How much more powerful was the N64 compared to the PlayStation anyway?

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Yoshi's Island is my favourite game of all time. I never played Yoshi's Story, so I gave it a shot a few years ago on VC. I had to stop less than an hour in, wasn't enjoying any of it.

Also I will admit I think the visuals are hurt by the N64s poor ability to output good 2D graphics.
The N64's ability to output 2d graphics isn't any worse than the Playstation's. So no. And also, Yoshi's Story is a completely diffrent game from Yoshi's Island, in both graphics (storybook-style, now) and gameplay. I don't think liking one says all that much about liking the other, really... Yoshi's Story is a collectathon, not a go-to-the-right game. Super easy if you just go straight through, super hard if you try for all melons in every level. Gameplay-wise it's okay but has some issues (I will never go for all melons, it's too crazy-hard unless you just use a walkthrough for the whole thing), but graphically it's outstanding. It really looks like a moving picture book, they did a very good job.

No offense to A Black Falcon but, while the N64 is factually faster and a more advanced 3D system than the PSone (even with its share of limitations), he just loves the system a little bit too much sometimes (and making long ass posts while he's at it!).
It's not my fault that most Dreamcast games don't go beyond N64 levels of polygons-per-frame.
 
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Vagrant Story - The poster boy of how good art direction can go a very, VERY long way towards making your game look amazing, despite any tech limitations you are working with. On PSP / VITA, this is still pleasant to look at

I was surprised when I downloaded this for my Vita over the weekend when it said was only a 90 something mb file. Thought something had gone wrong somewhere lol.
 
Jun 8, 2004
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What exactly could the N64 handle in terms of 2D?

There was the pre-rendered stuff like KI:Gold and Yoshi's Story, but i was disappointed in those visuals overall, cause like the 3D stuff, they had the vaseline effect. Was there a reason it was like that?
It really ruined what was otherwise nice art (Yoshi's Story anyway).
DKC on SNES still looked nicer to my eye cause of that vaseline.

Was it impossible to do something crisp like you'd see in a Capcom fighter on Saturn?
I think SF3 was rumoured for N64 at one point (before it hit arcades IIRC) - would it have been able to handle it i wonder.
 
Jan 12, 2012
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Several sources said 60 but either way it's amazing.
Well, it runs at 60FPS interlaced. Which is really just 30FPS interlacing two frames together at once to give it the illusion of a smooth 60FPS.

Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn also ran at 480i as well. VF2 was also the only Saturn game to run at 704x480, and it looked pretty amazing for its day.


How did Sega Saturn fare on this, same trouble as PS1?

The Saturn really is the odd man out here, as the architecture is different from the PSx or N64. The Saturn couldn't even render polygon based triangles. It did everything in quadrilaterals which is a four sided flat surface (The Panasonic 3DO also used quad rendering). Quad rendering actually caused a headache for modelers, because it was generally much harder to make specific shapes with four sided polygons that would generally be easy to do with triangle polygons. The developers at Core complained about this a lot when developing Tomb Raider.

The Saturn really was a 2D machine with extra chips thrown into the box to compete with the PS1. From what I understand most hardware features that were built into the PS1 had to be emulated through software on the Sega Saturn, making it much harder to develop for, as well as making 3D quite a bit slower.

Very few developers also took advantage of both CPU's on the Saturn, though the few that did take advantage of the full hardware actually came up with some really impressive results. AM2, Lobotomy, Travelers Tales, Game Arts, Treasure (with Grandia) and some of Sega's other teams showed some pretty nice things on the Saturn.


Interesting fact: Nvidias first videocard, the NV1 was entirely based on the Sega Saturn and rendered games completely in quads. The first games that supported the NV1 were ports of Saturn games. The NV1 even had a port for Sega Saturn controllers on it. Though outside of Sega, practically nobody supported the Nvidia NV1. The NV2 was actually being developed for Sega's Blackbelt (AKA the Dreamcast) console but never saw the light of day, it almost brought Nvidia to bankruptcy. Though they did bounce back with the NV3 (Rivia 128) which was a true polygon based GPU and supported OpenGL. It was the card that saved their company.
 

DCharlie

And even i am moderately surprised
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Technicals were largely a red herring - as i found out myself.

I was in the UK and heading to my finals for Uni #myoldballs and i had saved up enough from my year-in-industry so i could buy an N64.

