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The 1994 console market was crazy

nkarafo

Member
Being a PC gamer in the mid 90's was pretty hard though. PCs would evolve very fast, making it a much more expensive platform than it is now.

In 1994, you needed the equivalent of 2500$ to buy a fast 486 multimedia capable PC. And a year later, Quake would render that CPU obsolete. And a year later than that, you needed additional funds for a 3D accelerator, otherwise your expensive games machine would perform worse than a PS1 or N64 in most 3D games.

PCs went from 386 cpus as a standard, up to Pentium 3s in the 10 year 1990-2000 span. The performance gap here is massive. In 2000 there was nothing you could do with a 386, not even a 486. But today, a 10 year old CPU can still run everything well enough, including the latest OS and games.
 

Havoc2049

Member
I bought an Atari Jaguar 64-bit Interactive Multimedia System at launch. I got the Jag CD at launch as well. No regrets.

 

coffinbirth

Member
It was a pretty magical time, really.

I had a Genesis, Sega CD and 32X. Game Gear and a Game Boy.
That was a rough time to not have an SNES though.
 
You had the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and SNES as the main competitors. But you also had:

- The 8 bit NES and Master System consoles still kicking as they co-existed with the 16 bit systems in Europe.

- The 2 handhelds, Game Boy and Game Gear in full swing. I think the Lynx was dead at this point.

- Turbo Duo (Turbografx+CD).

- Sega/Mega CD.

- Philips CDi.

- Panasonic 3DO.

- Amiga CD32.

- Atari Jaguar.

- Neo Geo/CD.

And during all that mess, you had the 32X, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Boy, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2 and "Ultra 64" on the horizon, making the decision to invest on a "next gen" console even harder.

I was lucky enough to not have enough money to buy anything new and just enjoy the late 16 bit games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Donkey Kong Country. And in 1995, when things started to settle a bit, i decided to wait for the N64.

How did you manage during that onslaug

Another revisionist has appeared,
I was 15 in 1994, in the USA, and he's pretty spot on. I was going to post but he basically laid it out how I would have.

I, regrettably, convinced the mother of the three boys I used to babysit to buy them an Atari Jaguar.... Solely because I wanted to play it. An employee at Babbage's, who was a few years older than me, hyped me up for it (He also tried to get me into some New England LARP group). When the kids got it, we played Cannon Fodder and Aliens vs Predator. The controller was terrible. Long story short, they returned it that week. Luckily, they eventually got the PlayStation (while I was eagerly anticipating the "Ultra 64"), and the first games I played were NFL GameDay, Cybersled, and a demo disc I believe. Played some road rash like skating game on the demo disc a lot.

It was exciting times, a memorable and uncertain era when I drowned myself in gaming mags to keep up with all the news and rumors of new hardware and games. The PC gaming of this era was exciting too.
 
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Ozzie666

Member
It was quickly becoming about the Bits war. But also looking back, it's amazing how clueless Sega and Atari were. So out of touch and in turmoil. It's like they thought customers were just stupid, mind you not much has changed in modern times.
 

Happosai

Gold Member
You had the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and SNES as the main competitors. But you also had:

- The 8 bit NES and Master System consoles still kicking as they co-existed with the 16 bit systems in Europe.

- The 2 handhelds, Game Boy and Game Gear in full swing. I think the Lynx was dead at this point.

- Turbo Duo (Turbografx+CD).

- Sega/Mega CD.

- Philips CDi.

- Panasonic 3DO.

- Amiga CD32.

- Atari Jaguar.

- Neo Geo/CD.

And during all that mess, you had the 32X, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Boy, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2 and "Ultra 64" on the horizon, making the decision to invest on a "next gen" console even harder.

I was lucky enough to not have enough money to buy anything new and just enjoy the late 16 bit games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Donkey Kong Country. And in 1995, when things started to settle a bit, i decided to wait for the N64.

How did you manage during that onslaught?
It was absolutely incredible. Sega CD, Turbografx and Neo Geo (both card & ROM versions) deserved a bit more credit. It's strange that the Sony Playstation eventually turned the tide on CD-ROM popularity on gaming consoles when there were many prior. Albeit, PS1 was indeed great -- Neo Geo CD had much more potential than was ever utilized. Philips CDi I've always compared their games to the quality of Win95 PC games of that time for children. It didn't have much to offer.
 

Needlecrash

Member
Back in 1991, I was asked what console I wanted for Christmas. A Genesis or a Turbo Grafx. I chose the Genesis. And I chose VERY wisely since the TG16 was on its way out.
 

kunonabi

Member
Had an NES
Got a SNES for Christmas following the launch
Got a Genesis as a gift somewhere down the line after Sonic became the pack-in
Got a Jaguar at launch (I thought it was going to be the next big thing at the time)
Had a Gameboy and a Game Gear

Wasn't interested in anything else on the market. I mean if my parents won the lotto I would have asked for a Neo-Geo but otherwise it was too rich for my blood

Was psyched for the next-gen stuff although in the Playstation's case I mostly just wanted FFVII. The console didn't appeal to me much.
 

deriks

4-Time GIF/Meme God
94 wasn't a year for NES nor Master System, bruh

TurboGrafx 16 and Game Gear was more of a novelty because you couldn't find games very easy. Jaguar was already dead. Neo Geo, CDi and 3DO were too expensive, and also difficult to find games in the stores...

Everyone knows that was Mega Drive vs SNES + Game Boy. Also, people were excited with PlayStation, Saturn and N64 and their promises. Can't argue with the market
 

SkylineRKR

Member
It was absolutely incredible. Sega CD, Turbografx and Neo Geo (both card & ROM versions) deserved a bit more credit. It's strange that the Sony Playstation eventually turned the tide on CD-ROM popularity on gaming consoles when there were many prior. Albeit, PS1 was indeed great -- Neo Geo CD had much more potential than was ever utilized. Philips CDi I've always compared their games to the quality of Win95 PC games of that time for children. It didn't have much to offer.

Playstation was the first CD-Rom system that felt right. It wasn't too expensive, the load times weren't horrible and the games played well. A game like Ridge Racer was just fast.

Panasonic 3DO was way too expensive, and it had mediocre 3D, kind of bad gameplay and a weird joypad solution. When I saw it I just didn't feel the need to trade in my 16-bit console. It were the Playstation and Saturn, that came out later than 3DO, that finally managed to convert 16-bit gamers. Playstation was obviously the better pick for its lower price and seemingly better 3D (such as RR compared to Daytona).

If the Neogeo CD's load times weren't so horrible it could've been a good pick because its games were undeniably good. It was for the fans of the SNK arcade games, but the advantage SNK had over the MD and SNES with 2D power became kind of redundant with the consumer wanting 3D.
 

RAIDEN1

Member
Looking back the CD32 was a joke of a 32 bit system....didn't bring anything new to the table and the 3DO would have wiped the floor with it anyway....let alone the juggernauts on the horizon in 1994 in the Saturn and PSX
 

Ozzie666

Member
Looking back the CD32 was a joke of a 32 bit system....didn't bring anything new to the table and the 3DO would have wiped the floor with it anyway....let alone the juggernauts on the horizon in 1994 in the Saturn and PSX

I loved the amiga but the CD32 was such a disappointment, they had the tech to make something really cool. So many games saw normal floppy releases as well, what was the point of the dam thing.
3D0 at least had top not EA sports experiences, it was a great weekend rental system, a bit of a legend like the Neo Geo for cost. Even if commodore had not had issues, the CD32 would have killed them.
 

Trunx81

Member
I got my SNES in 1994 after a lot of begging. My parents got me one for Christmas together with the Super Game Boy, because “it would hurt my eyes less if I played on the TV”. Lol.

Rented Mario Kart from my cousin and suddenly my dad was hooked as well. We battled each other with Koopa Trooper on the first track for time. At the end I won with 1 digit.

But I also remember that exact Christmas I went to the gas station and bought the newest video games magazine, with the first pics of Mario 64 inside. But still loved my SNES to death when I got it.

Greatest era of gaming.
 

spookyfish

Member
Even though we had one, the CD-I wasn’t really a success. For us it was mostly used for movies, as it was sort of the predecessor of the DVD player. Don’t even recall most games we had for it. I’ll have to look around in the attic at my parents house. It is still there somewhere.
I bought it for finally-perfect versions of Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. They were great ports, and I loved them. But yeah, it didn’t really know what it wanted to be.
 

