Author Topic: The Sega 32X  (Read 26456 times)

Offline Shadowrunner

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2013, 22:29:18 PM »
That's not bad. Obviously Wolfenstein isn't going to push the hardware but still cool to see  :)

Offline 108 Stars

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2013, 23:13:44 PM »
@ Rogue Trooper

I agree that what came out on the 32X was not too impressive; but look at the Wolfenstein demo, a homebrew by a single guy. Look at the tech demos from Sega. What we got on the 32X is not nearly what it was capable of.

I think much like with the Jaguar developers rarely utilized the power. You wouldn't need 2 powerful CPUs to add colors.

Games like Doom even used only one of the CPUs, keeping the second one completely dormant. People say the 32X was not even capable of a full-screen Doom when in fact it was just a rush job running on half the power.


Yes, Sega was stretched thin. But the question is... when you have a slew of systems, why discontinue them all at the same time, even when one is only a year old? Had they discontinued GG and SMS, and slowed down MD development to focus on the 32X, that's how it should have been imo. The huge installed user base of the MD could have migrated to the 32X, new customers could buy the Neptune (MD&32X in one) from the start and still have the lowest cost next gen hardware beside the Jaguar.

Sure it would only be a "filler" of sorts, but one that leaves customers satisfied. Clearly Saturn was not ready for release; Sega pushed it to the market knowing that in the area Sega pioneered in the arcade, 3D graphics, the PlayStation was superior and easier to use. The Saturn was more expensive (at least in Europe) and offered mostly inferior results in 3D that was so hot. It needed a redesign.

32X would have given Sega that time. The MD was strong in Europe and the US; I remember Sega Germany's boss stating the MD was their "bread and butter" product, offering a steady income. Prolonging its life with the 32X would have given Sega time. Abandoning it, and all other systems was a gamble, Sega bet all of its fortune on one card. Sega of America knew that too, they wanted the 32X and not the Saturn; you may say they were wrong, but then again SoA under Tom Kalinske was the most successful period Sega ever had. That SoA toppled Nintendo eventhough starting as an underdog. I trust their judgement of the market more than that of Sega Japan which had failed to achieve success with any console on their home market to that day.

But that was par of the problem; when you read the interviews etc, Sega of Japan hated that the US branch was more successful. It's a pride thing. The MD was a disgrace to them because it failed to outsell the Famicom in the early days, the PCE and the SFC. A flop console. And Japan had to see how the west brought that platform to a huge success, making them seem incompetent. The 32X, an American idea that would prolong the MD's lifespan was exactly the opposite of what Japan wanted. And in the end, SoA always had to obey SoJ.

I look at the start of the 32X, and it sold out on the first Christmas. Sega could not meet demand (because again, SoJ would not offer larger production ressources). Star Wars 32X was the best selling Sega game that holiday, being in the top 5... being a game for a brand new system!

Third parties announced support.

Had Sega gone on to support the 32X, and delivered sufficient quantities of hardware it would have been a success. Probably not like the MD, but good enough to bridge the gap until a better Saturn is ready.

But Sega killed it among the other systems.
That left them with only the Saturn which did not convince consumers; and it left Sega with the stigma of having abandoned an expensive system after only a year. I lost trust in them, as did many others. Even if the Saturn had blown me away, I would not have bought it because I could not trust Sega anymore.

Eventually, the PlaySation 1 survived the 32X, the Saturn AND the Deamcast. Not a good result, and imo largely caused by Sega's bad reputation. Sure Sony had more money anyway, but like Big N Sega had created a great brand name in the MD era; Sega was hot. But they threw that away, out of the window. Actually Sony took over that audience, the cool image. I dare to say that even if a later Saturn would not have beaten the PlayStation, it would have beaten the N64. If it was CD-based, plus had the power similar to the N64 it would have sported all the advantages; better tech than the PS1, and more 3rd parties (+FMV, speech, bigger games) than the N64 where the cart technology scared devs away.

