The Dreamcast is a home video game console released by Sega on November 27, 1998 in Japan, September 9, 1999 in North America, October 14, 1999 in Europe. It was the first in the sixth generation of video game consoles, preceding Sony's PlayStation 2, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox; the Dreamcast was Sega's final home console, marking the end of the company's 18 years in the console market. In contrast to the expensive hardware of the unsuccessful Sega Saturn, the Dreamcast was designed to reduce costs with "off-the-shelf" components, including a Hitachi SH-4 CPU and an NEC PowerVR2 GPU. Released in Japan to a subdued reception, the Dreamcast enjoyed a successful U. S. launch backed by a large marketing campaign, but interest in the system declined as Sony built hype for the upcoming PlayStation 2. Sales did not meet Sega's expectations despite several price cuts, the company continued to incur significant financial losses. After a change in leadership, Sega discontinued the Dreamcast on March 31, 2001, withdrawing from the console business and restructuring itself as a third-party publisher.
9.13 million Dreamcast units were sold worldwide. Although the Dreamcast had a short lifespan and limited third-party support, reviewers have considered the console ahead of its time, its library contains many games considered creative and innovative, including Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue, as well as high-quality ports from Sega's NAOMI arcade system board. The Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem for Internet support and online play. Released in 1988, the Sega Genesis was Sega's entry into the fourth generation of video game consoles. Selling 30.75 million units worldwide, the Genesis was the most successful console Sega released. The successor to the Genesis, the Sega Saturn, was released in Japan in 1994; the Saturn was a CD-ROM-based console that displayed both 2D and 3D computer graphics, but its complex dual-CPU architecture made it more difficult to program for than its chief competitor, the Sony PlayStation. Although the Saturn debuted before the PlayStation in both Japan and the United States, its surprise U.
S. launch—which came four months earlier than scheduled—was marred by a lack of distribution, which remained a continuing problem for the system. Moreover, Sega's early release was undermined by Sony's simultaneous announcement that the PlayStation would retail for US$299—compared to the Saturn's initial price of $399. Nintendo's long delay in releasing a competing 3D console and the damage done to Sega's reputation by poorly supported add-ons for the Genesis allowed Sony to establish a foothold in the market; the PlayStation was successful in the U. S. in part due to a massive advertising campaign and strong third-party support engendered by Sony's excellent development tools and liberal $10 licensing fee. Sony's success was further aided by a price war in which Sega lowered the price of the Saturn from $399 to $299 and from $299 to $199 in order to match the price of the PlayStation–even though Saturn hardware was more expensive to manufacture and the PlayStation enjoyed a larger software library.
Losses on the Saturn hardware contributed to Sega's financial problems, which saw the company's revenue decline between 1992 and 1995 as part of an industry-wide slowdown. Furthermore, Sega's focus on the Saturn over the Genesis prevented it from capitalizing on the continued strength of the 16-bit market. Due to long-standing disagreements with Sega of Japan, Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske became less interested in his position. On July 16, 1996, Sega announced that Shoichiro Irimajiri had been appointed chairman and CEO of Sega of America, while Kalinske would be leaving Sega after September 30 of that year. Sega announced that Sega Enterprises cofounder David Rosen and Sega of Japan CEO Hayao Nakayama had resigned from their positions as chairman and co-chairman of Sega of America, though both men remained with the company. Bernie Stolar, a former executive at Sony Computer Entertainment of America, was named Sega of America's executive vice president in charge of product development and third-party relations.
