• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Which were some of the best 2D arcade game hardware?


This is not about 3D arcade games, but mainly the 2D arcade boards.
While 3D arcades like Sega's and Namco's took everything by storm, most arcade games were made for 2D boards up to the late-90s. The dominance of 3D games unfortunately lead a lot of those games to the sideline, unless they implemented 3D backgrounds, like some shmups and fighting games (MvC2, CvsSNK, Gigawing 2 etc)

After a certain point, arcade boards turned into a cheap PC box, dropping the unique hardware approach and focusing mainly on 3D games. The charm of 2D arcade games was gone, with Capcom's CPS3 being the last bastion of the genre. But it was too late. Motorola CPUs finally surrendered to the inferior Pentiums...

In most of the related discussions I've mainly seen SNK's Neo Geo and Capcom's CPS3 as the peak of the genre. But what about competition?

I think other 2D arcade games and game boards are a little underrated.

Eg some of my favorite games were released on the Taito F3 system hardware. It was supported from 1992-1998. It is very similar to the Neo Geo in capabilities.



Main CPU : MC68EC020 @ 16MHz
Sound CPU : MC68000 @ 16MHz
Sound chip : ES5505 @ 16MHz
Sound DSP Chip : ES5510
Video resoution : 320x224
Board composition : Board and Cartridge

Hardware Features : 4 scrolling layers (512x512 or 1024x512) of 4/5/6 bpp tiles, 1 scrolling text layer (512x512, characters generated in vram) 4bpp chars, 1 scrolling pixel layer (512x256 pixels generated in pivot ram) 4bpp pixels, 2 sprite banks (for double buffering of sprites), Sprites can be 4, 5 or 6 bpp, Sprite scaling, row scroll on all playfields, Line by line zoom on all playfields, column scroll on all playfields, Line by line sprite and playfield priority mixing, Alpha blending on playfields and VRAM layer.

Regarding technical capabilities, I was really impressed. I remember playing Bubble Bobble 2 and 3 and Puzzle Bobble 4 in the arcades. I really liked the graphics and game flow. Also I found Rampage World Tour as one of the better western arcade games during that time.

To test some of the games I had missed, I played the fighting game Kaiser Knuckle on MAME. A straight rip off from Capcom's and Snk's fighters. It even copies Mortal Kombat by adding blood (you have to enable it in the game settings).

But for 1994 I think this has to be the most impressive Japanese fighting game regarding graphics. Fighter selection screen features a parallax scrolling world map and it zooms straight to the opponents location. Most stages have 3 different settings that can be oppened by knocking the opponent to the various barriers.

here's an example. Notice that MAME emulation of the board still lacks some features

Another underrated board was Jaleco's Mega System 32. It had also 2D capabilities and customization similar to Neo Geo but it never really took off.

Also the Midway arcade boards up to Wolf had also impressive 2D games, even though they went to the more photorealistic and 3D model look (eg Mortal Kombat games, Killer Instinct, Rampage World Tour etc).

Atari arcade boards had also impressive demonstration with games like Primal Rage.

Even Sega continued to have quality 2D games even during the 90s with their ST-V Sega Saturn hardware

So GAF, which were your favorite 2D arcade games and boards?


Definitely the system 32, stuff on it looked incredible when it came out and some still look great today.
Well I am pretty sure anything based on x86 post the intel "core" era is obviously better for 2D now than anything that came before.

That being said, the length of the Neo-Geo's presence has to be unsurpassed. Metal Slug 5 in 2003 looked and played outrageously well 13 years post release of the MVS system.

The trouble was, it was also insanely easy to bootleg. Heck maybe that is why it stuck around so long.

In my book pre-x86, the Sega Y-Board /w Super Scaler was neat-o. Galaxy Force I & II were something else! ST-V and Namoi were obviously awesome for 2D but had 3D capabilities so I don't count that.


Capcom System 3 was a beast for 2D games. SF III, Wazard.

Psikyo's Fallen Angels was perhaps the most ambitious 2d fighter after SFIII.
Charakter animation and settings had a never seen before detail. Too bad it was left incomplete and some staff moved to SNK.
Top Bottom