Gaming has long been a competitive and cutthroat market, with overheads the size of whales. Most games companies would do anything to have the edge on their rivals - even if that means debasing themselves with half-truths and outright lies. In other words: hype.
Here are just five times reality never really lived up to the marketing.
Supposedly, this "Blast processing" gave Sega the hardware edge over its rivals. In reality, it was little more than a fairly meaningless PR term, coined by - among others - senior Sega producer Scott Bayless, who has since gone on to describe the phrase as "ghastly".
He honked, in his defence: "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 DACs'. Well they loved the word 'blast' and the next thing I knew Blast Processing was born."
Admittedly, it was merely a neat way of packaging Sega's supposedly faster hardware in an easy-to-understand phrase, but unfortunately, that phrase also included the word "processing" - the marketing equivalent of asking "I wonder how my nan's doing?" in the middle of foreplay.
"Sega Genesis has Blast Processing. Super Nintendo... doesn't," crowed the ads. This led to a worried Nintendo fighting back with a series of advertorials which painted Blast Processing as a myth.
Not all of Nintendo's counter-claims were accurate, but having been on the receiving end of a campaign which portrayed them all as nerds wearing "glasses held together with tape" (coincidentally, Bayless himself appeared in one of these print ads, depicting him as one of Sega's in-house super-cool dudes) the gloves were off.
"Most Americans don't realize that each PlayStation unit contains a 32-bit CPU every bit as powerful as the processor found in most desktop and laptop computers," read the entirely sexed-up (i.e.; made-up) story.
"A single PlayStation can generate up to 75 million polygons per second. Polygons, as noted in the DIA report, are the basic units used to generate the surface of 3-D models - extremely useful in military design and modeling applications. Bundled PlayStation computers could also be used to calculate ballistic data for long-range missiles, or in the design of nuclear weapons.
"Iraq has long had difficulty calculating the potential yield of nuclear devices - a critical requirement in designing such weapons. Networking these computers might provide a method for correcting this deficiency."
After the report - which was so very obviously planted by Sony's PR team - gained traction, a senior UK intelligence source reportedly described it as "nonsense", adding: "The suggestion that there's a shortage of standard PC hardware in Iraq is silly. PCs are commodities like cars and washing machines, and they can get as many PIII and P4 PCs as they like, sanctions or no sanctions".
This was a lesson that had yet to be learned during the home computer boom of the early 1980s, when games were often sold on the promise that they were created with something called "Machine Code". It was implied that games made using "BASIC" - again, most of us didn't know or care what that was either - were, I dunno, slower and worse, or something.
Yes, I admit, I was semi-impressed by games which boasted of their Machine Code credentials, but only ever in a sort of Emperor's New Clothes kind of way. Always at the back of my mind was a little voice whimpering: "Yes, okay... but... but what does that actually mean?"
The only people who cared about any of this were massive nerds - and there were a lot of them left over from the era when home computers were used for actual computing. The rest of us just kind of took their word for it that Machine Code was a good thing, without really having the incentive to dig further into the matter. Even researching Machine Code for this article has given me an aneurysm.
Well done. You're all very clever.
Admittedly, Nintendo and Silicon Graphics entered into a partnership with the best of intentions - announcing that the jointly-developed hardware would "be unveiled in arcades in 1994, and will be available for home use by late 1995 ... below $250".
Indeed, when those first arcade games were revealed as Killer Instinct and Cruis'n USA (somehow they failed to use the power of Silicon Graphics to calculate how to correctly abbreviate the word 'cruising'), the hype went into overdrive; getting graphics of that quality in the home would be unprecedented. Oh, we were all very excited!
Admittedly, the N64, when it finally emerged, could handle 3D graphics incredibly well compared to everything that had come before it, but... y'know... not quite Silicon Graphics-well. When Killer Instinct and Cruis'n USA did eventually appear on the system, they were a significant step down from their arcade incarnations, and we all felt pretty stupid for having assumed they'd be anything different.
A shamefaced Nintendo was forced to admit that the arcade versions of those games never even ran on Ultra 64 hardware in the first place. Worse still, for the home version of Cruis'n USA, Nintendo censored one of the arcade version's most popular features: the ability to run over innocent animals.
Upon learning of the censorship, lead developer Eugene Jarvis wailed: "It seems like they don't have a sense of humour. I don't know what's wrong with these people..."
Commodore made a big deal about the CD32 being able to display 256,000 on-screen colours from a palette of 16 million - with one particular TV ad depicting an awed player declaring "Colours... so many colours" like he'd just seen the face of God.
This colour boast was slapped all over CD32 marketing and the hardware's packaging, failing spectacularly to impress anybody. Surely nobody had ever sat down to play a game and thought: "Imagine how much better this game would be if there were more colours..." had they?
For the modern equivalent of the Machine Code/so many colours phenomenon, please see 4K graphics and games running at 60 frames per second.
Yeah, whatever. I went there. Fight me.