Stolar did not support the Saturn due to his belief that the hardware was poorly designed and publicly announced at E3 1997 that "The Saturn is not our future." After the launch of the Nintendo 64, sales of the Saturn and Sega's 32-bit software were reduced. As of August 1997, Sony controlled 47 percent of the console market, Nintendo controlled 40 percent, Sega controlled only 12 percent. Neither price cuts nor high-profile games were proving helpful to the Saturn's success. Due to the Saturn's poor performance in North America, Sega of America laid off 60 of its 200 employees in the fall of 1997; as a result of the company's deteriorating financial situation, Nakayama resigned as president of Sega in January 1998 in favor of Irimajiri. Stolar would subsequently accede to become president of Sega of America. Following five years of declining profits, in the fiscal year ending March 31, 1998, Sega suffered its first parent and consolidated financial losses since its 1988 listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Due to a 54.8% decline in consumer product sales, the company reported a consolidated net loss of ¥35.6 billion. Shortly before announcing its financial losses, Sega revealed that it was discontinuing the Saturn in North America, with the goal of preparing for the launch of its successor; this decision left the Western market without Sega games for over one year. Rumors about the upcoming Dreamcast—spread by Sega itself—leaked to the public before the last Saturn games were release
The 1980s was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1980, ended on December 31, 1989. The decade saw great socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and a worldwide move away from planned economies and towards laissez-faire capitalism; as economic deconstruction increased in the developed world, multiple multinational corporations associated with the manufacturing industry relocated into Thailand, South Korea and China. Japan and West Germany saw large economic growth during this decade; the AIDS epidemic became recognized in the 1980s and has since killed an estimated 39 million people. Global warming became well known to the political community in the 1980s; the United Kingdom and the United States moved closer to supply-side economic policies beginning a trend towards global instability of international trade that would pick up more steam in the following decade as the fall of the USSR made right wing economic policy more powerful. The final decade of the Cold War opened with the US-Soviet confrontation continuing without any interruption.
Superpower tensions escalated as President Reagan scrapped the policy of détente and adopted a new, much more aggressive stance on the Soviet Union. The world came perilously close to nuclear war for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis 20 years earlier, but the second half of the decade saw a dramatic easing of superpower tensions and the total collapse of Soviet communism. Developing countries across the world faced economic and social difficulties as they suffered from multiple debt crises in the 1980s, requiring many of these countries to apply for financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Ethiopia witnessed widespread famine in the mid-1980s during the corrupt rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, resulting in the country having to depend on foreign aid to provide food to its population and worldwide efforts to address and raise money to help Ethiopians, such as the Live Aid concert in 1985. Major civil discontent and violence occurred in the Middle East, including the Iran–Iraq War, the Soviet–Afghan War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Bombing of Libya in 1986, the First Intifada in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Islamism became a powerful political force in the 1980s and many terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda started. By 1986, nationalism was making a comeback in the Eastern Bloc and desire for democracy in communist-led socialist states combined with economic recession resulted in Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika, which reduced Communist Party power, legalized dissent and sanctioned limited forms of capitalism such as joint ventures with Western firms. After newly heated tension for most of the decade, by 1988 relations between the West and East had improved and the Soviet Union was unwilling to defend its governments in satellite states. 1989 brought the overthrow and attempted overthrow of a number of governments led by communist parties, such as in Hungary, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China, the Czechoslovak "Velvet Revolution", Erich Honecker's East German regime, Poland's Soviet-backed government, the violent overthrow of the Nicolae Ceauşescu regime in Romania.
Destruction of the 155-km Berlin Wall, at the end of the decade, signalled a seismic geopolitical shift. The Cold War ended in the early 1990s with the successful Reunification of Germany and the USSR's demise after the August Coup of 1991; the 1980s saw great advances in digital technology. After years of animal experimentation since 1985 the first genetic modification of 10 adult human beings took place in May 1989, a gene tagging experiment which led to the first true gene therapy implementation in September 1990; the first "designer babies", a pair of female twins were created in a laboratory in late 1989 and born in July 1990 after being sex-selected via the controversial assisted reproductive technology procedure preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Gestational surrogacy was first performed in 1985 with the first birth in 1986, making it possible for a woman to become a biological mother without experiencing pregnancy for the first time in history; the 1980s was an era of tremendous population growth around the world, surpassing the 1970s and 1990s, thus arguably being the largest in human history.
Population growth was rapid in a number of African, Middle Eastern, South Asian countries during this decade, with rates of natural increase close to or exceeding 4% annually. The 1980s saw the advent of the ongoing practice of sex-selective abortion in China and India as ultrasound technology permitted parents to selectively abort baby girls; the global Internet took shape in academia by the second half of the 1980s as well as many other computer networks of both academic and commercial use such as USENET, Fidonet and the Bulletin Board System. By 1989 the Internet and the networks linked to it were a global system with extensive transoceanic satellite links and nodes in most rich countries. Based on earlier work from 1980 onwards Tim Berners Lee formalized the concept of the World Wide Web by 1989 and performed its earliest demonstrations in December 1990 and 1991. Television viewing became commonplace in the Third World, with the number of TV sets in China and India increasing by 15 and 10 times respectively.
