The third generation of video game consoles started with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega SG-1000 in 1983, however this generation of gaming consoles would still be considered a portion of the 8 bit gaming era though by the end the industry had begun to move toward 16 bit systems. This generation also marked the end to the video game market crash in the United States leading to the major focus of video games and the industry to the United States rather than Japan. Another major change that came in the third generation was the change from block based graphics towards tile and sprite based graphics which was a huge advancement in the field of game design. The NES and the Sega Master System followed by the Atari 7800 proved to be the best selling consoles during this period in video game history and the NES continued to be highly purchased up until the release of the Playstation.
3rd Generation History:
During this time the Famicom Computer (Famicom) was selling quite well in Japan while its U.S. version under the name Nintendo Entertainment System also proved to be remarkably successful in part due to excellent licensing agreements with game developers. While the NES and the Atari 7800 proved popular in the U.S. and Japan it was unable to capture the Brazilian and European markets from the Sega Master System. Although the Sega SG-1000 did not have many characteristics to differentiate it from previous second generation consoles like the NES it still was able to used more advanced scrolling techniques and managed to find success in the game market. The Sega Master System which was released in 1985 however had a number of technological advancements such as hardware scrolling, an increased range of colors, a higher memory capacity, pseudo 3D graphic effects, and stereoscopic 3D sound which allowed it to be a far more powerful machine than the Nintendo Entertainment System. This generation of video games also saw the rise of one of the most popular genres of games today, the Role Playing Game or RPG. In addition to the rise of RPGs a number of incredibly well known and received game franchises also were popularized including Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, Metroid, Mega Man, Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, and Bomberman. During this generation children’s educational consoles also began to become more popular with releases of VideoSmarts, and ComputerSmarts which were fairly stripped down systems not meant to compete with the main consoles on the market.
Nintendo vs. Sega the 3rd Generation Rivalry:
The Nintendo Entertainment System was the undoubted champion and easily sold the highest number of consoles during this time period, however Sega was their highest competition with their SG-1000 and the Sega Master System. One component which helped to lead Nintendo to success was the early release of a number of popular titles including Super Mario Brothers, and The Legend of Zelda combined with licensing agreements which prevented these games from being produced on other consoles for two years after release on the NES. The Sega Master System was very popular in Brazil and Europe due to the fact that it was released there before the NES which struggled to compete in these markets which is part of the reason that these two consoles are considered to be such rivals during this period.
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