There are a lot of false statements floating around the internet regarding video games and gaming myths are the stuff of legend. Some are sensational but true, such as the infamous Atari landfill. Others are flat out misleading, like the complicated history of the SNES to PS1 entanglement. Here are The Spiders Lairs top ten gaming myths that need to die.
1. The Super Nintendo was more powerful than Sega Genesis
This is flat false entirely. It’s not even debatable. They had nearly identical specs. SNES ran at a slower frame rate, clock rate and lower resolution but had slightly better sound chip and more colors. Graphically they were equal number of sprites and sprite complexity. Mode seven is a marketing tool used to trick gamers same as blast processing. Technically mode 7 is scaling and rotation trick. Genesis did this too. It didn’t brag about it like Nintendo and it’s not used as much but could be done. They both relied on chips in the carts to expand the stock capabilities. Sega also relied on add ons such as Sega CD and 32X to extend the life. When you get down to it, they are technically equals in terms of power. They each have advantages and disavantages over the other but they are, for all intents and purposes, equal.
2. Nintendo 64 is more powerful than the PS1
This is misleading. The N64 does use a 74 bit processor and it does have a graphics chip that can render higher polygon counts. However, the PS1 has a much better sound chip, better texture mapping capabilities and with the CD Rom can do pre-rendered graphics (backgrounds and CGI) allowing for impressive visuals not capable on the N64. Technically in a 1:1 comparison they are nearly identical in terms of real world metrics.
If you compare games that were released on both consoles they tend to either be comparable or superior in some ways on the PS1 despite it supposedly being the inferior system. Fanboys chalk this up to difficult development or whatever but that excuse is always thrown out whenever a system doesn’t meet the fan boys expectations. In reality the N64 has some advantages that appear to make it look better but in other ways it is vastly inferior to the PSX. The pros and cons tend to balance them selves out, like above, making these two essentially equals in terms of raw power and real world results.
3. NES saved the games industry from collapse
No. That is over exaggerated. The reality is in 1983 there was an over saturated home console market in North America that caused several retailers to stop selling video games due to the massive mounts of money lost in what has become known as the great crash. Except no contemporary news reports from the time talk about a video game crash. Instead they talk about the decline of home consoles while the PC games industry and arcades were booming. The reality is Atari did lose its parent company massive amounts of money and was sold off, into two separate companies, as a result of a weak market.
It was an isolated crash that narrowly affected just the North American home console market. Admittedly this was the market Nintendo entered however it is somewhat misleading to say they saved the entire games industry single handedly when that is not accurate. Not to belittle what they actually did accomplish but this myth is relatively recent and somewhat exaggerated by certain individuals who profited off its propagation. It happened, the crash, but it was not world wide and it was not all video games everywhere. Yes there were some side effects of the companies that made consoles and arcades going out of business but don’t over state the importance of the NES by exaggerating a fabricated doomsday it certainly did not over come. The console industry was still booming, not just thriving in their home land of Japan.
4. Nintendo was the reason the CD-i existed
It is true Nintendo released a handful of games for the Philips CD-i. It is also true that Nintendo backed out of a deal with Sony to release the Play Station as a CD-Rom add on to the SNES. It is NOT True that the CD-i was a by product of that deal. The CD-i was released BEFORE the SNES in some markets. The SNES was released in the US in 1991. The CD-i was released in the US also in 1991 and world wide in 1992. However, Sony had a hand in the development of the CD-i, a partnership with Philips and they even implemented technology from it in the Playstation and future DVD technology that they were also involved in.
The true story is in the middle. Nintendo did have a deal with Sony to produce a CD Rom upgrade known as Play Station, in 1993, after the CD-i was already on the market. Philips never intended CD-i, or Compact Disc Interactive, to be a game console. However what happened was Nintendo signed a deal to make some educational games and spin offs using their characters on the CD-i (and Apple computers but nobody every brings that up!) in an attempt to show the company wasn’t entertainment only as they were fighting the Federal Government over the soon to be created ESRB.
Nintendo was trying to show they were more than a toy company by making edutainment games and they wanted some games on CD-i to help that image and Philips wanted them to bolster the games sie of things. None of this was related at all to Sony and that deal. CD-i was developed jointly with Sony, and Sony made components for it and even helped design the Video CD format that was USED by Philips for CD-i. Now it is true that Sony executives were upset that Nintendo broke the deal with them but that still had nothing to do with Cd-i. It was a separate deal that just happened around the same time as CD-i so people conflated the two.
5. Atari Jaguar is a true 64 bit console
This needs to die. It has been disproved by countless articles. The Jaguar is a hot mess, that much is true. It does feature 64 bit components but, here is the deal, regardless of bus speed or GPU, it is NOT capable of processing 64 bit code.
Now related to this, the Xbox is a 32 Bit console and it is more powerful than the true 64 bit Nintendo Game Cube. Bits were a marketing tool that confused consumers and retailers. The Jaguar was on par with the Sega 32X in terms of raw power and real world performance. The bits aren’t important. Still, it is NOT a true 64 bit console but you can call it 64 bit if you like.
