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#76 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:51 PM

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Dennis Debro's awesome 4K Pac-Man version. More about it here: http://www.atariage....81989-pacman4k/

I believe the ROM is floating around in that thread, if memory serves. It is excellent, and clear that he worked hard to be faithful to the arcade while working within the limits of what Frye did.

#77 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:15 PM

Maybe because Debro's homebrew has nothing to do with Atari's Pac-Man? ;) Nothing was shared between them. It could also be argued that it wouldn't have been done that way in either case (it uses "illegal" opcodes).

#78 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:17 PM

I did play his 4k Pac-Man, it is a fine job.

what did Debro gain by using the illegal opcodes?

Edited by Cafeman, Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:18 PM.


#79 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:27 PM

Maybe because Debro's homebrew has nothing to do with Atari's Pac-Man? ;) Nothing was shared between them. It could also be argued that it wouldn't have been done that way in either case (it uses "illegal" opcodes).


Whoa hey. :) I guess I thought it related well, in that so many people have discussed about if a more accurate Pac-Man could be created back in the day, for the 2600. Just seemed like Debro did that. And I'm not a programmer, so I have no idea what illegal opcodes are. Is that something that Atari would not have allowed in the original game? And if so, why?

#80 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:49 PM

Yes, unfortunately Dennis was listening to Judas Priest "Breakin' the Law" when he programmed Pac-Man 4k ... cops are still looking for who used those illegal opcodes! :D

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#81 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:15 AM

what did Debro gain by using the illegal opcodes?

Machine cycles in the display kernel. IIRC it is using DCP (decrement + compare) and LAX (load both A and X) in it's skipdraw code.

And I'm not a programmer, so I have no idea what illegal opcodes are. Is that something that Atari would not have allowed in the original game? And if so, why?

The so-called "illegal" opcodes were not part of the documented 6502 instruction set. Basically, such opcodes carrying out two or more operations simultanuosly...which often leads to unstable, unpredictable results among 65xx chip variations. However, even the stable ones like DCP were never officially adopted.
Because they were never part of the instruction set officially, there would be no guarantees that such opcodes (even the stable ones) would still work predictably in the future (i.e. for any revisions done to the console). Tho in hindsight, they are fairly safe on the 2600 platform ;)

Atari would not have allowed it just like nobody else would have...mass-producing cartridges is costly, and it would really suck if the latest game they shipped out did not work with their latest revision of the console (all due to an opcode that was never intended to be used).

#82 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:32 AM

what did Debro gain by using the illegal opcodes?

Machine cycles in the display kernel. IIRC it is using DCP (decrement + compare) and LAX (load both A and X) in it's skipdraw code.

And I'm not a programmer, so I have no idea what illegal opcodes are. Is that something that Atari would not have allowed in the original game? And if so, why?

The so-called "illegal" opcodes were not part of the documented 6502 instruction set. Basically, such opcodes carrying out two or more operations simultanuosly...which often leads to unstable, unpredictable results among 65xx chip variations. However, even the stable ones like DCP were never officially adopted.
Because they were never part of the instruction set officially, there would be no guarantees that such opcodes (even the stable ones) would still work predictably in the future (i.e. for any revisions done to the console). Tho in hindsight, they are fairly safe on the 2600 platform ;)

Atari would not have allowed it just like nobody else would have...mass-producing cartridges is costly, and it would really suck if the latest game they shipped out did not work with their latest revision of the console (all due to an opcode that was never intended to be used).


Thanks for the explanation, Nukey.

#83 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:22 PM

I've posted my thoughts on the VCS Pac-Man a few times before, but it seems that every time I do, there's a new detail I hadn't mentioned previously...

In 1982 I had wanted that Coleco tabletop Pac-Man game for Christmas. I hadn't actually seen it in action, but because I was a dumb, ignorant little kid, I thought it was basically an emulated version of the arcade game. That year under the tree from "Santa Claus" was a brand new four-switcher addressed to my brother and me. That was the VERY last thing I was ever expecting....man, I was thrilled. There's a picture somewhere of us opening it, wide-eyed s**t-eating grin on my face...my dad told me after we opened it that one of the reasons they got the Atari for us instead was that they had heard from other parents that the Coleco Pac-Man was horrible and made these incessant noises that you couldn't turn off, and they'd much rather have the less annoying sounds of an Atari playing in the house than the dreaded screeches of the Coleco game.

Now...I had already been a massive Pac-Man fan. I had been introduced to the arcade Pac-Man at the game room in the Holiday Inn in Bradley, Illinois probably in 1981, and something about it charmed me. Loved it right away, even though I hadn't figure out that to eat a monster you needed to eat one of the big blinky things. But nonetheless, I loved it. The cartoony graphics, the sound, the gameplay...just grabbed me.