After ragging the crap out of Mario 64 and Turok i was pretty much thinking "that's it for the PS1" but... yeah... 64.99 POUNDS per game? lol - no - hell, turok was 74.99 !!! It wasn't going to happen. Given that PS1 games were already pushing 49.99 , Nintendo -royally- took the piss, especially with a 249 gbp console (that they slashed pretty quickly)

Ultimately here is the bottom line : the N64 was not significantly more powerful than the PS1 that it made a difference. 1.xx? "more powerful" but 1.xx more expensive - and that's how it fizzled out.

p.s. i'm always intrigued how N64 vs PS1 screen shots in threads like this from Nintendo leaners always pick the least fuzzy N64 shots whilst picking the worst possible PS1 shots. Come on people, smeeeeeeeeeeeeeer that vassss. We're all adults, we can accept the truth XX years down the line surely?!
 
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This... That was the first generation of games where I had all three home consoles... N64 rocked me Golden Eye and Perfect Dark, two hardcore games that PS1 had ZERO competition for. PSX was master of RPGs, giving me my final fantasy's and Lunar series (RIP Lunar, someday some company with money and class will do something good with you.... someday), while Sega Saturn gave me.... uummm... Saturn gave me.... errr... Oh! Dragon Force! That is seriously one of my favorite games to this day! And also.... uuuuuhhhhmmmm.... I guess panzer dragoon was cool?
Saturn gave you 2d games that no other systems could ever touch. It gave you Shining Force 3, it gave you Virtua Fighta 2, it gave you arcade perfect ports of Xmen VS Street Fighter and heroic Magic Knight Rayearth. It had 2d power that shamed the Playstation and N64, it had all those arcade ports from SNK, Capcom, Sega, and it had a ton of Shmups. Don't you ever forget it. NOT EVER. Oh yeah, it also drained money fast. Most stuff on Saturn that's good is expensive.
 
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Eh... Who cares? I sure as hell didn't when deciding between the Playstation and the N64 when I was 12-13. All I cared about was how fun the games were looking; not once did I think the Playstation's graphics were poor compared to the N64 (or vice versa).
 
Jun 8, 2004
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After ragging the crap out of Mario 64 and Turok i was pretty much thinking "that's it for the PS1" but... yeah... 64.99 POUNDS per game? lol - no - hell, turok was 74.99 !!! It wasn't going to happen. Given that PS1 games were already pushing 49.99 , Nintendo -royally- took the piss, especially with a 249 gbp console (that they slashed pretty quickly)

Ultimately here is the bottom line : the N64 was not significantly more powerful than the PS1 that it made a difference. 1.xx? "more powerful" but 1.xx more expensive - and that's how it fizzled out.
Where i was, N64 games were no more expensive than SNES games before it. Some even way cheaper (i paid $150AU for SF2 Turbo!)
It was the first generation however where game prices started to fall and re-releases (platinum etc) were actually cheaper - thanks to discs and smarts on Sony's part. Sure there was some gouging as always, but being on cartridge surely played it's part in Nintendo's prices. At least the cartridges were almost worth their weight back then!

I do remember i got F-Zero X for about 2/3 of the standard retail price at launch despite it being a hefty cartridge for the time - presumably because its screenshots weren't the most flattering - but of course the nice price was just icing on the cake for that one :)
 
The Saturn really is the odd man out here, as the architecture is different from the PSx or N64. The Saturn couldn't even render polygon based triangles. It did everything in quadrilaterals which is a four sided flat surface (The Panasonic 3DO also used quad rendering). Quad rendering actually caused a headache for modelers, because it was generally much harder to make specific shapes with four sided polygons that would generally be easy to do with triangle polygons. The developers at Core complained about this a lot when developing Tomb Raider.

The Saturn really was a 2D machine with extra chips thrown into the box to compete with the PS1. From what I understand most hardware features that were built into the PS1 had to be emulated through software on the Sega Saturn, making it much harder to develop for, as well as making 3D quite a bit slower.

Very few developers also took advantage of both CPU's on the Saturn, though the few that did take advantage of the full hardware actually came up with some really impressive results. AM2, Lobotomy, Travelers Tales, Game Arts, Treasure (with Grandia) and some of Sega's other teams showed some pretty nice things on the Saturn.


Interesting fact: Nvidias first videocard, the NV1 was entirely based on the Sega Saturn and rendered games completely in quads. The first games that supported the NV1 were ports of Saturn games. The NV1 even had a port for Sega Saturn controllers on it. Though outside of Sega, practically nobody supported the Nvidia NV1. The NV2 was actually being developed for Sega's Blackbelt (AKA the Dreamcast) console but never saw the light of day, it almost brought Nvidia to bankruptcy. Though they did bounce back with the NV3 (Rivia 128) which was a true polygon based GPU and supported OpenGL. It was the card that saved their company.
Interesting read, thanks! Reading what you are saying about triangle polygons vs. quads I wonder; did the developers have to remodel every 3D model for the Saturn version to models with quads? Or am I not understanding this right?
 
