8 Bit Gaming | Embrace Retroism in Video Games Culture

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8-Bit Gaming | Embrace Retroism in Video Games

What is 8-bit?

8 bit gaming is apart of the third generation of video games. This is a term us gamers who grew up with NES, Atari and Master System. 8-bit is consist of 25-32 colors on the screen. 64-199 sprites with 4-17 colors and 8×9 to 16×16 pixel sizes. Screen resolutions up to 256×240 and 320×200 and advanced hardware scrolling. Title-based playfields with smooth multi-directional scrolling and five channel mono PSG audio. During Nintendo Entertainment System era was dominated gaming market in North America. There was a shift that Nintendo made 65% sales in the console market. NES sales beat Atari Corporation and Sega home consoles. In 1988, Nintendo sold seven million NES units than Commodore 64m. NES cause personal computers companies to have low sales. Sega roll out SG-100 and was different from ColecoVision.
Super Mario Bros NES

What is the specs?

SG-100 had advanced scrolling effects along with parallax and sprite-scaling. Sega unveil Master System which includes increased color palette, memory, pseudo and stereoscopic 3-D effects. Although NES was at a disadvantage with Master System but it still dominate on sales. That’s the rivalry started between Sega and Nintendo. Let’s talk about the systems that support 8-bit gaming. Sega’s SG-1000 and Master System uses NEC 790C CPU for 8/16-bit. NES uses Ricoh 2A03/2A07 CPU chip for 8 bit. See the difference Sega’s dominate in terms of CPU. In graphic, take a look at Master System and NES. NES uses Ricoh PPU for generating video signals from graphic data stored in memory. This picture processing unit operates titles of 8×8 to 8×16 pixels.
Alex Kidd on Master System


These titles are stored in ROM chip of the game cartridge. Titles are basely building blocks used to create moving objects or large static backgrounds. Only 8 sprites could be drawn per scanline. PPU have different types of drawable object movable (sprites) and non-movable (background). Sprite data is stored in special memory called SPR-RAM. It’s a 256-byte memory built into PPU core. The data could store 4 bytes (position, color and tile) which is a total of 64 sprites. Color palettes are stored in a separate 32 byte location in the RAM. This is called palette-RAM, which choose between 16 sprites and background palette. Master System uses Yamaha Video Display Processor, which operates differently than NES.

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