I thought that this was clear-cut, as outlined in the answers to Are retro gaming consoles on-topic?, but Why can't special controllers or accessories be used with Super FX games? has gathered three (3) off-topic close votes so far.

I don't see a good reason for them not to be on-topic, and I think attempts to render them such will result in inconsistencies in the scope definition, but I don't feel confident overruling the votes without making sure that the consensus hasn't changed.

Are these questions still on-topic?

2 Answers 2



There's no clear distinction between a games console and a home computer. The NES, for instance, was alternatively marketed as both a computer and an entertainment system in various markets, and it ran BASIC.

As such, technical questions about the Atari 2600 are just as useful as technical questions about the Commodore 64.

Attempting to arbitrarily rule games consoles as off-topic would lead to the site's scope becoming less clear, and render off-topic many useful questions that have been asked in the past (leading to the Broken Windows effect); it'd be work to render these off-topic as they have previously been on-topic.

  • 2
    I would agree, Nothing has changed since the first question on this topic. Consoles are computers, just ones with a dedicated purpose.
    – Chenmunka Mod
    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:32
  • 4
    Agree as well. Considering that there are "Game Consoles" that are derivates of home computers or vice versa (like the CDTV or Atari XE Game System), even more - It would just be extremely hard to draw a boundary line.
    – tofro
    Feb 25, 2019 at 13:53
  • 1
    A very much amplified upvote. Although the reasons seem weak in their enumeration. Whether anything was marketed as such&such, don't care: if you can hack it to do stuff the devs never dreamt of, then it's good to go. And those 'consoles' now need repair, new code written for them… (Heck, in 15 years this SE will have to include toasters & fridges…) Mar 2, 2019 at 22:10

YES ...

... they are. Except, the question in question is neither a technical one, nor about the system. It is about a message a game ROM displays when detecting (or more exact not detecting) some kind of controller. So it's strictly about that games content, not the console or it's component.

One problem with this is that this meta question, its premade answer and comments make it sound as if the close votes where about consoles per se. They where not.

I believe it's pretty clear that any computing device is by default on topic for RC.SE - despite the purpose it's made for. Just, while the device it self will construct a basic on-topic-ness, it's the questions topic (and details), that must be used for a final classification. A test the mentioned question about the NES message fails in my opinion, as it is not about the computing device itself, or any detail thereof, but the game plugged in and what is coded.

I truly believe that we need to be quite vigilante in defending this fine line to avoid slowly moving the borderline by more and more such questions to be finally drowned in a sea of undesirable content.

LangLangC made a nice comment here about "in 15 years this SE will have to include toasters & fridges". Which I very much agree. Then again, exactly such a questions, regarding an embedded system, has been already closed as being off topic, despite being about a quite classic 16 bit computer system. So, is it only on topic if it has been seen in millions of living rooms and a part of pop culture or should this apply to all computing devices?

P.S.: I did wait on purpose to avoide a heated discussion - and see what additional answers/comments will show up.

  • 1
    I think it is a question about the device. It's a piece of ROM code that's common to all cartridges with the Super FX chip, not a feature of a particular game.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Mar 7, 2019 at 7:35
  • @wizzwizz4 Just because code is copied over several games doesn't make it anything else than game code.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 7, 2019 at 12:08
  • It would be required for every piece of software using that hardware, though. It's not game-specific code. Just because virtually no other software for the platform's target audience would ever possibly use such a chip doesn't mean that it's inherently game code.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Mar 7, 2019 at 16:31
  • @wizzwizz4 Is there any proof that it's required? I doubt that. But without any doubt, it's code contained in a/some game(s). Thus game specific.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 7, 2019 at 21:23
  • "Is there any proof that it's required?" The hardware can't safely provide enough power to power the chip and the controller, so if you don't mind melting your console then no, there's no proof it's technically required. Nintendo policy required it, however.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Mar 7, 2019 at 21:24
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    "a sea of undesirable content" we are a long way from being there at the moment. Checking the site's analytics, we are rarely getting more than two or three questions a day.
    – JeremyP
    Mar 10, 2019 at 15:18

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