Thaat's how I see it at least. :)
Systems owned: Atari 2600, Lynx, Jaguar, NES, SNES, N64, GameBoy, Master System, Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Game Gear, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Wonderswan

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #47 on: May 17, 2013, 00:45:41 AM »
Great topics there, will make a start:

The Saturn started 'life' as the GigaDrive, in 1992, concept was a 32 Bit CD based machine designed to 'beat' the 3DO, modelled around SEGA's Model 1 hardware, several protypes were built during 1993, designed using the 16 Mhz NEC V60 CPU, a widely avaiable (in Japan) CISC type chip and SEGA thought no-one could touch them outside of the arcade in terms of 32 Bit technology, buy Sony by contrast had been working with and making superior RISC based chips for Silicon Graphics workstations for years, knew what they could do and how they produced the  results, so they went for a faster and improved version of a chip they knew inside out and of course started hyping the console to biblical levels based on on-paper performance  which made Model 1 coin-op hardware look dated and the Saturn as it was then very underpowered by comparison, SEGA were caught squarely on the hop, panicked and made rash decision after rash decision.Pride played a part in shunning any technology they themselves had not brought up through their own R+D labs, but it alone was'nt the sole factor...

Some of the claims doing the rounds in manner they approached 3rd parties for support make me wonder which cost them more dearly, pride or arrogance, telling E.A that they needed SEGA, but SEGA did'nt need E.A, SEGA would succeed with or without them, just beggars belief espically after it was partly thanks to E.A's support the Genesis did so well in the USA....

The 32X, just like the 3DO and Jaguar, were never going to get the software support the Playstation or even Saturn were going to get, everyone knew both SEGA and SONY along with Nintendo had the big guns lined up and it would be a battle fought with these not the pretenders, no one seemed willing to really invest time and money in doing little more than token support for these, hence we saw so many enhanced ports of existing games on them all.


Tech demo's are just that...demo's designed to showcase hardware or a new game engine, soon as you factor in real game factors such as A.I, performance takes a hit, seen it on so many systems, sony loved showing off PS1 and PS2 in terms of 3D, lighting, particle effects etc etc, yet you ever wonder just why PS2 Gran turismo used same A.I routines as those used in the PS1 games, or we never saw games pushing anything past 20 Million polys per sec on PS2 despite Sony's claims of 66 Million per sec (originally 75 Million)?.

Scavenger put together some stunning Saturn tech demo's and indeed Amok and scorcher were superb examples of Saturn hardware being used, but game engines were scaled down from said tech demo's as comprimises had to be made to ensure things like steady frame rate etc, so i cannot really say finished goods in terms of 32X games from them would have matched quality of the tech demo's shown.

Only to look at early Quake on Saturn, Lobotomy who were among THE best Saturn coders had to scale back and comprimise on graphics etc, to fit everything in and ensure game performance did'nt take a hit, 32X would have been no different.

Plus being cart based, 32X did'nt have the luxury of streaming assests off CD in way say 3DO did (look at 3DO Road rash, engine streams assests for improved graphical performance or Primal on PS2-streams assests off CD for higher polygon count than other PS2 titles, or Soul Reaver on PS1, Nuclear+Soviet strike on PS1, all stream data off CD), so it was hampered there alone.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #48 on: May 17, 2013, 01:45:51 AM »
Also going to throw in:

SEGA had also looked at bringing home VR to the MD, but scrapped it, so they must have been throwing money at a good few projects in order to see which would be best bet to extend life of the MD, wonder how much, if any of these projects diverted focus and or resources away from developing true follow up to MD?

32X gave MD more colours, but games were still restricted to MD screen resolution i'd guess?

