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The Video Game Homebrew Crash of 2016


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#1 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:27 AM

Back in '83 or so, one of the reasons given for the great video game crash was the glut of games for the '2600, and in particular the utter crap that was being released by every man and his dog for the system. Slap up some movement under joystick control, give it a bit of a back story, release it as a game and bob's your uncle. Well, pretty soon people realised that it was all overpriced crap, and the bottom fell out of the industry.

Segue to 2015 and a fairly large (IMHO) number of homebrews written using Bb. Blocky, easy to write, fairly stock standard stuff with some sort of bullshit backstory to the "game".  Slap on some tie to a movie that you don't actually have the rights to... or in some way try to associate yourself with some niche IP.  Market to those who have to have everything. Pretend that there's some sort of special release, perhaps a limited edition so it must be worth more, right? Put up prototypes on eBay, perhaps. Have a little competition, get the poor sheep interested in this as some sort of special thing that actually required more than fundamental programming skills.  Yes, I think we're about overdue for the great homebrew crash of 2016.

Just saying.



#2 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:45 AM

What is Bb? Oh, you mean bB. Yep, batari Basic is probably the worst thing to happen to video games since the Virtual Boy. :D



#3 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:13 AM

Sadly, Mr. Davie is quite right about the declining quality of homebrew releases. There are still some great ones but the market is being flooded with sub-par offerings.



#4 Jin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:23 AM

Sadly, Mr. Davie is quite right about the declining quality of homebrew releases. There are still some great ones but the market is being flooded with sub-par offerings.

 

Which would be fine if the sub-par offerings were $5 or $10 each, but at $25 to $50 a pop that is going to create some market sustainability issues sooner or later. I do think there are couple homebrew titles out there from the last few years that might be worth the high price tag due to their quality and innovative gameplay, but there have been quite a few that I've tried the demos for and had a hard time imagining anyone being willing to pay money for it. They can't all be winners I suppose.  :dunce:



#5 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:37 AM

I think my first point regarding this issue was in 2008 and much more pronounced earlier this year.

 

The target audience for high priced, cheaply made games are clearly collectors. So:

 

As for the collectors who buy almost everything, IMO they are not good for the homebrew quality.

 



#6 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:06 AM

 

Which would be fine if the sub-par offerings were $5 or $10 each, but at $25 to $50 a pop that is going to create some market sustainability issues sooner or later. I do think there are couple homebrew titles out there from the last few years that might be worth the high price tag due to their quality and innovative gameplay, but there have been quite a few that I've tried the demos for and had a hard time imagining anyone being willing to pay money for it. They can't all be winners I suppose.  :dunce:

 

Come visit us at the Intellivision forum once in a while.  We only wish our crap games were $25 and $50 a pop.  Just like in the good old days, someone decided that the cachet of the Intellivision (and those fancy cardboard boxes) is worth at least $60 to $80 -- not to mention the lower serial numbers, which go for twice as much.  :(

 

If you see that Great Homebrew Crash of 2016 coming, please send it our way! *sigh*

 

     -dZ.



#7 Jin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:29 AM

 

Come visit us at the Intellivision forum once in a while.  We only wish our crap games were $25 and $50 a pop.  Just like in the good old days, someone decided that the cachet of the Intellivision (and those fancy cardboard boxes) is worth at least $60 to $80 -- not to mention the lower serial numbers, which go for twice as much.   :(

 

If you see that Great Homebrew Crash of 2016 coming, please send it our way! *sigh*

 

     -dZ.

 

After taking your suggestion and doing some sleuthing around (largely on http://www.intellivi...ently-available) I am completely at loss for words. $75 does seem to be the average price for an Intellivision homebrew game, and the only explanation I can come up with for it is that a large percentage of collectors must overvalue homebrew titles for their system of choice and be wealthy enough to not care. Also, crack cocaine. When all else fails to explain human behavior, crack cocaine is always a legitimately plausible explanation. 



#8 wolfy62 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:58 AM

Yea man, it's horrible!



#9 lucifershalo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:01 AM

Collectors...yep

how many of those people buying Homebrews...overall the boxed, completed, lim edition ones are actually playing the games

instead of pleasuring themselves by putting pictures of their collection....



#10 Emehr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:55 AM

Thanks for saying out loud what many of us (probably) are thinking. I can't help but feel that the overwhelming use of bB is somehow discouraging or pushing away the developers who strictly use assembly. I'm not knocking all games made in bB and I'm certainly not knocking bB. I'm just saying it takes something that was once inaccessible to the masses, makes it accessible, and is easily abused.



#11 xucaen OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:59 AM

I won't use basic, that's why I have yet to write a game. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it) :P

BTW I seem to recall a wonderful tutorial series for Atari 2600 and 6502 assembler written by Andrew. It's worth reading more than once.

#12 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:13 AM

I've had people suggest I try to use 7800BASIC to port games over to the 7800 and I said I just don't feel BASIC is a proper tool for the job for me.  (I do speak 6502 ASM.)

 

Sure, it'd make it easier, but when I want a port to be accurate, I'm not sure it's the right way to go.



#13 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:46 AM

Sure, it'd make it easier, but when I want a port to be accurate, I'm not sure it's the right way to go.

 I think 'hard' should be part of the game-creation process.



#14 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:20 AM

Thanks for saying out loud what many of us (probably) are thinking. I can't help but feel that the overwhelming use of bB is somehow discouraging or pushing away the developers who strictly use assembly. I'm not knocking all games made in bB and I'm certainly not knocking bB. I'm just saying it takes something that was once inaccessible to the masses, makes it accessible, and is easily abused.

 

 

 I think 'hard' should be part of the game-creation process.

