Maybe Jim Henson proves one does not need to be overly simplistic when edutaining preschoolers and kindergarteners. This might also butterfly away the Teletubbies too.
Eh, the original Magic School Bus already demonstrated that - it just needs to catch on. I'd rather Jim focus on proving how kids shows don't need to be 40% singing and 60% spazz attack.
 
I could see the original Backyard Gang tapes being the same, with more complex storytelling as time goes on.

I kinda have these ideas where Barney is an aspiring sorcerer and extended exposure to his magic causes the backyard gang to gain magic as time goes on.
I could see it go this way. And frankly, Sesame Street had long since proven that being "simple for young kids" didn't equal vacuous. I thing Barney did have lots of potential, ironically had it been more like Smoochy from the parody dark comedy Death to Smoochy and had a genuinely sweet and sentimental voice behind it all. My biggest issue was the obvious overproduced artificiality and forced sweetness of it all. To me it always came across less "kids having fun with a friend" and more "is this a weird cult?" It reminded me of those lame Disney commercials from the late '80s with obviously disinterested teens pretending to be excited to party with Mickey the Cool Corporate Mascot.

That said, they made the effort to include special needs children, which is important to me. I think that their heart was in the right place, they just needed a good production manager and directors able/willing to get genuine responses from the kids.

That said, they were the number one kids show for half a decade, so who TF am I to talk?

Maybe Trey Parker (yes, that Trey Parker) directs Barney's Great Adventure ITTL (he was considered at one point to IOTL, if I recall) and rather than a boring, padded out slogfest, it's an affectionate parody of 80s and 90s family adventure movies in the same way Princess Bride parodied fairy tales and fantasy.
Wow, brain broken. That said, having someone like Parker and Stone who actually have an idea of how a musical works and how songs are structured in a larger story is critical to that kind of thing.

And for the record, I imagined the mouse ears on the monitor to house independent stereo-capable speakers. Between DOC and the Phillips SAA1099s, that's quite a formidable sound system potentially at students' fingers. Between this, Mayhem, which doubles as an interactive sound tutorial starring Dr. Teeth and company, and any number of potential sound card startups (and MICKEY's overall hardware and port architecture is very well documented) and it wouldn't be inconceivable for an entire generation of chiptune musicians and sound engineers to have cut their teeth on MICKEY.
Yes, so obvious when you think of it. The ears as speaker housings. I'm not familiar enough with the chipsets myself to know the potential, but Jim and Jobs would totally do exactly that.

I also want a dedicated post on RATZ/Hackeys and how Disney responds to them.
Hmmm...I'm not sure about a dedicated post. To do it right I'd need a good photoshopper. But I think that Jim would approve of all but the more...let's say abusive or profane ones. Still, not much they can do about it legally, so instead they'd probably just stay quiet on it. Still, a coffee table photo book for RAT HAX undoubtedly shows up for sale at Barnes & Noble.

*EDIT* I'll probably have some comments in a section somewhere.

Or we can play "Hack that Rat" and anyone can describe the RAT HACK they'd have done.
 
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Wow, brain broken. That said, having someone like Parker and Stone who actually have an idea of how a musical works and how songs are structured in a larger story is critical to that kind of thing.
Barney, of course, would be fully aware of the fourth wall, making aside comments about the nature of musicals and how contrived the plot is at points as well as encouraging mild audience participation.
 
Barney, of course, would be fully aware of the fourth wall, making aside comments about the nature of musicals and how contrived the plot is at points as well as encouraging mild audience participation.
Barney the MST3K Snarkosaurus. Now THAT (provided it doesn't get annoying within half an hour) is something worth two hundred bucks and a block-long lineup.
 
Barney the MST3K Snarkosaurus. Now THAT (provided it doesn't get annoying within half an hour) is something worth two hundred bucks and a block-long lineup.
Baby Bop and BJ would get on the snarking too at points.

