Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nintendo 64



The Nintendo 64 (ニンテンドウ64, Nintendō Roku Jū Yon?, NINTENDO64), often abbreviated as N64, is Nintendo's third home video game console for the international market. Named for its 64-bit CPU, it was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North America, March 1, 1997 in Europe and Australia, September 1, 1997 in France and December 10, 1997 in Brazil. It is Nintendo's last home console to use cartridges to store games (Nintendo switched to a MiniDVD-based format for the Nintendo GameCube, then to standard DVD-sized discs for the Wii).

The N64 was released with two launch games, Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64, and a third in Japan, Saikyō Habu Shōgi. The N64's suggested retail price was US$199 at its launch and it was later marketed with the slogan "Get N, or get Out!".[4] The N64 sold 32.93 million units worldwide. The Nintendo 64 was released in at least eight variants with different colors and sizes. An assortment of limited edition controllers were sold or used as contest prizes during the N64's lifespan.

Of the consoles in the fifth generation, the Nintendo 64 was the most technologically-advanced in many aspects; however, the hardware had limitations, such as limited space—a cartridge had only a fraction of the capacity of the CD format used in competing consoles. Another technical drawback was its limited texture cache, which could only hold textures of small dimensions and reduced color depth, which had to be stretched to cover larger in-game surfaces. This resulted in blurry visuals for much of the N64's game library.

History

Nintendo 64 was the culmination of work by Nintendo, Silicon Graphics (SGI) and MIPS Technologies. The SGI-based system design that ended up in the Nintendo 64 was originally offered to Tom Kalinske, then CEO of Sega of America, by James H. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics. SGI had recently purchased MIPS Technologies and the two companies had worked together to create a low-cost CPU/3D GPU combination that they thought would be useful for consoles. A hardware team from Sega of Japan evaluated the chip's capabilities and they found faults, which MIPS subsequently solved; however, Sega of Japan ultimately decided against SGI's design.

In the early stages of development, the Nintendo 64 was referred to by the code name "Project Reality". This moniker came from the speculation within Nintendo that the console could produce CGI on par with then-current supercomputers. In 1994, the console was given the name Nintendo Ultra 64 in the West. The console's design was shown for the first time in late Spring 1994. The first picture of the console ever shown featured the Nintendo Ultra 64 logo and showed a ROM cartridge, but no controller. The final console was identical to this, but with a different logo. When the system, together with the controller, was fully unveiled in a playable form to the public on November 24, 1995 at the 7th Annual Shoshinkai Software Exhibition in Japan, the console was introduced as the "Nintendo 64" in Japan, contrary to speculation that it would be called "Ultra Famicom". Photos of the event were disseminated on the web by Game Zero magazine two days later. Official coverage by Nintendo followed later via the Nintendo Power website and print magazine.

During this stage of development, two companies, Rareware (UK) and Midway (USA), created the arcade games Killer Instinct and Cruis'n USA, which claimed to use the Ultra 64 hardware. Each game had vastly different hardware, although Killer Instinct did use a MIPS R4600 CPU. Killer Instinct was the most advanced game of its time graphically, featuring pre-rendered movie backgrounds that were streamed off the hard drive and animated as the characters moved horizontally.

In February 1996, Nintendo of America announced a delay of Nintendo Ultra 64 until September 1996 in North America. It was also announced that Nintendo had adopted a new global branding strategy, calling the console Nintendo 64 everywhere. Nintendo dropped "Ultra" from the name on May 1, 1996, months before its Japanese debut, because the word "Ultra" was trademarked by another company, Konami, for its Ultra Games division. Despite the name change, the official prefix for the Nintendo 64's model numbering scheme is "NUS-", a reference to the system's original name, "Nintendo Ultra Sixty-Four". The console was finally released in Japan on June 23, 1996, but the PAL introduction was further delayed, finally being released in Europe on March 1, 1997.

Sales

The North American version officially launched on September 29, 1996 with 500,000 Nintendo 64 units sold in the first four months. Benimaru Itoh, a developer for EarthBound 64 and friend of Shigeru Miyamoto, speculated in 1997 that the N64's lower popularity in Japan was due to the lack of role-playing video games.[15] As of March 31, 2005, the N64 had sold 5.54 million units in Japan, 20.63 million in the Americas, and 6.75 million in other regions, for a total of 32.93 million units.

The system was frequently marketed as the world's first 64-bit gaming system. A few years prior, though, Atari had claimed to have made the first 64-bit game console with their Atari Jaguar. However, the Jaguar actually only used a 64-bit RISC architecture "Object Processor" and a 64-bit RISC "Blitter" in conjunction with two 32-bit processors and a 16-bit Motorola 68000.

Hardware

The controller included with the Nintendo 64 has one analog stick, two shoulder buttons, one digital cross pad, six face buttons, a "Start" button and a digital trigger (Z).

Central processing unit

The Nintendo 64's central processing unit (CPU) is a MIPS R4300i-based NEC VR4300. The CPU is 64-bit with a core clock speed of 93.75 MHz. It is connected to the rest of the system through a 32-bit data bus. VR4300 is a RISC 5-stage scalar in-order execution processor with an integrated floating point unit. This was by far the most powerful CPU used in a game console of its generation; however, the cost-reduced NEC VR4300 CPU used in the console has a 32-bit system bus whereas more powerful MIPS CPUs are equipped with a 64-bit system bus. Many games took advantage of the chip's 32-bit processing mode as the greater data precision available with 64-bit data types is not typically required by 3D games. Also 64-bit data uses twice as much RAM, cache, and bandwidth, thereby reducing the overall system performance. This was later taken advantage of by emulators such as UltraHLE and Project64, which had to run on 32-bit PC systems. These emulators performed most calculations at 32-bit precision, and trapped the few OS subroutines that actually made use of 64-bit instructions.

The CPU has an internal 32 KB L1 cache, but no L2 cache. It was built by NEC on a 0.35 µm process and consists of 4.6 million transistors. The CPU is cooled passively by an aluminum heatspreader that makes contact with a steel heat sink above.

[edit] Reality Co-Processor

The Nintendo 64's graphics and audio duties are performed by the 64-bit SGI coprocessor, named the "Reality Co-Processor". The RCP is a 62.5 MHz chip split internally into two major components, the "Reality Signal Processor" (RSP) and the "Reality Display Processor" (RDP), also called the "Reality Drawing Processor". Each area communicates with the other by way of a 128-bit internal data bus that provides 1.0 GB/s bandwidth. The RSP is a MIPS R4000-based 8-bit integer vector processor which performs all 3D manipulations and audio functions.

The RSP was programmable through microcode (µcode). By altering the microcode run on the device, it could perform different operations, create new effects, and be better tuned for speed or quality; however, Nintendo was unwilling to share the microcode tools with developers until the end of the Nintendo 64's life-cycle. Programming RSP microcode was said to be quite difficult because the Nintendo 64 µcode tools were very basic, with no debugger and poor documentation. As a result, it was very easy to make mistakes that would be hard to track down; mistakes that could cause seemingly random bugs or glitches. Some developers noted that the default SGI microcode ("Fast3D") was actually quite poorly profiled for use in games (it was too accurate), and performance suffered as a result. Several companies were able to create custom microcode programs that ran their software far better than SGI's generic software, such as Factor 5, Boss Game Studios, and Rare.

Two of the SGI microcodes

* Fast3D microcode: < ~100,000 high accuracy polygons per second.
* Turbo3D microcode: 500,000–600,000 normal accuracy polygons per second.

The RSP also frequently performs audio functions (although the CPU can be tasked with this as well). It can play back most types of audio (dependent on software codecs) including uncompressed PCM, MP3, MIDI, and tracker music. The RSP is capable of a maximum of 100 channels of PCM at a time, but this is with 100% system utilization for audio. It has a maximum sampling rate of 48 kHz with 16-bit audio; however, storage limitations caused by the cartridge format limited audio size (and thus quality).

The RDP is the machine's rasterizer and performs the bulk of actual image creation before output to the display. Nintendo 64 has a maximum color depth of 16.8 million colors (32,768 on-screen) and can display resolutions of 256 × 224, 320 × 240 and 640 × 480 pixels. The RCP also provides the CPU's access to main system memory via a 250 MB/s bus. Unfortunately, this link does not allow direct memory access for the CPU. The RCP, like the CPU, is passively cooled by an aluminum heatspreader that makes contact with a steel heat sink above.

[edit] Memory

The final major component in the system is the memory, also known as RAM. The Nintendo 64 was the first console to implement a unified memory subsystem, instead of having separate banks of memory for CPU, audio, and video, for example. The memory itself consists of 4 megabyte of RAMBUS RDRAM (expandable to 8 MB with the Expansion Pak) with a 9-bit data bus at 500 MHz providing the system with 562.5 MB/s peak bandwidth. RAMBUS was quite new at the time and offered Nintendo a way to provide a large amount of bandwidth for a relatively low cost. The narrow bus makes board design easier and cheaper than the higher width data buses required for high bandwidth out of slower-clocked RAM types (such as VRAM or EDO DRAM); however, RDRAM, at the time, came with a very high access latency, and this caused grief for the game developers because of limited hardware performance.

[edit] Video

The system provides both composite video and S-video through the MULTI-OUT connection on the back. The MULTI-OUT connector was also used on the earlier SNES and later GameCube consoles; however, the Nintendo 64 removed certain pin connections for providing RGB video, despite having the capability built-in. A composite cable was available for purchase from Nintendo of America. This cable was also compatible with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In the United Kingdom, the N64 was instead shipped with a coaxial adapter and cable, but was still fully compatible with the other connectors.

Hardware color variations

The standard Nintendo 64 is a dark gray, nearly black, and the controller is light gray. A Jungle Green colored console was first available with the Donkey Kong 64 bundle. The Funtastic Series used brightly-colored, translucent plastic with six colors: Fire Orange, Grape Purple, Ice Blue, Jungle Green, Smoke Grey, and Watermelon Red. Nintendo released a banana-like Nintendo 64 controller for the debut of Donkey Kong 64 in the United States. The Millennium 2000 controller, available exclusively as part of a Nintendo Power promotional contest in the United States, was a silver controller with black buttons. A gold controller was released in a contest by Nintendo Power magazine as part of a drawing. In late 1997 through 1998, a few gold Nintendo 64 controller packages were released worldwide; in the United Kingdom there was a limited edition GoldenEye 007 console pack which came with a standard gray console and a copy of GoldenEye. Also, a limited edition gold controller with a standard gray console were released in Australia and New Zealand in early 1998, endorsed by an advertising campaign which featured footage of N64 games including Top Gear Rally and ended with Australian swimmer Michael Klim wearing the gold controller as a medal around his neck. Nintendo released a gold controller for the debut of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in Japan. Soon after, bundle packs of the game, controller, and gold Nintendo 64 were released for the US and PAL markets. The Pokémon Edition Nintendo 64, with a Pokémon sticker on the left side, included the "Pokémon: I Choose You" video. The Pokémon Pikachu Nintendo 64 had a large, yellow Pikachu model on a blue Nintendo 64. It has a different footprint than the standard Nintendo 64 console, and the Expansion Pak port is covered. It also shipped with a blue Pokémon controller; orange in Japan. A Limited Edition Star Wars bundle, available during the time of the release of the film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came bundled with Star Wars: Episode I Racer and a standard gray console.

The majority of Nintendo 64 game cartridges were gray in color; however, some games were released on a colored cartridge. Fourteen games had black cartridges, while other colors (such as green, blue, red, yellow, and gold) were each used for six or fewer games. Several games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were released both in standard gray and in colored, limited edition versions.

Accessories

Programming difficulties

The Nintendo 64 had weaknesses that were caused by a combination of oversight on the part of the hardware designers, limitations on 3D technology of the time, and manufacturing capabilities. One major flaw was the limited texture cache of only 4 KB. This made it extremely difficult to load anything but small, low color depth textures into the rendering engine. This small texture limitation caused blurring due to developers stretching small textures to cover a surface, and then the console's bilinear filtering would blur them further. To make matters worse, due to the design of the renderer, if mipmapping was used, the texture cache was effectively halved to 2 KB. Towards the end of Nintendo 64's lifetime, creative developers managed to use tricks, such as multi-layered texturing and heavily-clamped, small texture pieces, to simulate larger textures. Conker's Bad Fur Day is possibly the best example of this ingenuity. Games would often also use plain colored Gouraud shading instead of texturing on certain surfaces, especially in games with themes not targeting realism (e.g., Super Mario 64).

There were other challenges for developers to work around. Z-buffering significantly crippled the RDP's fill rate. Thus, for maximum performance, managing the z-depth of objects was put on the programmer instead of the hardware. Z-depth is essential as it makes objects appear in the correct order rather than on top of each other. Most Nintendo 64 games were actually fill-rate limited, not geometry limited, which is ironic considering the great concern for the Nintendo 64's low polygon per second rating of only about 100,000; however, some of the most polygon-intense Nintendo 64 games, such as World Driver Championship, would frequently push past the Sony PlayStation's typical in-game polygon counts.

The unified memory subsystem of Nintendo 64 was another critical weakness for the machine. The RDRAM had very high access latency, which nearly negated its high bandwidth advantage. In addition, game developers commented that the Nintendo 64's memory controller setup was poor. The R4300 CPU was severely limited at memory access since it had to go through the RCP to access main memory, and could not use DMA to do so.

One of the best examples of custom microcode on the Nintendo 64 was Factor 5's N64 port of the Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine PC game. The Factor 5 team aimed for the high resolution mode (640×480) because of the crispness it added to the visuals. The machine was taxed to the limit running at 640×480, so they needed performance beyond the standard SGI microcode. The Z-buffer could not be used because it alone consumed the already-constrained texture fillrate. To work around the 4 KB texture cache, the programmers came up with custom texture formats and tools to let the artists use the best possible textures. Each texture was analyzed and fitted to best texture format for performance and quality. They took advantage of the cartridge as a texture streaming source to squeeze as much detail as possible into each environment and work around RAM limitations. They wrote microcode for real-time lighting, since the SGI code was poor for this task and they wanted to have even more lighting than the PC version had used. Factor 5's microcode allowed almost unlimited real-time lighting and significantly boosted the polygon count. In the end, the game was more feature-filled than the PC version, and unsurprisingly, was one of the most advanced games for Nintendo 64.

Factor 5 also showed ingenuity with their Star Wars games such as Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and Star Wars: Battle for Naboo, in which their team again used custom microcode. In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron the team tweaked the microcode for a landscape engine to create the alien worlds. For Star Wars: Battle for Naboo they took what they learned from Rogue Squadron and pushed the machine even further to make the game run at 640×480, also implementing enhancements for both particles and the landscape engine. Battle for Naboo enjoyed an impressive draw distance and large amounts of snow and rain, even with the high resolution.

Cartridges

Nintendo 64 games were ROM cartridge based. Cartridge size varied[54] from 4 MB (32 Mbit) (e.g. Automobili Lamborghini and Dr. Mario 64) to 64 MB (512 Mbit) for Resident Evil 2 and Conker's Bad Fur Day. Some of the cartridges included internal EEPROM or battery-backed-up RAM for saved game storage. Otherwise, game saves were put onto a separate memory card, marketed by Nintendo as a Controller Pak.

The selection of the cartridge for the Nintendo 64 was a key factor in Nintendo's being unable to retain its dominant position in the gaming market. Most of the cartridge's advantages did not manifest themselves prominently and they were nullified by the cartridge's shortcomings, which turned off customers and developers alike. Especially for the latter, it was costly and difficult to develop for ROM cartridges, as their limited storage capacity constrained the game's content.

