What is the first "arcade perfect" home port?

Back in the ‘80s and ’90s home ports of arcade games were a big deal, but the hardware was rarely up to the task. There are many excellent ports that just fall short of the arcade experience. Ridge Racer for Playstation is a good example. It runs at 30 fps instead of the arcade's 60, there is simplified geometry and decreased resolution. It does a great job of capturing the feel of the arcade, and at the time that was good enough. The question remains - what is the first perfect port? Feel free to discuss any other outstanding ports that might not be perfect as well.

Hmmm, “first” is a tough one - obviously we have arcade perfect ports now with emulation, but every game in the past had some sort of caveat to it. Like loading! The Saturn has loads of close-to-perfect ports of games, especially those that came from the ST-V, but there's always loading in there.

Then do you count the Neo Geo AES? Those are arcade perfect home "ports" but it's barely a port since it's alllmost (and sometimes exactly) the same rom but played on your home TV. The AES was almost certainly the first arcade perfect home console across the board.

In the early days you had stuff like Street Fighter II CE for the pc engine. It was the best port of that game for ages! But the music was always lacking because of the soundchip. It sounds fine, but it's not all the way there.

I would say the PC Engine was the first platform to get close-to-arcade-perfect ports with games like Darius and others being closest on the platform. Prior to that the gap between arcade and home was just too large.

Interestingly the PC Engine because of where it's situated in history seems to have more "close to" arcade ports than the SNES or Genesis because the arcades were taking bigger leaps forward during the snes and genesis era (remember PCE came out in 87, AND most folks were building their games on PC-88/98s, and the PCE was a familiar environment from there).

I love watching comparison videos, and you always see concessions with the genesis and snes, it just depends what you care about. Genesis will have lower colors, snes will have smaller or squashed sprites - if there's transparency the SNES will handle it and the Genesis won't, etc.

I love comparing these but I think identifying the first perfect port will be tough because of all the above (and having to discount the neo geo home console). But let's try?

This is an interesting question! And I don‘t have any idea what the answer is! It’s really tempting to look at home ports of pre-1985 arcade games, but a lot of those didn‘t get ported until years later, or got immediate, imperfect ports. I’ll be curious to see what other folks suggest!

Like Exodus mentioned, all the Neo-Geo AES games.

They are the same rom as the arcade just booting into slightly differently versions based on the BIOS.

The main imperfection of the AES at the time is just that the games were designed for arcade RGB so if you were hooking it up through composite you'd get rainbow artifacts. With good output cables the games were all arcade perfect.

Outside of the super expensive Neo-Geo and CPS-Changer options, most ports prior to PS1/Saturn era tended to have issues, and fighting games took a little longer. Fighting games didn't really get proper ports until the Dreamcast and PS2.

Sometimes early ports were interesting though, and occasionally they were better than the arcade because of it.
The PS1 ports of the Tekken games simplified the backgrounds. I like Tekken 3 _a little_ better on PS1 than in the arcade because I like the simplified backgrounds better. The SNES port of Killer Instinct takes a massive hit to the way it looks, but is effectively a Turbo revision so I like it better than the arcade game.
Psyvariar 2 for Xbox is imperfect in a great way. They removed most of the slowdown. So if you ever want a smooth slowdownless version of Psyvariar 2 that's the version to play!

Just to be a weirdo, SOME SAY that the Saturn version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 is closer to arcade perfect than the dreamcast version, so there's room for debate (it front-loads all the loading which is weird too). buuuut technically the DC version came out first so that still fits the “until the dreamcast and PS2” thing, because the dreamcast and ps2 were out. but yeah, Saturn definitely had some close-to-arcade perfect fighting games - final fight revenge, for example (which is an ST-V game).

i might be crazy, but i've never noticed a difference between the vectrex and arcade version of asteroids.

*edit* looking into it a bit, the vectrex chugs as the levels go up

solid bid for first though, absolutely. I was trying to think of a vector game but somehow asteroids totally slipped my mind. I got stuck on Star Wars arcade, which wasn't perfect by a long shot!

Based on some cursory internet research, the Sharp X68000, released in 1987, may be the first home console/computer to offer arcade-perfect ports, as this system was the basis for Capcom’s CPS1 (and served as the dev workstation).


Oh, that‘s a possibility! But it’d still have loading, I think?

this also reminds me that the FM Towns had the first "arcade perfect" port of Splatterhouse, but of course that was disc based and had loading too.

Maybe there‘s one of those early pong home consoles that’s arcade perfect?

I am aware that some of the pong consoles featured different graphics, and that makes me question, what would be considered an arcade perfect port of the original 1972 pong arcade machine and if that even exists?

Maybe Frank would know something about this?

Hmm, that‘s a really interesting one - I think a lot of them spent significant effort differentiating themselves from the original and expanding upon it, but surely one must have done the bare bones version. There are SO many pong machines that one must have been incredibly close - maybe even atari’s own home pong. I'll check with frank!

Also, 90% chance there's a very early, nearly perfect port of space invaders. the PC engine has one!

I wonder if many (any?) of the home ports replicated glitches and killscreens from the original arcade versions, or saw them as bugs to be fixed?

I was thinking that there is probably a port of either Space Invaders or Pac-Man that qualifies, but don't know if those ports keep the "problems" along with everything else.

I kind of feel like including load times in the criteria makes this impossible to answer fairly. I also think platforms with much the same hardware should also be discounted. So the best answer is probably a PCE shmup? Not my area of expertise to pick one though

edit: I want to qualify the above. I'm thinking in terms of "when did a developer first scale the mountain of arcade perfection in a port" rather than "when was an arcade perfect port first available from a home consumer perspective", if that makes sense. The achievement of creating such a thing. A wrinkle in answering the latter question is that it's arguably more subjective and the standard for 'arcade perfect' has shifted dramatically over time... Though I think the spirit of OP is clear that we're talking about an objectively 1:1 port.

The CPS1 board had a more powerful graphics chipset from what I understand which limited the ports of stuff like strider and final fight. They look great but couldn‘t have as many sprites on screen. The x68000’s gotta have something close to arcade perfect. Wouldn‘t be earlier than pong or space invaders, but I’m curious! Maybe detana twin bee? Or maybe fantasy zone?

Edit- twin bee aspect ratio doesn't match up

@“exodus”#p36057 I was thinking that space invaders would be a serious contender.

It's not arcade perfect but Final Fight CD for Sega CD was an impressive arcade port.

Imagine if Sega CD had gotten an equally strong port of the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs arcade game instead of that bizarre Sega CD Cadillacs and Dinosaurs game. That and a few other CPS games would have made it the favorite system of a few more people for sure. People love that Cadillacs and Dinosaurs arcade game.

For whatever reason the Sega CD just randomly got one really good CPS port and it was of Final Fight.

@“goonbag”#p36059 I was thinking a 1:1 port when I asked the question, but I didn’t even consider the Neo Geo at the time. Any interpretation of the post is cool with me. I’m just glad that people are discussing this!