...For some weird reason, I'm imagining a scene where the dino trio and the kids accompanying them stumble into a movie theater and briefly encountering Mike and the Bots.

ironically had it been more like Smoochy from the parody dark comedy Death to Smoochy and had a genuinely sweet and sentimental voice behind it all.
Idea: Robin Williams and Edward Norton as the bad guys: a crooked circus owner and his much nicer sidekick after the egg MacGuffin so they can make a quick buck off of it.
 
Ehh, I don't think that Barney the Dinosaur should be too mean-spirited. It's still definitely a kids movie, after all! But some fourth-wall-breaking humor might be a good idea.
 
Hmmm...I'm not sure about a dedicated post. To do it right I'd need a good photoshopper. But I think that Jim would approve of all but the more...let's say abusive or profane ones. Still, not much they can do about it legally, so instead they'd probably just stay quiet on it. Still, a coffee table photo book for RAT HAX undoubtedly shows up for sale at Barnes & Noble.

*EDIT* I'll probably have some comments in a section somewhere.

Or we can play "Hack that Rat" and anyone can describe the RAT HACK they'd have done.
I think a post about an official RATCON at EPCOT where people (i.e. the readers) can display their hacks for prizes could certainly be done. Not to mention that it'd be a good opportunity for Disney to display their own products like MICKEY 2.0 or promote their own technical developments like CGI, Animatronics, and etc. for their upcoming movies. Plus, I could totally see Disney be inspired to sell custom computer parts or peripherals from their major IPs to capitalize on the hacking craze.

As for the name itself, Disney execs might hate the name but it's good to know where your roots came from (nerds and geeks who tweaked computers for fun). In fact, this might be unrealistic, but maybe RATCON could evolve to become the D23 of the 90s with the anointed blessing of Jim Henson, serving not only as a technical convention but a pop culture one for Disney fans too.


Oh btw, why not add a robotics competition to the mix as well?
 
So will a show called Dragon Tales come up ITTL? IOTL, the show was a joint-venture of Sesame Workshop, Sony Pictures Television, and Nelvana. This has created a complicated rights situation, not helped by the fact that Sony sold the music rights to another corporation. Would it be possible for Jim Henson to pick up this footnote of animation history that was a large part of many people's childhoods born from about 1996-2003. I could see Jim wondering why there was very little Hispanic representation on TV for small children.
 
I just had a brainstorm . What if, when building Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, Universal adds in an April Fools Funny Nights, That way, if they do a Universal Monsters land, they can re-theme it to the likes of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Nicolae Ceaucescu, Mobutu Sese Seko, Ian Smith, the Duvalliers of Haiti, the Liberian Chuck Taylor, and many other bloody tyrants of the 20th and 21st Centuries as their rules come to an end?

After all, they may have been real people, but they were still universally monsters.

Of course, that might mean inviting Crossbow Productions into Universal Creative...
 
I just had a brainstorm . What if, when building Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, Universal adds in an April Fools Funny Nights, That way, if they do a Universal Monsters land, they can re-theme it to the likes of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Nicolae Ceaucescu, Mobutu Sese Seko, Ian Smith, the Duvalliers of Haiti, the Liberian Chuck Taylor, and many other bloody tyrants of the 20th and 21st Centuries as their rules come to an end?

After all, they may have been real people, but they were still universally monsters.

Of course, that might mean inviting Crossbow Productions into Universal Creative...
Universal may be edgier than Disney, but there's still no way in hell they'd do something in that poor taste
 
I just had a brainstorm . What if, when building Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, Universal adds in an April Fools Funny Nights, That way, if they do a Universal Monsters land, they can re-theme it to the likes of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Nicolae Ceaucescu, Mobutu Sese Seko, Ian Smith, the Duvalliers of Haiti, the Liberian Chuck Taylor, and many other bloody tyrants of the 20th and 21st Centuries as their rules come to an end?

After all, they may have been real people, but they were still universally monsters.

Of course, that might mean inviting Crossbow Productions into Universal Creative...
This could actually work. Not only would "they were still universally monsters" be the perfect tagline, but including Mel Brooks in this would ironically make him as known for overlaying Frankenstein as he was for parodying it.

