The Blast Processing wiki last edited by Hamry on 05/20/15 11:02AM
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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 to children (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" itself was 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 Motorola 68000 processor of the Genesis was clocked at 7.67 MHz, twice the clock speed of its rival. Sega's Yamaha VDP graphics chip also had faster DMA transfer speeds of 7.2 KB per frame, compared to Nintendo's Ricoh PPU graphics chipset performing at 5.2 KB per frame. However, the SNES had its own advantages to make up for these, such as its CPU having more instructions per clock cycle, its PPU being capable of Mode 7 tilemap scaling, and more VRAM allowing more on-screen sprites. But Sega focused on its own biggest advantage, emphasizing the faster performance of the Genesis in its "Blast Processing" commercials.
Nowadays, the phrase is perceived to be a gimmick from the '90s that would probably not work anywhere 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).
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-deprecatingly uses the phrase when marketing their emulated Genesis releases on the XBOX Live Arcade and other compilations.