The Christmas when we got the Atari, I had just turned eight years old and, as such, didn't get much of a chance to hit the arcades. Sure, the Kroger not far from home eventually got a pirated Pac-Man machine (they also had a Deep Scan/Headon II twofeer at one point, and when they got the Pac-Man game I'm pretty sure they had Crazy Konga the same time). But I would only get a chance to even look at it if I went with my parents grocery shopping, and it was very rare that they would give me a quarter to play the thing. The only other time I had a chance to play arcade games was on our monthly trip to the Lincoln Mall in Matteson, Illinois. (Where we lived at the time, there was no real mall in the Kankakee, IL area, so we had to make the half-hour trip up Interstate 57.) Lincoln Mall had the greatest arcade I ever set foot in to this day: Bally's Aladdin's Castle. Inky and I and probably others have posted about how great that place was before, but man...they had EVERYTHING -- video games (over time they had ALL the Pac-Man games), pinball machines, bumper cars, video jukebox, Neo Geos...it was amazing. My allowance for Aladdin's Castle: a dollar, which equated to four tokens, plus any tokens I might have found abandoned on the floor. (Happened once or twice.) Or if my brother had any extras he didn't want to use, he'd bequeath 'em to me. My favorite games were always the Pac-Man games; my favorite at the time was Pac-Land and saved it for last. (Lately though I'm not as much of a Pac-Land fan; I much prefer the old-fashioned maze games.)

Having said that, you can see that for me, as a little kid, arcade games were a privilege. I was always jealous of my brother because he and his friends would go out to the arcades a lot (we had two in the area, one of which I never set foot in) and not take me (he's almost ten years my senior), and the last thing my parents wanted to do was go out of their way to take me to a noisy gameroom. So the Atari VCS was my savior.

Yes, I had the VCS Pac-Man (still do!), and loved it. Yes, I knew graphically and aurally it was nothing like the arcade game, but I didn't care. That was the only Pac-Man game I could play regularly. And the weird quirks of the home version -- particularly the super-strict collision detection -- added some challenges.

BTW, something that's really cool, seriously: the Atari VCS Pac-Man with the TV Type switch set to B/W. There were nights when my brother would bring the Atari into his bedroom with an old black-and-white TV my grandmother had handed down, and something about it looked really cool...we'd play Pac-Man for hours. I remember he rolled over the score....some days later I managed to get as high as 90,723. (I've since scored higher, but this is the highest score I actually remember precisely. And nearly thirty years later.)

On Christmas Eve my wife went to a show with her mother, who was in town visiting, leaving me at home alone, except for the beagle. I had finished up my shopping, giftwrapping, a load of laundry, etc., so I rewarded myself with some quality time with the Atari 7800 I bought from Breakpack a few years ago. Played Food Fight first, of course...and just for s**ts and giggles, I fired up the VCS version of Pac-Man on the 40-inch Sony Bravia we bought last year when my last severance check overlapped with my first paycheck from my new job. Seriously, that made it fun as all hell! And man, what a challenge! Really, say what you will about the VCS/2600 version of Pac-Man, but the damn thing is pretty challenging, especially if you don't play it every day! Couldn't get higher than about 12,000 on game 2...

And yes, the VCS version of Pac-Man is often cited, along with E.T., as the cause of the Great Video Game Crash of 1983. But really, that's about as accurate as saying that Yoko Ono broke up The Beatles. It's much more complicated than that. Hell, for many Atari users -- myself included -- that was the first game they ever had for the system, and it led to the purchase of many more. And personally, I was actively playing Atari games regularly up through 1988; reason I stopped playing? Got a Commodore 64 as an 8th-grade graduation present. Combination of a new computer and just the busy-ness of high school life kind of made me neglect the Atari. Proud to say though that Inky reawakened me to Atari circa late 1992.

Edited by Dauber, Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:27 PM.


#84 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:57 PM

OH...and here's a picture of paragraph 7 as it happened, baby! :)

Posted Image

Edited by Dauber, Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:58 PM.


#85 Deteacher OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:11 PM

I just hated those sound effects so much.


Funny how so many people (myself included) that can't stand the sound effects for 2600 Pac Man, yet it's a "stock sound byte" for commercials and tv shows when someone is playing a video game. That, and the 2600 version of Donkey Kong. LOL!

#86 retrorussell OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:41 PM

The single frame of animation of Pac-Man's death just before he disappears always made me think of a butter dish.

#87 mbd30 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:23 PM

Let's talk about the game that disappointed us all!

Pacman, on the atari 2600! It was nothing like the arcade version, and they rushed it and released an unfinished prototype! All for Atari's money making scam!


