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Elk Attack Questions


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#1 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:54 AM

The rom for this prototype has been floating around since the original release of the Stella emulator and has been pretty well documented.  Mark Hahn stated in an interview (DP) that he made it while unemployed in 1987 to try and sell to Atari.  I always thought it was odd that he would pick a really old and obscure coin op to try and make a game out of due to the licensing costs alone (which would have turned a penny pinching Atari off).  I always figured he had some half finished code or something and decided to tidy it up while he wasn't doing anything, so I didn't think much about it.

 

Today I was listening to an interview with Mitch Balsam (ANTIC podcast) where he claimed that HE wrote the 2600 version of Electric Yo-Yo and that Mark must have simply released the rom with the Elk Attack name as a joke (I guess Elk stuff was a inside joke between them).  Mitch claimed his version was only about 70% complete before he went to go work on the Graduate add-on and he never finished it.  So what I'm wondering is:

 

1. Is Elk Attack the same game that Mitch wrote or did Mark start from scratch?  The gamefield looks a lot like Pengo's, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything since they were co-workers and may have shared code.

 

2. If Mark used the same code as Mitch, did he finish it up or just release it as is?  The game seems pretty complete to me although a bit too easy.

 

3. How come Mark never mentioned Mitch working on Electric Yo-Yo when he was interviewed by DP?

 

 

I'm curious if there are two different versions out there.  This new information is really interesting.



#2 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:54 PM

Interesting questions.
I hope you get some answers.
Personally, I've never really understood exactly where this game would have even fit in the product list anyhow. And then pile onto that the fact that it looks so similar to Pengo, and it just adds up to me as some kind of hack or experiment.
And 1987 is just...an odd year for it...to say the least.
There must be more to this story. I don't think those involved have recalled it correctly.

#3 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:32 PM

It's a nice version of Electric Yo-Yo, but the game itself was pretty obscure so it wouldn't have done well I think.

#4 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:53 AM

Interesting info, Matt.

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

8)



#5 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:49 AM

According to CloneSpy there was quite a lot of code (~35%) shared between Pengo and Elk Attack.

BTW: The gamefield also looks a lot like Ixion too.

#6 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:22 AM

According to CloneSpy there was quite a lot of code (~35%) shared between Pengo and Elk Attack.

BTW: The gamefield also looks a lot like Ixion too.

 

Yeah I always assumed Elk Attack was based off the Pengo code somehow.  However the timeline would seem to indicate that Electric Yo-Yo was written first and Pengo was based off Yo-Yo's code (at least as far as I can tell from the dates thrown out in the interview).

 

Someone needs to ask Mitch and Mark about this.  Now I'm really curious.



#7 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:11 AM

I am pretty sure Pengo came first, because the final version of Pengo is closer to Elk Attack than the prototype version.

#8 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:57 AM

I am pretty sure Pengo came first, because the final version of Pengo is closer to Elk Attack than the prototype version.

 

Interesting.  Mitch was saying that he was working on the game in 1982 before he got pulled off to do the Graduate.  I always assumed Pengo wasn't started until 83 due to the dates on the protos.  Then again Mitch may have been remembering. 



#9 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:49 AM

Both Sega's Pengo & Taito's Electric Yo Yo arcade games are from 1982, so that doesn't help narrow down anything. And while both are pretty obscure arcade games, Pengo is hands down the more familiar & well known of the two. Granted, partly because Atari helped make Pengo known with 2600, 5200, & computer releases of the game. But I never saw an Electric Yo Yo arcade game at any local game room growing up in the South Florida area.

I suppose a release of Yo Yo by Atari for its home systems may have made the game more familiar to gamers, but we have absolutely nothing (other then the rom / Proto itself) that announces, advertises, or even makes mention of the games very existence; let alone potential release.

Mind you, all of the needed markers are in place; Atari released other games by Taito, and, other obscure games have been found in Proto form in the Atari archives.

#10 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:55 PM

The Electric Yo Yo is far more obscure than Pengo. I heard around 50 -100 around units were released. Taito was based out of the Chicago 'burbs (where I reside) and I had never seen one. I don't ever recall seeing a Taito Kram (another Taito rarity from the same era).

 

One other thing to note... a sales flyer/brochure didn't even exist for this game.

 

While I think Elk Attack is a decent port of Yo Yo; it is missing one of the pivotal enemies in the game - the electric snake. it makes the game way too easy compared to the arcade counterpart.



#11 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:54 AM

While I think Elk Attack is a decent port of Yo Yo; it is missing one of the pivotal enemies in the game - the electric snake. it makes the game way too easy compared to the arcade counterpart.

 

In all fairness, it might not have been finished.  Mitch didn't finish his for sure, and Mark may have only gotten his version to a playable state before sending it off to Atari for a look (he doesn't say he actually finished it in his interview with DP).    Mitch said they had an Electric Yo-Yo machine in the break room which is why he picked it.  This would have been Atari NY, not the CA offices. 

