Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

General and high profile video game topics.
ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 598
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » January 4th, 2021, 3:38 pm

BanjoPickles wrote:Overachiever: Dreamcast


Underachieving: Wii U.


The Dreamcast killed Sega as a hardware manufacturer, in a way even the Saturn and 32x couldn't. Judged with that in mind, yeah, it overachieved...

But I'd argue, that after allowing for the differences between the way Nintendo and Sega do business, the Dreamcast and Wii U are almost brothers.

Each one has a surprisingly good library for a failed console. (And sold similar numbers.) And each one was supported even after the writing was on the wall.

Just enough to make it hurt, when the plug was finally pulled for real.

Not to mention, they both really wanted to bring a second screen to the controller.

The biggest difference between the two is that the Wii-U began life as Nintendo's Sega Saturn.

Image

Image

https://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/01 ... developers

If Nintendo had cut and run early, instead of roughing it out and trying to keep the trust of their core fanbase? They'd probably have joined Sega as a third party.

TheEagleXIII
Posts: 213
Joined: December 22nd, 2019, 9:33 am

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby TheEagleXIII » January 5th, 2021, 5:55 am

For overachieving I was tempted to join the Dreamcast club but I think it paradoxically underachieved too. I’m tempted to choose it for both but I’ll mix things up a bit.

Instead I’m gonna go for the Game Boy for overachieving. That thing had no right lasting as long as it did and yet we all loved it. I was still playing mine in 2000 and so where plenty of my friends. And if they didn’t have it, they were playing the colour version. At a time when the best looking 2D games we ever had were bemoaned or shunned on consoles, we were happy playing 8-bits in green or in washed out colours, but only as a handheld. That’s not including the fact it outsold other handhelds that were arguably better spec, to the point there was no competition in the latter half of its lifespan. And you can’t even attribute it to Nintendo’s reputation - they didn’t have that here over SEGA and the thing was still ubiquitous.

For underachieving I’ll go with the SEGA CD. Maybe it’s more the fault of the game developers but it was such a huge misstep to predict the future of gaming was FMV games and ugly digitised sprites. Too much of the library dedicated to rereleasing upgraded versions of games already available on the Mega Drive. Reading old SEGA mags, the consensus pre-launch was that it would be a great home for RPGs and epic adventures as they’d be able to fit massive games onto the CDs. Instead they just mostly crammed them full of pointless cutscenes to justify marketing the size of the games.

BanjoPickles
Posts: 304
Joined: June 18th, 2015, 3:05 pm

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby BanjoPickles » January 5th, 2021, 7:38 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:
BanjoPickles wrote:Overachiever: Dreamcast


Underachieving: Wii U.


The Dreamcast killed Sega as a hardware manufacturer, in a way even the Saturn and 32x couldn't. Judged with that in mind, yeah, it overachieved...

But I'd argue, that after allowing for the differences between the way Nintendo and Sega do business, the Dreamcast and Wii U are almost brothers.

Each one has a surprisingly good library for a failed console. (And sold similar numbers.) And each one was supported even after the writing was on the wall.

Just enough to make it hurt, when the plug was finally pulled for real.

Not to mention, they both really wanted to bring a second screen to the controller.

The biggest difference between the two is that the Wii-U began life as Nintendo's Sega Saturn.

Image

Image

https://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/01 ... developers

If Nintendo had cut and run early, instead of roughing it out and trying to keep the trust of their core fanbase? They'd probably have joined Sega as a third party.



The consoles sold similar numbers, yes, but I believe that’s where the similarities end. The Dreamcast had a little over a year in the American market and, in that small window, we received:

-Soul Caliber
-Crazy Taxi 1 and 2
-Jet Grind Radio
-Space Channel No. 5
-Sonic Adventure 1 and 2
-Grandia 2
-Skies of Arcadia
-Street Fighter III
-Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 and 2
-Phantasy Star Online
-Shenmue (Europe and Japan got Shenmue 2)
-Samba De Amigo
-Resident Evil: Code Veronica
-Dynamite Cop
-the 2K sports lineup
-Powerstone
-Ready 2 Rumble
-House of the Dead 2
-Virtua Fighter 3b
-Virtua Tennis
-Typing of the Dead
-Quake III Arena
-Capcom Vs. SNK

These games, along with franchises like Tony Hawk, Tomb Raider, and others provided the Dreamcast with an insanely robust library for such a short-lived console. It also provided a healthy mix of top-tier first and third party content. I was bummed when they pulled the plug, but I was not disappointed with the library.

