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Hardware Platform Nintendo 64 Vs. PlayStation: Which console was more innovative?

YoshiMadness

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Considering to this day the main consoles use a variant of the controller layout of the Dual Shock, I'd say the PS1. I'd also say the PS1 for a lot of the audio stuff it had over the N64 but sadly no one really cares about audio, just graphics.

edit: And Nintendo didn't invent the Analog sticks, they get falsely credited it for it.
If you're going that route, the PS1 controller is literally just an updated variant of the SNES controller. The SNES was the console that actually gave us the "modern" controller (four face buttons in a diamond layout as well as shoulder buttons and a rounded shape).

And even then, you could also argue that the SNES controller was just an updated NES controller with more buttons.
 
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TLZ

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Just fucking imagine if

- N64 would’ve launched in 1995
- The N64 would’ve had a 4x CD-ROM
- The N64 would’ve had direct memory access for the VDP and a separate video ram for it
- The N64 would’ve had the extra 4mb RDRAM accessory built-in day one

The competition wouldn’t have held a candle.
We can imagine missing things from our favourite consoles all day long and how better they would've been, but that doesn't change the facts that actually happened.
 
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spookyfish

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This is one of those where I have to legitimately say both.

Some of my favorite games are on both of these systems (and the Saturn) and it was a fun as hell generation.
 
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NeptuneCL

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Both of them has its flaws and its pros.

Seeing Mario 64 moving for the first time was really astonishing back then, the immersive control really help to deliver a really rich and unique experience. Then we have Zelda OoT, Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Party, the amazing port of Resident 2 (unbelievable at the time), Rogue Squadron, Sin and Punishment, ISSS, Doom 64, Hexen, Top Gear Rally, San Francisco Rush, Cruis'n USA, Killer Instinct Gold and so many more. The cartridge format was a strange decision, but overall the console was just fine and the software made for it.

Playstation brings several good memories for every one who had it. Incredible games, incredible ports (that Doom port was truly a work of art) and some of the best franchises born in there or has unique entries on it, such as Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy 7/8/9, Chrono Cross, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Xenogears, Crash (not my fav, but still), Tony Hawk, etc. The load times were horrible in some games (Mortal Kombat Trilogy) and the piracy was huge, so huge it helped the system sell like crazy, hahaha. The disc based format was fantastic (but not new) and combined with a very nice hardware architecture make Playstation a well deserve place that is still remembered today.

Those two can perfectly live together if you ask me, but the people are still struggling for which is the best.
 
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BlackTron

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Nintendo are the masters of coming up with something new only for everyone to copy, and then stand idly back as their competitor does it better than them. Example: N64 analog stick was huge, but the silly 3-prong controller design was silly overengineering. Sony just took the good part (the stick) and then bolted it onto their controller, which was already an SNES controller with handles. Nintendo did rumble first, but then Sony just put it in the controller so you could have rumble without a floating battery abscess sticking out of your gamepad.

The same is true of software, with Nintendo making games like Mario, Zelda, Starfox, Wave Race etc that pretty much wrote the manual on 3D world design/controls/physics...basic blueprints that were highly influential to anyone who played it.

Even if PS1 was a better overall console, it's not even a contest to me whether the 64 was more innovative.

Edit: Another great example that sprang to mind right after posting...Goldeneye. Nintendo had 100% exclusivity on the console FPS market that they themselves had just created, and ceded it utterly and totally to a newcomer without even trying to hold onto it.
 
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Azelover

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Both of them has its flaws and its pros.

Seeing Mario 64 moving for the first time was really astonishing back then, the immersive control really help to deliver a really rich and unique experience. Then we have Zelda OoT, Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Party, the amazing port of Resident 2 (unbelievable at the time), Rogue Squadron, Sin and Punishment, ISSS, Doom 64, Hexen, Top Gear Rally, San Francisco Rush, Cruis'n USA, Killer Instinct Gold and so many more. The cartridge format was a strange decision, but overall the console was just fine and the software made for it.

Playstation brings several good memories for every one who had it. Incredible games, incredible ports (that Doom port was truly a work of art) and some of the best franchises born in there or has unique entries on it, such as Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy 7/8/9, Chrono Cross, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Xenogears, Crash (not my fav, but still), Tony Hawk, etc. The load times were horrible in some games (Mortal Kombat Trilogy) and the piracy was huge, so huge it helped the system sell like crazy, hahaha. The disc based format was fantastic (but not new) and combined with a very nice hardware architecture make Playstation a well deserve place that is still remembered today.

Those two can perfectly live together if you ask me, but the people are still struggling for which is the best.
I agree with you, but..

