said: 'I want one of those as it's the same as the coin op i've been spending my dinner money on', would have recived a clip round the ear, that's for sure.

Also, even with advent of more powerful custom chips, say MCD, Snes, Atari Lynx, i assume they were still out performed by say Sega's dedicated sprite scaling hardware used in coin op's like Galaxy Force, Outrun, Powerdrift, Afterburner etc.Seemed to me it took advent of 32 Bit era with Saturn, 32X and RISC based processors to really start to match it, as far as home hardware went.

Guess you've also to look at say the Snes, even with powerful sprite abilites, it came at 'cost' of slow CPU and was designed very much for shifting sprites, for polygon 3D stuff, it (and MD) needed add.DSP chips to handle the maths involved, so they were manufactured to be as cost effictive as they could.

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by Pixiu » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:45 pm

Riddler wrote:Just hang on a minute!

Chiptune has a point. Sega for example were making consoles AND arcade games. So WHY the heck did they make an 8-bit machine to begin with when the technoloy WAS there to start with at least a 16-bit machine?
Hang on a minute! Nissan makes performance cars AND shitboxes. So WHY the heck did they make the Nissan Micra when the technology WAS there to make it a GT-R?

:wink:
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by DreamcastRIP » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:48 pm

Pixiu wrote:
Riddler wrote:Just hang on a minute!

Chiptune has a point. Sega for example were making consoles AND arcade games. So WHY the heck did they make an 8-bit machine to begin with when the technoloy WAS there to start with at least a 16-bit machine?
Hang on a minute! Nissan make performance cars AND shitboxes. So WHY the heck did they make the Nissan Micra when the technology WAS there to make it a GT-R?

:wink:
More people bought a Nissan Micra than a GT-R so the Micra MUST be the better car, right? :wink: :lol:
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thevulture
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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by thevulture » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:54 pm

:lol: NASA had the technology for the Space Shuttle...yet what is used to launch so much into space these days by Russia etc? Good old fashioned rockets.

What happened to Concorde? Technology was there for faster flights...

But thing that i'm wondering:

When i see threads boasting of 100 Meg broadband, why am i getting less than 3, when paying for 8 Meg line.After all, technology clearly there...

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Re: Why weren't Arcade quality games in homes during the 80'

Post by Sixteen Plus » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:24 pm

We had the Colecovision which was released in 82. Near arcade perfect quality which made every other console at that time look like ridiculous baby toys. I think the reason for it's early demise were the retail price of the game cartridges, wasn't they starting around the £50 mark upwards?

I didn't know anybody who had one, it would have been a fantastic console to own at the time.

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