Red Ronin, The Cybernetic Samurai
Archives: Video Games
Information and older arcticles from my original website.

Nintendo Ultra 64
Fact, Fiction or Fantasy?
Ultra 64 VS. Saturn
Part I

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 19:48:47 GMT
From: Fnord (

Sorry--U64 Rocks Saturn's Ass!!

Look, you idiots who went ahead and blew $400 ($400!!!) of your hard-earned cash on an obsolete machine based on 2X speed crap technology, next April you will see the real next generation home video game platform--Nintendo Ultra 64. While your dinky machine is powered by a 32-bit procesor which as we all know is powerful enough to play Daytona in horrible resolution at an unbelievably choppy 15 frames/sec., Ultra 64 can do real time rendering of 100,000 polygons/sec with real-time shading, anti-alaising trilinear mip map interpolation, and lots of other neat stuff. What does this mean?? Well, take a look at a quicktime movie from the Square Home Page at, then go to making of Final Fantasy, then click on the unbelievable cool rendered picture of the sad monster, then download the quicktime movies. While the resolution sucks in the movies, just click on the sad monster again to see how the battle will appear on the Ultra 64. It easily makes Virtua Fighter 2 or any other games on your joke of a machine look like the crap that it is. This is not a cinema--it's actual gameplay. Why is Saturn so much worse?? Speed. U 64 runs at 125 MIPS, as fast as a Pentium 90, and tons faster than your crap machine. And while a CD-ROM can a few times more useless info than U64's compressed 128 Mbit cartriges, the price you pay for a couple minutes of grainy video--or a game based entirely on it, and therefore about as fun as dental surgery (look at just about any Sega CD (LOL-what an absolute waste of scrap metal) game) is transfer rate and access time. A double speed CD-ROM only transfers a measely 300k of data/second. That's why you can't get a double speed with a new computer these days. 2x isn't fast enough for full screen full motion video, or for good game play for that matter. Which is why Nintendo U 64 can transfer an amazing 500MB/sec from cartrige to CPU--allowing for unheard of speed in gameplay. Basically it's your own fault that you went out and bought the first new thing available--you couldn't even wait two months for the superior and cheaper Playstation--but you can still try to return your Saturn or at least sell it. You'll only need $250 for U64. And while you guys may have gotten away with the vaporware arguement for a while, you can't no more. Ultra 64 is real and it will be out for all to gaze at in awe this April--or December in Japan. Well, you Saturn owners. Guess that's you get for buying Sega.

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 10:53:46 GMT
From: Nameless (No e-mail address)


Oh my god... You are lame... Though there are pictures of the Ultra 64... I have yet to see hardly any of the games for it... All I have heard were a few titles... And only about 1 or 2 pictures. And why should we believe that the U64 is not vaporware? Look at what nintendo did before "Oh, we are making a 16-Bit CDROM attachment for our SNES". Then "Oh we are making a 32-bit CDROM attachment for the SNES". Did any of those come out? Nooooo... So, why couldn't we say that this is vaporware too? No magazine or anything has gotten their hands on the U64 and said it truly exists and it WILL be coming out. Also- That lame release date... Wasn't it supposed to be release a month or two ago... And now it has gone to April? That is another sign of Vaporware... Pushing the release dates back. And what did Sega do? They released their system months early! Oh yeah, Sega is the number one gaming industry in the US. And that is a fact.

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 19:58:55 GMT
From: Red Ronin (




Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 00:42:09 GMT
From: Nameless


And where does he get that information that Daytona USA only moves at 15FPS???

Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 02:07:41 GMT
From: The Saturnman (

Feedback: I don't want to be pedantic I want to be!

Daytona runs at 20 fps, I know, I counted them myself! Now just to make sure everybody get the facts straight about the frame rate of every console 3D game out there, here are my pathetic observations:

  • Jumping Flash: 20 fps
  • Gran Chaser: 30 fps
  • Tohshinden: 30 fps
  • Wipe Out:30 fps
  • Virtua Fighter: 30 fps
  • Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn version indeed): 60 fps
  • Destruction Derby:30 fps
  • Panzer Dragoon: 20 fps
  • Tekken: 60 fps
  • Tekken 2: 60 fps
  • Virtua Cop: 30 fps
  • Sega Rally: 30 fps
  • Bug!: 20 fps
  • Clockwork Knight: 60 fps

    I think I had enough of that and I'm sure now millions of people will reach the conclusion that I have no life. God help me!