Most third-party developers switched to the PlayStation, such as Square and Enix, whose Final Fantasy VII and Dragon Quest VII were initially pre-planned for the N64, while some who remained released fewer games to the Nintendo 64. Konami was the biggest example of this, releasing only thirteen N64 games but more than fifty on the PlayStation. New Nintendo 64 game releases were few and far between while new games were coming out rapidly for the PlayStation. Most of the N64's biggest successes were developed by either Nintendo itself or by second-parties of Nintendo, such as Rareware.

Despite the difficulties with third-parties, the N64 still managed to support popular games such as GoldenEye 007 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, giving it a long shelf-life. Much of this success was credited to Nintendo's strong first-party franchises, such as Mario and Zelda, which had strong name brand appeal, yet appeared exclusively on Nintendo platforms. The N64 also secured its share of the mature audience, due to GoldenEye 007, Nightmare Creatures, Perfect Dark, Doom 64, Resident Evil 2, Shadow Man, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Duke Nukem 64, Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, Mortal Kombat 4, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, and Quake II.

Nintendo cited several advantages for making the N64 cartridge-based. Primarily cited was the ROM cartridges' very fast load times in comparison to disc-based games, as contemporary CD-ROM drives rarely had speeds above 4×. This can be observed from the loading screens that appear in many PlayStation games but are typically non-existent in N64 versions. ROM carts were so much faster than the 2x CD-ROM drives in other consoles that developers could stream data in real-time off them. This was done in Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, for example, to make the most of the limited RAM in the N64. Also, ROM cartridges are difficult and expensive to duplicate, thus resisting piracy, albeit at the expense of lowered profit margin for Nintendo. While unauthorized interface devices for the PC were later developed, these devices are rare when compared to a regular CD drive and popular mod chips used on the PlayStation. Compared to the N64, piracy was rampant on the PlayStation. The cartridges are also far more durable than compact discs, the latter which must be carefully used and stored in protective cases. It also prevents accidental scratches and subsequent read errors. It is possible to add specialized I/O hardware and support chips (such as co-processors) to ROM cartridges, as was done on some SNES games (including Star Fox, using the Super FX chip).

ROM cartridges also have disadvantages associated with them. While game cartridges are more resistant than CDs to physical damage, they are sometimes less resistant to long-term environmental damage, particularly oxidation or wear of their electrical contacts causing a blank or frozen screen, or static electricity. Console cartridges are usually larger and heavier than optical discs, requiring greater storage space. They also have a more complex manufacturing processes; cardridge-based games were usually more expensive to manufacture than their optical counterparts. The cartridges held a maximum of 64 MB of data, whereas CDs held over 650 MB. As fifth generation games became more complex in content, sound, and graphics, it pushed cartridges to the limits of their storage capacity. Games ported from other media had to use data compression or reduced content to be released on the N64. Extremely large games could be made to span across multiple discs on CD-based systems, while cartridge games had to be contained within one unit since using an additional cartridge was prohibitively expensive (and was never tried). Due to the cartridge's space limitations, full motion video was not usually feasible for use in cut-scenes. The cut-scenes of some other games used graphics generated by the CPU in real-time.

Graphics

Graphically, results of the Nintendo cartridge system were mixed. The N64's graphics chip was capable of trilinear filtering, which allowed textures to look very smooth compared to the Sega Saturn or the PlayStation. This was due to latter two using nearest neighbor interpolation, resulting in textures that were pixelated.

However, the smaller storage size of ROM cartridges limited the number of available textures, resulting in games that had blurry graphics. This was caused by the liberal use of stretched, low-resolution textures, and was compounded by the N64's 4096-byte limit[68] on a single texture. Some games, such as Super Mario 64, use a large amount of Gouraud shading or very simple textures to produce a cartoon-like image. This fit the themes of many games, and allowed this style of imagery a sharp look. Cartridges for some later games, such as Resident Evil 2 and Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Earth, featured more ROM space, allowing for more detailed graphics.

Production

This era's competing systems from Sony and Sega (the PlayStation and Saturn, respectively) used CD-ROM discs to store their games. These discs are much cheaper to manufacture and distribute, resulting in lower costs to third-party game publishers. As a result, game developers who had traditionally supported Nintendo game consoles were now developing games for the competition because of the higher profit margins found on CD-based platforms.

Cartridges took longer to manufacture than CDs, with each production run (from order to delivery) taking two weeks or more. By contrast, extra copies of a CD based game could be ordered with a lead time of a few days. This meant that publishers of N64 titles had to attempt to predict demand for a game ahead of its release. They risked being left with a surplus of expensive cartridges for a failed game or a weeks-long shortage of product if they underestimated a game's popularity.

The cost of producing an N64 cartridge was far higher than producing a CD. Publishers had to pass these higher expenses to the consumer and as a result, N64 games tended to sell for higher prices than PlayStation games. While most PlayStation games rarely exceeded $50, N64 titles could reach $79.99, such as the first pressing of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Sony's line of PlayStation Greatest Hits retailed for $19.95 each, while Nintendo's Player's Choice value line had an MSRP of $39.95. In the United Kingdom, prices around the time of introduction for N64 cartridges were £54.95, and PlayStation games at £44.95 for new titles.

[edit] Cartridge-copy counter-measures

Each Nintendo 64 cartridge contains a lockout chip (similar to the 10NES) to prevent manufacturers from creating unauthorized copies of games and discourage production of unlicensed games. Unlike previous versions, the N64 lockout chip contains a seed value which is used to calculate a checksum of the game's boot code. To discourage playing of copied games by piggybacking on a real cartridge, Nintendo produced five different versions of the chip. During the boot process, and occasionally while the game is running, the N64 computes the checksum of the boot code and verify it with the lockout chip in the game cartridge, failing to boot if the check fails.

[edit] Games

See also: List of Nintendo 64 games and Player's Choice

The Nintendo 64 game library included a number of critically acclaimed and widely sold games. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was critically acclaimed on release and has led many polls for best game ever. Super Mario 64 was the system's best selling title (selling over eleven million copies) and also received praise from critics. Marc Russo quoted The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as one of the greatest games of all time, and, in his words, remains "to this day . . . the finest game I've ever played across any platform or genre." Its release was exclusive to the Nintendo 64.

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Dreamcast



The Dreamcast (ドリームキャスト, Dorīmukyasuto?, code-named White Belt, Black Belt, Dural, Dricas, "J-Dubuah",Vortex, Katana, Shark, and Guppy during development) is a video game console made by Sega, and is the successor to the Sega Saturn. An attempt to recapture the console market with a next-generation system, it was designed to supersede the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Originally released sixteen months before the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and three years before the Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox, the Dreamcast is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles. Dreamcast was widely hailed as ahead of its time, and is still held in high regard for pioneering online console gaming.[4][5] Sega discontinued the Dreamcast in March 2001, and withdrew entirely from the console hardware business; however, support continued in Japan where consoles were still sold until 2006 and new licensed games were still being made by companies of the arcade market until 2007.


In 1997, the Saturn was struggling in North America, and Sega of America presid
ent Bernie Stolar pressed for Sega's Japanese headquarters to develop a new platform which eventually became the Dreamcast. At the 1997 E3, Stolar made public his opinion on the Saturn with his comment, "The Saturn is not our future" and referred to the doomed console as "the Denzel".

Design


When the time came to design the successor to the Sega Saturn, the new President of Sega, Shoichiro Irimajiri, took the unusual step of hiring an outsider, Tatsuo Yamamoto from IBM Austin, to head a "skunkworks" group to develop the next-generation console. It soon became apparent that the existing Japanese hardware group led by Hideki Sato did not want to relinquish control of the hardware department, bringing rise to two competing designs led by two different groups.

The Japanese group led by Hideki Sato settled on an Hitachi SH4 processor w
ith a PowerVR2 graphics chip developed by VideoLogic (now Imagination Technologies) and manufactured by NEC. This was originally codenamed "White Belt". The first Japanese prototype boards were silkscreened "Guppy", and the later ones "Katana".