The question that titled this topic was related to the level of innovation. In that regard the N64 is unquestionably on a higher level.

I honestly can't believe this is being debated.
 

nkarafo

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Oh, so you're talking about the actual trigger shape. I'll give you that. But the trident design is absolutely awful. It doesn't matter if it worked with one genre. It was a terrible controller that I still hate to this day.

Beyond that, the rest of my point still holds true. The Playstation controller was, in my opinion, the true innovator as all non-specialized controllers (steering wheels, arcade gamepads, joy cons, et cetera) emulate the Playstation controller. We'll give N64 a win for the trigger-shape, but Playstation and Xbox both improved upon that.

Also, the original Dual Analogue Controller for Playstation was released on April 25th, 1997 for Japanese PlayStations. That had the rumble feature built it. They didn't release this to the U.S. until 1997, but that was still two days prior to the N64's Rumble Pak that was released on April 27th, 1997. That means N64 doesn't get credit for the rumble feature.

I'm not saying the N64 wasn't innovative in any way. But some of the things you mentioned were done by others prior to N64's implementation.
Again, the PS1 controller is based on the SNES controler design.

As for the rumble feature, neither Nintendo or Sony was first. PCs had flight joysticks with this feature before both. However, Nintendo was still the first who brought this feature in the console space. They were the ones previewing the feature a long time before release, reporting about it being made and don't forget, they didn't release it before they had a big, showpiece game making full use of it (Starfox 64). So the rumble pack hardware was ready but they had to release it with the game.

Giving credit to Sony because they managed to copy the idea and sneak a release 2 days prior, without much fanfare and no big games supporting it day one is disingenuous.

And this is why Nintendo was so secretive with the "Revolution" console (that was the project name for the Wii). They never released any information or previews for it's motion controls until it was too late for Sony to copy the idea before the Wii was released. Eventually Sony copied the idea anyway but being late meant they couldn't steal much of the thunder.
 
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Only uncultured swines can't recognize all of the N64's glory. PS1 has some real gems (Vagrant Story, Ridge Racer Type 4) but what the N64 did in its day and age is something of a marvel

Also, more people should play Panzer Dragoon Saga on the Sega Saturn. And I know you don't have a Sega Saturn, so you know what to do
 

bender

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The N64 has the worst controller this side of the Intellevision. The original Playstation is considered one of the best CD players by audiophiles. Kutaragi is a God.
 
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N64 had more innovative technology formed gaming (first to make analog and rumble), better 3D tech

but PlayStation had more transformational technology for the entire industry/business (CD Rom)
 
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Trimesh

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The DualShock is still the Grand Daddy of modern controllers, it cemented the layout and form factor, the NES and SNES controllers are ancestors (very important also).

The n64 had its analog sticks, but it was also very bad.
homer simpson jar GIF

I think you're strongly underestimating just how derivative the original PSX pad was (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). The Dual Shock simply added a couple of analog sticks at a point when analog controls were becoming obviously necessary. I.E. it was a reactive design change, which is not what people generally think of when talking about "innovation". The original pad was a functional clone of the Super Famicom pad with added L2/R2 triggers and different ID - again, hardly an innovative design.

If you put the two of them together, it's really obvious just how close the designs are:



This seems to have been a fairly late decision too - the controllers shipped with the target box and the early DTL-H2000 devboard had single SNES style L/R triggers but also had 6 face buttons laid out like a Saturn pad but with equal-sized buttons. They also had a single-piece D-Pad that felt much nicer than the controller that eventually shipped but was presumably changed to the separated button type to avoid problems with Nintendo and Sega's patents.

It really seems a lot of the posters in this thread are ignoring the title and posting their answers to a completely different question. I think the PSX was a great design, but there was really very little innovation in it - if you compare the block diagram of the PSX with the 3DO or even the PC-Engine + CD (which released in 1988) there is a huge amount of commonality in the approach to things. Some parts of the design are extremely impressive (especially the video subsystem - that gets a huge amount of performance out of very little hardware and proves, if there was ever any doubt, that Ken Kutaragi was a really good engineer), but speaking as an engineer myself I don't see any huge leaps of faith in the design - it's all based on reasonable extrapolation of things that were already known to work (yes, including that very clever video system - the initial version of that was designed for a digital video effects unit made by Sony Broadcast).
 
