COLOURlovers has created this informative infographic covering the abilities of classic gaming systems to display colors on screen. Definitely an interesting companion piece for The NES That Never Was…
I think it’s worth mentioning that the Original Nintendo could display 52 colors, like it said, but each sprite could only have 4 colors, one of which was usually transparent. In order to get more color depth out of, say, the player’s character, developers had to overlay two sprites on top of each other, netting them upwards of six colors!
Later consoles, I remember the GBA specifically, could do about 16 or 32 colors per palette, and a sprite can only have one palette at a time. This is where the term “palette swapped” comes from – the game saved on graphic memory by using the same enemy sprite but with a different palette (or color scheme) applied (palettes were memory cheap, but whole new sprites are expensive). Things which were hurt could have the palette swapped between a normal and a negative to create the blinking hurt effect.
Many early consoles had crippling limitations such as this. It’s amazing developers still developed such awesome games despite these.
I love images like this.
Gamers and Gamerettes,we came along way…..