The U.S. skunk works group (11 people in a secret suite away from the Sega of America headquarters) led by Tatsuo Yamamoto sett
led on a Hitachi SH4 processor with a custom 3dfx Voodoo 2 or Voodoo Banshee graphics chip, which was originally codenamed "Black Belt". After evaluating other contemporary RISC architectures from companies such as Intel, MIPS Technologies, ARM Limited, the team selected the SH4 due to its vector floating point unit's class leading processing capabilities. The first U.S. prototype boards were silkscreened "Shark" and later "Dural" (whose name was taken from the shiny character from Sega's own Virtua Fighter series). An alpha version of the board was delivered to Sega-AM2 for evaluation purposes.

When 3dfx declared its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in April 1997, it revealed ever
y detail of the contract with Sega. Sega had been keeping the development of its next-generation console secret during this competition, and was supposedly outraged when 3dfx publicly laid out its deal with Sega over the new system in the IPO.

In July 1997, rumored as a result of 3dfx's IPO, it was decided that the Japanese "Ka
tana" (code name) would be the chosen format, renamed Dreamcast. In September 1997, 3dfx filed a lawsuit against Sega and NEC (later including VideoLogic), stating "breach of contract", and accusing Sega of starting the deal in bad faith to take 3dfx technology, although they later settled.[6]

Launch

The Dreamcast was released on November 27, 1998 in Japan; on September 9, 1999 in North America (the date 9/9/99 featured heavily in U.S. promotion); and on October
14, 1999 in Europe. The tagline used to promote the console in the U.S. was, "It's thinking", and in Europe, "Up to 6 Billion Players."

Due to technical problems caused both by the lack of graphics chip manufactured by NEC and the new kei car tax regulations, the Dreamcast's launch in Japan flopped and caused little to no promotion. [5]

The Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem and Internet support for online gaming. Previous consoles such as the Genesis, Saturn, and SNES had online capabilities, but these were comparably limited and/or required extra hardware (XBAND, NetLink,
Sega Channel).

The Dreamcast enjoyed brisk sales in its first season, and was one of Sega's most successful hardware units.[citation needed] In the United States alone, a record 300,000 units[7] had been pre-ordered[5] and Sega sold 500,000 consoles in just two weeks (including 225,132 sold on the first 24 hours which became a video game record). In fact, due to brisk sales and hardware shortages, Sega was unable to fulfill all of the advance orders.

Sega confirmed that it made US$98.4 million on combined hardware and software sales with Dreamcast with its September 9, 1999 launch. Sega even compared the record figure to the opening day gross of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which made $28.5 million during the first 24 hours in theaters. Chris Gilbert, the senior vice president of sales at Sega of America, said on November 24, 1999: "By hitting the one million units sold landmark, it is clear that the Dreamcast consumer has moved beyond the hard-core gamer and into the mass market."[8] Four days after its launch in the US, Sega stated 372,000 units were sold bringing in US$132 million in sales.[5]


Before the launch in the United States, Sega had already taken extra steps in displaying Dreamcast's capabilities in stores nationwide. Much like the PlayStation's launch in North America, the displays of titles such as Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, Power Sto
ne, and Hydro Thunder helped Dreamcast succeed in the first year.[9]

Although Dreamcast had none of Electronic Arts' popular sports games, due in part to EA's losses from the Sega Saturn, Sega Sports titles helped to fill that void. The biggest competition between Sega Sports and EA Sports in the U.S. was their American football and basketball games. This started with one of the launch titles of the Dreamcast, NFL 2K. Both the non-Dreamcast Madden NFL 2000 and NFL 2K were highly regarded, with the Dreamcast boasting a new graphics engine and Madden retaining the same solid engine of previous incarnations. It was not until the next year's installments of each series where the Dreamcast proved its worth in the video game market. According to a press release, NFL 2K1 outsold Madden NFL 2001 by 49,000 units in its first two weeks of release, selling a total of
410,000 by November 2000, two months after its debut.[10]

Competition

In March 1999 Sony unveiled its PlayStation 2.[5] The actual release of the PS2 was not until March 4, 2000 in Japan, and October 26, 2000 in the United States. Sony's press release, despite being a year ahead of the launch of the PS2, was enough to divert a lot of attention from Sega. With the looming PS2 launch in Japan, the Dreamcast was largely ignored in th
at territory. While the system had great initial success in the United States, it had trouble maintaining this momentum after news of the PS2's release.

Dreamcast sales grew 156.5% from July 23, 2000 to September 30, 2000 putting Sega ahead of the Nintendo 64 in that period.[11] During that time, the PlayStation 2 was plagued by production shortages, with people often paying in excess of $1000 on eBay for Sony's next-generation console.[12] However, Dreamcast's online capabilities through Se
gaNet, and a price cut around the second half of 2000 (which made it half the price of the PS2) did little to help sales once the PlayStation 2 was launched with its much hyped graphics and ability to play DVDs.

A key to Sony's relatively easy success with the PlayStation 2 was that they already enjoyed brand-name dominance over Sega after the huge success of the original PlayStation, while Sega's reputation had been hurt due to commercial failure of the Sega Saturn and Sega 32X. In particular, Sega's attempt to quickly kill off the struggling Saturn (which lagged in North America and Europe) in favour of Dreamcast had angered many third-party developers in Japan, where the Saturn had still been able to hold its own.[13] While initial Dreamcast sales were strong, many prospective buyers and game developers were still skeptical of Se
ga and they held off from committing, possibly to see which console would prevail. By early 2001, game publishers abandoned Dreamcast development en masse in favor of the PlayStation 2 and canceled many nearly completed projects (notably Half-Life).

In 2000, the announcements of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube fueled speculation that Sega did not have the resources for a prolonged marketing campaign.

Outside U.S. and Japan

For the European and Australian PAL release of the Dreamcast, Sega changed the Dreamcast's familiar Orange swirl logo to blue. This was done to avoid copyright confliction with the German video game/DVD publisher Tivola, which already used an Orange swirl as their company logo.


Many important titles were never released outside of Japan, and many were hard to find without importing them. While Dreamcast did receive a price cut in the U.S. to coincide with the PlayStation 2's American release, the European pricing remained the same, even when the PlayStation 2 was released in Europe.

Sony marketed the PlayStation 2 in each country's local media, such as newspapers
and street shows. Sega recruited third-party companies to promote Dreamcast, some of which did not allocate sufficient money for advertising.

DreamArena (the European equivalent to SegaNet, the Dreamcast online service) was a fiasco in Finland because the cost of connection was more than three times the amount of a normal ISDN internet connection. This was because Sega allowed open pricing for third-party companies. The companies stated that the price was steep due to a lack of potential customers, but most users believe that the companies were just using the open pricing to their advantage.

End of production


On January 31, 2001, Sega announced that production of Dreamcast hardware was to be discontinued by March of that year[14]although the 50 to 60 titles still in production would be published.[citation needed] The last North American release was NHL 2K2, which wa
s released in February 2002. With the company announcing no plans to develop a next-generation successor to Dreamcast, this was Sega's last foray into the home console business. Massive price cuts were quickly instituted in order to move the abundance of unsold hardware and the system had quickly dropped to prices as low as US$49.99 new.[citation needed] By late 2002 in the UK the Dreamcast was sold brand new for as little as £39.99 and was subject to incentive giveaways with contract mobile phones.

Though Dreamcast was officially discontinued in early 2001, commercial games were still developed and released afterwards, particularly in Japan. Unreleased games like Propeller Arena and Half-Life continued to become available to the public through warez groups and independent hackers.


On February 24, 2004, Sega released their final first-party Dreamcast game, Puyo Pop Fever. Afterwards, a small number of games continued to be released, which were mo
stly conversions of arcade shooters based on the Sega NAOMI arcade board, itself essentially a Dreamcast with extra video RAM.

Sega would sell the last Dreamcast units in stock through the Sega Direct division of Japan in early 2006. Although they were only refurbished units, they did come with the new Radilgy game and a phone card.