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LordBlodgett

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If you would have asked during their peak I would have said PS1, but as time as gone by the N64:s best games hold up way better. Beside final fantasy tactics there is almost nothing I can stand to play on the PS1 for an extended period of time
 

Ozzie666

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I don't know if giving CD gaming credit to PS1 is really that amazing? They weren't the first, but maybe the first to succeed. Obviously 3d0, Sega CD, Nec DUO etc. PC CD gaming too. PS1's success and innovation had almost as much to do with the competition stumbling, tripping and dropping the ball. No one could have expect or predicated Nintendo and Sega just stuffing up. Saturn did well in japan early on as a CD system.

The Analog stick on the N64 was pretty important though, the built in 4 controller ports was great for the market they wanted. Think that was a first out of the box too?
 
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nkarafo

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Sony just took the original PS1 controller and literally slapped 2 analog sticks where they could fit them. With no regards to ergonomics or controller shape. The result is an uncomfortable controller but i do get how Sony users have got used to it over the decades. Personally, it bothers me.
 

Jubenhimer

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I don't know if giving CD gaming credit to PS1 is really that amazing? They weren't the first, but maybe the first to succeed. Obviously 3d0, Sega CD, Nec DUO etc. PC CD gaming too. PS1's success and innovation had almost as much to do with the competition stumbling, tripping and dropping the ball. No one could have expect or predicated Nintendo and Sega just stuffing up. Saturn did well in japan early on as a CD system.
The problem with previous CD platforms was that the hardware was too under-powered to do anything practical with the format. The PlayStation was the first console that felt like it was built with the CD in mind from the start, rather than something shoved on to the console. The PlayStation was powerful enough to use that CD space in ways that haven't really been seen in games before.
 
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killatopak

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The PSX was gonna be a Nintendo console after all. It was kinda inevitable to have similar designs.

For the more innovative console though, it’s hard for me to make a conclusion without drawing in the games they had and in that case, N64 may have the slight edge in terms of pushing industry standards is some capacity.
 

nkarafo

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The problem with previous CD platforms was that the hardware was too under-powered to do anything practical with the format. The PlayStation was the first console that felt like it was built with the CD in mind from the start, rather than something shoved on to the console. The PlayStation was powerful enough to use that CD space in ways that haven't really been seen in games before.
 
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The only thing the Saturn innovated was new ways to destroy a fanbase's faith in a company.
That was Sega America and the 32X.

If we're talking innovation the Saturn did a few things not really seen before on consoles A clock feature where the date and time settings could affect some games, analogue triggers on the 3D pad, with the mission controller the 1st time one could have dual analogue controls on a console (shame next to no game made use of it) Dual CPU's and with Dragon Dream the 1st console Online RPG


Like with almost everything mind the true 1st was done on the PC or the Micro's computers really
 
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But as I said, the PlayStation was arguably the first console to do the format proper justice. The problem with something like the Sega-CD for example, was that the Genesis didn't have the hardware necessary to take advantage of the format in any meaningful way. Hence the abundance of crappy FMV games. But the PlayStation was powerful enough to use the CD format in much more interesting and exciting ways.

Ignorance is bliss. Overlooking the 3DO, the FM Marty showed what a powerful CD-based console could do and the CD was a CD based console from the start and came out before the PS and many of the Mega CD best games weren't FMV titles at all
 
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Perrott

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Say what now? I understand preference but don't knock PS1 games as they definitely had quality.

Metal Gear Solid
Tenchu 1 + 2
Final Fantasy 7-9
Parasite Eve 1 + 2
Einhaender
Ridge Racer Type 4
Resident Evil 1-3
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1-2
Wipeout XL
Castlevania Symphony of the Night
Blood Omen
Soul Reaver
Tekken 3
Vagrant Story
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Oddworld Abe's Odyssey + Exodus
Final Fantasy Tactics
Chrono Cross
Silent Hill
Xenogears
The Legend of Dragoon
Twisted Metal 1 -3
Klonoa
Tomb Raider 1- 3
Suikoden 1 -2
Ape Escape
Bushido Blade 1 -2
Medal of Honor + Underground
Mega Man Legends
WWF Smackdown 1 +2
Spider-Man 1 +2
Driver 1 +2
Parappa the Rapper
Hogs of War
R-Tyoe Delta
Mr. Driller
One
Bloody Roar 1+2
Jade Cocoon
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
Galerians
Tobal 2
Disruptor
Vandal Hearts
Alundra 1 +2
Ehrgeiz
Persona 1 +2
Heart of Darkness
Rival Schools
Tomba 1 +2
Star Ocean 1 +2
Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo
Legend of Legaia
Um Jammer Lammy

Yeah, sure are "weeb" games. Whatever the hell that means.
& Tokimeki Memorial: Forever With You

 

Hydroxy

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PlayStation One because smoothest 3D graphics, and CD player while Nintendo still used cartridges.
 
