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-   -   How not to design a console... (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=46842)

tonyyeb 18 August 2009 15:06

How not to design a console...
Nice piece about naff (retro) console design:


s2325 18 August 2009 15:13

please, copy and paste link, not text

tonyyeb 18 August 2009 15:15


Originally Posted by s2325 (Post 584964)
please, copy and paste link, not text

Sorry... link fixed ;)

alexh 18 August 2009 16:30

I think he's a bit overly harsh on a few of them.

The pad design was the least of the Jaguar's problems, it is actually quite useful and having so many buttons makes games such as Iron Soldier a dream!

As for the Sega Saturn's "Overly complex architecture" that is rubbish. The problem was the "Unbelievably complex, low-level SDK!". It doesn't matter how complex the hardware is underneath if the SDK abstracts it well enough for the softies and reveals enough when they want it. The Success of the PSOne and XBOX-360 are almost soley down to their amazing SDK's.

The "HUGE" controller on the xbox only shipped for about six months before being replaced with the S type controller for the rest of the consoles life, another four and a half years! And no mention about the main problem with the xbox which was the sheer size of the console! Not particularly portable when you want to take it round your mates on your bike! And it's side problem of fan-noise.

And the SP thing was just nit picking. Nintendo did a review and found that of the 2 million or so Gameboy users, almost no-one ever used the headphone jack and that is why it was dropped, to save money! Not a design flaw at all, didn't put customers off.

alexh 18 August 2009 16:51

Also notice the guy is most definitely a Sony Fanboi. Not one PSOne, PS2 or PSP console flaws :)

killergorilla 18 August 2009 17:13

That is true.

I'd not noticed that :)

Poor build quality should be up there too, the original PS and 360 as major culprits of this.

33.3k modem on the Dreamcast wasn't great either.

TCD 18 August 2009 17:28


Originally Posted by killergorilla (Post 584999)
Poor build quality should be up there too, the original PS...

Oh yes...


Originally Posted by Wikipedia
With the early units, many gamers experienced skipping full-motion video or dreaded physical "ticking" noises coming from their PlayStations. The problem appears to have come from poorly placed vents leading to overheating in some environments—the plastic moldings inside the console would warp very slightly and create knock-on effects with the laser assembly. The solution was to ensure the console was sat on a surface which dissipated heat efficiently in a well vented area, or raise the unit up slightly by propping something at its edges. A common fix for already affected consoles was to turn the PlayStation sideways or upside-down (thereby using gravity to cancel the effects of the warped interior) although some gamers smacked the lid of the PlayStation to make a game load or work.

Well, if that doesn't count, I think all the other mistakes shouldn't be in there either ;)

Galahad/FLT 19 August 2009 01:36


Originally Posted by alexh (Post 584992)
Also notice the guy is most definitely a Sony Fanboi. Not one PSOne, PS2 or PSP console flaws :)

Yup, I must have gotten through about 8 PSX's when they were first released.

I would say a crappy 2x CD rom drive was a big drawback, loading times on Playstation were horrendous.

Retro-Nerd 19 August 2009 01:52

Well, the Saturn had a 2x cd-drive too. Maybe more software related, since a Saturn game loads normally a bit faster? Or this makes a difference (if the data is correct)?

Saturn CD cache = 512KB
PSX CD cache = 32KB

Shadowfire 19 August 2009 02:38

I find it difficult to believe that the saturn cdrom had a 512kB cache. Maybe 512kiloBIT, which still seems a little high, but is more believable.

keropi 19 August 2009 02:43

don't you consider the PS2 sdk a good one?
AFAIK it had a crappy SDK at first, and after fixing that it just went off! it is an awesome and reliable console, I have a v9 that everyone says it breaks easily (the dvd drive that is) from launch date and never failed me... moist drives break because of ultra-crap-cheap media users put in them :lol

Retro-Nerd 19 August 2009 02:56


Originally Posted by Shadowfire (Post 585159)
I find it difficult to believe that the saturn cdrom had a 512kB cache. Maybe 512kiloBIT, which still seems a little high, but is more believable.

A lot of sites list 512KB = 4Mbit. I have no clue if it's correct.

NovaCoder 19 August 2009 02:59

I agree with most of it, in particular:

Problem #13: Incredibly Dark, Non-Backlit Screen

I had one of these things, could hardly even see the bloody screen it was so dark....and they STILL sold like hot cakes!