Several Dreamcast emulation projects have emerged after Dreamcast's end of production, with Chankast being the most notable, along with the recently released nullDC.

The first Sega title to be released on another console following the Dreamcast's demise was Crazy Taxi, which was ported onto the Playstation 2, and later Nintendo Gamecube, b
y Acclaim.

Hardware

The power light, like the Dreamcast logo in NTSC regions, was orange (this color was chosen because the Japanese consider it to be lucky). Games were sold in jewel cases. In North America, these initially had the Dreamcast name and logo on a white background, but later games used a black background, similar to the PlayStation's. Japanese games used an orange-and-white scheme, whilst European and Australian (PAL region) games used blue, due to
a copyright claim from a European electrical company whom already used an Orange swirl as their logo.

The unit was packaged with a video cable which supported composite video and stereo sound. Available separately were an RGB SCART cable, an S-Video cable, an RF connector (included as standard in the UK, Germany, Italy and Portugal), and a VGA adapter (see accessories below).

Although there was no reset button on the Dreamcast system itself, the player could press the A, B, X, and Y buttons all together and then press the start button to reset a game. This would bring up the game's main menu, and if repeated, would display the Dreamcast menu.

In North America, a black Dreamcast was released in limited numbers with a sports pack which included two Sega Sports titles. This was the same as other models except for the black casing and the Sega Sports logo located directly below the Dreamcast logo on the lid. It included matching black controllers which also had the Sega Sports logo beneath the VMU window. Electronics Boutique offered a blue Dreamcast through its website. Similar offerings were sold through the Lik Sang website. Cases of different colors like blue, red, orange, and green were sold for replacements of the original casing. In Japan, Sega released many varieties of th
e system, including a limited edition Sonic anniversary version, a pink Sakura Taisen version, and a Hello Kitty version released in 2000 in Japan which, due to its limited production, has become an extremely rare collector's piece. The package contains a keyboard, controller, VMU, mouse, and a Hello Kitty trivia game. The console and accessories came in both translucent pink and blue in color with some printed designs.

The Brazilian version, manufactured by Tec Toy under license, was essentially the same as the North American version, but its video output was converted to the PAL-M standard and did not come with the modem, which was available separately.

Dreamcast in Europe had a blue spiral logo, similar to the logo on earlier Sega systems. This change is thought to have been for copyright reasons: German company Tivola Publishing[1] had been using a similar swirl logo years before Sega branded Dreamcast with the orange swirl.

As well as the VGA mode to connect to a PC monitor (using an adapter called "VGA box"), the European Dreamcast supported PAL video, in both 50 Hz and 60 Hz modes. This was a first for game consoles, as no previous PAL console had offered the option to play games at full speed, using the ability of many PAL televisions to operate at 60 Hz. This feature was exploited in previous consoles but only by modifying the console with a chip to allow it to run NTSC games (e.g., Sony's PlayStation), or by adding switches to the internal circuitry to manually select between 50 Hz and 60 Hz (e.g., SEGA's Master System, Mega Drive or Saturn). Although the 60 Hz code had to be enabled on the disc, doing so was a simple matter, and only a small number of games lacked it. The 60 Hz feature has become standard on all major consoles released since.

Games in Europe were sold in jewel cases exactly twice as thick as their North American counterparts, possibly to enable the inclusion of thick instruction booklets containing instructions in multiple languages.


A third-party company from China named Treamcast released a portable modifie
d Dreamcast which used the original first-party Dreamcast components with a custom made plastic casing. This small system with its fold-down display resembled the later PS One. Many companies included software and a remote with the unit that enabled it to play MP3s and Video CDs. When the Internet import video game store Lik Sang contacted Sega to ask permission to sell a modified version of the system with Sega trademarks on the system, they were told that Sega did not approve of the unit, and felt that it violated their trademarks. In reality, this system is no different from a Dreamcast pre-modified with a third party shell, as the system's internals still use first party hardware, and the only modifications are the outside casing and internal sound and video adjustments.

In 2005, the internet import store Lan-Kwei started selling a "Treamcast" portable modified Dreamcast with a 16:9 widescreen LCD. Aside from the cosmetic differences in the case to accommodate the larger screen, there are no differences between the original Treamcast and the newer widescreen model.

Technical Specifications

Processor

* 200 MHz SH-4 with an on-die 128-bit vector graphics engine, 360 MIPS and 1.4 GFLOPS (single precision), using the vector graphics engine


Graphics Engine

* PowerVR2

* CLX2, 7.0 million polygons/second peak performance, supports trilinear filtering. Actual maximum in game performance (with full textures, lighting, gameplay, etc.) is 5 million polygons/second or more.
* Tile Based Deferred Rendering eliminates overdraw by only drawing visible fragments. This makes required fillrate almost independent from scene depth complexity, thus making up for a low, compared to other 6th generation consoles, nominal fillrate of 100 MPixels/s as effective fillrate can be tri
ple that amount.
* Graphics hardware effects include gouraud shading, z-buffering, anti-aliasing and bump mapping.


Memory

* Main RAM: 16 MB[15] 64 Bit 100 MHz
* Video RAM: 8 MB 4x16-bit 100 MHz
* Sound RAM: 2 MB 16-bit 66 MHz
* VQ Texture Compression (5:1 texture compression)[16]

Sound Engine

* Yamaha AICA Sound Processor: 22.5 MHz 32-Bit ARM7 RISC CPU: 45
MHz,[16] 64 channel PCM/ADPCM sampler (4:1 compression), XG MIDI support, 128 step DSP

Storage

* Yamaha GD-ROM Drive: 12x maximum speed (Constant Angular Velocity)
* GD-ROM: Holds up to 1.2 GB
* Visual Memory Unit ("VMU") 1 Mbit (128 KB[15]) removable storage device and 4x memory cards that hold four times as much data.

Input/Output

* Inputs: USB-like "Maple Bus". Four ports support devices such as digital and
analog controllers, steering wheels, joysticks, keyboards, mice, and more.
* Color Output: Approx. 16.78 million colors (24-bit)
* Video resolution: 640x480 interlaced or progressive scan

Dimensions

* 189 mm × 195 mm × 76 mm (7 7/16in × 7 11/16in × 3in)
* Weight: 1.9 kg (4.2 lb)
* Color: Majority are white.

* Japan: Various limited edition designs and colored consoles were produced
* North America: Only a black "Sega Sports"-labeled model and a blue model from Electronics Boutique were officially available
* PAL: No known alternate designs or colors

Networking

* Modem: Removable; speed varied among regions:

* Original Asia/Japan model had a 33.6 kbit/s; consoles sold after September 9, 1999 had a 56 kbit/s modem
* All American models had a 56 kbit/s
* All PAL models had a 33.6 kbit/s

* Broadband: these adapters are available separately and replace the removable modem

* HIT-0400: "Broadband Adapter", the more common model, this used a Realtek 8139 chip and supported 10 and 100 Mbit speeds, this device was released in Japan and the US. It is a common misunderstanding that the Japanese broadband adaptor has the code HIT-0401, but this code actually refers to the Japanese adaptors packaging and documentation - not the broadband adaptor itself.
* HIT-0300: "LAN Adapter", this version used a Fujitsu MB86967 chip and supported only 10 Mbit speed. The LAN Adaptor does not work with any retail games and was only compatible with the included web browser disk.

See Also: Dreamcast Broadband Adapter

Accessories

Visual Memory Unit
The Visual Memory Unit, or "VMU", was the Dreamcast memory card. It featured a monochrome LCD screen, a D-Pad, and two gaming buttons. The VMU could play mini-games loaded onto it from certain Dreamcast games, such as a Chao game transferable from Sonic Adventure as well as other online downloadable VMU games. It could also display a list of the saved game data stored on it, and two VMUs could be connected together end-to-end to exchange data. Also while playing games such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 or Crazy Taxi messages like "Awesome", "Rad", and "Nice Combo" would appear on the VMU screen. While playing Sonic Adventure animations not related to the game would appear on the screen, in Sonic Adventure a Chao would mimic what action the character on the screen was doing. For example, if the player was falling the Chao would appear to fall. Games such as the Resident Evil series showed the player's health. It required two CR2032 batteries for use as a standalone mini-game player, clock and address book.

Standard memory cards could also be purchased without the additional features of the VMU. Most of these were manufactured by third-party companies, (such as the Nexus Memory Card), although Sega eventually released a 4X memory card (model HKT-4100). The 4X cards did not have the VMU screen or stand-alone abilities, but they had four times the space thanks to the ability to switch between four 200-block sectors.

The VMU design cannot be considered a full success, as it was fairly power-intensive, draining the two watch batteries at an alarmingly fast rate, and the architecture could not be expanded. However, contrary to popular belief, the VMU does not need the batteries to retain the saved data once the VMU is disconnected from the controller, as it incorporates flash memory storage for this purpose — the batteries are only used when the VMU is disconnected from the controller in order to browse/exchange saved data and play mini-games in a handheld fashion away from the console.

Controller and Rumble Pack
Most Dreamcast games supported a rumble pack, or "Jump Pack", which was sold separately and could be plugged into the controller. In Japan, the Jump Pack was named the "Puru Puru Pack".

The Dreamcast controller featured a similar design to the Sega Saturn's analog controller, offering an analog stick, a D-pad, a Start button, four action buttons (labeled A, B, X, and Y, two buttons less than the Saturn), and two analog triggers on the underside. It also contained two slots which could hold memory cards or the rumble pack, with a window on the front of the controller through which the VMU's display could be seen. The Dreamcast controller was somewhat larger than many other controllers, and some players found it difficult to hold. Other players complained about the odd positioning of its controller cord, which comes out from the bottom of the controller.

VGA adapter
Unique to Dreamcast was the "VGA box", a VGA adapter, that switches the Dreamcast's display to RGBHV at 31 kHz to allow output to a computer display or HDTV compatible sets in true 480p (Progressive Scan), providing much better quality than a standard television set.

Dreamcast mouse and keyboard
Dreamcast supported a mouse as well as a keyboard, which were useful when using the included web browser (fully functional), and also supported by certain games such as The Typing of the Dead, Quake 3, Phantasy Star Online and Railroad Tycoon 2. Other games such as REZ offered undocumented mouse support.

Fishing Rod
A motion sensitive fishing rod was released for the few fishing games on the system. The fishing games for the US Market are Sega Bass Fishing (Get Bass in Japan), Sega Bass Fishing 2 (Get Bass 2 in Japan), Sega Marine Fishing and Reel Fishing: Wild (Fish Eyes Wild in Japan). Lake Masters Pro and Bass Rush Dream were only released in Japan. The fishing rod can actually be used with Soulcalibur and Tennis 2K2 like the Wii Remote to a very limited extent.

Microphone
There was a microphone peripheral which was gray plastic, similar in form to a VMU or memory pack, and was inserted into a VMU slot in the contoller. The microphone itself is detachable via 3.5mm jack, extends 90 degrees from the controller towards the player, and featured a spherical, green foam wind shroud. The microphone was used for version 2.6 of the Planetweb web browser (providing long distance calling support), the European Planet Ring collection, Alien Front Online, and Seaman, the first console game to use speech recognition in the U.S. The microphone was available bundled with Seaman, Alienfront Online, Kiteretsu Boys Gan Gagan (Japan), and the Planetweb browser as well as individually packaged as Sega device #HKT-7200.

Lightgun
Sega also produced a light gun for the system, although this was not sold in the United States, possibly because Sega did not want its name on a gun in light of recent school shootings (the Columbine High School massacre). American versions of light gun games even blocked out using the official gun. However, several third parties made compatible guns for the American Dreamcast. One of them was Mad Catz's Dream Blaster which became the official Dreamcast light gun for use in the United States. The games that did not work in United States with the official Dreamcast light gun were The House of the Dead 2 and Confidential Mission. Other light gun compatible games were Death Crimson OX and its Japanese prequel Death Crimson 2, Virtua Cop 2 on the Sega Smash Pack, and a light gun minigame in Demolition Racer No Exit.
See also: Dreamcast light guns

Arcade Stick
A heavy-duty Arcade Stick was put out by Sega, featuring a digital joystick with six buttons using the same microswitch assemblies as commercial arcade machines. Although it could not be used for many Dreamcast games due to the lack of an analog joystick, it was well-received and helped cement Dreamcast's reputation for playing 2D shooters and fighting games. Adaptors are now available to use the Arcade Stick on other hardware platforms.

Third-party sticks were also made, like the ASCII Dreamcast fighting pad, which some regard as having a more comfortable 6-button configuration and a more precise digital direction pad.

Twin Sticks
A twin stick peripheral was released specifically for use with the game Virtual-On. This add-on mimicked the original dual arcade stick setup and made gameplay much more precise. This peripheral is extremely rare and often quite expensive.

Dreameye
Sega developed the Dreameye, a digital camera for Dreamcast, but it was only released in Japan.

Dream Karaoke
Developed as a Karaoke add-on for the Dreamcast by Sega and released only in Japan. It included a Microphone and built in modem. It would download Karaoke songs onto the system to be played; however, it could not save any songs so you had to re-download the songs if you wanted to play them again. The servers for the system went offline in 2006.

Samba de Amigo controller
Sega developed a special maraca controller for the Samba de Amigo music game.

Densha De Go! 2 controller
A special controller made specific to Densha de Go! only. The controller was only available in Japan and is very rare because of the few numbers produced.

Canceled Accessories
Toward the end of Dreamcast's lifespan, Sega created and displayed prototypes of a high-capacity VMU/MP3 player, DVD player, and Zip drive peripherals[17]. None of these items were ever released.

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System




The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNES[cn 2] and Super Nintendo) is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia (Oceania), and South America between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the Super Family Computer, Super Famicom (スーパーファミコン, Sūpā Famikon?), or SFC for short. In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent the different versions from being compatible with one another.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo's second home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console introduced advanced graphics and sound capabilities compared with other consoles at the time. Additionally, development of a variety of enhancement chips (which shipped as part of certain game cartridges) helped to keep it competitive in the marketplace.

The SNES was a global success, becoming the best-selling console of the 16-bit era despite its relatively late start and the fierce competition it faced in North America from Sega's Genesis console. Some consider the SNES to embody the "Golden Age of video games", citing its many groundbreaking games and the perceived focus on gameplay over graphics and technical gimmicks. Others question this perceived romanticism, believing the system was just another step in the evolution of video game technology. The SNES remained popular well into the 32-bit era, and although Nintendo has dropped all support for the console, it continues to be popular among fans, collectors, retro gamers, and emulation enthusiasts, some of whom are still making "homebrew" ROM images.

Console wars

Main article: Console wars

The rivalry between Nintendo and Sega resulted in one of the fiercest console wars in video game history, in which Sega positioned the Genesis as the "cool" console, with edgy advertisements occasionally attacking the competition and more mature titles aimed at older gamers. Despite the Genesis's head start, its much larger library of games, as well as its lower price point, market share between the SNES and the Genesis was about even in April 1992, and neither console could maintain a definitive lead for several years. The Super NES eventually prevailed, dominating the American 16-bit console market, and would even remain popular well into the 32-bit generation.

Changes in policy

During the NES era, Nintendo maintained exclusive control over titles released for the system—the company had to approve every game, each third-party developer could only release up to five games per year, those games could not be released on another console within two years, and Nintendo was the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of NES cartridges. However, competition from Sega's console brought an end to this practice; in 1990, Acclaim began releasing games for both platforms, with most of Nintendo's other licensees following suit over the next several years; Capcom (which licensed some games to Sega instead of producing them directly) and Square were the most notable holdouts.