Not a scam because people knew what they were buying. The actual graphics are on the box. Now if they had printed "Looks and sounds just like the arcade game!" and put misleading graphics on the box, that would be closer to a scam.

#88 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:50 PM

Funny how so many people (myself included) that can't stand the sound effects for 2600 Pac Man, yet it's a "stock sound byte" for commercials and tv shows when someone is playing a video game.


Speaking of the sfx and the commercials...I saw the commercials for the 2600 Pac-Man, particularly one in which a girl is playing the game with her grandfather. I distinctly remember that the sound effects in that commercial -- at least the times I saw it --- were COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what was actually in the game...which is why I was startled by the sound when I first played it. Don't know how to describe the sound effects I heard in the commercial, but they were NOTHING like either the arcade version or the actual 2600 version...

#89 yaniotis13 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:53 PM

"Pac Man disappointed us all" is turning into an urban legend, along with "ET caused the market crash" and "Everyone hated the 5200 controllers." What are the other great Atari Misconceptions? (I know there's more but can't think of them offhand)


I agree 100% with your statements about Pac-Man and ET however I don't see how somebody could not have a problem with the Atari 5200 controllers. Besides the fact that they are destined to break extremely quickly for controller standards, the non self centering analog with its extremely wide range of motion made many games impossible to play. If the 5200 had the same amount of controller options as the 2600 did then we wouldn't have looked back at the 5200 controllers as such a disaster. We would be able to use them for the games they were meant to be played with like Pole Position and we could use a more traditional 2600 style joystick for games like Pac-Man.

It's a real shame because the 5200 had incredible graphics for its time, great sound, as well as built in voice capabilities. It also had every important arcade game of its time. It had the potential to accomplish great things for atari and the video game industry as a whole. Especially if it wasn't so expensive when it came out.

#90 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:53 PM

I agree 100% with your statements about Pac-Man and ET however I don't see how somebody could not have a problem with the Atari 5200 controllers. Besides the fact that they are destined to break extremely quickly for controller standards, the non self centering analog with its extremely wide range of motion made many games impossible to play. If the 5200 had the same amount of controller options as the 2600 did then we wouldn't have looked back at the 5200 controllers as such a disaster. We would be able to use them for the games they were meant to be played with like Pole Position and we could use a more traditional 2600 style joystick for games like Pac-Man.


While I understand that might be true for you, I honestly honestly honestly barely have any control problems playing 5200 Pacman with the stock joysticks. And this is actually fresh in my mind since I played a few rounds of 5200 Pac/Ms Pac only last week.

It makes me curious to see you on a regular Pacman arcade machine and how well you can control that.. maybe it's just an inherent oddity in the timing of the joystick presses? Hard to say. What I can say is the 5200 sticks are about as easy to control as Pacman CE is on the regular Xbox analog stick. Which while it isn't ideal, works fine. That being said, of course nothing compares to having a 4-way arcade stick. :)

But yes.. the 5200 sticks break. If it aint the button contacts going out, it's the stick going out of wack. Boy did that give me a lot of hard times as a kid. :lol:

#91 yaniotis13 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:00 AM

I grew up in the nintendo/sega genesis age so any kind of joystick will automatically make my performance in the game a little worse than if i have a d-pad. I have never used a 5200 controller personally, I am going on the hundreds of reviews of it on the internet. However you are starting to sway me. Then again when I was planning on buying my 7800 I kept saying eh how bad could the joysticks be? People usually exaggerate... But wow they are horrendous. I guess that's why I'm so skeptical about the 5200 controllers.

#92 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 2, 2012 3:50 AM

Correction:
Debro's homebrew uses DCP and triple-NOP in the display kernel. LAX is used elsewhere.

#93 DrThielegood OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 2, 2012 6:41 PM

I don't remember feeling that ripped off because...let's face it....neither the VCS or the arcade could stand up to the visuals of the Pac-man animated cartoon show. Seriously though I feel like we have to take Atari 2600 arcade ports for what they were. I was lucky enough to play most of these games in the arcade, and luckier still to own a few of them in my home arcade (Pac, Defender, Asteroids etc) but that never minimized the experiences that I have had with the Atari ports. Truth is, whether its Pac-Man, Asteroids, Defender, or whatever.... I remember feeling like the experience that I was getting at home was different enough to be cool, while similar enough to still bear the title of Defender or Space Invaders or ...dare I say it...Pac-Man. Everything thats been said about the Pac-Man port has been true (graphics, gameplay, colors, etc) but that will never take away the great memories of playing it with my Dad when I was 8.....well for a few games anyway....then we played a wayyyy better game.

Cheers,
Bob




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