Talking of confusion, 6 32X games needed a MCD to run, another thing consumer probably did'nt want to be worrying about.SEGA really did'nt help matters in some areas.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #49 on: May 17, 2013, 10:41:14 AM »
I had a dig through the various list of games that were annouced but canned or possibly in cases work never started on, for 32X and going to mention a few as a kinda 'What If...' these had come out and thus 32X was better supported, type scenario:

See a good few 'enhanced' Mega Drive  games in there:Garfield, Road Rash 3, Street Racer, Zero Tolerance, Comix Zone, Dynamite Headdy, Primal Rage (though this would have required the MCD as well), Strike Trilogy (Des/Jungle and Urban on 1 cart), so looking at how say BC Racers was improved, i'd guess Street Racer would be smoother, have the scaling of the SNES game and possibly enhanced modes, the others? well i'd use MK2 on 32X as an example on enhanced carts, so i'd expect more frames of animation, better colouring, clearer sound etc.

MCD games also enhanced (or ported to rather than appear on MCD), so we'd have seen Soul Star, Tomcat Alley :Deluxe, Shadow Of Atlantis, Alien Trilogy (which started out on MCD, changed to 32X, then appeared on PS1/Saturn).

Also as well as the 32X CD games mentioned, likes of Alone In The Dark 2, Destuxor,Colour TV, Dogfight, Dragons Lair II, 36 Holes Golf CD, few others but just how many folk had a MD, MCD and were going to buy another add-on, just for a handful of titles?

Then you've games like Capcom's AVP and Darkstalkers, both of which would have been a real shot in the arm for the system, Shellshock from Core-i had the PSone version, awful game!, little known on Castlevania-The Bloodletting, but guessing enhanced version of cart Bloodlines, so better colours, sound and scaling effects.

Rayman-Less colours on screen than Jaguar version, but otherwise the same i'd guess.

Heavy Machinery from Scavenger-this i'd liked to have seen and just how it compared to their tech demo's on 32X

Streetfighter:The Movie-awful on systems it did arrive on.

Daytona USA-Given how both Saturn versions fared and if you compare 32X VF to Saturn VF, think you get idea just how cut down in terms of polys and textures 32X version would be, big step up tech wise from V.Racing.

So personally cannot see much that would have reversed 32X's fortunes had the support continued.

UPDATE:see also rumoured on 32X was Tomb Raider, asuming here it'd be 32X CD game, same game as the Jaguar CD game, engine probably very different to one used on Saturn.

Saturn Scorcher+Amok said to have started out as 32X titles, but moved to the more powerful Saturn hardware.

Heavy Machinery would have used a game engine similar to Road rash on 3DO-Polygons used to create enviroments, pre-rendered vehicles and rest of objects made of sprites, so again here i think you'd be looking at a frame rate of 20-25 FPS.

Think to really hold it's own again'st 3DO, 32X games would have needed to come out as 32X CD games, only to see how CD benifitted the Jaguar in cases like Battlemorph, Highlander and Hoverstrike.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #50 on: May 17, 2013, 11:57:54 AM »
I personally think rather than bother with the 32X SEGA would have been far better trying to turn the MCD around-stop the FMV crap altogether, get likes of Capcom to bring more S.E games like Final Fight to the system along with Virgin etc and also look at contined use of the SVP chip but in original games rather than trying to convert something like VF or Daytona USA to the format.

As it stood with games like Pitfall appearing on MD, MCD and 32X, it just sent out confusing message to consumers, espically when the differences between versions were minimal-32X Pitfall had what, an extra level, cleaner visuals, but sound was'nt improved much, nor was much use made of the extra colours.

IF i'm right in thinking, in terms of games like Primal Rage, all the 32X is doing is generating the character models, the MD itself creates the backdrops, so you'd see a mix of improved and not improved visuals and result is just a touched up version of a game you could get on MD cart as was, MCD suffered as it was with 'enhanced' cart games, did SEGA really think adding another layer of enhancement would help?, if people were'nt buying the MCD for enhanced MD carts, what made them think they'd buy a 32X for the same reason.

Things like Thunderhawk, Batman returns, Terminator S.e, Final fight showed how new hardware could be used to really enhance an existing 16 Bit game, but SEGA never really grabbed the ball and ran with it, marketing wise to show what differences there were, plus there were too few of only possible on MCD type games and 32X suffered the exact same issue.

Offline TL

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #51 on: May 17, 2013, 11:59:30 AM »
This a proof of concept engine/demo for the 32X by the same guy who wrote Wolfenstein 3D for it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahISpH1eMzg

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2013, 12:26:02 PM »
Quote from: "The Laird"
This a proof of concept engine/demo for the 32X by the same guy who wrote Wolfenstein 3D for it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahISpH1eMzg

Very nice, but cannot help thinking for all the talk of what frame rate it could have had if written for the 32X hardware, voice over chap+youtube commeters are totally forgetting the impact on performance you'd see once you factored in enemies, game logic, A.I etc etc, sure if you just wanted a rolling 3D engine, it'd be great, but think frame rate would suffer the more you tried to do with the enviroment itself, so you'd eith have great looking, but empty rooms, or samey looking, repeated textures, which could be an issue for level design.

Not trying to be picky, just feet on ground here, tech demo's are not going to give true picture of how a fully working game would run on the hardware.

Offline Shadowrunner

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #53 on: May 17, 2013, 15:09:02 PM »
Looks good so far  :113:

Offline 108 Stars

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2013, 23:47:50 PM »
I think we just have to agree to disagree, Rogue Trooper. :)

Of course tech demos are not like real games, yet the 32X is also not limited to being a color enhancement to the MD like you make it out to be. It is capable of quite competent 3D graphics on a similar level as the Jaguar. Virtua Fighter was a very good port; reduced poly count, but also reduced flickering and slowdown. Metal Head had framerate issues but great textures. Again, who knows how a second and third generation of games could have looked. I am convinced it could have managed, at a lower level most early PS1 games (the 32X  was also cheaper, to counter the loss of detail) until a better Saturn could be released in 1996. Only then did 32-Bit games reach a level that was probably beyond anything the 32X and Jag could do.
It was a much more potent add-on than the Mega-CD was, and as such it was the system to go with. The MCD was too flawed from the beginning, the CDs being the only advantage over the 32X.

All the history behind the Saturn, the Giga Drive (much of it being rumors never verified by Sega staff since) don't change that the Saturn was not the right hardware at the right time. The 32X could have filled the gap until Saturn is better prepared, the demand was there, and the support was there. In my eyes the moment Sega killed the 32X was the moment the company went downhill and it suffers from it to this day.
Systems owned: Atari 2600, Lynx, Jaguar, NES, SNES, N64, GameBoy, Master System, Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Game Gear, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Wonderswan

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2013, 00:44:01 AM »
Quote from: "108 Stars"
I think we just have to agree to disagree, Rogue Trooper. :)

Of course tech demos are not like real games, yet the 32X is also not limited to being a color enhancement to the MD like you make it out to be. It is capable of quite competent 3D graphics on a similar level as the Jaguar. Virtua Fighter was a very good port; reduced poly count, but also reduced flickering and slowdown. Metal Head had framerate issues but great textures. Again, who knows how a second and third generation of games could have looked. I am convinced it could have managed, at a lower level most early PS1 games (the 32X  was also cheaper, to counter the loss of detail) until a better Saturn could be released in 1996. Only then did 32-Bit games reach a level that was probably beyond anything the 32X and Jag could do.
It was a much more potent add-on than the Mega-CD was, and as such it was the system to go with. The MCD was too flawed from the beginning, the CDs being the only advantage over the 32X.

All the history behind the Saturn, the Giga Drive (much of it being rumors never verified by Sega staff since) don't change that the Saturn was not the right hardware at the right time. The 32X could have filled the gap until Saturn is better prepared, the demand was there, and the support was there. In my eyes the moment Sega killed the 32X was the moment the company went downhill and it suffers from it to this day.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2013, 00:56:30 AM »
Think 108 you honestly have to look at SEGA as a whole back then, my hat is off to them for being so willing to embrace newer technology and use it to 'future proof' the MD somewhat, be it CD, home V.R or RISC based 32-Bit CPU's etc, but harsh fact is, an add-on can never be as good as a designed from the ground up system, as it's always going to be restricted by the base unit, ie thing it plugs into.