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IFireflyl

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Again, the PS1 controller is based on the SNES controler design.

Nintendo had a design. Sony based their controller off of that design, but greatly improved it. Now controllers (including the Nintendo Switch Pro controller) are based off of the improved design that Sony made. Innovation doesn't mean "from scratch". There are innovations in virtually every field that are built upon previous works. Who did it first is not as important as who did it best.

As for the rumble feature, neither Nintendo or Sony was first. PCs had flight joysticks with this feature before both. However, Nintendo was still the first who brought this feature in the console space. They were the ones previewing the feature a long time before release, reporting about it being made and don't forget, they didn't release it before they had a big, showpiece game making full use of it (Starfox 64). So the rumble pack hardware was ready but they had to release it with the game.

Giving credit to Sony because they managed to copy the idea and sneak a release 2 days prior, without much fanfare and no big games supporting it day one is disingenuous.

I think you need to go re-read my original post, and then read the post that I was responding to. You weren't the person I was originally responding to, and that person was giving the N64 credit for the rumble feature.

Also, it doesn't matter that Nintendo announced it before Sony released their controller. Sony had to come up with their own design, go through testing for this new design, and then launch this. They did this, and once again it was superior to the N64 Rumble Pak while also being released before the Rumble Pak. The Rumble Pak only had one vibrating motor. Sony's had two, and one side was stronger than the other in order to give more depth to the rumble. In every way the Sony rumble feature was better than the N64 Rumble Pak.

And this is why Nintendo was so secretive with the "Revolution" console (that was the project name for the Wii). They never released any information or previews for it's motion controls until it was too late for Sony to copy the idea before the Wii was released. Eventually Sony copied the idea anyway but being late meant they couldn't steal much of the thunder.

Every business copies what works from other businesses in their industry. Every. Single. One. There's no point reinventing the wheel and all that. I'll say it again: who did it best is more important than who did it first.

Nobody gives a crap that the Atari 5200 had a joystick controller. Very few people even remember the Atari 5200 existed, let alone that they had a joystick long before the N64. But N64 improved on the previous designs. And Sony improved on the N64. And virtually every controller has stuck with the Playstation controller design since then. The Xbox did their own tweak on the placement of the joysticks, but simply moving them around isn't (in my opinion) truly innovative.

Having said that, I do prefer to the Xbox One controllers to most other controllers. The PS5 controller was the first controller from Sony that had some real weight to it, and I like that. I can't go back to the previous Playstation controllers because they're too light, and that feels cheap to me.
 
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Drew1440

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I'd say PlayStation, on the fact this its design concepts (Optical media, External memory cards, dual analogue controller) were present in Nintendo's next home console (Gamecube) and influenced the Dreamcast/Xbox design.
Sony were also more developer friendly which allowed developers to experiment and release games that were not typically mainstream. Nintendo on the over hand restricted developers from getting in too deep with the system, only allowing certain third party the privilege and only late into the systems lifecycle.
 

marquimvfs

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Wrong. The ATI logo was in the N64 console and it used the Flipper Chip originally designed by ArtX, but ATI acquired them ahead of the N64 launch.
What? Is that a trolling attempt? ArtX didn't even existed at the time of the N64 launch. What you're describing is literally the Gamecube.
 
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marquimvfs

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I screwed up some of the history there, but ATI did make the GPU for the N64.
Nop, SGI did. THEN, AT 1997, SOME of the people that worked on it leaved the company and founded ArtX, the company (startup, whatever you wanna call them) that made Flipper for Gamecube. Prior to the launch, ATI brought them. I love the fact that ATI (now AMD) is on consoles since then, but the company isn't related to the N64 at any level...
 
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nkarafo

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Nintendo had a design. Sony based their controller off of that design, but greatly improved it. Now controllers (including the Nintendo Switch Pro controller) are based off of the improved design that Sony made. Innovation doesn't mean "from scratch". There are innovations in virtually every field that are built upon previous works. Who did it first is not as important as who did it best.
The dualshock controller is based on the og PS1 controller (which is a SNES design) and they literally just added two analog sticks after Nintendo demonstrated how the analog stick really works and its the future. They didn't even change the shape of the controller, they just added the analog sticks on the existing design, ergonomics being damned. And ofc, the rumble feature which Nintendo was touting long before.

There wasn't any risk involved with the creation of the dualshock controller. It's like they combined all Nintendo's ideas into one package. They took what Nintendo did after they took the risks, saw the results and safely made their improved all-in-one version. The desision to add a second stick, however, was forward thinking for sure (if not a jackpot). Nintendo missed the opportunity to release a dual analog pad to work with Goldeneye, seeing how that game was the first console FPS featuring a real dual analog mode but it ended up using two N64 original controllers (one on each hand, Switch style) to make it work.

