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Topic: What if Nintendo had created Arcade games well into the 90's?

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Toy_Link

As we all know Nintendo quit making original games for the Arcade space in 1985 as they shifted their complete focus to the console space with the NES. The Vs. System, Playchoice and the Midway coproductions all served as advertisements for the games you could get on Nintendo's home consoles.

Sega's, Capcom's and SNK's peak were all from after Nintendo left the space. What would've it been like if Nintendo didn't stop making arcade games until around 2000? As shown later by the Nintendo-Namco arcade games, many of Nintendo's IPs like Mario Kart and F Zero are perfect for the arcade. These could've made great super scalers/ 3D arcade racers.

Franchises like Star Fox and Super Smash Bros are natural fits too. I'm sure they could've made a new arcade take on Mario and figured out way to make an arcade Metroid and Zelda. There's also popular genres like light gun games and beat em up that would've been cool to see a Nintendo take on.

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nerdface

Nintendo's first party titles are terrible. They need $60 of buyer's remorse to keep you playing, cause walking away from a quarter is easy.

They finally nailed it with the Switch hardware, but I can't think of a good game by Nintendo since NST made WR:BS. Maybe you don't count second party arcade games on triforce arcade hardware, but it wasn't 1985.

nerdface

KingMike

1985 was still fairly early in the arcade scene, to say that Nintendo decision to stop making original arcade games was a factor.
And Capcom was only formed the year before that. Though admittedly they did learn fast on the NES, learning to fire Micronics after four games and make their games themselves and watch them dramatically improve in quality.

KingMike

Matt_Barber

I think they got out of the arcades at the right time.

The home computer boom of the 80s meant that arcades really had to step up, which typically meant flashy custom cabs and cutting edge graphics. For Nintendo to remain competitive they'd have needed to make a big jump to 16-bit CPUs, custom graphics hardware, FM/sampled sounds and music. By the time they eventually did this with the SNES, the arcades had moved on yet again; home consoles generally didn't catch up to arcade hardware until the GameCube generation.

Let's face it. Concentrating their efforts on winning the console war paid a considerably bigger dividend in the long run than any of their competitors gained in the arcades.

Matt_Barber

Toy_Link

@Matt_Barber
I do think for the relatively few years that Nintendo was a player in the arcade market they did do a pretty good job on evolving their arcade hardware. Just compare Donkey Kong to the Arcade Punch-Out series with it's large sprites (with no Atari 2600 style backgrounds), digitized speech, and scaling a year before Sega really became associated with sprite scaling.

Still I agree that upgrading their tech every year or so would've required a lot of resources that could be put into home console development which by 1986 was already much of a money maker than any of their other divisions.

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KingMike

Slowdive wrote:

I'm glad there was Namco though, otherwise SEGA would've been the monopoly in the arcade business, continuously pushing the envelope.

What about Capcom, SNK, Taito, Konami, Atari Games/Midway? And those are just the first names that come to mind as the big arcade companies of the '80s and '90s.
And then probably on the next tier I'd put companies like Data East, Toaplan, Kaneko, Banpresto, Atlus that seemed to have stuck around but attained a cult fanbase at best.
And there are companies like Sunsoft that I want to say had some remaining arcade business but seemed to have mostly jumped to consoles after Nintendo hit it big.

KingMike

Matt_Barber

@Toy_Link They'd moved forwards in some ways but were still reliant on the same 8-bit CPUs they'd used from their very earliest games.

The speech was just an off-the-shelf chip from Sanyo that a lot of other arcade machines used at the time. A nice addition for sure, but not something that gave them an edge over the competition.

Also, their graphics chips could only scale a single object at a time, so were in no way comparable to the Sega Super Scaler hardware that debuted the year after in Hang On, which was capable of over a hundred. Sega had already been using scaling graphics in their games since the 1970s - with Turbo being an early exemplar - so had a substantial lead there and Namco had also debuted impressive scaling capabilities with their 1982 game, Pole Position.

I'd think that they could have held their own by making good quality games that punched above the weight of their underlying tech, if you'll excuse the pun, but they weren't going to be able to keep pace with the Out Runs and Space Harriers in terms of their visuals and thrills.

Mainly though, the success of the NES was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

Matt_Barber

Guru_Larry

They did though, Killer Instinct 1 and 2, Crusin' USA, StarFox, and F-Zero in the early 2000's

Guru_Larry

Matt_Barber

Guru_Larry wrote:

They did though, Killer Instinct 1 and 2, Crusin' USA, StarFox, and F-Zero in the early 2000's

Sure, they never left the arcades entirely. It's just that everything after Punch-Out was developed by third parties and ran on what was basically home console hardware.

Well, except for Cruis'n USA, where Midway ended up using one of their own boards. I remember the stink when the N64 version came out and looked terrible next to the arcade version.

Matt_Barber

KingMike

Was it not kind of expected still at that point for home versions to be somewhat downscaled in quality?

Even if Cruisin' USA and Killer Instinct were made to show off "Ultra 64" hardware, it was reasonable to think there'd be a difference between an arcade machine that cost thousands of dollars and whatever assembled electronic components Nintendo could afford to put in a box to sell us "for under $250", as they kept saying.
They're not going to give you an arcade-quality box for under, $412 after inflation. It's not a NeoGeo.

Edited on by KingMike

KingMike

Matt_Barber

@KingMike In general you would expect home console versions to be downgraded except in cases where the arcade hardware was similar enough to that of the console. Sega made some near arcade perfect ports to the Saturn from games made with the ST-V board, for instance, although games using the more advanced NAOMI hardware had to wait until the Dreamcast came out.

The problem with Cruis'n USA as such was that it wasn't running on the Ultra 64 hardware, so the home port was never going to be that faithful to it.

Killer Instinct Gold has some issues, in that they cut out a lot of FMV, backgrounds and a few animation frames in order to fit the game onto a smaller cartridge but it still plays pretty much like the arcade game.

Matt_Barber

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