What game pushed each console to its limits? (Part 1 of 5)


We all just about lose our heads when we receive bits of ‘next generation’ console news towards the end of a current console cycle. And for good reason, at that stage the previous generation strains under the pressure to keep up with the PC format (yes, I know), as that gradually grows and improves when it comes to hardware. Question is: What game pushed the various consoles to their limits over the years? What game nearly had to make the jump to the next generation?

I’m looking at the main entries, so don’t expect to see the 3DO, SEGA MEGA CD or Ouya making an appearance. I’m also skipping the Atari 2600, because let’s be honest – ET won it hands down… #nonotreally

We’ll start things off with the 8-Bit generation:

Nintendo Entertainment System


In South Africa it’s the Nintendo Entertainment System that had many of us fall in love with gaming altogether. Unbeknown to most of us we were all a bunch of pirates buying those multi-coloured cartridges for something called the Golden China at retail, as if it was legal. Hell, we knew no better. Most of us were kids. One thing was for sure though – there was never a lack of titles available on the console, but there can only be one winner.

Game: Kirby’s Adventure


Most people never played Kirby’s Adventure as it launched towards the end of the generation in 1993. The use of colour was unique to anything before it on the NES, but what was more appealing was how smooth it played. It was also the game that launched with the largest capacity storage, at 6Mbit (Megabit). Nintendo officially licensed the cartridge specifically for this game. What made the game special is that you could literally suck in and transform into any of your on-screen foes and use their abilities against them. Kirby could jump, fly and made short work of any boss. It was truly something special and pushed the 8-Bit system to it’s limits.

Honourable Mentions: Battletoads, Contra

SEGA Master System


Though the SEGA Master System did launch in South Africa it ultimately failed, as it did globally (unless you lived in Brazil for some reason). Unfortunately most titles never quite lived up to the quality of Nintendo’s 8-Bit console. The SEGA Master System was however the superior format when it came to pure power, hence it had games developed for it that could never appear on the NES.

Game: Phantasy Star


Found exclusively on the SEGA Master System, Phantasy Star was a prime example of the graphical powers of the system. The game maxed out at 4MB, which included image-based cutscenes along with the top-down viewpoint of the 80’s. Wherever dialogue appeared in the game it was accompanied by a close-view pop up that showed off the in-depth detail on the characters. It was however the battles and hidden treasures, which had you navigating 3D-like mazes, that was all the craze back then. In 1987 this was pure sorcery.

Honourable Mentions: Outrun, After Burner


Do you agree? What game do you think pushed the 8-Bit consoles to their limits?

Next week we’ll look at the 16-Bit and 32/64-Bit era.

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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