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Is Dreamcast the only 3D console where a majority of games ran at 60fps?


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According to some list I found, a little over half of Dreamcast's US library runs at 60fps, which I think makes it the only major console since the Super Nintendo that can claim that.

After playing TLOU2 and looking at trailers for the new Horizon game, I don't understand how we've strayed so far from the light. TLOU2 looks like a million bucks (maybe a hundred million bucks) when you're standing still or panning slowly, but panning quickly around for all that crap you need to scavenge it's a blurry mess. And this is on a PS4 Pro, the console that promised better performance out of games. Now we're on the verge of another $500 console that's going to offer the same thing. And not just Horizon. Ratchet and Clank, Kena, Returnal, Stray, Oddworld...

It drives me crazy. The first 1-2 generations it was understandable, but now for 20 years I've been waiting for consoles to "catch up" as hardware improves and it's simply never happened. Every last-gen (or current!) game that runs at 30fps looks like garbage because technology has moved on and they still don't run smoothly, meanwhile something like Timesplitters 2 or even Daytona USA still plays great by any standards.

I constantly shit on Dreamcast for being a port machine, but I was wrong. Dreamcast is the most powerful 3D console of the past 2 decades and it's all the other consoles who are doing it wrong.

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I mean the system was designed to play arcade games and 60 fps is very important in those games. It makes sense it was balanced as such, but that mentality is long gone now sadly. Hopefully we see more and more performance modes since I much prefer 60 fps with checkerboard resolution vs 'native' 4k at 30 fps.

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I did not know that, but it makes me love the Dreamcast even more. There's something to be said for having a technical goal for your game be the priority. I'll take gameplay that feels smooth versus a game so bloated with features and assets that it can't even hit a stable 30fps.

As for why this isn't the norm, the problem is really two fold. 

  • The television industry pushed 1080p when consoles could barely push 720p at 60fps. The PS3 and 360 never had a chance at consistent 1080p/60 for games with complicated geometry (although a few games actually managed to achieve this feat). Then as soon as the Xbox One and PS4 launched, the television and entertainment industry started pushing 4K as a way to improve lagging TV and home video sales. Again, an unachievable target for consoles. It's like a constant game of leap frog, but the display technology is always two leaps ahead.
  • But that still begs the question, why can't the Xbox/PS4 even reach 1080p/60 with any sort of consistency? That has to do with how games are marketed to the buyer. The "look" of a game is still a huge determinant in the purchasing decision. And that decision is based on watching online tailers and looking at screenshots. Watching trailers in 1080p/4K is still a niche activity and most gamers couldn't tell you what 60fps even means. So rather than something that looks buttery smooth to the 5% of people who will get it, just dump resources into the quality of your assets. As long as screenshots are beautifully detailed and the game looks halfway playable in the trailer, you've got a sale to the average gamer.

I love hearing more developers and console makers talk about FPS and variable refresh rates, but I remain skeptical about their standardization in the upcoming gen. If the Xbox Series S really is a 1080p/60 machine, it may actually provide the best experience of all the new consoles.

Edited by DoctorEncore
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11 hours ago, mbd39 said:

Modern 3D games are vastly more visually complex and higher res than Dreamcast games so they're not comparable.  Also Dreamcast games were usually played on a CRT so no judder and motion blur.

I'm not sure it's really "not comparable". I'd say it definitely is.

Dreamcast games could have pushed the hardware further and eat a drop to 30fps (and plenty of games did, but a lot of devs weren't willing), or modern games could give up some of the CPU/GPU time they are taking to settle on a 60fps framerate. Or they could go the other way and accept 15fps, but that's probably a harder sell. 😛 Either way it probably has little to do with the Dreamcast itself.

Rage is one of the few modern 3D console games that made a point out of sticking to 60fps, and once you played it, it was immediately obvious what we've been denied for so long. In any case where it's a trade-off, I'd much rather give up a higher resolution for a higher refresh rate.

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