Then there was the Wii U.

You’d better like Nintendo games because, outside of the occasional Bayonetta 3 and indie game, that’s all you’re going to get. I was so underwhelmed by the library that it became that forgotten console on the shelf, and it became so annoying listening to Nintendo fans constantly go on about how only the first party games mattered. This was the console that proved that theory wrong. Switch, thankfully, has amassed an incredible library and, as a result, it is constantly being played.
-

VicViper
Posts: 96
Joined: October 22nd, 2015, 2:36 pm

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby VicViper » January 6th, 2021, 5:39 am

BanjoPickles wrote:
Then there was the Wii U.

You’d better like Nintendo games because, outside of the occasional Bayonetta 3 and indie game, that’s all you’re going to get. I was so underwhelmed by the library that it became that forgotten console on the shelf, and it became so annoying listening to Nintendo fans constantly go on about how only the first party games mattered. This was the console that proved that theory wrong. Switch, thankfully, has amassed an incredible library and, as a result, it is constantly being played.
-


And frankly, a lot of the Switch's "obvious quality" library is filled Wii U ports that are sold even more expensive than the originals, and various questionably priced ports & remakes.

I would say the eShop is also filled with quality indie games, but their visibility is incredibly terrible because the eShop's UI sucks, gets slow after loading a bunch, and everything about it feels unorganised. It's impossible to browse for types of games specifically, so for games I previously didn't know about before purchase (for example Fox 'N Forests), I gotta blindly browse and pray I find something good.

That's actually pretty terrible for smaller indie developers who NEED exposure in order to survive. So either you gotta have an EXTREMELY good quality game to get noticed which gets around by word of mouth, or you gotta have a meme/Twitch game. You can't just be a simple good experience.

Ironically, the Wii U had one of the best functional UIs in Nintendo's history, with the only downside being that it was rather slow. Its eShop was actually miles better, and it's probably the best Nintendo online shopping experience.

And now that the Switch has most of the Wii U's library, the Wii U itself doesn't have much value anymore aside from monetary due to the hassle that it's gonna be to get a Wii U Gamepad in good quality. And I hate that. Now the Wii U is worth it for what? Playing Xenoblade Chronicles X? The DS/GBA Virtual Console games that we should've seen on 3DS? Nintendoland? Probably the better version of The Wonderful 101? The morbid curiosity of playing Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric?

I kind of wished the Switch left the Wii U's library alone.

As for the Dreamcast, while some of its titles have been rereleased, a few of them are still actually better played on Dreamcast. You will catch me dead before I replay the "DX Director's Cut" version of Sonic Adventure again, the amount of downgrades in that was off the charts. (probably named that way because the director WAS cut from that version) Even Sonic Adventure 2 had a bunch of issues in the GameCube and HD rereleases.

And the Dreamcast still has enough exclusives and superior versions to be worth collecting for.

ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 598
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » January 6th, 2021, 1:18 pm

BanjoPickles wrote:
The consoles sold similar numbers, yes, but I believe that’s where the similarities end. The Dreamcast had a little over a year in the American market and, in that small window, we received:

-Soul Caliber
-Crazy Taxi 1 and 2
-Jet Grind Radio
-Space Channel No. 5
-Sonic Adventure 1 and 2
-Grandia 2
-Skies of Arcadia
-Street Fighter III
-Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 and 2
-Phantasy Star Online
-Shenmue (Europe and Japan got Shenmue 2)
-Samba De Amigo
-Resident Evil: Code Veronica
-Dynamite Cop
-the 2K sports lineup
-Powerstone
-Ready 2 Rumble
-House of the Dead 2
-Virtua Fighter 3b
-Virtua Tennis
-Typing of the Dead
-Quake III Arena
-Capcom Vs. SNK

These games, along with franchises like Tony Hawk, Tomb Raider, and others provided the Dreamcast with an insanely robust library for such a short-lived console. It also provided a healthy mix of top-tier first and third party content. I was bummed when they pulled the plug, but I was not disappointed with the library.