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I have played quite a few N64 and PS1 games in recent years and 64 easily outperforms PS1 when it comes to 3D. Had PS1 had graphics on par with 64, PS1 would have gotten the same version of Rayman 2 as 64, PC and DC. What they got instead was a version that was clearly visually inferior.

3D worlds on PS1 looks blockier, more pixelated, has worse lighting and generally has less things "going on". I haven't seen a single game on PS1 pulling of open 3D enviroments on a level that's on par with OoT, Banjo & Kazooie and DK64.
 

Combichristoffersen

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N64 games generally had more pristine colours that would 'pop' more than colours in PS1 games, as colours in PS1 games often looked 'washed out' in comparison, but I could never quite gel with the whole vaseline smear thing the N64 had going on (the fog never bothered me though). That said, the PS1 had a vastly much better library of games than the N64 had. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the PS1 has more good to worthwhile games than the total number of N64 games.
 
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Nintendo's system definitely had more capability for split screen multiplayer. It had 4 controller ports, sure, but the speed at which it ran 4 separate 3D game instances at once was pretty impressive and really solidified it as the more party-friendly system. People will always have fond memories of 4 player Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64.
 
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The N64's ability to output 2d graphics isn't any worse than the Playstation's. So no.
I'm pretty sure you're wrong about this. I certainly can't name a single 2D game on the N64 that uses detailed sprites and multiple parallax layers, comparable to something like Symphony of the Night on PSX. The art style of Yoshi's Story looks like a way to cope with these limitations.
 
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No pictures of of Tomb Raider 4? And as for Mario 64, as much as I loved the game it use sprites heavily. Take them away and you had blocky as levels. Run very well though.
 
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Wow, Jett. You actually tried to argue against RR64's graphics. Sure, you may not like some of the changes RR64 brought to the series, the graphics were a clear improvement over the original PS1 titles.

Anyway, essentially if you can adjust yourself to the graphical glitches of the PS1, you will prefer the PS1 graphics; and if you can adjust yourself to the low framerate of the N64, you will prefer the N64 graphics.

Since graphics back then were very simple and didn't lose a lot of stuff when the framerate went down, N64's framerates never bothered me. It's not like today where a framerate dip might actually make what you see on screen disorienting due to how much information you have to process at one time; walking around the worlds of Banjo-Tooie posed no problem if the framerate dipped.

And besides, check this sweet action out:



The PS1 would have rendered that with each polygon on the dinosaur dislodging itself from it's texture, the floor and walls shaking as the camera moved, and the smooth look of the entire world would have been replaced by unfiltered jaggy textures.

Not hating though.
 
Jun 13, 2004
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Well, it runs at 60FPS interlaced. Which is really just 30FPS interlacing two frames together at once to give it the illusion of a smooth 60FPS.

Virtua Fighter 2 on the Saturn also ran at 480i as well. VF2 was also the only Saturn game to run at 704x480, and it looked pretty amazing for its day.
You can call it "the illusion of a smooth 60fps", I guess, but you're basically saying that no 480i PSX, Saturn, or PS2 games run at 60fps in the process.

There were a few other Saturn games that ran in that higher resolution, though. Dead or Alive, Decathlete, Winter Heat, Last Bronx, Anarchy in the Nippon, All Japan Pro Wrestling... A good chunk of games use it exclusively in menus, and some even mix low-resolution and high-resolution elements in-game (Toshinden URA, Fighters Megamix).

well its subjective, but I cant think of a single psone game that I wanna play. I think most would agree that N64 has a far superior library
You would be incredibly mistaken.
 
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PS1 games looked good enough for me back in the day, nowadays you can use Petes plugin and they'll look like launch ps2 games.


Rival Schools



Tekken 3

Yeah but these are fighting games. 99% of the polygons and textures in these two screenshots are going towards characters. Of course they're going to look really nice, because the backgrounds might as well be pre-rendered like Final Fantasy or Resident Evil.
 
I hated the N64. HATED. Like, seriously, out of all of the systems I've owned in my lifetime, it might be the system I disliked the most. It was all due to the texture blue issue. Just something about those classic N64 textures that, for me, made the games way, way uglier than any PS1 game I ever played. I bought an N64 and Mario 64 on day one, hated Mario, and for the rest of the time that I owned the system, the only things I bought for it were Harvest Moon 64 and the Aki WWF wrestling games.