And since we're talking about an April Fools-themed transformation for Universal Studios Florida, how about we decorate the King Kong attraction in bright pink and purple, given Hasbro's licensing deal for the park? I know that sounds completely bonkers, but we are brainstorming April Fools pranks for a theme park.
 
And since we're talking about an April Fools-themed transformation for Universal Studios Florida, how about we decorate the King Kong attraction in bright pink and purple, given Hasbro's licensing deal for the park? I know that sounds completely bonkers, but we are brainstorming April Fools pranks for a theme park.
Maybe his banana breath is more like cotton candy with modest amounts of glitter.
As for Jaws, maybe something fabulous like a top hat and a monocle? Who knows, but I like this idea of an April Fools prank event.

For the political stuff, the only way I could see a political parody of people like Mao or Pol Pot be accepted in a theme park would be if they were like Charlie Chaplin-styled comedies or extreme caricatures, but that's just me.
 
What will happen with the TV show ER in this timeline?
First off we still about 5/6 years here we have to worry about it. Secondly considering the close relationships between Disney and Amblin & NBC I imagine that Amblin Television will probably co-produce it with Hyperion/MGM Television (whichever is its current name ITTL.)
 
@Geekhis Khan If I may ask, and this might be a weird question, but why are they called Tech Grrls and not called Tech Girls.
Unlikely, unless you can think of an OTL example. Despite Disney putting the effort in to avoid discriminating against worthy talent, the tech industry especially is a 'boys club', even through to today, possibly even more than the entertainment industry (which is saying something).
These two facts are partially connected. I have absolutely no doubt about the sincerity of those involved in Tech Grrls and so on, but the branding is not helping them, if anything it is making things worse, it often comes across very "Hello fellow kids, how are you". I can't speak for tech, and definitely not for entertainment, but in engineering our female grads are coming in despite those sort of schemes and not because of them.
 
Computers IVb: Video Games New
An Increasingly Crowded Field (Cont'd)
Excerpt from Computer Wars! by Calvin Threadmaker

Video Game Consoles


The home video game market, meanwhile, was getting even more competitive as Japanese consoles vied with US ones for the international market. Atari vied primarily with Nintendo and the upstart Sega, each system gaining a dedicated following and gamers arguing endlessly on which was “better”. The Old Warhorse of Atari stayed strong with the 10400, also known as the Lynx, keeping its market share through the combination of a quality product matched with brand loyalty. Despite Virgin Computer’s increasingly elite status, the Atari home game console remained an egalitarian “everyman’s” video game system built on familiarity and nostalgia. “Brave and brotherly” Bentley Bear and “athletic and adventurous” Colette Caracal, stars of an increasing number of video games (notably including Colette’s debut in Crystal Castles Crash Course), had emerged as the brand mascots and Atari’s answer to Mario and Luigi[1].

NAMEAtari 10400 of Atari Lynx
MANUFACTURERVirgin/Atari
TYPEHome Game Console
ORIGINU.S.A.
YEAR1988-1997
CPUSynertek 65010
CLOCK SPEED1.785-12 MHz
RAM96K
VIDEO RAM64K
GPULAVENDER (Display Adaptor, Color Generation, Video Data Selector)+NICKELa (Object Generator, Video DMA/MMU)
RESOLUTIONAll resolutions of Atari 2600 and 5200/8-Bit Computers, plus 320x204 (512 Colors Onscreen at Once), 640x408 (30 Hz, [25 Hz PAL and SECAM] 320 colors onscreen)
MASTER PALLETE44704 (NTSC), 32768 (PAL and SECAM)b
SOUNDTITAN (Atari 2600, 5200, and 8-bit System-on-a-chip, 2 channels Geometry Synthesis), QuadPOKEYc (16 Channels Geometry Synthesis), AMY 8 Channels Additive Synthesis, 8 Operators each)
OTHER CHIPSTITAN (Atari SOC consisting of ANTIC and an amalgamation of TIA and GTIA), X2 Synertek 65C21 PIA II (controller I/O), SLAPSTIC (Security/Merket Lockout [Non-North American Markets Only)
I/OCartridge Slot (Compatible with 2600 and 8-bit computer cartridge slots up to 1200/800 XL), x4 21 Pin Controller Jacks, RF Out, AV Mulit-Out, Coaxial Cable TV (NTSC) or SCART (PAL and SECAM), X2 Atari SIO Ports
NOTESa) LAVENDER is based on HEATHER, but with PAL/SECAM color generation hardware, too. NICKEL combines 4 SILVER Object Generators with 16 of PENNY Sprite Engines, or one half of each original's graphics prowess, and a simplified VIVIAN. Each Object Processor could either be used for a single scrolling field, a mobile "player" sprite, 80x408 pixels in size, or any number of single frame Blitter BOBs within that space, as defined by software. Each "Sprite" has 84 different frames of animation and can be multiplexed up to 16 times (or more, if the cartridge contains more spare Video RAM) without flicker, slowdown, or collision detection issues, for a theoretical maximum of 768 sprites onscreen. All sprites (except Text and Text Relief) feature x and y axis flip, several sprite categories feature scaling, zoom, and rotation effects (albeit controlled by the CPU), and 2 of them feature both. There are a grand total of 16 different categories of sprites.
b) The PAL/SECAM color palette is 5 bits each of RGB.
c) QuadPOKEY also handles the analog component of controller I/O and the SIO serial ports, including a hypothetical keyboard interface.