There's a good reason the M2or Bulldog add-on for the 3DO would be able to use little more than the CD drive, they did'nt want it restricted in any way by the 3DO's chipset, it had to be a clear generation above Playstation performance.

32X might have had more faith in it, had it been the only add-on or enhancer SEGA came out with, so MD-straight to 32X, NO SVP on MD cart, NO MCD and a much longer delay between it and the Saturn.If it was priced correctly and given deluxe conversions of games it really could handle well (ie sprite based, rather than things like Virtua fighter, good as that was) and games priced to reflect the 'age', it could have settled in to the 2nd machine space in many peoples homes or be 'enough' to tide SEGA die hards over until 1st details of the Saturn came out and people could see how it performed next to PSone and N64.


Jaguar CD enabled games like Hoverstike which proved the machine could do 3D games (with cleaner textures than...) of a standard of 1st wave PS1 titles, but was an add-on for a device many of us had lost faith in, had it arrived earlier, with stronger line up of games? (like Freelancer 2100 which looked amazing) things would hopefully been different, 32X finds itself in same area for myself.

Offline 108 Stars

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2013, 01:09:22 AM »
I was also an early adopter for PS1; like it was released in September, and I bought it in December (from my savings for a 32X, lol).

And yes, what 3rd parties really offered was lame. But maybe, just maybe that would have changed with a bigger user base... and with fewer 2D games coming out that could be beefed up a little. I remember looking forward to Alone in the Dark, that kind of thing would have fit the 32X nicely. Sega's Sonic Xtreme... games could have used 3D enviroments and pre rendered sprite based characters to make up for the low poly count.

I really think there was potential there. And what's important: Sega would have to set an example by providing great software. Unlike on Mega-CD, where they only brought Sonic CD as an exclusive (and one that in some regards wasn't even as good as the cart game Sonic 2) and not much else beside beefed up cart games. 3rd parties have to see the console manufacturer means business to really pour ressources into it. If they see Sega only brings few titles, or second rate stuff they know it's not worth their time and effort. Two major titles (Star Wars and VF) plus Virtua Racing which was already available on MD was not enough.

At any rate, Saturn in its state was not ready to a take on the PlayStation head-on. It was a dead giveaway with the visual discrepancy of the first generation that the PS1 would win. And even later it was only Sega and few others that could get excellent results from Saturn.

My relationship with Sega is really one of both love and hate. I love their 8- and 16-bit-era machines and games; I love how well they supported 8-bit just as long as 16-bit with AAA titles. I love how they overcame the unstoppable giant Nintendo.

But I hate how they dropped support for the MD although saying they would not. I hate how they sold the fans Mega-CD and 32X without supporting them properly. I hate how they rushed Saturn to market to be the first instead of fine tuning it. I hate how they abandoned 32X, Saturn and Dreamcast all in the lifespan of a single Sony generation. I hate how unfocused the company always was, with different parties pulling in different directions. I hate how they let their franchises rot and go into obscurity while Nintendo takes good care of its own franchises. Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Wonder Boy and Eternal Champions should be big franchises today, with new incarnations being announced at big press events at E3. They were no less than Zelda, Metroid or Donkey Kong. But Sega threw it away.

The 32X is one such chapter, where I believe they could have made a lot out of it had they made a little effort. But it was not meant to be.
Systems owned: Atari 2600, Lynx, Jaguar, NES, SNES, N64, GameBoy, Master System, Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Game Gear, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Wonderswan

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2013, 11:16:27 AM »
I bought PSone AITD II it was awful, slow, plodding speed, unresponsive controls, you name it, so i'd have to say the 32X version would probably have been even worse.Also, Interplay did'nt even have the rights to publish 32X AITD II at the time it was annouced, so wether game would have had a 'global' release, had it indeed been done, is doubtful.Also for game to really work well, you'd be looking at it as 32X CD game (which i've seen it listed as), so not exactly aimed at core 32X market.


