Created By: WaxingName on August 13, 2012 Last Edited By: WaxingName on October 22, 2012
Troped

The 16-bit Era of Console Video Games

Useful Notes describing the 16-bit era + index of 16-bit games.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

(Edit this any way you want, it's Up for Grabs)

The 16-bit era of Console Video Games kicked off with the release of the NEC's Turbo-Grafx 16 in 1987. With this new era came hardware more powerful than their 8-bit counterparts, able to handle more colorful and detailed graphics and more complex games.

However, the first 16-bit system to truly gain momentum worldwide was the Sega Genesis. Sega released this console in order compete with the aging 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. At this point, it was feasible to make 16-bit console hardware based off their Sega System-16 arcade hardware. The Genesis did fairly well at first, then it really took off with Sega's Breakthrough Hit, Sonic the Hedgehog. Nintendo saw its almost monopolistic dominance erode with the competition's more advanced hardware, and they responded with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The fierce Console War between the Genesis and the SNES defined the era, with both parties in a huge race for dominance of the industry.

In terms of actual game design, the 16-bit era wasn't as big of a leap as the 8-bit era was to the Golden Age. The most successful games of the 16-bit era were often fleshed out and refined versions of their 8-bit counterparts design-wise. Many successful series from the 8-bit era gained many of their standards in this era, such as The Legend of Zelda in A Link to the Past. The industry made much bigger leaps in the graphics department. Games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin , and Yoshi's Island were examples of Awesome Art with their well-drawn sprites. The releases of Mortal Kombat and Donkey Kong Country sparked a craze in Digitized Sprites on consoles, with notable games following suit including Vectorman and Super Mario RPG. The era also produced early experiments with Polygonal Graphics on home consoles, most notably Star Fox but also including arcade ports.

In this generation, portable gaming systems began to gain traction with the release of the Nintendo Game Boy and Atari Lynx in 1989 and the Sega Game Gear in 1990. While the Lynx failed to gain much success, Nintendo and Sega's efforts gave gamers versions of their favourite franchises to take with them when they were away from their televisions. While Sega's system certainly benefited from it's colored screen, it was ultimately the Game Boy that would win out by a considerable margin, boosted by the inclusion of Tetris as a pack-in game making the system more appealing to those who weren't already interested in video games than Super Mario Land might (sound familiar?), though the fact that it was significantly cheaper, more pocketable and had much better battery life also helped. It's success would continue into the next generation.

Please namespace every entry on this page, it's going to be an index

[[index]]

Consoles of this generation

Handhelds of this generation

New IPs on these consoles

Games of previous IPs

[[/index]]
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • August 17, 2012
    arromdee
    I don't think the Gameboy gained most of its steam in the 16 bit era. The Gameboy was released with Tetris as the packin, which was an immediate hit.
  • August 17, 2012
    MiinU
    Neo Geo was a 24-bit console.
  • August 18, 2012
    CrankyStorming
    Should we list 'new IPs' separately from returning franchises? It gives the idea that all games exist for the purpose of having sequels, which isn't the case for every game conceived. (I won't make this change until it has been discussed further)

    Also, if we're going by the release of the PC Engine in 1987 then the Game Boy was released in this generation.
  • August 19, 2012
    bwburke94
    Removed Pokemon, since it was released in February 1996, well after the 16-bit era is considered to have ended.

    Also, should we list some 16-bit games released in the late nineties like Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 and Kirby's Dream Land 3, or do their late release dates disqualify them from the list?
  • August 19, 2012
    bwburke94
    Also, should this be American English or British English, both regarding the language itself and the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive name change?
  • August 19, 2012
    jate88
    Isn't the pokemon franchise what caused the gameboy to game steam or when good games for hand helds began to be developed?
  • August 19, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^^I put both.

    ^^^^ Their late releases don't disqualify them. Super Mario RPG is here, which was released at the tail end of the 16-bit era.
  • August 21, 2012
    ccoa
    Given the confusion over what qualifies based on the name, I'm going to once again tentatively suggest using the generations, with the 16-bit era title as a redirect.
  • August 21, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^What confusion? 16-bit era is a very well-established term used on the internet, so I believe practically everyone will know what it means.
  • August 22, 2012
    ccoa
    The confusion in the very comments above? About how Neo Geo doesn't count, or if late releases count?

    At the very least, the article needs to specify the year range for this, to avoid "but this was released in 1996, so it doesn't count!" deletions.
  • August 22, 2012
    WaxingName
    I'll add the year ranges for each generation, then.
  • August 23, 2012
    Surenity
    The Sega Genesis did linger on for a couple more years after 1996 though, not sure if the same could be said for SNES or not.
  • August 23, 2012
    WaxingName
    From my research, the SNES was discontinued in 1999, so I'll put down that year instead.
  • August 23, 2012
    ccoa
    It's still generally agreed that the 5th generation began in 96, though, when the Playstation era really started to take off. It's fuzzy and there were a couple games that were for an older generation console released in a more current gen, though.
  • September 2, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^I am fully aware that the generations overlap. I put down at the top that this page also serves as an index for games for 16-bit consoles and handhelds released in this era.
  • September 3, 2012
    MiinU
  • September 4, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^I'll put that in, but next time, please put that in yourself, it's Up For Grabs.
  • September 4, 2012
    Glowsquid
    "Neo Geo was a 24-bit console."

    It isn't, the Neo-Geo has a 16-bits architecture. the 24-bits figure was achived by additioning the 8-bits coprocessor, which is marketing nonsense
  • October 18, 2012
    acrobox
    Despite its name Super Mario Land 2: Yoshi's Island is generally considered to be the first entry into the Yoshi Spinoff series, not a Main series Mario title
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=l11xf7mx77k25rmij0kb40rq