    The Saturnman

    Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 12:05:59 GMT
    From: Nameless


    Now how could Daytona USA and Virtua Figher only move at around 20fps? It looks so smooth... That can't be right. I read that Virtua Fighter is 60fps and the remix, because of the texture mapped graphics is only 30.

    Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 03:31:56 GMT
    From: The Saturnman (

    Feedback: Hey! I can hear your thoughts!

    First, I said VF 1 was 30 fps, not 20. If you thought VF 1 was so smooth, maybe it has to do with the fact that all the characters' movements were motion-captured on real humans so perhaps you were fooled by the quality of the animation. I haven't really played VF Remix yet but I know it's 30 fps.

    If you put Wipe out and Gran Chaser side-by-side, somehow, Wipe Out seems smoother and yet, they're both 30 fps. This is for the same reason, Wipe Out's animation is better.

    Now if you want to see for yourself if VF 1 is really 30 fps, just record on tape the game, then do a frame-by- frame playback, watch closely the VF timer and you'll see that for each frame the VF timer will advance 0.03 second. (for each time the timer is refreshed, you'll notice the characters have moved).

    The Saturnman

    P.S. Before you jump at my throat, Cybernetic Samurai, I KNOW this method is not usable for measuring a 60 fps game. Because the VCR, in frame by frame mode, can only display 30 discrete images per second of recorded video. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle (G.I. Joe...).

    Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 01:38:54 GMT
    From: Shadow (00MTLyon@BSUvc.BSU.EDU)

    Note: Just so you know...

    Just so you know, for reference, a standard motion-picture runs at anywhere from 15 to 30 fps. Like Saturnman said, choppiness is in the animation, so even at 20 fps a game can have near movie quality, as long as you have quality animators! That's my two-bits.

    - Shadow

    From: Fnord (

    A Clarification

    Hi. I've seemed to have gotten a few people mad here, so I think I'll clarify, respond to all the pro-Saturn arguements, and tell my reasons for posting in the first place. Basically, I'm a Nintendo supporter, and I went here to see if I could add to some useful debate about the next-gen systems, especially since many people are buying Saturns and Playstations without even knowing that Nintendo is coming out with a new system. The point is THERE WAS NO DEBATE here. Just posting after posting about when is Sim City 2000 coming out or heated discussion about uses for some port in the back of Saturn. Which is all fine, but I just felt some general debate about the worthiness of Saturn was needed, as some prospective buyers might surf here to find out gamers' opinions on systems. I probably should have gotten a bit more of a feel for the page before I posted--that's why I was a bit arguementative (and why I posted all on one line) but all I wanted to do was stir up some debate, which I think I did. And in response to the many postings of "why not just buy Saturn or Playstation now, then buy Ultra in April if it's good, and stop talking about it", because I, and most other players, just don't want to spend a few hundred bucks on a machine to abandon in a few months for another one. So I figured some healthy discussion as to which machine to buy would fit in nicely. I apologize to any I may have offended--if you really think this page should not conatain such discussions, then fine--I'll stop posting here. But honestly; there is an entire discussion area on Nintendo's AOL site devoted to this kind of debate. To not have any similar discussion here seems a bit short sided to me.

    With that out of the way I'd like to respond to some comments. First all the vaporware stuff. If Nintendo wasn't serious about U64, they wouldn't have printed all the info, including specs they have repeatedly said are final without a doubt, in Nintendo Power, which is recieved by tons and tons of people, if it weren't true. When it never came out, no one would listen to them again. Now many of you have brought up the SNES CD-ROM thing. The difference here is that they only talked about the CD briefly, said it was only a possibility in the works, didn't give it nearly as much attention, and never announced any firm specs or dates. The CD all over again arguement may have worked, say, 8 months ago, but U64 is slated to come out in Japan in under 2 months!!! As for games available, pictures are starting to come out--there is a demo of Final Fantasy 7 (4 here) on the Square Home Page (see my instructions in the original posting) which will amaze you. For those of you Sega people unfamiliar with the FF series, it is (in my opinion, and those of almost every major video-game mag) the best RPG series ever created if not the best overall series ever created, and I think it would be one of the hugest things I would miss if I went Sega. The point is, this movie is the real graphics of, not a fighting or action game, but an RPG!!! (the res on the movies stink--look at the rendered monster, which is in the real res (U64 supports 1024 x 1064) and combine that with the movie) Anyways, the point is all of this stuff was made on the real thing, not the workstation which I am aware they were showing a few months ago.