6. Sega CD was a flop
This is misleading. Technically Sega CD was not viewed by Sega as a console. It was not intended to replace the Genesis. It was an accessory. It was an expansion. It sold a fair number of units, made Sega a decent profit and was fully supported during the time span Sega intended. The console’s life was, in fact, cut short but like 32X, Genesis and even Game Gear this was NOT because they were failures in the market. On the contrary each were quite successful at the time of their demise.
Due to some complicated accounting mistakes the Sega Saturn was bleeding money and Sega needed to get that under control. As a technology company they could not save face and discontinue their newer, more powerful system to keep its more profitable consoles on the market. They made the, very well publicized mistake of discontinuing all products that weren’t Saturn in an attempt to prop up a sinking ship.
There are countless accounts of this being the reason they were desperate to get into Dreamcast so quickly. It was their debt that cost them their console market, not their machines being failures. If you look at the sales figures and profit margins Saturn was their only true failure in the console market. Of course failure is a relative term but here it doesn’t mean losing the made up console war only nerds care about, it refers to success by the companies metric and by the metrics Sega used, Sega CD was a resounding success at the time. It failed to save the company, so I suppose it could be deemed a failure in that regard.
7. DVD would have saved the Game Cube
This is a complicated variation of the PS2 was only successful because it played DVDs. The actual facts are very hard to get into. A lot of reasons went into the Game Cube being a failure. And this was a failure by Nintendo’s standard they’ve said as much at the time and since then. It failed to meet expectations, it failed to stop a challenger from coming into the market and over taking them, it even failed to turn a profit despite what fanboys will say. The company was hurting during the Game Cube years. They became desperate and turned into an ultra conservative company in terms of technology.
The Game Cube was not as powerful as some claim but it did have some advantages, some slightly exaggerated, over the PS2. However, even if it had been capable of playing DVD’s, it would have ended up costing more money and there was still no guarantee it would have sold better. The Game Cube had strong third party support up front and it had solid 1st party titles at first but a series of missteps by Nintendo turned their core audience away and they lost a lot of momentum early on. In hindsight it is remembered fondly but at the time owning a Game Cube subjected one to ridicule in the gaming community. DVD’s wouldn’t have saved it, in fact it might have introduced a whole bunch of additional issues too complicated for this article.
8. The Wii won the XX console generation!
This is so utterly stupid it’s not worth getting into. First the concept of console generations is ridiculous to say the least. However let’s unpack it. The Wii was released in 2006, days after the PS3. However, it was not competing on the same hardware level nor was it targeting the same customers. Saying the Wii beat the PS3 is like saying the VCR beat 8 track because? Technically they were both game consoles but they were competing for different customers in different markets and offered totally different experiences. The system sold a respectable 100 million consoles, but it did not win that generation. It competed against itself for a market it claimed all to itself. The PS3 and Xbox 360 competed for an entirely separate market and nobody “won” that generation it was basically a draw.
9. Wii U failed because of the name
This is a relatively new and utterly nonsense claim.
The Wii U was a fantastic system with a handful, very small mind you, selection of great games. The vast majority of games, however, were garbage. There were a ton of indie games, digital only, that were of varying degrees of quality, except none, or very, very few were true exclusives. The system was running out dated ports of older games lacking features their contemporary counterparts touted. It failed because of that, being over priced for what it was (a last-gen console dressed in next gen clothes) and featured and expensive, clunky and mostly useless tablet style controller that most gamers hated. Die hard Nintendo loyalists praised it but most rejected it and thus the console failed.
The name was a joke but it didn’t cost it the sales. It has been suggested the blue ocean grandmas that made the Wii such a house hold success were confused by the name and thus didn’t buy it. This is misleading. Those customers bought the Wii for 1 game, Wii Sports, and treated it like a DVD player or similar appliance, in other words they never had any intention of upgrading. Fewer Nintendo gamers and traditional gamers bought the Wii U than the failed Game Cube and that name was not confusing to most. Well, except my dad who confused it for an Xbox but that rarely yielded any real world troubles outside occasional corrections in public.
10. Sega stopped making hardware and only makes Sonic games
This is flat false. Sega still makes hardware, in fact more so than even Nintendo in a way. They have always been the undisputed king of arcades and they do still make slot machines and casino games. However, they are pretty much it besides a handful of other companies. They still make plenty of games for other home consoles, usually under different brands they acquired over the years. The truth is they have not stopped making games, in fact they are making more games now than in a long time, and very few are Sonic, no more than in the decades since his introduction anyways. The reality is the did stop making home consoles, technically, although this is not entirely accurate either as they do still license their Genesis and Master System technology to other firms to produce in countries outside the United States. The reality is they still make games, they still make arcade machines and they still make hardware, just not in the same way they did in the 90s. Does that mean a Dreamcast 2 is a possibility? No and it shouldn’t. But they could re-enter the home console space but they’d have to make it a budget console that relied on selling digital copies of their catalog and that’s not likely to happen any time soon.
There you have it ten gaming myths that need to die. While some of these are based on ones perspective, the undeniable facts are basically each of these perceived ideas differ wildly from the actual reality.