Sega, meanwhile, launched the Mega-Drive[2]. Compared to the 10400, the Sega had arguably better graphics, particularly at high resolution[3]. The Sega Mega-Drive found a welcoming market in Japan, but was having a hard time breaking in to the North American market, which was dominated by Nintendo and Atari. The Sega Mega-Drive carved out a niche market presence in many select cities and regions in the US and thus saved the brand. It would eventually break out as a minor competitor to both Atari and Nintendo both in the US, typically in regional markets, and grew to become one of the larger competitors in the Asian marketplace.

NAMESega Mega-Drive
MANUFACTURERSega
TYPEHome Game Console
ORIGINJapan/USA
YEAR1988-1998
CPUZilog Z280, 14.30 MHz (NTSC), 14.16 MHz (PAL and SECAM)
RAM64K Program RAM +16K Work RAM+32K Audio Buffer, 112K total
VIDEO RAM128K PseudoSRAM (Dual Framebuffer)+8K SRAM(Sprite Attributes)
GPUSega VDC 3 (Based on Texas Instruments/Yamaha V9958)+315-5242 (Special Color Encoder), +315-5250 (Scalar Math Coprocessor)
RESOLUTION512x448 (4 Colors), 320×240 (NTSC) or 400×288 (PAL and SECAM) scalar mode resolution.
128 Sprites Onscreen, each sprite may use one of 16 CLUTS of 16 colors each. Tiles are 8x8 pixels, with a maximum of 8 CLUTs of 8 colors each onscreen.
Sprite size from 8x8 to 128x128, with butter smooth scaling, zoom, and rotation.
Maximum of 4 scrolling fields: 2 tile and 2 bitmap (32 colors each bitmap).
COLOR384 onscreen out of a master palette of 98,304a
SOUNDYamaha YM2608 (Japanese Market) or Yamaha YM2151+ YM3014 DAC+ Texas Instruments SN76496 (North America and Europe)+ Sega PCM (16 Channels, 12 bit sampling at 31.25 KHz)b
MSRP¥22,500 (1988 Japan), $195 (US)
NOTESa) Several cartridges, and the SegaCD peripheral added in extra System and Video RAM, adding more available CLUTS and onscreen colors.
b) The differing sound chips, cartridge shapes, and pinouts functioned as market lockouts between regions, as well as the different regional television color encoding and voltage differences between US/Japan and Europe.

NEC, meanwhile, swung for the fences with the NEC PC Engine, made in partnership with Magnavox and Phillips. In terms of marketing, it promoted itself as better than the Famicom/NES, but cheaper and easier to code for than the 10400 and Mega Drive/Genesis, plus they added a CD-ROM peripheral, something novel in 1987. While it struggled to find a market in the US, it did well in Japan.

