Translations from Game Lab Vol. 206 -- October 2012 Issue

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Mana photo caption: 32 Bit System War!

Mana-Sama's Nostalgic Game inferno

~Part 19~

Mana's Hardware Collection

Company: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: Dec. 3, 1994
Retail Price: 39,800 yen

Sega Saturn
Company: Sega Enterprises
Release Date: Nov. 22, 1994
Retail Price: 44,800 yen

Company: NEC Home Electronics
Release Date: Dec. 23, 1994
Retail Price: 49,800 yen

From 2D to 3D, the battle of high performance machines that paved the golden era of games

Up until that time it was only a pseudo-expression, but home gaming consoles were drawing up a genuine 3D world using polygons to pave the 32 bit system era. My first 32 bit encounter was the 3DO REAL. Although it made a flourishing debut as the world's first 32 bit console, the 3DO only lasted for a little less than 1 year. However, when I played a game for the first time on the 3DO I was deeply moved, thinking "I can actually play beautiful games at home now!" I wrote about the details of it when I introduced it in part 1 of this series.

After the sudden fallout of the 3DO real, two newcomers came in for battle

After the fallout of my beloved 3DO, the 32 bit war started. A three-way hegemony between the SEGA Saturn, SONY Playstation, and NEC PC-FX unfolded. During my life as a gamer this was probably the most exciting era. SONY's participation was especially talked about in the world of game consoles. In the beginning for the Playstation Sony joined hands with Nintendo in a joint development effort under the code name SFC. By starting afresh with various adult circumstances, SONY started their own solo project, the "PS-X". This resulted in their public release of their own original consoles.

I also own the sequel, the PS2 which also had a DVD player function; it was the name of the PSX console that was released in December 2003. Only one became a topic of popular discussion only that one wasn't the PSX. People who owned one [PS2] hadn't even gotten to see it. Only one person other person noticed, except it was my cousin (laughs). Actually my cousin really loves games.

Let's return back to the topic of the 32 bit console war. Everyone who reads this magazine probably knows I'm a genuine PC Engine fan. However I couldn't suppress my disappointment in the PC-FX. It was the time when there was an exceeding prosperity in 3D games and the PC-FX excluded the polygonal feature that was trending in machines' main animation. It would have been a perfect time period for them to leave all that behind.

Not only its functional aspects, but the PC-FX's design was also lacking. It was somewhat like a desktop PC that included the DUO series in it, and up until then they fostered a "distinctive beauty as a console" but now it didn't feel like that at all.

The Playstation triumphs in specialized 3D resolution

I've had a fondness for SEGA for a long time now, so at first I really pushed the Saturn. However, when I played "Ridge Racer" it completely changed my mind. The beauty of the graphics had me trembling. Even today I can't forget my excitement as I played it for the first time.

It was extremely popular at the arcade. "Virtua Fighter" was implemented as a magnificent debut for the Saturn, but the high quality of "Ridge Racer" was in a different league. Needless to say, SEGA at that time became one of the largest companies in the gaming industry. Until then they had cultivated a large fortune, and for that reason the Saturn was developed as a console that could also handle 2D. In response SONY pulled out of the war. Since they had no past profit the Playstation was only made out to be a machine that specialized in 3D.

At that time, the Saturn and Playstation released the same titles. In the case of polygon type games you could tell there was a difference in the graphics. Of course since I owned a Saturn you might think I would feel like "The winner is SEGA!" but at that time I just enjoyed watching beautiful game screens at my house in general. For that reason, I guess it can't be helped that I ended up playing the Playstation version [games] more.

There were probably too many things that resulted in the Saturn's cause of defeat. With the exception of SEGA who took part in the development, the Saturn was released by the manufacturer. There was no doubt the ordinary user was facing massive confusion since there was a Victor Company V-Saturn and Hitachi's Hi-Saturn.

Thus in the end the Playstation won the 32 bit system war. Since the winner was the newcomer SONY, I wonder who could have seen that coming at that time....... Its too bad SEGA was unsuccessful, but theres no mistaking the Saturn left behind some huge tracks back then. Anyway, you could say the 32 Bit system war created an extremely stimulating stir in Gaming history.


Now days the SONY PS3, Microsoft Xbox360, and Nintendo Wii (Wii U) are unfolding as the three big consoles. At this point in time Social Games are becoming the mainstream. Rumor has it that Sony and Microsoft will be the next generation consoles, but no news has come out yet. I think the end of Gaming consoles might be coming near; its sad to some degree. (Mana)

Translations by: Sarah @