    The point of that is that the U64 will be almost as powerful as a workstation; well, a Pentium 90 actually. That's right--its 64 bit processor (not even Pentium, P6, or Power PC is a 64 bit processor(or Jaguar for that matter)), running at 100 Mhz, puts out 125 MIPS-like a P90. And, since it is designed specifically to run games, and has a bus capable of transfering 500 Megs/sec from the cartridge, it can do things a Pentium can't--like real time anti-aliasing and trilinear mip map interpolation (which stops the pixalized effect common to all 3-D games when you get close to something, like a wall in Doom, by continually keeping the res of all objects at up to 1024 x 1064) on 100,000 texture mapped polygons at 30 frames/sec. And don't even think of comparing these abilities to Saturn--there's just nothing even remotely similar. I've personally had anti-aliasing jobs of just a few dozen texture mapped polygons take about 20 secs on a 80Mhz Power Mac. This is serious stuff here.

    Next to a topic of great debate--the old CD's vs. carts. I personally have always been pretty anti-CD ROM, except recently, in the case of computer games run on at least a 4x speed and preferably a 6x speed drive. As for the home video system CD-ROM's, and 2x CD-ROM's in general, I just hate 'em, and I'll tell you why. First of all is what the programmers DO with the extra space. In all the home video game CD's I've seen, that's been one of a few things--1)add new sounds, voices, cinemas, and occasionally levels often to an existing cart game, which is fine but just pointless in all the cases but extra levels, and I think a 128 mbit cart can hold enough of those, thank you, and especiall in the cases of the often FMV cinemas, which are grainy and get old very very fast--2)allow a game which is based entirely or mostly on FMV, and is invariably incredibly repetative, with simple game play reminiscent of the first video games ever (Sewar Shark, Ground Zero Texas) or has no action whatsoever, and is also unbelievably repetative (Sherlock Holmes, Double Switch), which are Ok games once in a while, but not something to base your system around and add to the price for. True, some computer games have used the extra space well, and are great fun to play--on a 4x. There's a reason why new computers only come with 4x--2x with its transfer rate of only 300kb/sec (this applies to all 2x players) cannot run full-screen FMV at 30frames/sec continueously. On Pentiums, which have a much more powerful processor to run the videos, about 75% of frames are dropped on a test like that--only 4% are dropped with a 4x. There is no way of getting around this--2x's aren't equipped to run continuous full-screen FMV, if you want it to look good. And including a 4x with a video game system is too expensive today. Which is why I support Nintendo's descision to use carts completely, even though they are more expensive to make. And, to get around that one, they have proposed a so called "Bulky Drive", basically (as I understand it) a Mini Disc player for U64, which will hold 135 Mbytes, transfer at the speed of a 16x CD-ROM (2.4 MBytes/sec) and be fully recordable, for about the same price as the CD-ROM you're forced to buy with Saturn.

    As for the Beta VHS guy, the whole point there was that Beta was more expensive (U64 is cheaper, at $250, than Saturn) and had less support (U64 has the full support of Nintendo and many many 3rd-party liscenses, including of course Square, who, as I've already said, I think is enough alone.)

    So basically, I think U64 is worth waiting for, and certainly worth discussing here. If anyone who runs this site reads this, I also think there should be a seperate discussion area for system comparisons--Nintendo has one; are you too afraid?? By the responses given here I think there is enough intrest. So research before you blow your money on the newest thing, and Shadow, thanx for the apology.

    Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 00:09:49 GMT
    From: The Saturnman (

    Feedback: Response to a lenghty clarification!

    Well, I'd like to add my thoughts to this debate which is starting to look more interesting now.

    I obviously own a Saturn. I bought a Playstation but sold it because I wasn't satisfied. And now I'm just waiting to see what the Ultra is all about.

    I never doubted the Ultra 64 was for real because Nintendo couldn't afford to mess this one up. But there are still some unanswered questions about Nintendo's monster. Like, all the games I really liked for my Super NES were games by Nintendo of Japan; games by Shigeru Miyamoto. Now for Ultra, Nintendo isn't showing anything so it's difficult to see what's in store for the Ultra gameplay-wise. The only clue for future Miyamoto games is Yoshi's island. I think many people will disagree with me if I say it's not that good but I think most will agree it's not better than Super Mario World (which it should have been).

