Man that coined the Genesis term 'Blast Processing' apologies for the 'ghastly phrase'

The following comes from Scott Bayless, former Senior Producer at Sega of America...

Sadly I have to take responsibility for that ghastly phrase. Marty Franz [Sega technical director] discovered that you could do this nifty trick with the display system by hooking the scan line interrupt and firing off a DMA at just the right time. The result was that you could effectively jam data onto the graphics chip while the scan line was being drawn – which meant you could drive the DAC's with 8 bits per pixel. Assuming you could get the timing just right you could draw 256 color static images. There were all kinds of subtleties to the timing and the trick didn't work reliably on all iterations of the hardware but you could do it and it was cool as heck.

So during the runup to the western launch of Sega-CD the PR guys interviewed me about what made the platform interesting from a technical standpoint and somewhere in there I mentioned the fact that you could just "blast data into the DAC's" Well they loved the word 'blast' and the next thing I knew Blast Processing was born. Oy.

This 'blast processing' line was one that plagued many a Nintendo fan back in the day. I remember many a classroom argument over the SNES/Genesis, and blast processing always came up. If only I could go back in time with this article!

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Tags: sega


So... not finding anything by quick searches... did they ever use the actual "blast processing" thing then, if it was a bit unreliable? Or are they saying the thing that was always advertised the hardest was never even used anyway?

Yeah, they used it in ads all the time but it was only ever a theoretical ability of the system. It's the same reason Rare wasn't allowed to use Stop n Swop in Banjo Tooie. Early models of the N64 could do it but later models couldn't, so they had to drop the feature.

It all amounts to Sega being misleading in their ads because they knew Nintendo had a superior system.


I think it also referred to the fact that the processor in Sega's 1988 Mega Drive was a lot faster than the one Nintendo put into its Super Famicom in 1990.

As seen in this link: http://www.giantbomb.com/blast-processing/3015-963/

Kind of sad that Nintendo chose to put such a weak processor in but it all worked out. Sports and action titles were better suited to Genesis and pretty but slower-paced games primarily targeted SNES. It was nice to have differences, unlike today's systems which are all stripped down PCs. Except PC, of course.

So, Sega highlighted one of their system's strengths and ran with it.

I feel like that's a bit of revisionist history (not the specs, but that explanation of the origin of "blast processing"). I've always heard it referred to as a "clever programming trick", not something as simple as clock speed, otherwise I think people would actually be able to understand it. Also, CPU speed isn't the only indicator of it's relative "power" (as they even point out in that article)...

Yes, BP refers to a specific trick, which I believe was highlighted in Sonic 2 where they make the background go whoosh. Looking more closely at the page, even the advert they have linked there says systems with BP can go vroom, not that BP as a whole makes everything zoomy-zoomy.

Giant Bomb said:
The term "Blast Processing" was a reference to the faster processing speeds of the Genesis.

So, I'm not the only one who thinks that it was also used as a general reference thing. (Again, I know it is specifically Bayless's DMA trick.)

Yes, clock speed is not the only differentiator between processors, as people who compare Vita to Wii U must know. :P I mean, I'm not even going to say that the SNES processor was slower than the Game Boy's.

Yes, SNES's Mode 7 was pretty amazing and cool in Super Castlevania IV, Final Fantasy VI, and Actraiser.

However, back in the day it was a given that speedy sports games were better on SG. At least this part is indisputably not revisionist history. :}

Final Fight & Final Fight Guy on SNES were 1P but Final Fight on SG was 2P, interestingly enough.

In any case, it's marketing and people understood that it was something SG had and the grey one did not. ;)

"Believe it or not, the brains behind Sega CD don't wear pocket-protectors or glasses held together with tape. (Those guys work at Nintendo.)"


Ha! I guess it's nice after all these years to find out that Blast Processing was actually something even if it wasn't really used and had no bearing on the Genesis' real power.

that's nothing to be sorry for ;) , telling everyone and make them believe that you made a "3d system" without a fpu, the thing that made pc port add "if fall through floors don't fall". sixaxis was quite a neat trick, till now they still believe it is better than the wiimote.


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