Arcade Conversion to Limitations of Video Game Consoles




limitations of video game consoles


In the late 1990s, limitations of video games consoles that tries to emulate arcade source. Sometimes due to hardware limitation or lack of capacity on disk space. Arcades are the perfect source due to design for that platform. Some games don’t release on consoles and marked as arcade only. Converting is a difficult task if you have the right hardware like the original arcade machine. Developers will have to resize sprites, change the music and limit the amount of animation. For example, Game Boy handheld games like Crash Bandicoot and Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. These two games have choppy animation due to hardware limitations. You can’t emulate these two PlayStation games on Gameboy. The rom or cartridge space will be larger than what intended to be. That’s why it got bad reviews but you can’t blame the developers for this.


Arcade Cabinet
Image: Google



Choosing multiple platforms to emulate your game is a challenge. There are mobile devices that tries to emulate games but it’s alternated because of hardware. I use the example of Street Fighter IV for IOS and Android. How Street Fighter IV on mobile plays differently than arcade counterpart. There is limited animation and audio in that game. That’s what is called hardware limitations in a nutshell. Back to the 90s, there is a couple of examples of games that suffer from conversion to consoles. Capcom versus fighting games is a prime example of this. One is Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter, Sega Saturn version is superior to PlayStation console. Saturn port offers 4MB ram expansion allowing developers to retain original frame rates and tag team system.





Limited Ram Capacity


PlayStation port remove tag team system but traditional round based format. Capcom added new game modes like Hero Battle and Cross Over in compensation for tag system. I would say that Sega Saturn is the perfect conversion of the game. PS1 ram is 2MB which is not enough for Marvel Super Heroes Vs Street Fighter completely. You will have to tone or remove additional mechanics from the game. Marvel Vs Capcom Clash of Super Heroes was not on Sega Saturn. Sega Dreamcast replace Saturn for being a flawless conversion of the arcade. PlayStation version omitted some animation due to ram space and use Cross Over mode. PS1 version suffers the same problem as Marvel Super Heroes Vs Street Fighter. Capcom reduce frames and remove mechanics for maintain speed or graphics. Overall, Capcom Versus Fighting games haves these problems like X-Men Vs Street Fighter.


 YouTube Comparison: X-Men vs. Street Fighter, CPS2 x Saturn x PlayStation
Image: YouTube


X-Men Children of Atom PS1 port suffered from missing frames, slowdown and lengthy loading time. Due to hardware ram limitations for 2D games calling from the arcade. Some Capcom versus fighting is the only ram space problem in video games. Mortal Kombat Trilogy ports had issues such as Nintendo 64 version. N64 port had cartridge limitations with only 30 characters which lacks Goro, Kintaro and classic versions. PS1 version had a issues with Shang Tsung morphing because loading delays. Sega Saturn port is a conversion of PS1 version. It some changes to loss voice samples and replacement of almost transparency effects. PC version lacks extra loading times and providing minor cosmetic difference in the game introduction.



Conversion Done Well


There are arcade conversion that translate well into consoles. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV Turtles in Time was a solid conversion of the arcade port. Even 4 player and missing graphic effects. SNES Mode 7 and boss changes. I think it’s well done conversion of the arcade. Final Fight on Super Nintendo had hardware which only display two and three enemies on screen. CPS arcade on display nine to ten enemies on screen. Characters seen exit through doors in arcade version not SNES port. SEGA CD retains all the features from the original arcade. The number of enemies is lower than SNES. Cody and Guy attack are slower than arcade. Game Boy Advance port some of the design are lifted from the SNES version. The number of enemies increased and transition were restored. Street Fighter 2 had some minor issues.


Image: YouTube


SNES port remove some voice samples and attacks like Chun-Li close medium punch. There were minor issues but still playable in my opinion. In Super Street Fighter II The New Challengers in SNES port, certain sounds and music were replaced. Sega Mega Drive had 40 Megabit cartridge which additional sounds that were missing from SNES port. Sharp X68000 graphics was reproduced faithfully from the arcade version just like Jujitsu FM Towns. WrestleMania The Arcade Game ports like SNES had slow downs went three characters on screen. There is lack of voices and sounds unlike Genesis version. Genesis port retains most of the voices and allows four characters on screen. There is slow downs as well but Sega 32X had improved this and use 30fps instead 60.



How Do You Fix These?


Unfortunately there is no way around these. If you want to recreate an arcade classic went porting to consoles. Developers might have to make changes to animation, sounds and etc. Nowadays, this is not a problem for new gen consoles. Back in the early 90s, there was a conversion problem indeed. I talked about fighting games and beat’em ups. There is some adventure games that have port limitations as well. Dragon’s Lair had home port remove some animation due to high memory consumption. SNES and NES turns into a platformer. Due to hardware limitation that can’t compress the original Laserdisc arcade version. The Cruis’n series Eugene Jarvis admitted that it was a good port for N64. Lastly Doom (1993) video game had some limitations. In PS1, the texture was reduced and sound effects has been redone.


 YouTube Killer Instinct (Arcade vs Snes) Side by Side Comparison
Image: YouTube


3DO ran a small screen with a low frame rate. Option to make the screen size to make the run faster. Sega Saturn suffers lower frame rate, slower animation and echoed sound effects. The question is do we still play them? We probably not going to get a accurate version of the game. You have to play the original port to get everything in the game. Look at Killer Instinct for SNES that game is playable. Even there some downgrades on character sprites and 2D parallax scrolling stages instead of 3D. In my opinion, these developers try to work around these limitations. Limitations of video game consoles can have set backs in the past. Still developers try to give the best experience to gamers everywhere.


Sponsorship: Gamingo Group EDEN REFORESTATION PROJECT #gamigotrees


Leave a Reply