Nintendo also maintained a strict censorship policy that, among other things, limited the amount of violence in the games on its systems. One game, Mortal Kombat, would challenge this policy. A surprise hit in arcades in 1992, Mortal Kombat features splashes of blood and finishing moves that often depict one character dismembering the other. Because the Genesis version retained the gore while the SNES version did not, it outsold the SNES version three to one.

Game players were not the only ones to notice the violence in this game; US Senators Herb Kohl and Joe Lieberman convened a Congressional hearing on December 9, 1993 to investigate the marketing of violent video games to children. While Nintendo took the high ground with moderate success, the hearings led to the creation of the Interactive Digital Software Association and the Entertainment Software Rating Board, and the inclusion of ratings on all video games. With these ratings in place, Nintendo decided its censorship policies were no longer needed. Consequently, the SNES port of Mortal Kombat II was released uncensored, and this time Nintendo's version outsold Sega's.

32-bit era and beyond

While other companies were moving on to 32-bit systems, Rare and Nintendo proved that the Super NES was still a strong contender in the market. In November 1994, Rare released Donkey Kong Country, a platform game featuring 3D models and textures pre-rendered on SGI workstations. With its detailed graphics and high-quality music, Donkey Kong Country rivaled the aesthetic quality of games that were being released on newer 32-bit CD-based consoles. In the last 45 days of 1994, the game sold 6.1 million units, making it the fastest-selling video game in history to that date. This game sent a message that early 32-bit systems had little to offer over the Super NES, and helped make way for the more advanced consoles on the horizon.

In October 1997, Nintendo released a redesigned SNES 2 in North America for US$99, which included the pack-in game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Like the earlier NES 2, the new model was slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, but it lacked S-Video and RGB output, and it was among the last major SNES-related releases in the region. A similarly redesigned Super Famicom Jr. was released in Japan at around the same time.

Nintendo of America ceased production of the SNES in 1999, about two years after releasing Kirby's Dream Land 3 (its last first-party game for the system) on November 27, 1997. In Japan, Nintendo continued production of the Super Famicom until September 2003, and new games were produced until the year 2000, ending with the release of Metal Slader Glory Director's Cut on December 1, 2000.

In recent years, many SNES titles have been ported to the Game Boy Advance, which has similar video capabilities. In 2005, Nintendo announced that SNES titles would be made available for download via the Wii's Virtual Console service. In 2007, Nintendo announced that it would no longer repair Famicom or Super Famicom systems due to an increasing shortage of the necessary parts.

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Sonic the Hedgehog



Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ, Sonikku za Hejjihoggu?), trademarked Sonic The Hedgehog, is a video game character and the protagonist of the video game series released by Sega, as well as in numerous spin-off comics, cartoons and books. The first game in the franchise was released on June 22, 1991, in order to provide Sega with a mascot to rival Nintendo's flagship character Mario (see 1991 in video gaming). Since then, Sonic has become one of the world's best-known video game characters, with his series having sold 50 million copies. In 2005, Sonic was one of the first game character inductees into the Walk of Game, alongside Mario and Link.

Artist Naoto Ōshima, designer Hirokazu Yasuhara and programmer Yuji Naka are generally credited with the creation of the character, a blue-haired 15-year-old anthropomorphic hedgehog, who has the ability to run faster than the speed of sound and the ability to curl up into a ball, primarily to attack enemies. This is a major part of the gameplay of the series.


Conception and creation

Sega wanted a game capable of selling over one million copies and a character to replace Alex Kidd as the company's mascot. Several character designs were submitted by its AM8 research & development department, including an armadillo (which then developed into Mighty the Armadillo), a dog, a Theodore Roosevelt look-alike in pajamas (which would later be the basis of Eggman's design), and a rabbit (intended to use its extendible ears to collect objects; these aspects were later incorporated into Ristar). Eventually, Naoto Ōshima's spiky teal hedgehog, turned blue by a paint accident and left that way because the artist liked it, initially codenamed "Mr Needlemouse", was chosen as the new mascot. Sonic's blue pigmentation was chosen to match Sega's blue logo. A group of fifteen people started working on Sonic the Hedgehog, and renamed themselves Sonic Team. The game's soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura of the band Dreams Come True. Sega sponsored the group's "Wonder 3" tour, painting Sonic on the tour bus, distributing pamphlets advertising the game, and having footage of the game broadcast above stage prior to its release. Sonic's appearance varies greatly depending on the medium and the style in which he is drawn. In the video games, Sonic's original design by Oshima was quite short and round, with short quills, a round body and no visible irises (see artwork at left). Artwork featuring this design and drawn by Akira Watanabe was displayed on the package artwork for Sonic the Hedgehog, and most subsequent Sonic video games featured similar designs.

When Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Megadrive appeared, Sonic's proportions changed. The original 1:2 head to height ratio became 1:2.5.

Beginning with Sonic Adventure in 1998, Sonic was redesigned by Yuji Uekawa as a taller character with longer legs and a less spherical body, longer and more drooping spines, the addition of shoe buckles, and green-colored irises. Further subtle changes to the character's design have been made in subsequent games. Spin-off media such as comics and cartoons have featured variations on all these video game designs, with restrictions set by the standardized model sheets.

[edit] Actor portrayal

A number of different actors have provided the voice for Sonic in his game appearances. Sonic's first voice actor was Takeshi Kusao for SegaSonic the Hedgehog, with Junichi Kanemaru continually voicing the role beginning with the release of Sonic Adventure.[citation needed] Sonic's first English game voice was provided by Ryan Drummond beginning with Sonic Adventure, a role he continued until 2004, when he was replaced by Jason Griffith, who previously voiced the character in the American dub of the anime series Sonic X.


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Super Mario Bros



Super Mario Bros. (スーパーマリオブラザーズ, Sūpā Mario Burazāzu?) is a platform game developed by Nintendo in late 1985 and published for the Nintendo Entertainment System, a sequel to the 1983 game, Mario Bros. In Super Mario Bros., the titular character Mario must save Princess Toadstool (eventually renamed to Princess Peach) of the Mushroom Kingdom from the evil King Koopa (later known as King Bowser), king of the Koopas. In two-player mode, Mario is aided in his quest by his younger brother, Luigi. To save Princess Toadstool, the Mario Bros. must conquer the eight worlds that comprise the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario (or Luigi) must make his way to the castle in each world and defeat one of King Koopa's evil minions. To reach each castle, Mario or Luigi must battle through three "sub-worlds" by either destroying or avoiding King Koopa's henchmen. If Mario or Luigi successfully fights his way through the castle and defeats the evil minion, a Mushroom Retainer (later called Toad), is freed. Inside the eighth castle, the Mario Bros. will have a final fight with King Koopa and free Princess Toadstool.

As of 2008, Super Mario Bros. was the best selling video game of all time (selling over 40 million copies to date). It was largely responsible for the initial success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well a
s ending the two year slump of video game sales in the United States after the video game crash of 1983. One of Shigeru Miyamoto's most influential early successes, it has inspired countless clones, two direct sequels and many spin-offs, as well as the Mario series itself. Mario went on to become Nintendo's most well-known mascot. The theme music, by Kōji Kondō, is recognized worldwide, even by those who have not played the game, and has been considered a representation for video game music in general.

The game was succeeded by a direct sequel in Japan, and by a slight revision of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Pan
ic (that introduces other characters from the Mario series) elsewhere in the world. In both cases, the games are titled Super Mario Bros. 2, causing both games to be re-released in different countries under different titles. There also have been many "alternate" versions of the game, such as All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros., which featured personalities from a famous Japanese radio show, as well as an arcade game. The success of Super Mario Bros. has caused it to be ported to almost every one of Nintendo's major gaming consoles, as well as the NEC PC-8801.


