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#1 Csonicgo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:12 PM

Is anything but.

 

I managed to pick up a copy of this at a local second-hand store, complete with overlays. After an hour of trying to put in an example program, I gave up in frustration. This is the most annoying thing I've ever used. And on top of that, only 9 lines of code!

 

Is there any other trivia on this title? This seems really, really weird as an Atari release, and looked to me like a "sucker buy", that is, only suckers would buy this. Even in the old days, I don't see a reason for this title. Did Atari really have this much cash to waste on a title with such limited capability? Or did Warren Robinett convince Atari that this needed to be published, just for the laughs?
 

 

But that Box art...what a beautiful lie that was.

 

I'm such a sucker.



#2 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:18 PM

Even in the old days, I don't see a reason for this title. Did Atari really have this much cash to waste on a title with such limited capability? Or did Warren Robinett convince Atari that this needed to be published, just for the laughs?

 

Maybe.

Rumor has it that Atari was forced to create this title after customers complained that calling the 2600 the Video Computer System was false advertising (computers were suppose to be programmable right?).  An interesting story, but I haven't been able to verify it.  Chalk it up to another 2600 urban legend...


#3 Csonicgo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:21 PM

That's an interesting point. I mean, it did have "Computer" on the console, so shouldn't it be a computer?
Kinda makes me wish the Compu-mate made it.



#4 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:10 AM

I thought the "False Advertising" thing was for Video Chess; there was an illustration of a chess piece on the box, but no chess game at the time?



#5 Csonicgo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:03 AM

My atari VCS box fell apart from dryrot, but it did NOT have the chess piece on it. Turns out some of the first runs *did*. I did not know that, but sure enough, there's a Knight on the box. My copy has what looks like some boxart.
 



#6 20ohm20 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:53 AM

I remember saving up allowance for this, along with the keyboard controllers, back in the day.  Since it predated my first "computer" by about a year (a TI-99/4A), this was actually my introduction to programming.

 

I honestly don't remember ever doing very much with it...



#7 enthusi OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:04 AM

That site sums it up quite nicely.

 

http://blog.codingho...ned-from-basic/



#8 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:45 PM

I thought the "False Advertising" thing was for Video Chess; there was an illustration of a chess piece on the box, but no chess game at the time?

The difference is that it was proven that this was a problem -- again, quoting from the great AtariProtos.com site:

 

"It's a good thing that Atari was able to figure this out, as they were currently being sued for lack of a Chess cartridge!  You see Atari had never planned to do a chess program.  Everyone thought that Chess was well beyond the capabilities of the poor old 2600 so it was never planned.  However someone forgot to tell marketing this, and they stuck a big ol' Chess piece on the system box.  Apparently some man in Florida had bought the 2600 assuming that it would have a Chess program available (after all they advertised it right on the box!).  After realizing that Atari planned no such thing, he sued for false advertising.  So Atari could either cough up a Chess cartridge or pay out alot of money in lawsuits, and thus Computer Chess (later renamed Video Chess) was born."

 

http://www.atariprot...mputerchess.htm



#9 Raiu OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014 12:49 AM

I got Basic Programming as part of a two-pack (the other game being Brain Games) which also included the Keyboard controllers. I actually really enjoyed it.  I made lots of simple games, but I enjoyed just tinkering with it, seeing what it was capable of, pushing the limits.

 

Yeah, there were better BASIC programming tools available on computers, but my mother considered computers just an expensive toy, so it would be a good five years (an eternity when you're 12) until I got my own Commodore 64 to program on.



#10 BigO OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014 12:58 AM

As useless as it actually is in terms of writing a real program, it was pretty interesting to me as a kid. Looking back on it now, it seems like it was a peek into another world.
(BASIC pun recognized while typing, but not intended)



#11 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014 9:57 AM

That's an interesting point. I mean, it did have "Computer" on the console, so shouldn't it be a computer?
Kinda makes me wish the Compu-mate made it.

 

What do you mean by "wish the Compu-mate made it."? It's still reasonably available (becoming less rare once that Venezuelan source found a stockpile) and is the closest thing to a real computer add-on the 2600 ever saw. The two optional software programs for it (on tape) are still fairly rare, however.



#12 SpaceDice2010 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014 11:34 PM

Oh boy... One of the worst purchases i ever made for the Atari 2600.

 

Seriously.

 

I "think" if you did something how it ran though the code looked like PONG. That was about as close as you got to programming.

 

Horrible.



#13 Tony The 2600 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014 7:16 AM

IMO it's not that bad, i mean it does give a very 'basic' insight to programming. A simple musical tune or moving two 'balls' around are essentially programs, not very sophisticated ones but can be classed as programs. No different to the generic 'hello world' program everyone starts off with in most languages. To be honest a few years back i had some fun playing around with it, very limited but after a while you work out ways to shorten the code to add more features.

