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Why did Atari use Cartridges and not CD from the get go?

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:34 am
by 3DOKid
As the title says really.

- The industry didn't want carts. (Too expensive / too costly to produce)
- Everyone else was wittering on about CDROM. Even Nintendo and Neo Geo.
- Surely bolting an off-the-shelf CD reader into the Jaguar architecture was going to be easier than developing a custom cart system?
- Although it's not relevant to game play, people in 1993/4/5 were being suckered by streaming media.

The only thing I can imagine was that:

- A CD drive would shoved the price of the base unit up. (to $600?)
- Atari had gotten all moist over Nintendos licensing model.

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:56 pm
by KevInCal
I believe the Jag CD was an afterthought. The Jag was developed in 1991, before the CD hoopla. But then when it got closer to launch time, CD mania started & Atari scraped together plans for a Jag CD, but it wouldn't be ready in time for the launch of the Jag cart system.

Kind of like how the Saturn was developed with 2d in mind, then when it got close to launch the 3D hoopla started, so Sega did some last minute tinkering with the Saturn so it could do some adquate 3d to compete with the PS.

3DO did a lot of things right and was surely before its time. If only 3do focused 100% on games and not a lot of this educational and other type of non game software. Also going hog wild on FMV stuff kinda hurt the 3do's rep... Still, I'm sure if Atari could have done it again, they would have dropped the cart format and gone with CD from the get-go.

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:04 am
by UnholyTancred
KevInCal wrote:Kind of like how the Saturn was developed with 2d in mind, then when it got close to launch the 3D hoopla started, so Sega did some last minute tinkering with the Saturn so it could do some adquate 3d to compete with the PS.
Rubbish rumor.

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:05 am
by KevInCal
? That's the story I've always heard...

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:03 am
by Trev
Whatever the reason, the initial Saturn did have quite a "messy" look in it's innards ...

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:26 am
by 3DO Experience
I've modded my first gen Saturn and it looks well thought out to me. The updates they made when they took out the access light, started board consolidation and part swapping looked more like they were tinkering with it. But I've only seen those in pics, and they sure made enough changes through it's short life.

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:50 am
by mattyg
Here is a quote from AtariAge that may clear some of the Saturn questions up
It really wasn't designed to be a 3D engine, it just got morphed into one to combat the PSX. VDP1 is really a 2D sprite engine, which is based on quads.

I worked on a few Saturn games, and we had to pre-process our textures (i.e. pre-warp the quad texels so it would look correct rendered as a tri), since we were doing multi-SKU development and the models were made up of tris.

The duel SH2s were pretty good at the time, as you could split the cache to have one of them work out of that RAM and get them both operating at the same time. One of my 3D graphics engines used both SH2s at the same time, to build the display.

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:17 am
by swaaye
Well it's not like Saturn was a really great design. :D

Sure it got the job done but wow just the dual CPU setup alone was a huge pain in the ass. Even today they can't get multithreading going very well in games and today you have every platform needing it and have insanely more advanced software development methods. The CPUs also weren't in a very well designed multiprocessing setup. And then you can also look at the quadrilateral design that isolated it from the other machines coming out (ie made development even more complex).

As for Jaguar, like said it was developed way before CDROM was cheap or popular for gaming. Too much changed too fast back then and the result was consoles that ended up with "unpopular" designs when they were finally ready to launch. In retrospect, CDROM was not exactly a big benefit for game quality back then lol. FMV!!!!!!!! <cringe>

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:13 pm
by phatrat1982
I don't know even though it was just coming to video games CD was still pretty new and expensive for audio playback, we got our first CD player in 1992 right around Christmas and it was a big deal for us. I think if they had wanted to include a CD ROM they could have and remember Jurassic Park helped promote the idea with their brief bragging of CD ROM, I know that got me personally all hyped up for Sega CD. I think truth is Atari was just too lost in their own recent mistakes to make any good decisions and were really scrambling to get back into gaming and I think they just had bad management at the time.

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:03 pm
by knightintosh
Nintendo had also decided to stay with carts at this stage with the N64. Yes they'd looked into a CDROM add on for the SNES with Sony, but had decided to stick with carts and the N64 was still a success, despite the CD format taking off for everyone else.