DF Retro: Daytona USA – why frame-rate has always mattered

Welcome to the world of Digital Foundry Retro. Every weekend, DF Retro brings us a new story based on a significant release in gaming history, backed by exemplary, clean capture taken using original console hardware. It’s a great way to revisit the classics while reflecting on what made each game so special in its day. Check back often for brand new episodes as we update this article with the latest videos.

This week, John Linneman revisits one of the most important arcade releases of the 90s – Sega’s epoch-making Daytona USA. Built on Model 2 hardware, Daytona is a shining example of an age where arcade gaming technology was generations beyond what the home consoles could offer.

Daytona also highlights that the importance of frame-rate isn’t necessarily an issue just for modern gaming – Sega’s iconic racer played host to a range of home conversions across the years that simply couldn’t match the original, and poor frame-rate was the key reason why the original Sega Saturn port just couldn’t capture the experience of the classic arcade title. John’s analysis doesn’t just cover the Saturn conversion though – every single port and sequel is covered.