The Blast Processing wiki last edited by Jagged85 on 11/07/15 04:59PM
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At the height of the 16-bit console war of the '90s, Sega continually attempted to posit its Genesis console (a.k.a. Mega Drive) as the "cooler" one (over the SNES). Sega's advertising campaigns were edgy and confrontational, and "Blast Processing" was one of the many buzzwords coined to aid product differentiation.
The term "Blast Processing" was a reference to the faster processing speeds of the Genesis. While the main Ricoh 5A22 processor of the SNES was clocked at 3.58 MHz, the main 68000 CPU processor of the Genesis was clocked at 7.67 MHz, twice the clock speed of its rival. Sega's Yamaha VDP graphics chip also allowed quicker DMA transfer speeds and faster VRAM bandwidth than the SNES. The faster bandwidth and higher fillrate of the Genesis gave it advantages such as higher resolutions during gameplay, faster and more complex parallax scrolling, and 3D polygon graphics without needing any enhancement chips on cartridges. On the other hand, the SNES had its own advantages, such as its CPU having more instructions per clock cycle, its PPU being capable of Mode 7 tilemap scaling, more RAM, and more on-screen sprites and colors. But Sega focused on its own biggest advantage, emphasizing the faster performance of the Genesis in its "Blast Processing" commercials.
Nowadays, the phrase is often perceived to be a gimmick from the '90s. Many today presume that it would not work as well with today's gaming demographic, or at least among core gamers, who generally understand there is much more to a system's capabilities than just its CPU's clock speed (i.e. MHz) or word length (i.e. bits). However, many gamers in later generations also similarly simplified console specifications by only focusing on a single aspect, such as the polygons (during the Saturn/PS1 and Dreamcast/PS2 eras) or the resolution (during the PS3/X360 and PS4/X1 eras).
Nostalgic gamers now jokingly recall Blast Processing if a new game/console is marketed as a technological tour de force, and it has also become somewhat of an internet meme. Sega currently self-parodies the phrase when marketing their emulated Genesis releases on the XBOX Live Arcade and other compilations.