Nobody gives a crap that the Atari 5200 had a joystick controller. Very few people even remember the Atari 5200 existed, let alone that they had a joystick long before the N64. But N64 improved on the previous designs. And Sony improved on the N64.
Nobody givers a crap about the 5200 because there wasn't any game using that analog stick properly, let alone in a revolutionary way.

Nintendo takes credit for the analog stick not only because of the stick itself, that's one half. The other half is the accompanied software that proves how the stick works. And Mario 64 didn't only showed how it works, it changed everything. Similarly with the rumble pack, they also had Starfox 64 which showed what the rumble feature adds in a game. They didn't just put out some hardware and called it a day (like what Sony did in comparison). Sure, Sony's designs in the hardware side were improved but they didn't even compete with Nintendo in the software side early on.

So Nintendo didn't just improve the 5200 joystick, that's only the hardware part. The actual innovation was how their first games used it.
 
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The_Mike

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The N64 / PS debate really show that good exclusives didn't matter back then as much as now.
 
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Nop, SGI did. THEN, AT 1997, SOME of the people that worked on it leaved the company and founded ArtX, the company (startup, whatever you wanna call them) that made Flipper for Gamecube. Prior to the launch, ATI brought them. I love the fact that ATI (now AMD) is on consoles since then, but the company isn't related to the N64 at any level...
You’re correct, I’m losing my mind!
 
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Trimesh

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Nop, SGI did. THEN, AT 1997, SOME of the people that worked on it leaved the company and founded ArtX, the company (startup, whatever you wanna call them) that made Flipper for Gamecube. Prior to the launch, ATI brought them. I love the fact that ATI (now AMD) is on consoles since then, but the company isn't related to the N64 at any level...

Although "some" is technically accurate, it consisted of most of the Project Reality core team, who included a bunch of the best hardware engineers that SGI had. At one point SGI sued them - which was a bit cheeky seeing as how SGI had been formed in exactly the same way by a bunch of people from Evans and Sutherland.
 
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IFireflyl

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The dualshock controller is based on the og PS1 controller (which is a SNES design) and they literally just added two analog sticks after Nintendo demonstrated how the analog stick really works and its the future. They didn't even change the shape of the controller, they just added the analog sticks on the existing design, ergonomics being damned. And ofc, the rumble feature which Nintendo was touting long before.

There wasn't any risk involved with the creation of the dualshock controller. It's like they combined all Nintendo's ideas into one package. They took what Nintendo did after they took the risks, saw the results and safely made their improved all-in-one version. The desision to add a second stick, however, was forward thinking for sure (if not a jackpot). Nintendo missed the opportunity to release a dual analog pad to work with Goldeneye, seeing how that game was the first console FPS featuring a real dual analog mode but it ended up using two N64 original controllers (one on each hand, Switch style) to make it work.


Nobody givers a crap about the 5200 because there wasn't any game using that analog stick properly, let alone in a revolutionary way.

Nintendo takes credit for the analog stick not only because of the stick itself, that's one half. The other half is the accompanied software that proves how the stick works. And Mario 64 didn't only showed how it works, it changed everything. Similarly with the rumble pack, they also had Starfox 64 which showed what the rumble feature adds in a game. They didn't just put out some hardware and called it a day (like what Sony did in comparison). Sure, Sony's designs in the hardware side were improved but they didn't even compete with Nintendo in the software side early on.

So Nintendo didn't just improve the 5200 joystick, that's only the hardware part. The actual innovation was how their first games used it.

That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I am of the opinion that Sony was more innovative than Nintendo when it came to Playstation controllers versus Nintendo 64 controllers. *shrug*
 

_SAKY_

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Admittedly I'm a fan of Nintendo, but no sensible person can deny that they have always been at the forefront of hardware innovation in the gaming industry. Successful or not, they have popularized or innovated while others often build upon the foundations they lay.

  • The PS1 controller is a natural evolution of the SNES controller. Two more buttons
  • The Dual-shock was Sony's take on the analog stick which Nintendo introduced.
  • Camera buttons on the N64 evolved to become a camera analog stick.
  • The rumblepack went on to be a staple of controllers.
  • Nintendo popularized wireless controllers, which became the standard, the Wavebird was the first time major 1st party company offered Wireless controllers.
  • Motion controls, popularized, by the Wii saw interpretation by Sony in the form of the Sixaxis and Move controllers and by Microsoft's Kinect.
  • Touch controls of the popular DS families made their way to the WiiU, Switch, Vita, PS4, PS5.
  • Playing mobile games on TVs, the Super Gameboy evolved to the Gamecube's gameboy player, PSTV, and now the Switch.
What Sony does well is giving consumers and, in the PS1/4/5 eras, devlopers what they want. There is nothing wrong with that! It is a smart business plan that has served them very well. The CD-ROM was a widely used media for video games before the PS1 and Saturn game along, which they did at the same time, and quite some time after many other CD-ROM based consoles and PCs saw commercial release. The Playstation 1 succeeded in becoming the first globally successful console whose media was solely delivered in CD-ROM. This isn't innovative though. The PS1 hardware wasn't innovative, it was a simply the evolution that would be expected in any generational leap.
 
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Umm you are missing one game from Sony --- The Legend of Dragoon one of the best RPG games ever made from Sony if not ever

Eh, I haven't gotten around to playing LoD yet but I've seen some opening gameplay segments of it and it was...just okay. Visuals are really good for a PS1-era JRPG but the combat looked rather standard and very slow.

Then again those were only the opening sections I saw. Since I've finally started playing more JRPGs lately (and catching up on ones I missed), I'll give the game a try at some point myself, but I hope the combat can either be adjusted for its speed or gets more involved not too far later into the game.

Just fucking imagine if

- N64 would’ve launched in 1995
- The N64 would’ve had a 4x CD-ROM
- The N64 would’ve had direct memory access for the VDP and a separate video ram for it
- The N64 would’ve had the extra 4mb RDRAM accessory built-in day one

The competition wouldn’t have held a candle.

It also would've costed around $349 - $399. There's a reason Nintendo went with cartridges outside of just having more control over production: costs. They'd have to pay a big amount for the CD drive (let alone a 4x one; keep in mind the PS1 and Saturn only had 2x drives and those came out late 1994 in Japan) and also pay a license for the CD technology (at least to my knowledge if DVD was anything to go by; the DVD license cost was a reason Sega avoided adding DVD to Dreamcast for example).

RAM was also ridiculously expensive back then, in fact the entire DRAM market was found guilty of price-fixing at some point in the early-mid '90s and that's what finally got the prices to start dropping. 8 MB of RAM for a game console in 1995 would've been a big cost to incur, and if Nintendo wanted to sell N64 at a profit from Day 1, probably would've driven the console to about $399 (as-is the N64 launched for $249), maybe $349 if lucky but you're talking about a 4x CD-ROM drive AND an extra 4MB of RAM so...

I always thought the Saturn's approach of cart & CD built into one system was the best option; use a mixed ROM/RAM cart (say 3 MB ROM/1 MB RAM) for primary game files, and the CD for storing the bulk of the rest of game files (and use the 1 MB of RAM in the mixed cart to accelerate transfer of data from the CD to the cart for faster access; might've also allowed the Saturn to not need the CD-ROM cache it had for the same purpose, and simplified some of the design while getting the cost down a little more).

The person who responded to you wasn't talking about innovation. He was talking about popularity. Since the PlayStation was more popular than the consoles before it, it's credited with popularizing the CD's use in consoles.

Yep.

See my earlier post "No one cares about Audio, just Graphics". Sony pushed a lot of audio tricks and styles with the PS1 that no other console was doing at the time, hell the closest in complexity was probably the SNES audio chip which was designed by Sony anyway.

Sadly audio is taken for granted these days but back then the PS1 was doing things that a lot of home computers could not do.

I'd say the Saturn's audio was arguably equal to the PS1's, there's even a few Saturn games that used the audio processor for non-audio (i.e graphics) tasks from time to time, as well.

The early PS1 models are famous for having excellent sound output ability but that's due to the output connectivity they supported; later models got rid of some of that so they don't carry the same badge.

Thing is, CDs were old news at the time the PS1 was released. Magazines at the time didn't even cover that fact since that was already covered by the numerous CD based consoles before it.

The press hyped the CD technology from 1991 to 1993 and then it became something not worth talking about.

The PS1 certainly got popular with non gamers but for gamers at the time CDs weren't a big deal.

PS1 was arguably the first console to make really good use of all that extra space CDs offered, though, and I'd argue they were still a big deal for most gamers because most gamers didn't buy a PC-Engine CD, or Sega/Mega CD, or a 3DO for that matter. Most of them were still primarily rocking SNESes or Genesis systems. Even in the PC space it wasn't always expected for a game to have a CD-ROM version. System Shock for example initially launched on floppy disks, they only released a CD version a little while later. Same goes for other games like DOOM. I don't think CD-ROM became a standard for PC games until the mid '90s, pretty much around the time of the PS1.