NAMENEC/Magnavox/Phillips
MANUFACTURERNEC
TYPEHome Game Console
ORIGINJapan
YEAR1987-2008 (Japan), 1988-1996 (North America & Europe)
CPUHudson Hu62010a
CLOCK SPEED10.74 Mhz
RAM48K
VIDEO RAM128K
GPUHudson Hu6260+x2Hu6270, capable of displaying a maximum of 96 32x32 pixel sprites onscreen, with a maximum of 24 on any scanline. Capable of displaying up to 482 colors onscreen out of a Master Palette of 32,768. Resolution modes of 256x224, 288x240, 512x448 (interleaved), and 576x240, capable of displaying up to 5 scrolling fields (4 tile and 1 bitmap)
COLOR384 onscreen out of a master palette of 98,304*
SOUND12 Channels Wavetable Synthesis from CPU, Plus Yamaha YM2149 (Three Channels Geometry Synthesis + 1 Channel Sawtooth and White Noise, Japan and North America) or Phillips SAA 1099 (Six Channels Geometry Synthesis, Europe)
AUDIO BUFFER16K
SOFTWARE MEDIAHu-Card/Turbo Chip, maximum size 8MB (64 Megabits)
CONTROLLERDirectional Cross, Start, Select, and two action buttons, plus a four-level auto fire stitch for each button
MSRP¥15,250 (Japan, 1987), $164.99 (U.S., 1988)
NOTES* The Hu62010 is a 6280 extended to 16-bit instruction and register length, a 30-bit address bus, and double the sound channels.

But one of the biggest players on both sides of the Pacific was the venerable Nintendo, now with the Nintendo Disk System. With outstanding graphics, a for the time revolutionary Disk peripheral, and a competitive cost, Nintendo became the company to beat in Japan, holding on to the number one slot in Japan despite a strong showing from Sega. The Disk remained popular in Japan well into the 1990s, and was a league above the competition in the US. But alas, it was a bridge too far in 1988 for the US market with its non-standard (and fragile and expensive) Disk peripheral system. As such, despite an advertising blitz, the system undersold in the US, causing Nintendo to pull it back from all but a few high-end specialty shops in 1989, an embarrassing but far from fatal setback for the company that remained the “king” of home video games worldwide[4].

NAMENintendo Disk System
MANUFACTURERNintendo
TYPEHome Game Console
ORIGINJapan
YEAR1987-1998
CPURicoh 2A04 (Based on the MOS Technology 6502)+Creative Micro Devices JiffyDOS ROM
RAM24K System RAM and 24K Video RAM
BANDWIDTH62.5 Kilobytes/Second
GPUHudson Hu6260+x2Hu6270, capable of displaying a maximum of 96 32x32 pixel sprites onscreen, with a maximum of 24 on any scanline. Capable of displaying up to 482 colors onscreen out of a Master Palette of 32,768. Resolution modes of 256x224, 288x240, 512x448 (interleaved), and 576x240, capable of displaying up to 5 scrolling fields (4 tile and 1 bitmap)
AUDIO BUFFER16K
CAPACITY3.5" Floppy Disc, 432K (Single Sided, Double Density), 864K (Double Sided, Double Density, 1728 K (Double Sided, High Density)
OTHER CHIPSOkidata MSM5205 (single channel, 4 bit ADPCM Synthesis), Yamaha YM2203+YM3014 DAC (Three Channels FM Synthesis, Four Operators Each.) Nintendo Memory Management Controller 3 (Real-time clock, IRQ timer, Split Screen functionality without sacrifice of Sprite 0, additional video data manipulation at V-Blank permits the use of the entire NES Master Palette of 52 colors onscreen, and limited sprite multiplexing (within scanline limits) without flicker or slowdown.
MSRP(1987) $135 (stand-alone), $189 (Ultimate System Package [Control Deck+ 2 Controllers, Zapper Light Gun and Disc System, replacing ROB])[5]

But they would soon face more competition on their own doorstep too. After the shellacking that the Atari 2800 received in the early Eighties (when it came out right on time to face the Famicom), Atari was reluctant to market the 10400 directly in the Land of The Rising Sun. Furthermore, Virgin computers were being sold in Japan and Korea as hardnosed businesses machines, and featured special 512K Kanji ROMs. A game console would undermine this increasingly professional image. Instead, they looked for a partner. Atari had reciprocal licensing and distribution agreements with Namco and Taito that went back to the 1970s. As such, Virgin/Atari made common cause with Namco, resulting in the StarFlare.

