New technology

Excerpt from “Console Wars” by Blake J. Harris:

Uemura’s Super Famicom dazzled on numerous fronts. The new console could generate 32,768 unique colors (the Genesis had 512) and eight channels of audio (the Genesis had six), and it could retail for 25,000 yen (about $250). Yet despite his best efforts, Uemura was unable to incorporate backward compatibility without greatly increasing the price (by about $75). Yamauchi discussed this issue with his son-in-law, Minoru Arakawa, who harbored plans to soon release a U.S. version of the system. Arakawa pointed out that compact discs had recently begun to replace cassette tapes and vinyl records without causing much of a stir. Perhaps modern consumers were becoming savvy enough to realize that new technology tended to make previous iterations obsolete. They concluded that Nintendo was strong enough to deal with the possible backlash and couldn’t afford to hold off on a 16-bit system any longer.

I’m having too much fun with this book. An entertaining David and Goliath story for the modern era, chock-full of video game nostalgia and fantastic trivia that went right over the heads of my generation. Not to mention plenty of “history repeats itself” moments.

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