 

It's been a long time since I've played with Elk Attack, does the snake possibly show up on a higher difficulty level or something?

 

I guess we won't know the full story until someone talks to Mark Hahn again.  I'd also like to know what the deal with Dukes of Hazzard being burned onto real chips is, especially given that it's an incomplete game.



#12 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:56 AM

As would I.
And Donald Duck's Speedboat also has a mask rom; at least the 3 that I came into in 1986 did. Surely others exist. Both these games sample boxes look production quality to me.

#13 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:15 AM

Important to mention here that post production mishaps, although costly & uncommon, have happened in the game business.
7800 Impossible Mission
Victory for Colecovision
The Immortal for NES
Etc.
Perhaps they accidentally sent an earlier beta of Dukes rather then the final to be mass produced?
And perhaps they caught it midway through, and the final days were already present anyhow, and they just scrapped it all & wrote it off?

#14 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:45 AM

 

In all fairness, it might not have been finished.  Mitch didn't finish his for sure, and Mark may have only gotten his version to a playable state before sending it off to Atari for a look (he doesn't say he actually finished it in his interview with DP).    Mitch said they had an Electric Yo-Yo machine in the break room which is why he picked it.  This would have been Atari NY, not the CA offices. 

 

It's been a long time since I've played with Elk Attack, does the snake possibly show up on a higher difficulty level or something?

 

I guess we won't know the full story until someone talks to Mark Hahn again.  I'd also like to know what the deal with Dukes of Hazzard being burned onto real chips is, especially given that it's an incomplete game.

 

 

I should've have worded that better, it was not a critique... more of a general assessment.

 

I checked out a Youtube video; I didn't see the snake past round 5. I don't believe there is one either. The Atari version, the power tiles are already there, in the arcade version, the snake leaves them randomly on tiles he landed on.

 

I hope you guys do get in contact with him; I would like to hear the full monty on this game as well. Was it mentioned on why he abandoned this game? He was sooooo close.



#15 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:48 AM

 

Was it mentioned on why he abandoned this game? He was sooooo close.

 

Mitch abandoned it because he got pulled off to work on the Graduate computer add-on.  Mark did his version in his spare time when he was unemployed and tried to sell it to Atari but they didn't want to pick it up (this was 87).



#16 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:51 AM

 

Mitch abandoned it because he got pulled off to work on the Graduate computer add-on.  Mark did his version in his spare time when he was unemployed and tried to sell it to Atari but they didn't want to pick it up (this was 87).

Very informative...

 

Thinking about it... this would fit perfectly in Colecovision's catalog since they did a lot of those oddball arcade titles.



#17 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:27 AM

Very informative...

 

Thinking about it... this would fit perfectly in Colecovision's catalog since they did a lot of those oddball arcade titles.

 

Atari must have had a contract with Taito or something because they did a lot of the home releases for their games.  

 

Qix - 8-bit, 5200 (2600 version may have been planned)

Space Dungeon - 5200

Space Invaders - 2600, 8-bit, 5200

Jungle Hunt - 2600, 8-bit, 5200

Phoenix for the 2600

Electric Yo-Yo - Planned 2600

Elevator Action - Planned 2600 and 5200

Zookeeper - Planned 2600

 

Then again Tigervision somehow got the rights for Polaris and  Coleco had the rights to Front Line.



#18 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:00 PM

(uh, for the record, Centuri had Phoenix, not Taito)

Trust me, I know, because Eagle & Pleiades were at the very top of my 2600 dream list in 1983/84.

#19 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:54 PM

(uh, for the record, Centuri had Phoenix, not Taito)

 

Actually Taito released in Japan.  Centuri didn't develop it either, they licensed it from some small Japanese developer (I don't know if anyone has figured out which one).



#20 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:59 PM

 

Atari must have had a contract with Taito or something because they did a lot of the home releases for their games.  

 

Qix - 8-bit, 5200 (2600 version may have been planned)

Space Dungeon - 5200

Space Invaders - 2600, 8-bit, 5200

Jungle Hunt - 2600, 8-bit, 5200

Phoenix for the 2600

Electric Yo-Yo - Planned 2600

Elevator Action - Planned 2600 and 5200

Zookeeper - Planned 2600

 

Then again Tigervision somehow got the rights for Polaris and  Coleco had the rights to Front Line.

I know Wild Western was planned for the Colecovison... was there a 2600 version being proposed?

 

Some of the well-known taito games still missing: (not counting homebrews like Colony 7)

 

Alpine Ski

Stratovox

Tin Star (somewhat known)

10 Yard Fight

Kram



#21 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:08 AM

I know Wild Western was planned for the Colecovison... was there a 2600 version being proposed?


Yes I believe there was along with an Intellivision port.




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