The most notable terrorist attacks of the decade include: Bologna massacre in Italy on 2 August 1980, three members of the neo-fascist group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari detonate a time bomb at Bologna Central Station, killing 85 people. El Mozote massacre in El Salvador on December 11, 1981, against civilian
Role-playing video game
A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion; the electronic medium increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences. Role-playing video games use much of the same terminology and game mechanics as early tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Players control a central game character, or multiple game characters called a party, attain victory by completing a series of quests or reaching the conclusion of a central storyline. Players explore a game world, while engaging in combat. A key feature of the genre is that characters grow in power and abilities, characters are designed by the player.
RPGs challenge a player's physical coordination or reaction time, with the exception of action role-playing games. Role-playing video games rely on a developed story and setting, divided into a number of quests. Players control one or several characters by issuing commands, which are performed by the character at an effectiveness determined by that character's numeric attributes; these attributes increase each time a character gains a level, a character's level goes up each time the player accumulates a certain amount of experience. Role-playing video games typically attempt to offer more complex and dynamic character interaction than what is found in other video game genres; this involves additional focus on the artificial intelligence and scripted behavior of computer-controlled non-player characters. The premise of many role-playing games tasks the player with saving the world, or whichever level of society is threatened. There are twists and turns as the story progresses, such as the surprise appearance of estranged relatives, or enemies who become friends or vice versa.
The game world tends to be set in a fantasy or science fiction universe, which allows players to do things they cannot do in real life and helps players suspend their disbelief about the rapid character growth. To a lesser extent, settings closer to near future are possible; the story provides much of the entertainment in the game. Because these games have strong storylines, they can make effective use of recorded dialog and voiceover narration. Players of these games tend to appreciate long cutscenes more than players of faster action games. While most games advance the plot when the player defeats an enemy or completes a level, role-playing games progress the plot based on other important decisions. For example, a player may make the decision to join a guild, thus triggering a progression in the storyline, irreversible. New elements in the story may be triggered by mere arrival in an area, rather than completing a specific challenge; the plot is divided so that each game location is an opportunity to reveal a new chapter in the story.
Pen-and-paper role-playing games involve a player called the gamemaster who can dynamically create the story and rules, react to a player's choices. In role-playing video games, the computer performs the function of the gamemaster; this offers the player a smaller set of possible actions, since computers can't engage in imaginative acting comparable to a skilled human gamemaster. In exchange, the typical role-playing video game may have storyline branches, user interfaces, stylized cutscenes and gameplay to offer a more direct storytelling mechanism. Characterization of non-player characters in video games is handled using a dialog tree. Saying the right things to the right non-player characters will elicit useful information for the player, may result in other rewards such as items or experience, as well as opening up possible storyline branches. Multiplayer online role-playing games can offer an exception to this contrast by allowing human interaction among multiple players and in some cases enabling a player to perform the role of a gamemaster.
Exploring the world is an important aspect of many RPGs. Players will walk through, talking to non-player characters, picking up objects, avoiding traps; some games such as NetHack and the FATE series randomize the structure of individual levels, increasing the game's variety and replayability. Role-playing games where players complete quests by exploring randomly generated dungeons and which include permadeath are called roguelikes, named after the 1980 video game Rogue; the game's story is mapped onto exploration, where each chapter of the story is mapped onto a different location. RPGs allow players to return to visited locations. There is nothing left to do there, although some locations change throughout the story and offer the player new things to do in response. Players must acquire enough power to overcome a major challenge in order to progress to the next area, this structure can be compared to the boss characters at the end of levels in action games; the player must complete a linear sequence of certain quests in order to reach the end of the game's story, although quests in some games such as Arcanum or Geneforge can limit o
Atari Corporation was an American manufacturer of computers and video game consoles from 1984 to 1996. Atari Corp. was founded in July 1984 when Warner Communications sold the home computing and game console divisions of Atari, Inc. to Jack Tramiel. Its chief products were the Atari ST, Atari XE, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx, Atari Jaguar; the company reverse-merged with JTS Inc. in 1996, becoming a small division, which itself closed after JTS sold its intellectual property to Hasbro Interactive in 1998. The company was founded by Commodore International's founder Jack Tramiel soon after his resignation from Commodore in January 1984. Named Tramel Technology, Ltd. the company's goal was to design and sell a next-generation home computer. On July 1, 1984, TTL bought the Consumer Division assets of Atari, Inc. from its owner Warner Communications, TTL was renamed Atari Corporation. Warner sold the division for $240 million in stocks under the new company. In order to halt the massive losses Atari, Inc. had been yielding under Warner's ownership, Tramiel shut down nearly all of their 80 domestic branches, laying off the staff and liquidating the inventory.