The SP was designed much better.

And what about the original DS? What were they thinking, it looked like a prototype to me whereas the 'revised' DS was actually the production version....very strange.

The DreamCast should also be in that list, the whole VM thing was a joke.

Zetr0 19 August 2009 08:42


not to mention the GDROM on the dreamcast, more proprietary lockin there, relatively pointless since it reads regular CDR

The (already mentioned) build quality of the PSX and the XBox, the former being unbelievably horrendus, I calcualted that I went through 14 units in my first 2 years of warrenty! it was on return 5 (in as many months) that I realised taking out 3 years cover warrenty was a good idea!

I remember getting one at 9:30 am only to take it back at 4:30 the same day... just absolute crappy cheap-o lasers!!.... I theorised like many others that the reason the PSX was so high in cost was to compensate for the 3 out of 5 return rate!


UMD on PSP's !? why not just got for a dvdrom that uses the smaller disks? simpler / cheaper and more practical.... oh... forgot.... sony proprietary lockin-feature...

I could of swore (a while back) that I read Sony were going to DROP UMD pattents etc ... hmmm musta read wrong..

The PS2 certainly has its faults, but I am surprised by this little monster, with it being 10 years old and STILL there are commercial games released for it.... what was it for M$ orignal XBox 4 or 5 years and then they droped it like a hotter than hot-rock.

shame the XBox is quite a capable little machine to be fair!


Mega CD

the first units would catch fire when runing low-frame movie from the rom (the motor couldn't handdle the use)


oh we could go on methinks lol

what I would like to see is a Design your own Console! website or sommink

where you can chose core processing / graphics achitectures etc... perhaps even make a game out it

Console Tycoon has been BORN!!!!

you start off small in the early 1980's with the tech at the time (including costs) and build it up past modern day!!!

you can give your consoles really goofy names like Wee.... oh wait... isn't that too close to the mark ?

can even go as deep as branding and marketing, investing in proprietary chips (that take time etc) etc I tell ya' Console Tycoon.... apearing in a a pop-cap game near you!!! :D

Paul_s 22 August 2009 12:56

what a nob.

I like the little traits of the NES. He can shove his Sony carp up where it belongs. I've seen stacks of PS3's with laser failures.

that is all.

Hungry Horace 22 August 2009 13:34

i still like my Sony stuff, (i suspect THB will turn up to call me a "rabid sony fanboi" but hey.) however even i would still agree with a few obvious failings worth mentioning;

UMD on PSPs - this is being fixed with the PSP-Go! thank god.

- I wouldnt agree with "slow screen refresh" or "lack of second analogue stick" though, which are often cited as its main failing.

"Disk Read Error" on PS2s - something about the PS2 (original) DVD drive was of shockingly poor quality, as this happened on my own and on numerous colleagues PS2s.

I never had one problem with my PSX though, and I've not had any with my PS3.

I would agree with Xbox pads though... even on the later ones, not only too clumsy/awkward (i have artist's hands) but buttons equalled only in discomfort by the C= CD32 pad.... these things litterally hurt my thumbs after 10 minutes.

If you want to talk about poor build quality, why not throw in the NDS Lite? If you're gonna market to small children, ou need to make the thing able to survive a few drops.

andyr 22 August 2009 23:53

Am I the only person who loves the massive xBox pad? I haven't used my xBox for a while and recently had a week off work and went retro for a few days...dreamcast, snes, megadrive, saturn, gc (and, of course the miggy!) and I can honestly say picking up and using that xBox pad felt so natural - I'd forgotten just how good it felt.

Does anyone know of an adaptor so it can be used with 360?

Bloodwych 23 August 2009 00:09

I like the chunky controllers. Don't mind the small one's either.

I can see how the chunky's were a struggle for kids or those with small hands however.

killergorilla 23 August 2009 00:13

I really liked the size of the original xbox pad, just didn't like the pointiness of the buttons.

I couldn't play button-intense games for too long or my thumb ached.

TCD 23 August 2009 00:17

I liked the original XBox controller. Well, I also liked the Jaguar one... Seems like I'm odd, so I guess i shouldn't assume anyone else liked them :D Like Bloodwych said I can understand that people with smaller hands would prefer something like the PS pads.

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