Go Nintendo got ahold of former Sega of America senior producer Scott Bayless, the man who first came up with the marketing term “Blast Processing.” Sega would then use it in its promotional campaign extensively, bragging that this vague term somehow made the Genesis better than the SNES, like so:
As Scott tells it, Blast Processing wasn’t even a term he meant to spread around; it just kind of happened by accident.
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.
That’s correct: Blast Processing actually refers to a programming trick that was never even used because not every Genesis model would support it. Now that we have proof we were all duped, we can all file a class-action lawsuit for false advertising…..well, not really; it’s been over 20 years and the statute of limitations has passed. Probably why he would admit this now.
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