Just thinking about the N64's graphics almost makes me want to vomit. I take nothing away from the system as a gaming experience, nor its library, as I know a lot of people loved it and loved a lot of its games. In terms of what a system presented graphically for the time period it inhabited, however, I'd really have to give some thought to if I could think of any other hardware that I thought produced uglier results than the N64.

So, in my mind, the N64 was barely above the PS1. Of course, that because I could find so few games that I could stand to look at, so I never gave the hardware an honest chance.
 
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Lots of late N64 games looked like dreamcast games to me back in the day.
Not even close.

N64 was a beast back in the day though, too bad most of the talented developers didn't develop any games for it. The only developers that pushed the console were Nintendo, Rare and Iguana.

BK was awesome:
 

Combichristoffersen

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well its subjective, but I cant think of a single psone game that I wanna play. I think most would agree that N64 has a far superior library
What the fuck am I reading? It's not like the N64 didn't have good games, but the PS1 is generally considered to have a far better library than the N64, simply because it had a far bigger library than the N64.
 
Apr 11, 2008
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What the fuck am I reading? It's not like the N64 didn't have good games, but the PS1 is generally considered to have a far better library than the N64, simply because it had a far bigger library than the N64.
Is there a source on this? I've seen opinions flying back and forth but nothing that suggests that one opinion is more adhered to than another.

And I'm saying that as someone who likely agrees that the PS1 had a bigger, broader and richer library than the N64. I think that if someone considers the N64 library as better though, their opinion isn't exactly radical or unusual.

My take -> N64 had the very best titles of the generation on it. The PS1 had more great games than the N64, of such broad range and experience, that they trumped the N64's lineup. Does that make sense?
 
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I am shocked at the love for RR64 vs RR4... RR4 looks so much better..

Also, most developers always talked about how the N64 liked diverse textures. I use to read this in EGM all the time.

Either way, I prefer the PS1 look, except when its a game like Wave Race.. i think the games were just good, but the textures on N64 are really flat and lacking detail
 
My take -> N64 had the very best titles of the generation on it. The PS1 had more great games the N64, of such broad range and experience, that they trumped the N64's lineup. Does that make sense?
I think, at a certain point, quantity > quality. Like, one console might have five 10/10 games as its best games, and another console might have fifteen 8/10 games as its best games. At that point, I say the latter is the better game library. Maybe not on a personal level for me, but on a more subjective overall level. Diversity and size of a library are often the deciding factor, even if I don't necessarily agree with the winner.
 
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Had Nintendo gone with a CD-based system and upped the texture memory, the N64 could have almost competed with the Dreamcast.
Wave Race 64 still looks amazing to this day.

But I still loved the PlayStation and I can honestly say I remember it having better graphics.
Often, the higher resolution textures made up for the lack of filtering and the smart use of pre-rendered backgrounds or sprite-based characters made up for the lack of polygons.



Unfortunately posting screenshots today doesn't help because the majority of what you'll find are from emulators. But look at the tapestry
in the background of this Brave Fencer Musashi shot. It's not filtered but it is so detailed it hardly mattered on a standard-def tv.
 
Sep 11, 2007
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Wow, Jett. You actually tried to argue against RR64's graphics. Sure, you may not like some of the changes RR64 brought to the series, the graphics were a clear improvement over the original PS1 titles.
The fantastic goraud shading on RR4 and the lightning is what set apart to RR64. Yeah texture filtering was nice and all. But it wasn't the same at all.
 
Aug 20, 2006
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If it was more powerful it wasn't in an obvious or jaw dropping sort of way.
It was in a league above when games of the same type by competent developers were compared.

Compare say, Coolboarders to 1080. Janky, jaggy, poorly animated mess with texture seams everywhere, to a rock solid, slick, smooth looking game with really amazing snow.

Goldeneye was a near launch game and was completely out of the PS1's league in almost every way.

That said, VF2 on Saturn and Tekken 3 were technical marvels on Saturn and PS1. I still can't believe Tekken 3 was done on the PS1, it was ridiculous.
 

Yoshichan

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I hated the N64. HATED. Like, seriously, out of all of the systems I've owned in my lifetime, it might be the system I disliked the most. It was all due to the texture blue issue. Just something about those classic N64 textures that, for me, made the games way, way uglier than any PS1 game I ever played. I bought an N64 and Mario 64 on day one, hated Mario, and for the rest of the time that I owned the system, the only things I bought for it were Harvest Moon 64 and the Aki WWF wrestling games.