    Now you mentionned those pictures from a new Final Fantasy for the Ultra, I saw those too and they don't look too irrealistic (unlike the Shark demo...) since I saw graphics like that on the Playstation (Motor Toon GP). But even if 1024 x 1024 resolution is true, it's not practical since conventional TV (NTSC) doesn't support it. The best you can have on TV is 640 x 440 like the M2 and Virtua Fighter 2 for the Saturn.

    Personally, I think you over-estimate the Ultra 64. The Ultra will be more powerful than the Saturn and Playstation because it has benefited from the technology from today (while Saturn/Playstation benefited from the technology from 2 years ago). So it will be pretty much like when Super NES came out two years after the Genesis, mostly better but not really revolutionary. And let's not forget the M2 which is more powerful than the Ultra...

    You say the Ultra is worth waiting for, perhaps, but besides bold statements, there isn't anything concrete to look foward to. In some European mags, Nintendo are running some ads telling people to wait for the Ultra instead of buying a 32-bit system. But they don't show anything so why would people wait for, well, nothing. It is strange that we see some pictures of Ultra Final Fantasy when we don't see anything from Nintendo themselves, after all, they should be the ones with games ready. Now the Shinshokai show is in November and Nintendo are promising (again) that they will unveil the Ultra there. If it is true, I guess we'll really see what the Ultra is all about. But why wait to show some Ultra 64 stuff when the Saturn and the Playstation are stealing the attention RIGHT NOW.

    Of course there is the issue of being cartridge-based. Well, that makes the machine less expensive. Good. In an interview, Nintendo made it clear that wouldn't be any CD-Rom attachment for the Ultra. That's good too because they'll concentrate on one format only. But it was also revealed that cartridges for the Ultra 64 will cost more than they did on the Super NES. Ouch! By the way, the first cartridges for the Ultra 64 will be 64 megs, not 128 megs. I agree you don't need lots of storage space to have a good game (although I think it's not fair to talk about Corpse Killer-type games when most games on Saturn and Playstation are really beyond that). But even if you have the most powerful hardware on the planet, 64 megs isn't enough to have a pixel-perfect conversion of Daytona USA which is 180 megs and it only has three tracks! So if you look at the other 64-bit, cartridge-based system; the Jaguar. Well, you have to wonder where are those 64-bit (maybe the Jaguar isn't the best example...). By the way, you don't seem to have played a lot of games on Saturn and Playstation because the FMV is often full-screen at 30 fps (more so on the Playstation).

    You also talked about the issue of price. True, the suggested retail price of the Ultra 64 WILL be 249 $ and the CURRENT price of the Playstation and Saturn is 299$. That's 50 $ difference. But let me remind you that prices do come down and by the time the Ultra 64 arrives (not before 6 months at least), Saturn and Playstation will match the price of the Ultra. Remember the outrageously expensive 3DO of two years ago (699 $!) has matched the price of the Playstation and Saturn (299$).

    So the Ultra 64 future is not as bright as you want us to believe but I'm shure it will be bright enough to satisfy loyal Nintendo fans. But for anyone else, it will have to prove itself and that might be more difficult than you imagine. I DARE TO COMPARE!

    Man! I write messages as long as you do!

    The Saturnman

    Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 00:52:25 GMT
    From: The Saturnman (

    Feedback: About that Super NES CD-rom...

    Well, I think this is a little clarification of my own. There was a Super NES CD-rom back in 1991. It was a deal between Sony and Nintendo but after a very strange series of back-room quarrels and last-minute deals, the project fell apart and Nintendo and Sony went their seperate ways (that's why we have the Sony Playstation now). But that CD-rom was completed (ironically, it was called the Playstation too) and development of games had begun. But it didn't came true for the consumer.

    Anyway you can read all about it and more in a book about Nintendo and video-games called: "Game Over".

    The Saturnman

    Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 18:30:02 GMT
    From: Fnord (

    U64=improved Saturm?? Not quite.

    Some good points, but I believe our main differences lie in your statement that U64 will be to Saturn and Playstation what SNES was to Genesis: slightly more advanced technologically due to a later release, allowing for slightly better graphics and sound than its competition, but still having very similar games and in many cases the same games available. A games for SNES and Genesis were generally better for SNES, but usually the difference wasn't too important. The problem with using that analogy for U64 is that it isn't just a slightly better Saturn, but is based on a wholly different technology (cart vs. CD) and therefore a wholly different philosophy, for better or for worse. I personally believe it's for better for resaons I've already discussed. Some others may think CD-ROMS are the future of video games. But whatever the case may be, it's pretty appearant that games for Saturn and Playstation will be more or less the same, and games for U64 will be very different in style. Nintendo seems to be persuing the idea of making the U64 versions for any games also available for Saturn or Playstation so fundementally different from the other versions as to be completely different games (no, I have no clue how they plan to do this for MK3). Again, if not better, than certainly different.

