ARE GAMES DOOMED?
As games are becoming more and more popular, some non-games-players (almost) every day are trying to find fault with them. We thought it would be a good idea to put the record straight...
It is not a rare occurrence nowadays to find newspapers/reporters picking and prodding at video games. If they (think) they've found a fault with games, whatever the reason may be, they'll be as quick as lightning in trying to ram it down parents' throats. This leads to predictable consequences - namely less 'play-time' and a sizeable cut-down on games being purchased. Three 'hot headlines' the newspapers have 'scooped' include...
Number 1: Playing video games can give you epilepsy:
It is quite clear that it is not just video games that cause epileptic fits. Flashing lights anywhere can cause them just as easily; and not many people have epilepsy anyway, let alone 'photo-sensitive' epilepsy - which is required for anything serious to happen. Anyway, it's far more safe to find you've got epilepsy in your own home, than when you are driving; so in that sense, games are actually good for the would-be epileptic.
Number 2: Video games are far too expensive:
Nothing much to worry about here, as far as we're concerned. Cheaper prices on video games would actually be beneficial for us.
Number 3: Video games turn people into addicted, violent maniacs:
'Professors' and 'Doctors' seem to be the main culprits in this incident - it actually seems as though they've little else to do than run tests 'proving' that games are bad. They have little proof, but that's no real problem to them, seeing as they have 'high-up' positions. Believe me, if they tried to understand video games, they'd enjoy them just as much as we do, and their only complaint then would be "What have we missed out on all these years?"
COME AND C-D MACHINES HERE...
There's been a lot of talk about CD machines recently; what, with the Mega-CD, the release of the Amiga-AGA-CD, the 3D0 and the planned Super-CD. We thought we'd better investigate...
Sega are, apparently, "Over the moon" with the success of the Mega-CD. This isn't really surprising considering the amount of Mega-CDs that have been shifted over the past few months - "Shops can't get them in fast enough." Sega have already managed to sell over 80,000 units (in the UK alone), which isn't half bad.
Sega's slightly disagreeable and professional-Commodore-hating new Software Product Marketing Manager (phew!) - Andrew Wright - comments: "Poor old sad Commodore [and their CDTV] have only managed the number of Mega-CD sales in the whole world." Tactlessness aside, no-one can really call the Mega-CD a great success.
Apart from the excellent conversion of Final Fight, you see, there isn't really one good game on the system. The 'full-motion-video' is very poor indeed - the graphics look blurred and pixely. Fuzzy-motion-video, more like. If we're being perfectly honest, technically speaking, the Mega-CD is a bit of a flop, and you'll see why in a minute...
Commodore's new CD-based machine, titled the Amiga CD≥≤, is as good as we could have hoped for. It's got the '020 chip, it's got the AGA chip-set, and it's got the 2-Megabyte of RAM. Around a hundred games are in development as we speak: The list includes Gremlin's Zool 2, Lotus Trilogy, and Litil Divil; Psygnosis' Microcosm; MicroProse's souped-up Formula One Grand Prix, and Civilisation; plus loads, loads more. Obviously, the CD≥≤ is pitched as a rival to the Sega's Mega-CD, so a direct comparison is inevitable...
|Machine:||Commodore Amiga CD≥≤||Sega Mega-CD|
|Can it be used without the||Yes, although an add-on for the||No, it needs the|
|original machine?||Amiga will be available soon||original MegaDrive|
|CPU:||32-bit M68020 at 14.2 MHz.||16-bit 68000, 12.5 MHz.|
|Memory:||2048K (2 Mb) + 1K back-up||128K (!); no back-up|
|Colours:||256+ from 16,777,216||64 from 512|
|Resolution:||1280x512 (more with Overscan)||320x200|
|Sound:||8-bit, 4-channel stereo + CD||FM, 8-channel stereo + CD|
|Transfer rate:||300K per second||150K per second|
|Extras:||11-button joypad, custom chips;||4-button joypad,|
|optional additional keyboard,||custom chips, half-|
|disk drive, etc., proper full-motion-||motion-blur, and|
|video (£200), and loads more.||add-on toy-gun|
So there you have it - the specifications in full. They're not biased, they're just the plain facts. You see, the potential was there for the Mega-CD to be something special, but Sega decided to spend most of their cash on (admittedly excellent) advertising and hype, which is good news for them (more money from attracted Joe Public), but bad news from a consumer's point of view (poor specs., obviously). The amount of
memory, and transfer rate are ridiculous - meaning that the Mega-CD has to keep accessing the disc (Hook, anyone?). Pessimism aside, with all that data, owners can expect to be playing some pretty large games...
Nintendo are planning a cut-down CD system based around the omnipotent Silicon Graphics Workstations - watch this space.
If you've read the Memory feature on a later page (if not, read it now), you'll know what potential CD games have to offer - namely larger levels, more depth, and more value for money (oh, and more graphics, soundtracks, sound samples, and nice intros. to boot).
Some people aren't over-excited about the prospect of CD, and write it off as "Just another storage medium." Yeah, but I could equally argue a 68040 is just another processor.
Amiga owners won't have to suffer disk-swapping, and console owners won't be restricted to 16 Megabit carts, so compact discs are more than just 'small discs with large data'...
Sorry, out of space. Look out for our CD extravaganza next ish, including the 3D0, and - yes! - more.