Under Tramiel's ownership, Atari Corp. used the remaining stock of game console inventory to keep the company afloat while they finished development of their 16-bit computer system, the Atari ST. In 1985, they released their update to the 8-bit computer line—the Atari XE series—as well as the 16-bit Atari ST line. In 1986, Atari Corp. launched two consoles designed under the Warner Atari: Atari 2600 Jr and Atari 7800. Atari Corp. rebounded, producing a $25 million profit for 1986. The Atari ST line proved successful selling more than 5 million units, its built-in MIDI ports made it popular among musicians. Still, its closest competitor in the marketplace, the Commodore Amiga, outsold it 3 to 2. Atari released a line of inexpensive IBM PC compatibles as well as an MS-DOS compatible palm computer called the Atari Portfolio. Atari under Tramiel had a poor reputation in the marketplace. In 1986 a columnist for Atari magazine ANALOG Computing warned that company executives seemed to emulate Tramiel's "'penny-pinching' hard-nosed bargaining, sometimes at the risk of everything else", resulting in poor customer service and documentation, product release dates that were "perhaps not the entire truth...
Pretty soon, you don't believe anything they say". He concluded, "I think Atari Corp. had better start considering how they're perceived by the non-Atari-using public". The company, was much more open to the press than its predecessor Atari Inc. which had refused to let Antic preview forthcoming announcements and opposed the magazine printing the word "Atari" on its issues. On August 23, 1987, Atari agreed to purchase the Federated Group for $67.3 million. October 4, 1987, Atari gained full control of its own retail stores. In the final quarter of 1987, Federated lost $6.4 million in day-to-day operations. A post-acquisition audit ended on February 15, 1988, identified $43 million in adjustments to Federated's balance sheet, far more than Atari anticipated; the net worth of its acquisition was reduced by $33 million. Atari's CFO claimed that they would never have done the deal had they known at the time. Federated's operational losses increased, reaching $67 million for its first full year under Atari in 1988.
The FBI began an investigation of Atari in May of that same year for an ongoing scheme involving the profitable import and resale of Japanese DRAM chips in the US, "in violation of U. S. import laws and contrary to import agreements". In March 1989, Atari announced that it would treat Federated as a discontinued operation and took an additional one-time charge of $57 million. Federated was sold to Silo in 1989. In 1988 Stewart Alsop II said that Atari was among several companies that "have been knocked out" of the GUI market by Apple, IBM/Microsoft, others, but Atari Corporation's sales hit their peak that year, at $452 million. In 1989, Atari Corp. released the Atari Lynx—a handheld console with color graphics—to critical acclaim. However, a shortage of parts kept the system from being released nationwide for the 1989 Christmas season; the Lynx lost market share to Nintendo's Game Boy, which had only a monochrome display, but a much better battery life, was available. In 1989, Atari Corp. lost a $250 million lawsuit alleging that Nintendo had an illegal monopoly.
As the fortunes of Atari Corporation's ST and PC compatible computers faded and software again became the company's main focus. In 1993, Atari Corp. released the Atari Jaguar. The Jaguar was one of the first fifth generation gaming consoles, but due to a games library, low in both quantity and quality, it was unable to compete against the incumbent fourth generation consoles. Atari Corp. sustained a net loss of $49.6 million for 1995, with $27.7 million in losses during the last quarter of the year alone. Attempting to hedge their bets, in January 1996 Atari Corp. announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Atari Interactive, which would be devoted to publishing games for PC. However, Atari Corp. would relinquish its interest in both the Jaguar and PC software within a few months. By 1996, a series of successful lawsuits followed by profitable investments had left Atari with millions of dollars in the bank, but without any products to sell because of the failure of the Lynx and Jaguar. In addition and his family wanted out.