So yeah, going from carts (or floppies) holding maybe 4 MB (or 5 MB) of game code at most, to games with over half a Gigabyte of data, was huge. And systems like the PS1 had lots of games that justified the extra space, something most other CD-based consoles of the time or before it failed to consistently do.

You missed one of the most important things ; a sound chip.

Me personally though, would have kept carts and some games would be really different without the carts. But I realize cd made more commercial sense. A 4x drive would have helped. They'd have had to charge more, but if they had the dev support people would pay it.

My ultimate n64 release would be : Carts and,

Change ram. Lower latency setup with higher bandwidth. Latency killed cpu performance and bandwidth was limited. 4mb is fine to launch with to keep costs down, and the expansion pak could still be used. The expansion helped less than a better memory setup would, hence why games like banjo and conker and a lot of Nintendo brand games didn't use it. And increasing bandwidth would have made an expansion much more potent.

Sound chip. Help the cpu free cycles up and have ps1 quality sound. The reasons for low fps on 64 sometimes? The memory setup and no soundchip.

16 kb texture cache for better textures.

Keep AA filter but remove 2nd blur pass. I really don't see any point of the blur, esp. on crt.

N64 had pretty bad dev tools though so to get it out even faster, eh probably would have been even worse. Better documentation and better treatment of 3rd party (letting everyone use custom micro code) was important as well. With the default micro code it's possible to push less polys than ps1. If it had cds, a 96 release would have been ok still.

Yeah for a late 1996 launch (roughly same dates as it actually ended up with) these aren't bad specs and stuff like the sound chip would've just been outright necessary. It definitely would've been more expensive (at least by $100, so $349) and that would've been a tough sell when both Sony and Sega were cutting their systems to $199 the same year, but with the right launch game they might've been okay.

Only that, an N64 at that price, I'm not so sure Mario 64 would've been "that" game, not unless it were a quite different game maybe? I think it'd still sell a ton of N64s but maybe 25% less with the system at that price? That said, it's also likely Sony and Sega would've kept their systems at regular prices and not cut the prices if they knew N64 were launching at $349 (altho for other reasons Sega would've still been forced to drop Saturn's price to $299 at least).

Honestly tho if it meant keeping devs like Square, Enix, Konami, Capcom etc. on-board and developing for the N64 primarily, that would've easily been worth it in the long-run for Nintendo. However, that's simply not how Yamauchi did his business, so it was simply never going to happen.
 
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Neff

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Feb 6, 2012
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Tempted to say N64 on the basis of Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye 007, analogue, rumble, and local 4P alone.

BUT

PSone gave birth to so many franchises and new styles of game it defies reason. I mean where do you start?

Very tough to call. I can't.
 

StateofMajora

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Aug 7, 2020
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Eh, I haven't gotten around to playing LoD yet but I've seen some opening gameplay segments of it and it was...just okay. Visuals are really good for a PS1-era JRPG but the combat looked rather standard and very slow.

Then again those were only the opening sections I saw. Since I've finally started playing more JRPGs lately (and catching up on ones I missed), I'll give the game a try at some point myself, but I hope the combat can either be adjusted for its speed or gets more involved not too far later into the game.



It also would've costed around $349 - $399. There's a reason Nintendo went with cartridges outside of just having more control over production: costs. They'd have to pay a big amount for the CD drive (let alone a 4x one; keep in mind the PS1 and Saturn only had 2x drives and those came out late 1994 in Japan) and also pay a license for the CD technology (at least to my knowledge if DVD was anything to go by; the DVD license cost was a reason Sega avoided adding DVD to Dreamcast for example).

RAM was also ridiculously expensive back then, in fact the entire DRAM market was found guilty of price-fixing at some point in the early-mid '90s and that's what finally got the prices to start dropping. 8 MB of RAM for a game console in 1995 would've been a big cost to incur, and if Nintendo wanted to sell N64 at a profit from Day 1, probably would've driven the console to about $399 (as-is the N64 launched for $249), maybe $349 if lucky but you're talking about a 4x CD-ROM drive AND an extra 4MB of RAM so...

I always thought the Saturn's approach of cart & CD built into one system was the best option; use a mixed ROM/RAM cart (say 3 MB ROM/1 MB RAM) for primary game files, and the CD for storing the bulk of the rest of game files (and use the 1 MB of RAM in the mixed cart to accelerate transfer of data from the CD to the cart for faster access; might've also allowed the Saturn to not need the CD-ROM cache it had for the same purpose, and simplified some of the design while getting the cost down a little more).



Yep.



