Looking at the evolution of video game consoles is fascinating, while conventional PCs tend evolve ‘incrementally’, new generation of consoles introduce completely new ways of working. What you see here are a series of articles that hopefully will uncover the rationale behind the latest trends in technology, it will also demonstrate why each system can’t be summarised by its ‘bits’, megahertz, amount of RAM and whatnot.
This is not a developer manual, it basically provides an in depth introduction to how each system worked internally. Bear in mind that tech has gotten really complicated lately, so if you struggle to follow my latest articles, try reading the early ones first, it may serve you as an introduction to many concepts and definitions.
Basic knowledge of computing is preferable, however, I attempt really hard to adapt my content for wider audiences, so please don’t be afraid to give it a try!
While I try to be as accurate as possible, if you find any mistakes please give me a shout.
Without further ado, here they are!
Known as '8-bit' consoles, these machines brought more sophisticated graphics and richer sounds than their predecessors. After all, a big market crash just occurred and newer standards had to be set.
Outstanding GPU features: Scrollable Tile maps and larger colour palettes.
DMA, horizontal interrupts, multiple modes... These are some examples of the new concepts that brought the new '16-bit' generation, opening the door to new genres of games.
Notable CPU advancements: DMA and dual-processing.
Outstanding GPU features: Affine transformations and horizontal interrupts.
3D gaming has become a need but 'how' is not clear yet. The response? Every company presented their own different vision.
Notable CPU advancements: Pipeline stages and L1 cache.
Outstanding GPU features: Programmable vertex pipelines, Z-buffering and perspective corrections.
Most of the graphics limitations from the previous generation are no more. Portable consoles start to resemble familiar systems.
Notable CPU advancements: Superscalar architectures and SIMD instructions.
Outstanding GPU features: Programmable pixel pipelines and anisotropic filters.
Consoles have become multimedia platforms, this machines are now more capable than just playing games, which is why security is now a critical factor.
There's so many consoles to write about... If you wonder what's next on my list here it is:
### Researched topics / Future articles - Nintendo DS - Sony PSP - Microsoft Xbox 360 - Sony PlayStation 3 - Nintendo 3DS - Nintendo Wii U - Sony PSVita - Sony PlayStation 4 - Microsoft Xbox One - Nintendo Switch ### Interesting consoles / More research needed - Panasonic 3DO - NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 - Any Atari system - Virtual Boy ### Honourable articles after finishing the rest - Commodore 64 - Amiga 500 (featuring the Original Chip Set) - Amiga 3000 (featuring the Enhanced Chip Set) - Amiga 4000 (featuring the Advanced Graphics Architecture)
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