History of video games/Fifth generation of video game consoles


3D Gaming

A typical CRT TV set from 1995. By this point the more capable RCA jacks were becoming more common on televisions, reducing the need for RF output.

Polygonal 3D gaming was supported by all major home consoles this generation. However real time 3D graphics on consumer level hardware was still a new concept, and there were many different wildly different approaches to how a 3D system should work in a console. This lead to some consoles being much better at 3D graphics performance and ease of use by developers, and some with performance much less than their at the time impressive specifications would indicate.

Many game series failed to make effective 3D versions of their traditionally 2D games.[1] Crafting a believable 3D environment on the hardware available was difficult. Furthermore, developers not only had to design good controls for a 3D game, they had to explain them to players used to playing 2D games exclusively.[2] All these issues were exasperated by a lack of developers familiar with 3D gaming, even within major development companies.[3] Even developers that were able to competently make 3D games struggled somewhat, with large improvements in 3D game control schemes occurring within the generation as developers figured out ways to improve the player experience.[4][2]

Display technology

The backlight of a Sega Nomad. While portable consoles could incorporate backlighting this generation, it wouldn't be till the sixth generation where backlighting became efficient enough to be practical.

Display technology improves rapidly during this time with the final major refinements in CRT displays, and the emergence of new technologies. In 1996 Sonys Trinitron (Aperture grille CRT) patents expire, allowing other manufacturers to produce similar quality television sets[5][6] and improving the gaming experience. In 1998 Phillips introduces the first consumer plasma TV for $15,000.[7] Such TVs would become common in the mid 2000's with improving technology and price drops.

This generation more portable consoles adopted color screens, though monochrome screens were still common.


  1. "10 Classic Gaming Franchises That Didn't Survive The Transition To 3D". TheGamer. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. a b "Super Mario 64 introduced the camera as a friend and foe in video games" (in en-us). Games. https://games.avclub.com/super-mario-64-introduced-the-camera-as-a-friend-and-fo-1798250469. 
  3. "shmuplations.com". shmuplations.com. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  4. "Retro Review: Mega Man Legends - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  5. "History of the CRT TV". BT.com. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  6. "Sony Pulls Plug on Historic Trinitron TV". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  7. Broersma, Matthew. "Flat TV, big price". ZDNet. Retrieved 11 December 2020.

Fourth generation of video game consoles · Sixth generation of video game consoles