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Donkey Kong conversions by Atari


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#1 mozartpc27 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:37 PM

One of my interests within the interest I have in old computers & gaming consoles is collecting ports of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior.  Just something I really enjoy doing.  I try to always pick up any released-at-the-time conversions of Donkey Kong available for any system I own.  I've therefore played two versions for Commodore, the ColecoVision version, the Coleco ADAM tape version, the NES version, the 2600 version, the Ti-99/4A version, and the Atari 800 version.

 

Of all of these, I think the Atari 800 and TI-99/4A versions stand out as best, and of course were programmed by Atari.  Personally, I think the TI-99/4A version looks the best, but the Atari 800XL version plays a little better.

 

All of this, however, leads me to my question.  As I'm sure you all know, depending on the version, the opening screen can be oriented to the right or left.  The arcade of course was to the left.  If the conversion you are playing is oriented to the right, it usually has only four levels of girders on the first screen, instead of five.

 

What I can't understand is: why did Atari program the beautiful looking TI-99/4A version with the arcade "correct" number of 5 girders, oriented to the left, but on the version for their own machine, they used only four girders, oriented to the right?  Mario himself also looks more arcade correct in the TI-99/4A version than in the Atari 800XL version.  It seems odd to me that the one they made for a competitor's computer wound up looking better than the one they made for their own in-house computer.

 

I can't imagine anyone has the answer to this, except if it has something to do with screen resolution, but it bugs me.



#2 PingvinBlueJeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:15 PM

What I can't understand is: why did Atari program the beautiful looking TI-99/4A version with the arcade "correct" number of 5 girders, oriented to the left, but on the version for their own machine, they used only four girders, oriented to the right?  Mario himself also looks more arcade correct in the TI-99/4A version than in the Atari 800XL version.  It seems odd to me that the one they made for a competitor's computer wound up looking better than the one they made for their own in-house computer.
 
I can't imagine anyone has the answer to this, except if it has something to do with screen resolution, but it bugs me.


Well for one thing, the TI-99/4A conversion of Donkey Kong was published by Atarisoft but, like most of the Atarisoft titles, wasn't actually developed by Atari. K-Byte was subcontracted to do several TI ports, including Donkey Kong. Douglas Craig and Howard Scheer were the programmers. Craig also worked on Moon Patrol, while Scheer did Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man.

The only Atarisoft titles that were done at Atari were the ColecoVision and Intellivision releases. The rest were all developed by outside firms.
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#3 mozartpc27 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:37 PM

Huh.  So someone did have the answer!



#4 PingvinBlueJeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:10 PM

Huh.  So someone did have the answer!


I'm sure technical limitations came into play as well, like you stated above. But I've never programmed for either of these machines, so I can't tell you much about any apparent issues with screen resolution. I seem to recall that someone here on the forums was trying to develop a homebrew version with all five girders on the Atari at one point, but it was difficult or outright impossible to pull it off.

#5 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:26 AM

As Pingvin says, all the C64 games for Atarisoft were done by third parties.



#6 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 3, 2017 10:05 AM

Does the TI-99 version not have springs on the elevator stage?

Each programmer did whatever they thought best and had different constraints wether its technical or time or skill. Don't how much direction Atari would have given the programmers.

#7 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 3, 2017 12:23 PM

One of my interests within the interest I have in old computers & gaming consoles is collecting ports of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior.  Just something I really enjoy doing.  I try to always pick up any released-at-the-time conversions of Donkey Kong available for any system I own.  I've therefore played two versions for Commodore, the ColecoVision version, the Coleco ADAM tape version, the NES version, the 2600 version, the Ti-99/4A version, and the Atari 800 version.

 

Of all of these, I think the Atari 800 and TI-99/4A versions stand out as best, and of course were programmed by Atari.  Personally, I think the TI-99/4A version looks the best, but the Atari 800XL version plays a little better.

 

All of this, however, leads me to my question.  As I'm sure you all know, depending on the version, the opening screen can be oriented to the right or left.  The arcade of course was to the left.  If the conversion you are playing is oriented to the right, it usually has only four levels of girders on the first screen, instead of five.

 

What I can't understand is: why did Atari program the beautiful looking TI-99/4A version with the arcade "correct" number of 5 girders, oriented to the left, but on the version for their own machine, they used only four girders, oriented to the right?  Mario himself also looks more arcade correct in the TI-99/4A version than in the Atari 800XL version.  It seems odd to me that the one they made for a competitor's computer wound up looking better than the one they made for their own in-house computer.

 

I can't imagine anyone has the answer to this, except if it has something to do with screen resolution, but it bugs me.

 

I think it either comes down to programmers choice (games of that era were often programmed by one guy)  or the shape of the pixels.   On Atari, the 160x192 modes give the best balance of resolution and color,  but it results in rather wide pixels.     Perhaps the game just looks best when you make the screen wider but cut off one layer of girders?  I believe the 7800 also short a level of girders and it uses the same resolution.



#8 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 3, 2017 4:16 PM

Does the TI-99 version not have springs on the elevator stage

Correct. No springs. I've always wondered if they could be put back on, it makes the level kind of pointless otherwise.

#9 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 3, 2017 4:22 PM

No springs was probably related to development time or ROM space. 






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