NAMENamco StarFlare
MANUFACTURERNamco in partnership with Virgin/Atari
TYPEHome Game Console
ORIGINJapan
YEAR1988-1996
CPURicoh 5A26, A Second Source version of the Rockwell Semiconductor 65816A with demultiplexed address pins and 3 16-bit data busses
CLOCK SPEED12 MHz
RAM96K
VIDEO RAM64K
GPULAVENDER (Display Adaptor, Color Generation, Video Data Selector)+NICKEL* (Object Generator, Video DMA/MMU)
RESOLUTION320x204 (512 Colors Onscreen at Once), 640x408 (30 Hz, [25 Hz PAL and SECAM] 320 colors onscreen)
MASTER PALLETTE44704
SOUNDNamco CUS30 (8 Channels Wavetable Synthesis)+Namco C219 (16 Channels 8-Bit PCM Synthesis)+Atari AMY
OTHER CHIPSMotorola 68901 (Controller Interface), SLAPSTIC (Security/Merket Lockout [Non-North American Markets Only)
I/OCartridge Slot, x4 21 Pin Controller Jacks, RF Out, AV Mulit-Out, Coaxial Cable TV, X2 Special I/O ports
CONTROLLERDirectional Cross, Start, Select, and two action buttons, plus a four-level auto fire stitch for each button
MSRP(1988) ¥19,700
PACK IN GAMESRolling Thunder (1988-90), Galaga 5R (1990.-92), Numan Athletics (1993-96)

With so many potential platforms, videogame manufacturers struggled to determine the best way forward. Should one concentrate on a single OS, or develop versions for several or all OS options? Tecmo, for example, went for the latter approach, developing versions for numerous platforms, such as its popular 1987 release based upon the novel/manga/anime series Vampire Hunter D.

Vampire Hunter D

rtXPogDHYzf362MCJDrqa4-480-80.jpg

8-bit Version is similar to this (actually from Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon; Image source “pcgamer.com”)

hqdefault.jpg

16/32 Version is similar to this (actually from Castlevania: The Lecarde Chronicles; Image source “youtube.com”)

NAMEVampire Hunter D
PUBLISHERTecmo (Nintendo Famicom Disk System, Nintendo Entertainment System , Sega Master System [Japanese Market] Sharp MZ/X-1, X65xxx, Fujitsu FM-77, FM Towns, Tandy 1000DX/5000, NEC PC88, PC93/98, Toshiba TOPS, Virgin/Atari 3000X), NEC Avenue (NEC PC Engine), Broderbund (Sega Master System [US Market], Atari 10400, 1400XL/1450EXL, MSDOS, Commodore 256/640, X816/832, Magnavox Odyssey 3, Tandy CoCo3, Apple IIe+/IIc+, Macintosh [System 3 or higher]), Virgin Mastertronic (BBC Micro/Master, Acorn Archimedes, Sinclair ZX Spevtrum 128K. QL, SAM Coupe, Amstrad CPC, Exetel Excelvision, Thompson T09, Phillips VideoPac 8000)
DEVELOPERTecmo Consumer Team 4 (Eventually renamed Team Ninja), Virgin Mastertronic for the European Versions.
ORIGINJapan
RELEASED1987
NOTESThe 8-bit and 16/32 but versions adapt different stories from the series, though there are references to elements of each in the other game.[6].

In general, the late ‘80s were a time of transition for both computers and for game consoles. The Quickening of ’84 had shaken up the field and knocked off some old names, but allowed for the market entry of new competitors and a growing “worldwide” market. It also introduced the first “web capable” machine in the Beacon Coronet. Things would only get stranger as things moved into the 1990s.