RAIDEN1

Member
I loved the amiga but the CD32 was such a disappointment, they had the tech to make something really cool. So many games saw normal floppy releases as well, what was the point of the dam thing.
3D0 at least had top not EA sports experiences, it was a great weekend rental system, a bit of a legend like the Neo Geo for cost. Even if commodore had not had issues, the CD32 would have killed them.
I think it was one of Kim Justice's videos on Youtube where it was said that Commodore dragged their feet when it came to embracing CD technology...not sure why though...and then when they ended up actually developing their first CD gaming "console" it was half-baked attempt that was more interested in looking at Sega CD rather than what the TRUE competition was...which was the Saturn....
 
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Another revisionist has appeared,
Where were you? His take makes sense, I was there too.

The only thing that I would change is that the Sega CD was somewhere between the dominant machines (SNES/Genesis) and the complete failures, from the North American point of view obviously.

The saddest part is the failure of the Turbo Duo/TG-16 these machines were great and had arguably better libraries than the Sega CD.

I never met or knew of anyone who had a 3DO, Atari Jaguar/Lynx, Amiga CD32, CDi, etc. until they were all in the bargain bin of games stores with their games at 3$ a piece in the late 90s.
 

lordrand11

Neo Member
You had the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and SNES as the main competitors. But you also had:

- The 8 bit NES and Master System consoles still kicking as they co-existed with the 16 bit systems in Europe.

- The 2 handhelds, Game Boy and Game Gear in full swing. I think the Lynx was dead at this point.

- Turbo Duo (Turbografx+CD).

- Sega/Mega CD.

- Philips CDi.

- Panasonic 3DO.

- Amiga CD32.

- Atari Jaguar.

- Neo Geo/CD.

And during all that mess, you had the 32X, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Boy, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2 and "Ultra 64" on the horizon, making the decision to invest on a "next gen" console even harder.

I was lucky enough to not have enough money to buy anything new and just enjoy the late 16 bit games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Donkey Kong Country. And in 1995, when things started to settle a bit, i decided to wait for the N64.

How did you manage during that onslaught?
I feel like every 10 years after 1994 we've had some very solid game release years or new hardware and software engines,

1994: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_in_video_games
2004: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_in_video_games
2014: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_in_video_games

2024 should be one hell of a release year.

edit: didn't add 1994
 
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6502

Member
In the UK you really only has the big boys, SEGA and Nintendo, all that other crap no one cared about, I am sure they where there somewhere but not in the major game retailers that's for sure.

Still remember getting the Megadrive 2 as a birthday present with Ecco the Dolphin of all things. Solid game.
We had a huge Microcomputer market, I would wager was at least equal to the console base until mid 90s
 

Havoc2049

Member
Where were you? His take makes sense, I was there too.

The only thing that I would change is that the Sega CD was somewhere between the dominant machines (SNES/Genesis) and the complete failures, from the North American point of view obviously.

The saddest part is the failure of the Turbo Duo/TG-16 these machines were great and had arguably better libraries than the Sega CD.

I never met or knew of anyone who had a 3DO, Atari Jaguar/Lynx, Amiga CD32, CDi, etc. until they were all in the bargain bin of games stores with their games at 3$ a piece in the late 90s.
I think it was more of the way the post was written, as in, this is how it was in 1994! When in fact there are a bunch of holes in the post. Like the Game Boy wasn't dead in 1994 and in fact Nintendo sold more Game Boys in 1994 alone (around 8 million) than Sega sold Sega CDs lifetime (around 6 million).

Ya, things like the 3DO, Jaguar, Turbo Duo and CDi bombed compared to Sega and Nintendo hardware, but they were all readily availabe in 1994, in places like Electronics Boutique, Babbages, Toys R Us, Software Etc and Walden Software. Some big box stores sold the 3DO due to Panasonic's large distribution network.
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
I was 9, so I didn't really have any money to make that a problem. I had only portables at that time (a Game Boy and a Game Gear), the first home console I ever had was the N64. My older brother had a NES and then a SNES though, so I got to play those a bit, and a friend had the Mega Drive.

And as far as I can recall there was really only the SNES and Mega Drive here in Sweden, everything else you mention was a total non-factor (except for the NES which I suppose was still in a lot of homes).
 
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- The 8 bit NES and Master System consoles still kicking as they co-existed with the 16 bit systems in Europe.

And during all that mess, you had the 32X, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Boy, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2 and "Ultra 64" on the horizon, making the decision to invest on a "next gen" console even harder.
I get the sentiment but I don't think there was ever a single period when 8-bit NES, SNES and Ultra 64 were on the gamer's mind during one time.