The result was a rapid succession of changes in ownership. In July 1996, Atari merged with JTS Inc. a short-lived maker of hard disk drives, to form JTS Corp
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Arcade is a digital video game download service available through the Xbox Games Store, Microsoft's digital distribution network for the Xbox 360. It focuses on smaller downloadable games from independent game developers. Titles range from classic console and arcade video games, to new games designed from the ground up for the service. Games available through the XBLA service range from $5–20 in price, as of October 2016, there have been 719 Xbox Live Arcade titles released for the Xbox 360. Prior to the Xbox 360, "Xbox Live Arcade" was the name for an online distribution network on the original Xbox, replaced by the Xbox Live Marketplace; the Xbox Live Arcade service was announced on May 12, 2004, at Microsoft's E3 press conference by Bill Gates and launched on November 6, 2004, for the original Xbox game console. The XBLA software was obtained by ordering it on Microsoft's website, it was sent by mail on a disc that contained a free version of the Ms. Pac-Man video game. To generate greater publicity for the service, the disc was distributed with special issues of the Official Xbox Magazine and as part of the Forza Motorsport Xbox console bundle The service launched with six titles and expanded its library to twelve titles by the end of the year.
Once connected to Xbox Live, customers could purchase additional titles by using a credit card, or download a limited trial version of a game. Prices for the games range from $4.99 to $14.99. On November 22, 2005, XBLA was relaunched on the Xbox 360; the service was integrated into the main Dashboard user interface, the Xbox 360 hard drives were bundled with a free copy of Hexic HD. Every Arcade title on the Xbox 360 supports leaderboards, has 200 Achievement points, high-definition 720p graphics, they have a trial version available for free download. These demos are playable and most of them offer only a fraction of the levels and content of the full game. A full version of the game must be purchased to allow the user to upload scores to the leaderboards, unlock achievements, play online multiplayer, download bonus content. Several new features and enhancements have been added through software updates including a friends leaderboard, additional sorting options, faster enumeration of games, an auto-download feature for newly released trial games, "Tell a Friend" messages.
The original size limit imposed by Microsoft for Xbox Live Arcade games was 50 MB, in order to ensure any downloaded game could fit on a 64 MB Xbox memory unit. The limit has since been changed to 150 MB 350 MB, now 2 GB, the latter of, a technical limitation of the system. On September 12, 2012 the 2 GB limit was raised to an unknown number with two titles, Red Johnson's Chronicles and Double Dragon Neon weighing at 2.68 GB and 2.24 GB, respectively. On July 12, 2006, Microsoft launched the "Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays" program, which promised a new Arcade game to be launched every Wednesday for the rest of that Summer; when that summer ended, Microsoft announced that new titles for XBLA would be released on Wednesdays. In order to promote the service in retail, Microsoft released Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 as a compilation disc of six games. On October 18, 2007, Microsoft announced the Xbox 360 Arcade console SKU which includes full versions of Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy, Luxor 2, Pac-Man Championship Edition, Uno.
On May 22, 2008, Microsoft's general manager of Xbox Live, Marc Whitten, detailed changes for the service that included increasing the size limit of the games to 350MB and improving the way digital rights management is handled. Furthermore, Microsoft created an internal games studio to create "high quality digital content" for XBLA. On July 30, 2008, Microsoft announced the XBLA Summer of Arcade. Anyone who downloaded one of the titles released over August, would be entered into a prize draw with a grand prize of 100,000 Microsoft Points, 12 Month Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox 360 Elite console. Another Summer of Arcade began the next year on July 22, 2009. Anyone who purchases all the titles released, will receive an 800-point reward; the next Summer of Arcade began on July 21, 2010, features Limbo, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Monday Night Combat and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. A "Shopping Spree" promotion ended November 1, 2010, in which anyone who spent over 2400 points during October 2010 received an 800-point reward.
By March 10, 2006, three million downloads had been made on the service. By January 30, 2007, that number had grown to 20 million; the service reached 25 million downloads on March 6, 2007 with 45 million downloads projected by the end of 2007. On March 27, 2007, Microsoft declared Uno to be the first Xbox Live Arcade game to exceed one million downloads. Nearly 70 percent of Xbox 360 owners connected to Xbox Live have downloaded an Arcade title with the attach rate being 6–7 titles per user. Original games receive 350,000 downloads in the first month. Titles have an average 156% financial return over twelve months with the first two months of sales accounting for just 35% of total volume. Average conversion rate across all titles is 18%. On September 19, 2007, Microsoft announced the top ten Arcade downloads worldwide as Aegis Wing, Texas Hold'em, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Bankshot Billiards 2, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Classic Arcade
Video game music
Video game music is the soundtrack that accompanies video games. Early video game music was once limited to simple melodies of early sound synthesizer technology; these limitations inspired the style of music known as chiptunes, which combines simple melodic styles with more complex patterns or traditional music styles, became the most popular sound of the first video games. With advances in technology, video game music has grown to include the same breadth and complexity associated with television and film scores, allowing for much more creative freedom. While simple synthesizer pieces are still common, game music now includes full orchestral pieces and popular music. Music in video games can be heard over a game’s title screen, options menu, bonus content, as well as during the entire gameplay. Modern soundtracks can change depending on a player's actions or situation, such as indicating missed actions in rhythm games. Video game music can be one of two options: original or licensed. In order to create or collect this music, teams of composers, music directors, music supervisors must work with the game developers and game publishers.