[1] Hat tip to @TheFaultsofAlts for coming up with Collette Caracal and thanks to @nick_crenshaw82 for reminding me about Bentley Bear. And thanks all around to all the other readers who helped develop these characters.

[2] Compared to our timeline, the Sega Genesis of this timeline is a more elegant system solution. The use of the Z280 means that there need be fewer PCB layers to the motherboard compared to using a Z80 and a Motorola 68000, while still allowing backward compatibility with the Mark III/Master System and SG1000. It is also much closer to the Sega Scalar arcade hardware of our timeline (specifically the Out Run model). Compared to the then-cutting-edge X-Unit/Afterburner hardware at the time of its release, it possesses no hardware Road/Horizon field, only half the hardware sprites, and sprite and tile CLUTs are severely cut down. However, as the Z280 is more than twice as powerful clock for clock (clocked at 14.30 Mhz rather than 10.74, and featuring twice the instructions per clock ratio and hardware multiply and divide), this is less of a hardship, as the CPU and Math Coprocessor can be used to bit-bang that layer with some caveats. A significant source of cost and motherboard space savings comes from the use of stacked Video RAM, a technology Sega managed to get at a discount from Toshiba in a story all its own. Mostly, this results in fewer rocks, trees and billboards in racing games, and smaller vapor trails and explosions in air combat games, and more repetitious object color schemes. Also, while slowdown and screen tearing were far rarer compared to the machine of our timeline when running comparable software, when it did happen, there could be massive audio desync and artifacts, which is (literally) unheard of in the Mega Drive/Genesis of our timeline. Essentially, the difference between this console and Sega's Scalar hardware iterations is the difference between the Sega Master System and System E arcade hardware.

[3] This came down to hardware decisions made by Richard Branson. The “missing 72 horizontal rows” of the 10400's highest resolution were the result of its Video RAM limitations: 640x480 would have demanded 75K Video RAM, which made for odd addressing math, when Branson at the time was obsessed with keeping costs low to meet the MSRP with sufficient margin and not make it a loss-leader (especially with North American Market models of the machine produced in the US) or be accused of Market Dumping. This was also the logic behind NICKEL: it was fabbed on a 2-micron process, making the cost of masks relatively cheap. If Branson had gone for a cutting edge 1.25-micron process, and had he been willing to absorb the mask costs, he could have fitted a grand total of 16 Object Processors, 64 Sprite Engines, and the spatial components of PENNY with no problem. It wouldn't have been game over for Sega, however; RAM costs would still have been an issue.

[4] Mario Hat Tip to @Pyro for pointing out this possibility.

[5] Adjusting for exchange rates, this is $50 more expensive than the Japanese Famicom version, but $50 cheaper than the OTL version CMD made OTL for the Commodore 64. This was due to Nintendo offering them the use of their vendor supply chain and subsidizing the masks for the additional silicon. The Japanese Famicom Version used 3x2.8" Hitachi Memorex discs with a max capacity [formatted] of 288K, though no Nintendo or Third-Party publisher software used it. The largest Famicom game to come out on disc was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which used 2 144K discs. Almost no software came out for it after 1988.

[6] The US Nintendo version was on floppy disc, leading ultimately to the Tecmo Console version of Ninja Gaiden to be released in 1990, as a Metroidvania style Beat-'em up with strategically placed cutscenes, like River City Ransom meets Solstice. As a result of all of this, Ninja Gaiden's imitators from our timeline, like Shadow of the Ninja, Ninja Crusaders, and Wrath of the Black Manta have been completely butterflied away.
 
Good luck to Virgin/Atari/Namco - hope you can crack this important market- but do not forget S. Korea!

What going on in Australia/New Zealand regarding local consoles and computers considering they are so far from Europe/US/Japan?

Any chance of a piece on the Soviet Union and what their native entertainment companies are doing please @Geekhis Khan - we know they do furry mascots like the rest fo the world from the Moscow Olympics, as well as those odd cartoons that turn up- what else was entertainment over there? Is there a Soviet Disney?
 
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