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Games Entertainment

Games That Push System Limits 107

Retro Gaming with racketboy has a look at games that pushed the limits of gaming systems. At the end of every console's life, the last few games released for the system are (generally) the shiniest examples the hardware has to offer. The article's author starts with the Atari. From the piece: "I'm by no means a 2600 expert, but Solaris is definitely one game that comes up quite frequently in terms of innovative 2600 games. Considering the 2600 wasn't originally intended to do much more than play Pong variants, Solaris is a technical masterpiece with its sophisticated gameplay and relatively high resolution graphics. Although the game played much like a first-person space shooter, you can always see your ship at the bottom of the screen. The graphics for Solaris were first-rate as the multi-colored aliens are flicker-free and glide along smoothly, even when attacking in groups."
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Games That Push System Limits

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  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:53PM (#14720163)
    1) Developers cannot know what the capabilities of your laptop are. They have to generalize for many, many hardware configurations, and any attempts to push the envelope of systems currently available risks making your system requirements too high for the game to sell. My PC does not equal your PC. My PS2 does equal your PS2.

    2) Developers can assume that a laptop sold the year after yours will be more powerful than yours. What is a limit today is not a limit one year from now.

    These two things combine to mean that PC developers cannot really push the limit of a PC because defined limits don't exist.

    Pushing the limit of a console is truly a feat of wizardry because you're constantly striving to get more and more out of the same hardware instead of just coding for machines that don't yet exist or aren't yet common. On the other hand, there's an incentive to go all out since you are rewarded for hitting the limits of a system by increased sales instead of punished by decreased sales. It's an entirely different way of programming for an entirely different market.

    A system with an add-on like a hard drive for an Xbox, a network card and hard drive for a PS2, or a memory pack for an N64 is not the same as an upgrade for a PC. In essence, what you have is an entirely new system. Console games are coded under the expectation that either:

    A) You cannot assume that the hardware is there and the game cannot rely on it.
    B) The game requires the hardware and will not run without it.

    In other words, two systems with or without an added capability are essentially two completely different consoles, and pushing the limits of those systems works completely differently. You'll note that because of lower market penetrations of Console++ over Vanilla Console, most games written for add-on hardware are commercial flops.

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