Many of the most notable original sophie game composers have been from Japan, including Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, Yuzo Koshiro, Yoko Shimomura, Junichi Masuda, Hip Tanaka, Masato Nakamura, Koichi Sugiyama, Yasunori Mitsuda, Michiru Yamane, Yuu Miyake, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, Manabu Namiki, Shinji Hosoe, Hiroshi Kawaguchi. Notable Western game composers working today include Jeremy Soule, Jesper Kyd, Marty O' Donnell, Jason Graves, Austin Wintory, James Hannigan, Garry Schyman, Peter McConnell, some of whom work in film and television alongside video games. Today, original composition has included the work of film composers Harry Gregson-Williams, Trent Reznor, Hans Zimmer, Mark Rutherford, Josh Mancell, Steve Jablonsky, Michael Giacchino; the popularity of video game music has expanded education and job opportunities, generated awards, allowed video game soundtracks to be commercially sold and performed in concert's. At the time video games had emerged as a popular form of entertainment in the late 1970s, music was stored on physical medium in analog waveforms such as compact cassettes and phonograph records.
Such components were expensive and prone to breakage under heavy use making them less than ideal for use in an arcade cabinet, though in rare cases, they were used. A more affordable method of having music in a video game was to use digital means, where a specific computer chip would change electrical impulses from computer code into analog sound waves on the fly for output on a speaker. Sound effects for the games were generated in this fashion. An early example of such an approach to video game music was the opening chiptune in Tomohiro Nishikado's Gun Fight. While this allowed for inclusion of music in early arcade video games, it was monophonic, looped or used sparingly between stages or at the start of a new game, such as the Namco titles Pac-Man composed by Toshio Kai or Pole Position composed by Nobuyuki Ohnogi; the first game to use a continuous background soundtrack was Tomohiro Nishikado's Space Invaders, released by Taito in 1978. It had four descending chromatic bass notes repeating in a loop, though it was dynamic and interacted with the player, increasing pace as the enemies descended on the player.
The first video game to feature continuous, melodic background music was Rally-X, released by Namco in 1980, featuring a simple tune that repeats continuously during gameplay. The decision to include any music into a video game meant that at some point it would have to be transcribed into computer code by a programmer, whether or not the programmer had musical experience; some music was original, some was public domain music such as folk songs. Sound capabilities were limited; as advances were made in silicon technology and costs fell, a definitively new generation of arcade machines and home consoles allowed for great changes in accompanying music. In arcades, machines based on the Motorola 68000 CPU and accompanying various Yamaha YM programmable sound generator sound chips allowed for several more tones or "channels" of sound, sometimes eight or more; the earliest known example of this was Sega's 1980 arcade game Carnival, which used an AY-3-8910 chip to create an electronic rendition of the classical 1889 composition "Over The Waves" by Juventino Rosas.
Konami's 1981 arcade game Frogger introduced a dynamic approach to video game music, using at least eleven different gameplay tracks, in addition to level-starting and game over themes, which change according to the player's actions. This was further improved upon by Namco's 1982 arcade game Dig Dug, where the music stopped when the player stopped moving. Dig Dug was composed by Yuriko Keino, who composed the music for other Namco games such as Xevious and Phozon. Sega's 1982 arcade game Super Locomotive featured a chiptune rendition of Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Rydeen". Home console systems had a comparable upgrade in sound ability beginning with the ColecoVision in 1982 capable of four channels. However, more notable was the Japanese release of the Famicom in 1983, released in the US as the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, it was capable of one being capable of simple PCM sampled sound. The home computer Commodore 64 released in 1982 was capable of early forms of filtering effects, different types of waveforms and the undocumented abilit
The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit fifth-generation home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, July 8, 1995 in Europe. The successor to the successful Sega Genesis, the Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors, its games are in CD-ROM format, its game library contains several arcade ports as well as original games. Development of the Saturn began in 1992, the same year Sega's groundbreaking 3D Model 1 arcade hardware debuted. Designed around a new CPU from Japanese electronics company Hitachi, another video display processor was incorporated into the system's design in early 1994 to better compete with Sony's forthcoming PlayStation; the Saturn was successful in Japan, but failed to sell in large numbers in the United States after its surprise May 1995 launch, four months before its scheduled release date. After the debut of the Nintendo 64 in late 1996, the Saturn lost market share in the U. S. where it was discontinued in 1998.