I'd say the Saturn's audio was arguably equal to the PS1's, there's even a few Saturn games that used the audio processor for non-audio (i.e graphics) tasks from time to time, as well.

The early PS1 models are famous for having excellent sound output ability but that's due to the output connectivity they supported; later models got rid of some of that so they don't carry the same badge.



PS1 was arguably the first console to make really good use of all that extra space CDs offered, though, and I'd argue they were still a big deal for most gamers because most gamers didn't buy a PC-Engine CD, or Sega/Mega CD, or a 3DO for that matter. Most of them were still primarily rocking SNESes or Genesis systems. Even in the PC space it wasn't always expected for a game to have a CD-ROM version. System Shock for example initially launched on floppy disks, they only released a CD version a little while later. Same goes for other games like DOOM. I don't think CD-ROM became a standard for PC games until the mid '90s, pretty much around the time of the PS1.

So yeah, going from carts (or floppies) holding maybe 4 MB (or 5 MB) of game code at most, to games with over half a Gigabyte of data, was huge. And systems like the PS1 had lots of games that justified the extra space, something most other CD-based consoles of the time or before it failed to consistently do.



Yeah for a late 1996 launch (roughly same dates as it actually ended up with) these aren't bad specs and stuff like the sound chip would've just been outright necessary. It definitely would've been more expensive (at least by $100, so $349) and that would've been a tough sell when both Sony and Sega were cutting their systems to $199 the same year, but with the right launch game they might've been okay.

Only that, an N64 at that price, I'm not so sure Mario 64 would've been "that" game, not unless it were a quite different game maybe? I think it'd still sell a ton of N64s but maybe 25% less with the system at that price? That said, it's also likely Sony and Sega would've kept their systems at regular prices and not cut the prices if they knew N64 were launching at $349 (altho for other reasons Sega would've still been forced to drop Saturn's price to $299 at least).

Honestly tho if it meant keeping devs like Square, Enix, Konami, Capcom etc. on-board and developing for the N64 primarily, that would've easily been worth it in the long-run for Nintendo. However, that's simply not how Yamauchi did his business, so it was simply never going to happen.
64 launched at $199 in the states. And I agree, CD would have made more sense at the time but only commercially. In terms of retro gaming, carts are superior not just for loading and game design but also it's just such a joy to collect for. Solid carts that just work ,don't get scratched and no disc rot.

With my specs and carts, it could have launched at $249. So still cheaper than PlayStation and a significantly wider graphics advantage with perfect sound through sequenced audio.
 
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DaleinCalgary

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Feb 9, 2014
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Back then I had the n64 and the roommate bought the ps1.

While I would say the best game on both systems was Mario 64 there really wasn't a ton of great games to play and the ps1 had hit after hit released and overall the ps1 was much much better.

It was kinda a pattern as I had a Mac and he had a pc and eventually the lack of games on the Mac made me get a pc.
 

Fafalada

Fafracer forever
Jun 22, 2004
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Gamecube on the other hand, I still regard as a better console than PS2.
If using the same measuring stick (forward looking) - why? PS2 (like N64 before it) actually was forward looking with compute architecture that basically foreshadowed the next 20 years of graphics / programmable compute development. GC was mainly a reactionary design, with a featureset inherited from 1999 era PC GPUs. Powerful and easy to use - but decidedly not forward looking.
The other areas (expandability, optical-format advancement, add-ons) were also completely PS2 dominated. Hell in addition to bringing DVD playback to mainstream, popularizing motion controls and AR, PS2 was also first to deliver standalone fully functional PC from a console (and/or retail console as a devkit), introduced the world to first smart-TVs, had a DVR SKU, and even a fully functional Netflix player at the tail end of its life. It came much closer to the promise of the 'all-in-one' living-room device than anything its 'would be but never-were' successors in this area (PS3 and XB1) tried.

Don't get me wrong - if asking 'but what did you think of its game-library' that's a different debate, but when it comes to forward looking propositions, nothing in the last 25 years comes close in console space IMO. Even the 'failed' features that didn't amount to that much (Firewire port, HDD bay expansion, GPU that was designed for larger set of devices but didn't really get there due to launch design cutbacks) can't be faulted for being short-sighted.
 
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marquimvfs

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Although "some" is technically accurate, it consisted of most of the Project Reality core team, who included a bunch of the best hardware engineers that SGI had. At one point SGI sued them - which was a bit cheeky seeing as how SGI had been formed in exactly the same way by a bunch of people from Evans and Sutherland.
Yep, that's right. Most of them were key people from Project Reality. I was only trying to emphasize my point, and I thought that expose that on the argument would contribute to ResilientBanana ResilientBanana 's confusion.
 
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