SEGA might well have starved the MCD of exclusives (i hate Sonic CD, even re-bought on PSN to give it a 2nd chance, but no, cart Sonics far superior), but that did'nt stop Capcom bringing out Final Fight, Core for bringing out Thunderhawk, Jaguar XJ220, Soul Star, Battlecorps+BC Racers, Virgin bringing out Terminator S.E, Dune etc, all making use of MCD hardware, be it bigger sprites or using the custom sprite hardware for scaling/texture mapping etc.Only way 32X was going to get a bigger user base was to have the killer apps to convince people to buy them.

Starwars Arcade was great, if limited, Virtua Racing-were people who'd bought the expensive SVP MD cart game going to buy a 32X and another version of the game? doubt it, same for Primal Rage, MK2 etc-these are'nt games MD owners were going to see as must get another copy of...

The state of the Saturn-blame there lies squarely at SEGA's feet, if your offered a solution that meant Saturn could compete with Playstation, yet it hurts your pride or you feel you owe a golf buddy a favour, so you'll use his chipsets instead, then so be it, but don't expect developers to make allowances, instead better be prepared to watch them leave you in droves.How galling it must have been to see a key SEGA supporter in form of Core say your system won't be getting any more Tomb Raider games, knowing just how huge the 1st was.


Even in MD days, signs were clear that SEGA were running clean out of ideas for key franchises SOR peaked at SOR II-SOR III might have been biggest cart, but it tried to throw everything bar the kitchen sink in and result was a messs.Golden Axe i loved, but Golden Axe II+III were awful.

Shinobi had been hit and miss (Shadow Dancer, The Cyber Shinobi anyone?) and by time of Shinobi III, inital version was mauled at review, withdrawn and tweaked, but despite bigger cart, still not a patch on Revenge Of Shinobi.

Wonder Boy and dragons Trap i loved, but i've never got on with Monster world games, again rebought recently (on XBLA), but deleted the collection last night as magic just was'nt there, yet i still play Dragons Trap on MS/GG via emu.

Eternal Champions was a case of SEGA again showing what could be done with an enhanced version on MCD, lot better than the cart version, but for every enhanced game that worked, there seemed to be a new installment of a SEGA franchise that seemed to follow same pattern:Bigger MEG cart, bigger sprites, more levels etc, but less to enjoy.More=Less.

I still say SEGA was trying to support too many platforms at once, resources streched too thin, it was a hydra of a company, many heads snapping at each other.Sony and Nintendo slew it, a head at a time, sadly.

I also think that had SEGA gone ahead and ported likes of Daytona USA to 32X it'd done even more harm-the expectations would have been too high, end result too dissapointing, so SEGA would have ended up loosing even more faith.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: The Sega 32X
« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2013, 11:36:13 AM »
Also the 'Giga' Drive, i assume this is what later became known as 'Project Mars', ie plans for an updated MD to be released featuring more colours and a 32 Bit CPU etc.

32X advert from SEGA in 1994 spoke of 'faster action, hammering graphics, if it can do this for your Genesis, imagine what it can do for your SEGA CD'.


But thing here was these 'hammering graphics' SEGA spoke of, part of which were scaling and rotation-these were features people had bought a SEGA CD for, now they were expected to buy yet another add-on to do exactly the same (but more).same applies to Q-Sound, MCD had already used that in Ecco The Dolphin and J.Park.

32X offer lot more colours to choose from (32, 768) and more on screen (256?) which MCD could'nt offer, clever coding tricks could get more from it, but nothing like 32X, but 32X did'nt adress a key flaw UK mags were moaning about by then, the MD screen resolution, so again the marketing promised a lot, but the hardware could'nt deliver everything people wanted or expected from a 32 Bit system and people were getting confused.MCD had promised to take games to whole new level, then sprite scaling etc was seen as yesterdays news, Polygons my friend, 3D that was where it was at, here's the SVP chip, no, wait...that's old tech, here's twin 32 Bit RISC chips and sprite scaling and rotation now key features....again.

 

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