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dreaming again of a TRON arcade conversion...


31 replies to this topic

#26 mellis OFFLINE  

mellis

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Posted Wed Dec 8, 2010 7:52 AM


Since the XM unit cannot play games by itself, saying that a game made for use on the 7800 with an XM unit is not a 7800 game is not accurate.

Since games made for the XM unit cannot play on a 7800 by itself, saying that a game made for use on the 7800 with an XM unit is not a 7800 game is completely accurate.


I'd like to disclose, up front, that I ordered a 7800XM within days of the order page being posted.

That said, I think it's worth exploring ZyloneBane's point, which I believe can be summarized thusly: if you can't pop a cartridge into a stock 7800 and play it, then it's not a 7800 game; it's something else.

Seems simple enough, but let's consider the 7800 game, Commando. That's a 7800 game that you can pop into a stock unit and start playing. However, I believe the cart has both a POKEY chip and some extra RAM onboard. So, the cartridge actually enhances the 7800's hardware to deliver a better gameplay experience.

I am interested in, someday, writing a 7800 game or two (in my copious spare time), and if I were to engage in such an undertaking, I am certain I would like to have additional RAM and a POKEY. In the late 1980s, I would have used a cartridge with hardware enhancements similar to Commando's. However, back then, I would have (hopefully) been able to sell more than 100 or so of them, so the cost of the enhanced cartridge could be absorbed.

These days, the tiny market for 7800 games mean the cartridges themselves have to be as close to free as possible. The 7800XM provides a way to accomplish that. It allows homebrew games to offer the same hardware that, historically, would have been found within the cartridge itself (and the YM chip is a bonus), but users only have to buy it once. If the hardware enhancements were still buried in the carts, users would end up paying over and over again for the extra RAM and POKEY chips. This way, they only have to buy the enhancements once.

So, going back to the premise that a game is a 7800 game only if it runs on a stock system, consider this:
If somebody hacks Commando to offer additional levels and then releases that as a new cart for the 7800XM, is that no longer a 7800 game? In that scenario, the code is pretty much the same, but there are more maps, and the POKEY and extra RAM are provided by the 7800XM instead of being embedded.

I can see it being argued either way, but in the end, I see the 7800XM as an enabler of high-quality homebrews for the 7800 - in an age where the economy of scale won't absorb carts with additional hardware onboard.

#27 Tubular Gearhead OFFLINE  

Tubular Gearhead

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Posted Wed Dec 8, 2010 8:39 AM

These days, the tiny market for 7800 games mean the cartridges themselves have to be as close to free as possible. The 7800XM provides a way to accomplish that. It allows homebrew games to offer the same hardware that, historically, would have been found within the cartridge itself (and the YM chip is a bonus), but users only have to buy it once. If the hardware enhancements were still buried in the carts, users would end up paying over and over again for the extra RAM and POKEY chips. This way, they only have to buy the enhancements once.


+1 Well said.

#28 Syfo-Dyas OFFLINE  

Syfo-Dyas

    Dragonstomper

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Posted Wed Dec 8, 2010 9:11 PM

This is one game I'd happily buy if it existed! I've felt the same way for years!

#29 Madaracs OFFLINE  

Madaracs

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Posted Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:55 AM

I can see it being argued either way, but in the end, I see the 7800XM as an enabler of high-quality homebrews for the 7800 - in an age where the economy of scale won't absorb carts with additional hardware onboard.


To add to that... there is nothing wrong with tacking "XM" onto the back of the game's name to validate that distinction. Maybe something like "Commando 7800XM" or "Commando XM." I agree entirely with your statement.

#30 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:12 AM


Since the XM unit cannot play games by itself, saying that a game made for use on the 7800 with an XM unit is not a 7800 game is not accurate.

Since games made for the XM unit cannot play on a 7800 by itself, saying that a game made for use on the 7800 with an XM unit is not a 7800 game is completely accurate.


You contradict yourself in your own statement as evidenced by the text I've boldfaced. The XM is not a console, it is an enhancement to an existing console as has been explained by others quite clearly. Just like a SuperCharger game is a 2600 game, so are the XM games 7800 games.

#31 PAC MAN FEVER OFFLINE  

PAC MAN FEVER

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Posted Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:15 PM

that would be cool id like tron to come to the atari 7800 :)

#32 Lord Thag OFFLINE  

Lord Thag

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Posted Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:12 AM

What does it matter if the extra ram and sound chip are on the cart board, or on an expansion module? To my mind, it doesn't make much of a difference.

For example, take a game like Starfox for the SNES. Everyone considers Starfox one of the signature SNES games, but by this 'no extra hardware logic', it isn't. Starfox has a totally different graphics chip (the FX chip) and extra RAM, if memory serves. In my book, it is still a SNES game, it's just an enhanced one. The new 7800 games (or the old ones with pokey like Commando/Ballblazer)that will use the XM are just that, enhanced. They're still 7800 games to my mind.

It's like the difference between a turbografx CD and a turbografx super CD game. Both are TG16 games, but the latter uses expansion RAM and system 3.0.

I do understand the homebrew programmers who prefer 'vanilla' hardware though, and the challenge of ekeing out all of the performance they can. We get most of our best homebrew games that way. I think there's room for both. All I want is new, awesome games. More power to them!

As for TRON, hell yeah, I would buy a conversion in a second, even if it had to use joystick control. It's a great arcade game, and frankly, I have faith in the talented programmers around here to figure out a way to include paddle control.




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