Gameplay

The player takes on the role of Mario, a diminutive mustached man wearing red overalls over a brown shirt, or in the case of a second player, Luigi, Mario's younger brother, a similarly mustached man wearing white overalls over a green shirt. The object is to race through the Mushroom Kingdom, evade or eliminate Bowser's forces and save Princess Toadstool. Mario or Luigi can be hurt if either touches an enemy. If he takes a hit as regular Mario, falls down a pit (regardless of status), or the time clock runs out, he loses a life and starts again.[5] The point where Mario or Luigi continues from after losing a life depends on how far he ran through the level before dying: either from the very beginning or at an invisible "checkpoint" partway through the level. There are no checkpoints in castles or in World 8, the final world. The Mario brothers' primary attack is simply jumping on top of ("stomping") their enemies, which kills the mushroom traitors, known as Goombas, and sends the turtle soldiers, known as Koopa Troopas, into their shells. Mario and Luigi can then kick these shells into other enemies, who will be defeated as a result. Conversely, kicked shells can bounce back off walls or other vertical obstructions and hit Mario or Luigi, injuring the player. Some enemies cannot be defeated by stomping; these enemies can only be defeated by turtle shell or fireball as stomping them will hurt the Mario Bros. The player can also defeat enemies by jumping to strike brick boxes from underneath, causing foes standing on it to be thrown off. Jumping on enough enemies in succession or kicking a shell into enough enemies in succession (combos) results in double points earned with each enemy defeated, eventually earning Mario or Luigi a 1-up (an extra life). Mario and Luigi can also obtain 1-ups through finding 1-up mushrooms or by collecting 100 coins.

Aiding the Mario Brothers in their quest are several powers. If Mario or Luigi collect a mushroom, they will become Super Mario or Super Luigi, thus able to take two hits before losing a life. Collecting a Fire Flower changes the player into Fiery Mario or Fiery Luigi, granting the ability to throw fireballs; however, the maximum tolerance for hits remains two (a hit taken while Fiery will reduce the player to small Mario or Luigi). Mario or Luigi can also collect a Starman and become invincible for a limited amount of time. Invincible Mario or Luigi is impervious to the touch of enemy characters and most obstacles, and he can simply run into enemies to defeat them. He still dies, however, if he falls in a pit or lava, or if time runs out.

The game consists of eight worlds with four sub-levels in each world. Though each world is different, the fourth sub-world is always a fortress or castle. At the end of each castle level, Mario or Luigi fights Bowser, however if one of the brothers throws five fireballs at Bowser, it is revealed that he is actually a different enemy in disguise. In the later worlds (worlds 6 to 8), Bowser throws hammers as well as occasional jets of fire breath. Bowser may be defeated in one of two ways: either by touching the axe at the edge of the bridge (thereby dropping him into the lava) or, as Fire Mario or Luigi, throwing fireballs at him to defeat him directly. The latter is the only way to receive points for the Koopa King's defeat. At the end of each world except the last, Mario or Luigi is greeted with the words "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" spoken by a Mushroom Retainer.

After winning the game, the player is given the option to start the game again in "'Hard' Mode", where all Goombas are replaced by Buzzy Beetles (Koopa Troopa-like enemies who cannot be killed by fireballs) and all enemies' walking speed is increased. In addition, the elevator-style lifts are about 60% their original size throughout. There are also an increased number of hazards in the earlier worlds. For example, in World 1-3 random Bullet Bills fly across the screen, a danger that normally only appears in certain later levels, such as World 5-3.

Players may get to the beginning of any world with a relatively small amount of effort by using hidden warp zones in a number of levels.

[edit] Music

Kōji Kondō wrote the musical score for Super Mario Bros. There are five main themes used in the original game: The tempo of the music increases when the timer reaches 100.

[edit] The Minus World

The Minus World is a glitch in Super Mario Bros. By passing through a solid wall near the World 1-2 exit, it is possible to travel to "World -1", also known as the "Minus World" or "World Negative One". This stage is identical to Worlds 2-2 and 7-2, but upon entering the warp pipe at the end, the player is taken back to the start of the level. Exploiting the same glitch in the Japanese Famicom Disk System is considerably different and has three levels, after which the player is returned to the title screen as though he or she completed the game. This glitch was fixed in the Super Mario All-Stars remake as well as in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe.

Although the world is shown as " -1" (note the leading space) on the HUD, it is actually world 36; the game is not programmed to use 2-digit numbers, instead displaying tile #36, which is a blank space. This is because the warp zone pipes lead to world 36 before the player has scrolled far enough to activate them, so that no number appears above them.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009


Gameplay has been improved for Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, with key additions as an improved Teamvision system, tactics change according to situation, better off-the-ball movement such as running to receive passes and the AI recognizing strategies that works accumulating data on an ongoing basis within Master League and League modes. Another new addition is the readjustments for ball movements. PES 2009 has new air resistance calculations for the trajectory of the ball. The heaviness of the ground also impacts the gameplay. There will also be new friction routines to affect ball movement in terms of ground conditions, backspin routines are calculated so that ball slows accordingly, and the bounce of the ball can be used more effectively: players can flick the ball up to tee a shot, or to lift it over a defender’s trailing leg. Skills are now integrated more into the game. If a player has the ability, they will be able to perform deft turns. There will also be adjusted controls to make close control more intuitive. All new Manual Passing and there is no slowdown in replays or matches. PES 2009 will also feature a new game mode called Be A Legend, much like EA Sports FIFA Series Be a Pro mode where you will take control of a chosen player throughout his career.


Game features:

* Exclusive UEFA Champions League Mode utilizing all the elements and attributes of the competition
* Improved graphics for an ultra-real experience
* With smarter AI system your team mates will be constantly seeking out open space, taking intelligent lines toward the goal and on defense and also actively calling for the ball
* New, more realistic camera angles for your preferred perspective of gameplay
* New teams, players and stadiums
* Improvements to the fan-favorite Master League Mode – Play as one player just like in real life mastering your own ball handling and your off the ball support
* New exciting and immersive Become a Legend Mode and online playable Legends Mode will add new dimension to PES
* Updated rosters from your favorite club and national teams
* Using a supported USB camera, import data to create your own player or team emblems
* Great improvements in ball control, passing and your teammates reactions are more in tune with how teammates react in real life



MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:

* Windows XP SP2, Vista
* Intel Pentium 4 1.4 GHz
* 1 GiByte RAM
* 6 GB hard disk space
* GeForce FX or Radeon 9700th Pixel / Vertex Shader 2.0 and 128 MiByte VRAM.
* 800 x 600 display resolution

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:

* Windows XP SP2, Vista
* Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz
* 2 GiByte RAM
* 8 GB hard disk
* GeForce 6800 GT / GS, Radeon X1600 or higher. Pixel / Vertex Shader 3.0 and 256 MiByte VRAM
* 1,280 x 720 display resolution



Instal Note
1. Unrar
2. Burn or mount the image
3. Instal the game. When prompted for serial use:
APVM-69N6-WW3U-UE7R-3PKM
4. Copy over the cracked content located in the /Crack dir on the disc to your installation
directory.
5. Play the Game

DOWNLOAD

http://rapidshare.com/files/153963459/P3S.09-R3LO.XyMoX.part01.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/153963461/P3S.09-R3LO.XyMoX.part02.rar
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http://rapidshare.com/files/153980264/P3S.09-R3LO.XyMoX.part36.rar


Daily Update Patch
gamingaccess.com

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Chocobo Racing


"Hello everyone. I'm the White Mage. Chocobo, Mog, and my other friends from the FINAL FANTASY® universe have been asked to be a part of this really neat action racing adventure called Chocobo Racing™. If you're a big racing fan, this game's for you. With 5 different Game Modes, that's 5 times the fun! I especially enjoy the Story Mode in which you get to join me, Chocobo and other friends as we race through chapters of an old-fashioned pop-up storybook! Some will allow you to shoot fireballs, drop sheets of ice, or even strike your opponents with lightning! As much fun as this may all seem, please don't let it get out of control. We certainly don't want anyone's feelings getting hurt now, do we? So, practice good sportsmanship, play fairly, and most importantly, have fun!

Download

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