Just thinking about the N64's graphics almost makes me want to vomit. I take nothing away from the system as a gaming experience, nor its library, as I know a lot of people loved it and loved a lot of its games. In terms of what a system presented graphically for the time period it inhabited, however, I'd really have to give some thought to if I could think of any other hardware that I thought produced uglier results than the N64.

So, in my mind, the N64 was barely above the PS1. Of course, that because I could find so few games that I could stand to look at, so I never gave the hardware an honest chance.
You never bought Zelda 64? WTF is wrong with you, Shidosh? Man... maybe a new nickname should be Shidouche.
I went from being a Nintendo fan to an outright PlayStation fanboy in those days and even I had to admit that, when I played it, Zelda 64 was the best game ever made.

DjRoomba said:
well its subjective, but I cant think of a single psone game that I wanna play. I think most would agree that N64 has a far superior library
You can't be serious. My collection is 3:1 in PS1's favor and while I own every possible N64 game I could ever want (including imports) I don't own all the PS1 titles I want to. And if not for the fact
so many were never released outside of Japan, I'd say the Saturn would have more worthwhile titles, too.
 

dark10x

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I haven't seen one PS1 game that looks as good as Mario 64 and that's a lunch title

Mario 64 remains one of the best looking games on the system as well.

The reason I feel this is the case is that it was designed to play nicely within the limits of N64. The textures go more for soft colors rather than detail (look at the ground). The textures were often very low resolution but designed in such a way that they created smooth surfaces rather than attempting to fill it with detail.

Also, the game maintained a fairly steady framerate most of the time, which is not the case with later generation N64 titles. Games like Conker and Perfect Dark, which pushed the system to its limits, ran at obscenely low framerates most of the time and don't hold up well as a result.

Mario 64 is just smooth and clean. I just played it a week or so ago on my actual N64 on a proper CRT and it looks excellent even now. All of the geometry and textures were expertly chosen to maintain a cohesive look even today.

Does the N64 have some sort of severe memory limit placed on textures? Like 4kb of texture memory?

T3 for PSX is 30 FPS, not 60.Compared to arcade version, polygons are fewer and the backgrounds are paralax and not 3D.
You are incorrect. Tekken 3 on PSX *IS* 60 fps.

That said, the backgrounds and characters were simplified, but the results are still impressive.
 
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What exactly could the N64 handle in terms of 2D?

There was the pre-rendered stuff like KI:Gold and Yoshi's Story, but i was disappointed in those visuals overall, cause like the 3D stuff, they had the vaseline effect. Was there a reason it was like that?
It really ruined what was otherwise nice art (Yoshi's Story anyway).
DKC on SNES still looked nicer to my eye cause of that vaseline.

Was it impossible to do something crisp like you'd see in a Capcom fighter on Saturn?
I think SF3 was rumoured for N64 at one point (before it hit arcades IIRC) - would it have been able to handle it i wonder.
Well, Treasure did do Bangaioh and Mischief Makers (at 60FPS) on it and those were extremely nice 2D at the time, I thought. Dunno about 2D fighters and how it would deal with many frames of animation, but if a SNES could handle SFA2 with some loading and a good chunk of its animation frames intact, I imagine the N64 could manage better with more and faster memory. As for the Vaseline effect, I remember it being said that bilinear filtering was pretty cheap to implement and helped out with a lot of low-res textures in most N64 3D games.
 

jett

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Not the most impressive part of the game, but God this was soooooo smooth looking in motion.
60 fps baybay

Einhander is still a gorgeous game. Just fucking excellent art design and presentation.

No offense to A Black Falcon but, while the N64 is factually faster and a more advanced 3D system than the PSone (even with its share of limitations), he just loves the system a little bit too much sometimes (and making long ass posts while he's at it!).
I think his bias is ridiculous. Going on about how the N64 could pull off Soul Calibur if it ran in a lower resolution? Good lord.

p.s. RR64 is factually fuck ugly.
 

dark10x

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Well, Treasure did do Bangaioh and Mischief Makers (at 60FPS) on it and those were extremely nice 2D at the time, I thought. Dunno about 2D fighters and how it would deal with many frames of animation, but if a SNES could handle SFA2 with some loading and a good chunk of its animation frames intact, I imagine the N64 could manage better with more and faster memory. As for the Vaseline effect, I remember it being said that bilinear filtering was pretty cheap to implement and helped out with a lot of low-res textures in most N64 3D games.
Mischief Makers is hideously ugly, I think. I recently bought that as well and, man, it's just terrible looking. I believe it mixes 3D into the game as well.