The console 90s epoch I would say.
 

nkarafo

Member
I get the sentiment but I don't think there was ever a single period when 8-bit NES, SNES and Ultra 64 were on the gamer's mind during one time.

The console 90s epoch I would say.
Well, Although i had a Mega Drive/SNES, a friend of mine still had a NES while waiting the N64 to be released in Europe, after many delays. He became a SMB2 master during that time.
 

GloveSlap

Member
I really loved that period. All the crazy new hardware made the news cycle/magazines really interesting, and the impending switch to 3D was super exciting and novel.
 

RAIDEN1

Member
Back then the landscape was MUCH more interesting everyone wanted a piece of the pie, 3DO, Fujitsu (with the FM Towns Marty) M2 tech beginning to take shape....Konami considering to release a console....Sega CD all things considered sold relatively well for an add-on.....I don't know of any add on that sold millions and millions...1994 people were speculating just what was Sega going to bring to the table? Turns out they had no-one in their ranks who had a good-handle of the world of 3d, and so ended up producing their own souped up Neo Geo....only much cheaper to buy...
 
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dcx4610

Member
That was my era and it was a magical time. It was hard to keep up with everything coming out and of course, I wanted every single console. I was an only child so I was lucky enough to get almost every console at some point. One thing that stands out now is how all of the old systems became obsolete when the new system came out. I guess that's still the case now and makes sense but I love going back and playing NES, SNES and Genesis games these days. They still hold up and are a lot of fun. They are their own thing.

But back then, when the SNES came out, I wanted nothing to do with the NES and never got another game for it. It just went into the closet. I guess it makes more sense now because if you have a PS5, there's very little reason to own a PS4 but for the old pixel based systems, I don't think they've really ever lost their relevance.
 

Celine

Member
It was an exciting era, especially for a kid who had no idea what was happening in the industry and each month could find never before seen games and consoles in videogame magazines.
I remember how videogame shops were adventizing a pleathora of gaming platforms around 1995 (and the image below miss the Game Boy and Game Gear that were still kicking at the time).

 

sol_bad

Member
It's kind of funny, in 1994/1995 I was still playing my Mega Drive, and then it broke and I couldn't use it any more. Then randomly my mum said she was buying us a PC.
So yeah, with all these consoles causing so much confusion I though "fuck this noise" and switched to PC gaming for a number of years.
I didn't return to consoles until 1997 for Final Fantasy.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
PC Engine is a fantastic console and was the best selling system in Japan, how could they could botch the US version so bad?
System looked fine and I think the price was ok too.

Genesis was just 10x cooler and had arcade games and sports games. Those early sports games didn't even have real teams or players until EA/Sega got them later, but it was good enough to have Tommy Lasorda or Joe Montana as the cover art.

T-16 games were bright, kiddie and rainbow coloured boxes. IMO, really tacky. It was trying to be NES v2. I dont think T-16 even had sports games aside from a few shitty TV Sports games, which archaic PC/Amiga sport games from the 80s.

SNES came out in 1992. I dont know if T-16 was already dead by then in North America. If it was still around, SNES killed it off for good.
 
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PC Engine is a fantastic console and was the best selling system in Japan, how could they could botch the US version so bad?
I think that failure started with a distribution deal with radio shack.

Also, early Genesis games like Golden axe, Ghouls n' Ghost, super Shinobi, thunder force 2 /3, phantasy Star II really stood out.

The TG-16 had Blazing Lazer, R-type and Legendary Axe (I am nice to it, it's not as good as ghouls n ghost)... And bundling it with Keith Courage made the console look bad.
 
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Havoc2049

Member
System looked fine and I think the price was ok too.

Genesis was just 10x cooler and had arcade games and sports games. Those early sports games didn't even have real teams or players until EA/Sega got them later, but it was good enough to have Tommy Lasorda or Joe Montana as the cover art.

T-16 games were bright, kiddie and rainbow coloured boxes. IMO, really tacky. It was trying to be NES v2. I dont think T-16 even had sports games aside from a few shitty TV Sports games, which archaic PC/Amiga sport games from the 80s.

SNES came out in 1992. I dont know if T-16 was already dead by then in North America. If it was still around, SNES killed it off for good.
The Turbo Duo/Super CD got Madden one year. It was a one and done title and equivalent to Madden '93 on the other systems. It had a slick CD presentation and played well, but the in-game graphics looked better on the SNES and Genesis.

 
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