 

You know, it is attitude like yours that discourage game creation and participation.  There are many things wrong with our respective communities, and most have to do with the way some people behave.  However, the tools have nothing to do with it.

 

I've seen crap games in Assembly Language, just as I've seen brilliant ones in BASIC.  It is a poor warrior who blames his weapons for missing his mark -- and a poorer one who blames his situation on others.  :roll:

 

If there's a glut of crap games, there's one simple solution:  help and encourage programmers to make better ones, and shame and ostracize those who promote or encourage bad behaviour.



#15 toiletunes ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:54 AM

I play most homebrews on Harmony. If the game is great, I'll buy it. If the game is good, I'll keep it on Harmony. If it's crap, I delete it. This system works pretty well for me.



#16 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:56 AM

You know, it is attitude like yours that discourage game creation and participation.  There are many things wrong with our respective communities, and most have to do with the way some people behave.  However, the tools have nothing to do with it.

 

I've never judged anyones creations in a bad way and I always try to see the positive side of things.

However, if someone (like The Usotsuki) can choose between an easy way and a hard way, I have this (maybe crazy) idea that the hard way could lead to a more creative result.



#17 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:02 AM

I think 'hard' should be part of the game-creation process.


I disagree! "Fun" should be most of the game creation process. As has been mentioned, you can create stinkers in any language. What I see lacking in the community is good and honest criticism of new games. People either say nothing at all or nothing bad, mostly fearing the developer will "take their ball and go home with it".

#18 xucaen OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:08 AM

Although, I think it is also worth mentioning that we have something today that we didn't have back in 1983 and I think if we did, we would have avoided the crash - YouTube. Someone out there has posted a gameplay video of homebrew games, and we can usually tell just by looking at it if it's any good.

 

That's my 2 cents, keep the change. :D



#19 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:10 AM

I have this (maybe crazy) idea that the hard way could lead to a more creative result.


I guess this is the magnum opus approach. Sure, you can spend 10s of hours squeezing every cycle out of a routine (especially for the 2600) but if what you implement is "good enough", makes no impact to the game and its still fun then call it a day and move onto other things in the same game to add extra polish.

#20 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:12 AM

What I see lacking in the community is good and honest criticism of new games. People either say nothing at all or nothing bad, mostly fearing the developer will "take their ball and go home with it".


AtariAge is a very, very positive website, but sometimes that sucks. ;)



#21 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:38 AM

Back in '83 or so, one of the reasons given for the great video game crash was the glut of games for the '2600, and in particular the utter crap that was being released by every man and his dog for the system. Slap up some movement under joystick control, give it a bit of a back story, release it as a game and bob's your uncle. Well, pretty soon people realised that it was all overpriced crap, and the bottom fell out of the industry.

Segue to 2015 and a fairly large (IMHO) number of homebrews written using Bb. Blocky, easy to write, fairly stock standard stuff with some sort of bullshit backstory to the "game".  Slap on some tie to a movie that you don't actually have the rights to... or in some way try to associate yourself with some niche IP.  Market to those who have to have everything. Pretend that there's some sort of special release, perhaps a limited edition so it must be worth more, right? Put up prototypes on eBay, perhaps. Have a little competition, get the poor sheep interested in this as some sort of special thing that actually required more than fundamental programming skills.  Yes, I think we're about overdue for the great homebrew crash of 2016.

Just saying.

Not true, great 2600 games were released in 1983, Atari had the 'silver box' range, which was mostly of great quality, Activision had classics like Pitfall 2, Beamrider, Pressure Cooker, Frostbite, Space Shuttle and more, Imagic had Fathom, Laser Gates, Moonsweeper, Parker Bros hat great games in  83 and many other companies had excellent games in 1983.



#22 xucaen OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:42 AM

Not true, great 2600 games were released in 1983, Atari had the 'silver box' range, which was mostly of great quality, Activision had classics like Pitfall 2, Beamrider, Pressure Cooker, Frostbite, Space Shuttle and more, Imagic had Fathom, Laser Gates, Moonsweeper, Parker Bros hat great games in  83 and many other companies had excellent games in 1983.

 

He's not saying all games were bad, just that there were enough bad games flooding the market that no one trusted enough to buy videogame any more - at least, not enough to sustain the industry. Video games were effectively dead until Nintendo.

 

edited for sanity. ;-)



#23 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:43 AM

Not true, great 2600 games were released in 1983, Atari had the 'silver box' range, which was mostly of great quality, Activision had classics like Pitfall 2, Beamrider, Pressure Cooker, Frostbite, Space Shuttle and more, Imagic had Fathom, Laser Gates, Moonsweeper, Parker Bros hat great games in  83 and many other companies had excellent games in 1983.

The problem is not the lack of great new homebrews, but the flood of low quality releases.

#24 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:32 AM

I've said this before and I'll say it again: all those crap games that caused the crash in '83 were written in assembly. What language the programmer uses has nothing to do with the quality of the game.

 

I think bB is a great tool and in the right hands can be used to make some excellent games. I'd like to see more collectors and gamers sit down with it for a second and try to make a game. I think it would help them understand how the 2600 works, what it's limitations are and maybe make the appreciate the great games even more knowing what the programmers had to overcome. And it's fun for those of us who don't know or have the time to learn assembly but still want to make games.

 

The problem here isn't bB, or even the number of bB games being made. It's that everyone seems to think every game they churn out deserves a cartridge release.



#25 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:34 AM

The problem here isn't bB, or even the number of bB games being made. It's that everyone seems to think every game they churn out deserves a cartridge release.

I think the bigger problem is, that there is a market for that. 

 

And yes, bB is not the core problem. 






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