Having sold 9.26 million units worldwide, the Saturn is considered a commercial failure. The failure of Sega's development teams to release a game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, known in development as Sonic X-treme, has been considered a factor in the console's poor performance. Although the Saturn is remembered for several well-regarded games, including Nights into Dreams, the Panzer Dragoon series, the Virtua Fighter series, its reputation is mixed due to its complex hardware design and limited third-party support. Sega's management has been criticized for its decisions during the system's development and discontinuation. Released in 1988, the Genesis was Sega's entry into the fourth generation of video game consoles. In mid-1990, Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama hired Tom Kalinske as CEO of Sega of America. Kalinske developed a four-point plan for sales of the Genesis: lower the price of the console, create a U. S.-based team to develop games targeted at the American market, continue aggressive advertising campaigns, sell Sonic the Hedgehog with the console.
The Japanese board of directors disapproved of the plan, but all four points were approved by Nakayama, who told Kalinske, "I hired you to make the decisions for Europe and the Americas, so go ahead and do it." Magazines praised Sonic as one of the greatest games made, Sega's console took off as customers, waiting for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System decided to purchase a Genesis instead. However, the release of a CD-based add-on for the Genesis, the Sega CD, was commercially disappointing. Sega experienced success with arcade games. In 1992 and 1993, the new Sega Model 1 arcade system board showcased Sega AM2's Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter, which played a crucial role in popularizing 3D polygonal graphics. In particular, Virtua Fighter garnered praise for its simple three-button control scheme, with strategy coming from the intuitively observed differences between characters that felt and acted differently rather than the more ornate combos of two-dimensional competitors. Despite its crude visuals—with characters composed of fewer than 1,200 polygons—Virtua Fighter's fluid animation and realistic depiction of distinct fighting styles gave its combatants a lifelike presence considered impossible to replicate with sprites.
The Model 1 was an expensive system board, bringing home releases of its games to the Genesis required more than its hardware could handle. Several alternatives helped to bring Sega's newest arcade games to the console, such as the Sega Virtua Processor chip used for Virtua Racing, the Sega 32X add-on. Development of the Saturn was supervised by Hideki Sato, Sega's director and deputy general manager of research and development. According to Sega project manager Hideki Okamura, the Saturn project started over two years before the system was showcased at the Tokyo Toy Show in June 1994; the name "Saturn" was the system's codename during development in Japan, but was chosen as the official product name. Computer Gaming World in March 1994 reported a rumor that "the Sega Saturn... will release in Japan before the end of the year" for $250–300. In 1993, Sega and Japanese electronics company Hitachi formed a joint venture to develop a new CPU for the Saturn, which resulted in the creation of the "SuperH RISC Engine" that year.
The Saturn was designed around a dual-SH2 configuration. According to Kazuhiro Hamada, Sega's section chief for Saturn development during the system's conception, "the SH-2 was chosen for reasons of cost and efficiency; the chip has a calculation system similar to a DSP, but we realized that a single CPU would not be enough to calculate a 3D world." Although the Saturn's design was finished before the end of 1993, reports in early 1994 of the technical capabilities of Sony's upcoming PlayStation console prompted Sega to include another video display processor to improve the system's 2D performance and texture-mapping. CD-ROM-based and cartridge-only versions of the Saturn hardware were considered for simultaneous release during the system's development, but this idea was discarded due to concerns over the lower quality and higher price of cartridge-based games. According to Kalinske, Sega of America "fought against the architecture of Saturn for quite some time". Seeking an alternative graphics chip for the Saturn, Kalinske attempted to broker a deal with Silicon Graphics, but Sega of Japan rejected the proposal.
Silicon Graphics subsequently collaborated with Nintendo on the Nintendo 64. Kalinske, Sony Electronic Publishing's Olaf Olafsson, Sony America's Micky Schulhof h