 

I am really interested if the rom could be hacked to a 32k size so more code and memory can be used, that way some slightly interesting programs could be coded.

However i will agree the num pad controls can be tedious to say the least, almost like a fountain pen you need to dip every second letter :mad:.


Edited by Tony The 2600, Mon Mar 3, 2014 7:17 AM.


#14 Csonicgo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:06 AM

 

What do you mean by "wish the Compu-mate made it."? It's still reasonably available (becoming less rare once that Venezuelan source found a stockpile) and is the closest thing to a real computer add-on the 2600 ever saw. The two optional software programs for it (on tape) are still fairly rare, however.

It's pretty well known that it wasn't a very financial success. Then again, the measure for success by then was "survive the crash".



#15 SpaceDice2010 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:03 PM

This should be voted the worst Atari 2600 game ever. Seriously.



#16 godzillajoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:00 PM

Except it's not a game



#17 Xot OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:17 AM

But it says "game program" right on it!



#18 cobracon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:44 PM

 

I am really interested if the rom could be hacked to a 32k size so more code and memory can be used, that way some slightly interesting programs could be coded.

However i will agree the num pad controls can be tedious to say the least, almost like a fountain pen you need to dip every second letter :mad:.

Would this work??



#19 7800Lover OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:04 PM

Hmmm...could a serious programming title for the Atari 2600 be done?  Is it within the 2600's capabilities?



#20 Tony The 2600 ONLINE  

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Posted Sat May 3, 2014 7:38 PM

Would this work??

The ability to add more lines of code opens up a whole new ball game so to speak. However as far as i know, the extra rom space is achieved with bank switching, so i am not too sure if it is possible. Basic programming would also need to be ripped/copied from the original rom and then added to a 32k batari basic project. Some may frown upon that idea as its essentially ripping off Warren Robinett's work, the original code would also need to be worked on or even completely re-written to support bank switching. Not sure if anyone would have the desire or passion needed to do this, after all its not a very popular game program.



#21 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 4, 2014 6:44 AM

I started to alter it into an 8k PAL Superchip version to use expanded ram instead of native (in the original program, symbols/tokens are stored in 63 bytes starting at ram $93...and tracked with ram addresses $8A and $8B). I altered these reads and writes so they would point to expanded ram instead. The larger screen area made room for line numbers 10 though 13 to be visible (also added). The problem is that the interpreter is still dreadfully limited...what is the point?

#22 CurtisP OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:32 PM

I started to alter it into an 8k PAL Superchip version to use expanded ram instead of native (in the original program, symbols/tokens are stored in 63 bytes starting at ram $93...and tracked with ram addresses $8A and $8B). I altered these reads and writes so they would point to expanded ram instead. The larger screen area made room for line numbers 10 though 13 to be visible (also added). The problem is that the interpreter is still dreadfully limited...what is the point?

 

If you still have this code, I'd like to see it.



#23 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:29 PM

 

If you still have this code, I'd like to see it.

 

X2! Would be even cooler if Nukey made a CBS RAM version for 256 bytes of RAM or utilized the SuperCharger for 2K of RAM.

 

There could be an interesting collaboration with that other project a programmer created that plays back WAV output over the TV speaker you can record to give the BASIC complete IO - the SuperCharger version could both load and save programs - assuming that takes an extra K there would still be 1K of RAM.

 

There's automatic IO support by default with the SuperCharger version in that there is still a way to preserve your programs using an emulator to create an image or just preloading the BASIC code before compiling the ROM since that 2K of BASIC RAM Free is going to behave as static RAM and keeps it's state.

 

I'd like to see a copy of your code too Nukey, but only if you put some comments in where you made the changes - not looking at a straight dump ;)



#24 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:45 PM

I started to alter it into an 8k PAL Superchip version to use expanded ram instead of native (in the original program, symbols/tokens are stored in 63 bytes starting at ram $93...and tracked with ram addresses $8A and $8B). I altered these reads and writes so they would point to expanded ram instead. The larger screen area made room for line numbers 10 though 13 to be visible (also added). The problem is that the interpreter is still dreadfully limited...what is the point?

 

I always wondered if anyone had tried this. I understand that it is rather pointless, given the limited implementation of BASIC.



#25 GeekDragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:23 PM

I have Basic Programming, and up until I read this post, I didn't know it needed a seperate controller.  Can I use the same controller as Star Raiders or do I need another one?  If I need a different one, does anyone have one and the overlays(which I didn't know about till now)for sale?






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