Then there was the Wii U.

You’d better like Nintendo games because, outside of the occasional Bayonetta 3 and indie game, that’s all you’re going to get. I was so underwhelmed by the library that it became that forgotten console on the shelf, and it became so annoying listening to Nintendo fans constantly go on about how only the first party games mattered. This was the console that proved that theory wrong. Switch, thankfully, has amassed an incredible library and, as a result, it is constantly being played.
-


Most of this, I agree with. But.

You're giving the Dreamcast credit for multiplats, but denying them to the Wii U.

The Wii U stuck around for 5 years. Can you imagine what games we'd have if the Dreamcast was supported for that long? To me, that transforms one of the most underachieving consoles in history, into a bit of an underdog overachiever. By any sane standard, there's no way it should have been able to outsell the Dreamcast. But Nintendo handled the consequences of their hubris with surprising grace. (Until the success of the Switch allowed them to forget that valuable lesson.)

Also, Sega was only able to pump out more games, because they often sacrificed depth and a bit of quality control. It says everything about how great their core gameplay loops were, that we instantly forgave Sonic Adventure's camera, barely interactive hub areas, and the ridiculous in-game cut scenes. Tell me, where would Nintendo be now, if their apology console did that to Super Mario Odyssey?

mbd36
Posts: 311
Joined: April 18th, 2015, 10:32 am

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby mbd36 » January 6th, 2021, 3:02 pm

Overachiever: NES

The use of helper chips in the carts and clever programming techniques allowed this 1983 console to remain competitive into the 90s.


Underachiever: Sega Master System

More powerful hardware than the NES but that doesn't matter when the games aren't there. At least it got better support outside of the US such as the UK.

mbd36
Posts: 311
Joined: April 18th, 2015, 10:32 am

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby mbd36 » January 6th, 2021, 3:05 pm

The Atari 7800 may have been the worst underachiever actually. Most titles were rehashes of old Atari games rather than showing off the hardware which is better than the NES in some ways. The modern homebrew scene is finally doing the console some justice.

Awful controllers too.

ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 598
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » January 6th, 2021, 7:32 pm

mbd36 wrote:Overachiever: NES

The use of helper chips in the carts and clever programming techniques allowed this 1983 console to remain competitive into the 90s.



The Famicom really deserves credit for those tiled backgrounds, too. Being able to create entire detailed worlds out of a few tiny patterns? It allowed them to fit an insane level of variety into the limited cart space.

They could add layers of gameplay depth, cinematic soundtracks, stories that played out between stages...

It transformed what we expect from arcade style action games.

strat
Posts: 98
Joined: May 14th, 2015, 1:12 am

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby strat » January 6th, 2021, 9:23 pm

I'm surprised nobody's answered with Nintendo's handheld competition yet: Game Gear, Lynx, Wonderswan, NGP, PSVita?

Game Gear from what I can tell basically served the same function as Game Boy, a good platform for adaptations of first party stuff. But does it really have any non-SMS games that carved out its own identity? Lynx had the same problem as every Atari console after the 2600, a few solid titles and a bunch of Atari leftover rehashes. Don't know much about WS and NGP but kinda funny how they followed the GB in starting off b&w before getting color upgrades. Vita had few titles which took advantage of the hardware (Tearaway being one) and was mostly an indie game machine. PSP was the only solid handheld competition Nintendo's ever had.

strat
Posts: 98
Joined: May 14th, 2015, 1:12 am

Re: Overachieving and Underachieving consoles

Postby strat » January 6th, 2021, 10:53 pm

VicViper wrote:I kind of wished the Switch left the Wii U's library alone.


For all the flack thrown at the Wii U control pad over the years, at least it was a nice luxury when used well. I miss it terribly in Splatoon 2, which doesn't let you play a mini-game during a match loading and makes you press X to see the map (which overlays on top of the gameplay until you remove it). Likewise, the interface in Mario Maker 2 while docked is a mess compared to the simplicity of Mario Maker (but the new game elements are more important so the latter's obsolete anyway). And of course any game which used the control pad screen for inventory (which Breath of the Wild insultingly didn't do in its Wii U version) is gonna suffer on another platform.


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