    So having agreed that it will at least not just be a Saturn plus a year, the question now is, will it be better? Again, it all comes down to CD-ROM vs. cart. True, the CD-ROM based games for Saturn are a heck of a lot better than the Sega CD "games" (I use the term quite loosely). That's basically because they have been games that are more or less duplicateable on carts--your 180 meg Daytona comment aside. I can't comment on the truth of that; I'll just have to take your word on it. But it certainly seems dubious to me that a game with three tracks and one car would take up that much space, especially since the graphics are only texture mapped polygons. It seems to me that almost all Saturn games could be reduced to 128 megs without losing anything more than some FMV. About the U64 carts--yes, the very first generation of games will only be 64 meg, but 128 meg games are in production, and Nintendo has recently said that they have improved their compression enough to have 800meg games in the near future. Again, not quite a full CD-ROM, but close enough. And besides--it ain't total size that makes a game fun; it's speed and processor abilities. Which everyone agrees U64 will completely destroy Saturn in.

    Date: Wed, 01 Nov 1995 22:46:33 GMT
    From: Red Ronin (

    Sad: Nintendo's U64 is sort of like Toyota's Supra...

    In the mid-to-late eighties Toyota sold Supras faster than they could build them. But then people began to comparison shop.

    The Corvette got 250 horesepower and then the LT5 ZR-1 came out with 375hp and THEN the Corvette got bumped to 300 hp and THEN the ZR1 got 405hp. The Mazda RX-7 got a turbo that pushed it to 200hp and by the '93 model had lost 200 lbs. and 55 more ponies thanks to a second turbo. The Nissan 300ZX got twin turbos that bumped it to 300 hp and the non-turbo version still matched the turbocharged Supra in horsepower. A newcomer arrived on the scene as the Starion died a horrible death and was replaced by the 3000GT-VR4/Stealth-RT Turbo. Let's not even talk about the NSX and VIPER cause that wouldn't EVEN be fair.

    So, what did Toyota do? They put the car on a diet (like the RX-7). They added TWIN turbos to the engine (like the 300ZX, 3000GT, Stealth & RX-7). They made the turbos of ceramic and installed them sequentially, smaller turbo feeding the larger one (like the RX-7). They increased the compression ratio of the engine and amped the PSI on the turbos (just higher than 300ZX, 3000GT and Stealth). They threw in a 6-speed manual transmission (like 3000GT, Stealth and ZR1) and gave it outlandish go-fast gearing down-low (just lower than a Corvette's). They made 17-inch wheels and rubber standard issue (lower profile and bigger than everyone else in the price range). They made sure the car put out 320 horsepower (20 more than their closest competitors and 90 more than the previous car).

    They then promptly declared themselves the NEW King of the Hill.

    Hmmm.... What's Nintendo been doing lately? They announce the coming a game machine with a laundry list of every single technological breakthrough (short of holodeck technology) known to the industry that just barely surpasses any one shining point in the specs list of any of their competitors.

    Atari brought out a system with a 64-bit graphics processor. The U64 will have a 64-bit MAIN CPU. The Sega SATURN has dual main CPUs running at roughly 25 MHz. The U64 will have a 100 MHz CPU. The Sony PlayStation is the reigning champ in producing realtime polygon graphics. The U64 promises to surpass all capabilities of the PSX. And best of all gamers will be able to own all of this for under $250.

    Yeah, right. I DO NOT BELIEVE SO.

    I have written enough for now and I don't have the resources before me to thwart every single ridiculous claim I have heard about the future of U64. Some of those claims have been so stupid that I thought for sure that NO ONE would fall for them. but alas, some poor unfortunates have.

    I shall return at a later date to inform you as to the error of your ways.

    Clatu Verata Nicto,

    Red Ronin, The Cybernetic Samurai

    To see more of this discussion, click the HERE!

    Home | Games | Editorials | Pictures | Archive | Links

    These pages are Copyright © 1999 by Agronskey D. Hooper
    (AKA Red Ronin, The Cybernetic Samurai)
    all rights reserved.