• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

The Sega Hikaru...Sega's biggest failure

VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
1,582
2,531
555
and that's saying something because Sega fucked up a LOT!

Remember the days of the RROD on the 360? When it seemed like 50% of consoles were just waiting to die on you? Well Sega outdid Microsoft and Xbox in an even worse and more preventable manner!

The Sega Hikaru was basically the final evolution of the Dreamcast spec. More powerful, more GPU based shaders and effects...and while it had a small library it was all awesome. So how did Sega manage to mung this one up?

THEY FORGOT TO TIN THE PROCESSOR SOLDER PADS! They just dropped solder balls on the motherboard, lined the chips up and hit them with heat! If you don't know...NOT tinning the pads on both sides causes very delicate and prone to failure solder joints.

So now 9 out of every 10 Hikaru's will just randomly have full processors FALL OFF the motherboard. I kid you not...I've tried to buy three and each had one or ALL the processors arrive loose in box just floating around...never to work again (well you COULD reball them but it costs a fortune...way more than the PCB does and even then the success rate isn't great)

But the list of games is awesome. Planet Harriers? Star Wars Racer Arcade? Brave Firefighters? All hits. It's especially a giant bummer because the last ever entry in the Space Harriers franchise was never ported home and is stuck on a platform that breaks if you so much look at it the wrong way. Plus Brave Firefighters would have been perfect for Wii

But it got me thinking...outside of this and 360 what are some of the other "worst engineering decisions" in gaming hardware? Because I am sure someone did even WORSE!
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
1,582
2,531
555
Apple III didn't have cooling fans because at the time Steve Jobs didn't believe in them....

Not gaming hardware but still a huge fail.
lol never heard that one but sounds like something the guy with curable cancer who insisted he could cure it himself via DIET would do
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Jul 7, 2020
7,880
9,374
735
Is that why I haven't seen a working Hikaru game in at least a decade?

Sadly Hikaru has the worst emulation of all the Sega arcade hardware too. It's not totally non-existent, DEMUL run most of those games but they have pretty obvious glitches.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Dr. Kitty Muffins

MrA

Member
Mar 9, 2020
1,886
3,093
420
the bally astrocade will over heat if it is placed on a carpet
later units even came with stickers that gave not so subtle hints to remove the rf shielding
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
1,582
2,531
555
Is that why I haven't seen a working Hikaru game in at least a decade?

Sadly Hikaru has the worst emulation of all the Sega arcade hardware too. It's not totally non-existent, DEMUL run most of those games but they have pretty obvious glitches.
100%. By my unscientific research it seems everyone who has owned or try to own a Hikaru has a broken one. Even moving the cabinet would be enough to dislodge the processors from their solder pads. So my guess is the LARGE MAJORITY of cabinets all died. Sadly reballing isn't easy or in a lot of places the services don't even exist so...they all got recycled or sold as broken.

Eventually Hikaru will go extinct unless someone starts offering custom repair service on them and creates their own reball stencils
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
1,582
2,531
555
the bally astrocade will over heat if it is placed on a carpet
later units even came with stickers that gave not so subtle hints to remove the rf shielding
haha never heard that story but sounds like a genius move
 

Drew1440

Member
Nov 12, 2020
219
165
215
Always saw the Hikaru as the proper successor to the Model 3, crazy high end hardware that was a showcase of graphical capability. That said, how the hell did they manage to screw up the manufacturing process?

From the looks of it they abandoned it in favour of the Naomi 2, which also had PowerVR GPU’s but with an ELAN T&L core, whereas the Hikaru used a custom 3D chipset working in tandem with the PVR GPU which was supposed to give its phong shading capability. Not much is known about that chipset, and on most articles its referred to as a Sega custom 3D, no mention of the actual vendor.
 

Kadve

Member
Jun 5, 2019
599
633
425
Apple III didn't have cooling fans because at the time Steve Jobs didn't believe in them....

Not gaming hardware but still a huge fail.
Neither did the sega model 1 arcade board. Not a problem back in the day but whenever one gets fired up now 30 years later it has a high chance of cooking itself.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
1,582
2,531
555
Neither did the sega model 1 arcade board. Not a problem back in the day but whenever one gets fired up now 30 years later it has a high chance of cooking itself.
I have a Konami pcb that has a PowerPC 603 combined with a PCI bridge all in a big body package. No heat sync or fan. Not sure what they were thinking there but the Viper pcb is notorious for cooking it’s own CPU.

Quick heat sync and a fan and it’s good for awhile
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Jul 7, 2020
7,880
9,374
735
Always saw the Hikaru as the proper successor to the Model 3, crazy high end hardware that was a showcase of graphical capability. That said, how the hell did they manage to screw up the manufacturing process?

From the looks of it they abandoned it in favour of the Naomi 2, which also had PowerVR GPU’s but with an ELAN T&L core, whereas the Hikaru used a custom 3D chipset working in tandem with the PVR GPU which was supposed to give its phong shading capability. Not much is known about that chipset, and on most articles its referred to as a Sega custom 3D, no mention of the actual vendor.
It was mostly used for very expensive games with "super deluxe" sit-down cabinets; games that wouldn't be good candidates for home ports. Everything else went to Naomi, pretty much, which was cheaper and easier to port from. So there were only like six Hikaru games, and they were all these big deluxe cabinet things.
 

Skifi28

Member
Jun 28, 2020
2,807
7,415
440
But it got me thinking...outside of this and 360 what are some of the other "worst engineering decisions" in gaming hardware? Because I am sure someone did even WORSE!
Basically any modern first party controller. A drifting... I mean ticking time bomb. Even the expensive elite controllers use the same potentiometers. Good luck finding a controller than works in 15-20 years for retro gaming.


Edit: Honorable mention for the switch, you can now take the drift with you.
 
Last edited: