What Is Blast Processing? – The answer may surprise you.
If you’re familiar with the Nintendo & Sega’s bitter rivalry in the 90s, you probably remember the term “Blast Processing” as a staple of Sega’s aggressive marketing campaigns. A mysterious and legendary feature of the Sega Genesis that made it capable of running better games at a higher performance than the Nintendo’s Entertainment Systems. Or put in simple terms: “Genesis DOES what Ninten-DON’T”.
However, despite being one of the bases behind Sega’s lofty claims, it was never really made clear what “Blast Processing” was, or if it even really existed outside of marketing speak. Today, Digital Foundry released an in-depth video explaining the truth behind this mythical feature:
The bulk of the explanation is quite technical, and given by coder Gabriel Morales, who created the Blast Processing demo featured near the start of the video. From what we can gather, Blast Processing was a technique that could be used to increase the amount of colors the Genesis could render in a single frame, allowing for much more vibrant and detailed graphics than normal.
While this sounds pretty much exactly like what was advertised back in the day, no Genesis games released at the time actually used this feature at all. It was not only too tricky to get working correctly, but also used up almost all of the Genesis’ processing power. This meant that if a game somehow got Blast Processing to function properly, nobody would actually be able to “play” the game.
So in the end, it seems “Blast Processing” was in fact more of marketing speak than an actual feature of the Genesis. It technically did exist in the console, but was in reality never implemented in any of the games released.
What do you think? Was this what you expected Blast Processing to be? Let us know in the comments below.