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Hard Head by Activision for Atari 2600


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#151 Cav OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:39 AM

I don´t know how helpful this is but I´ve just asked Mr. Steve Cartwright if he ever heard of "Hard Head" since he was an Activision programmer back in ´83.

 

Here´s his answer: " Sorry... never heard of it. It might have been prototype work of one of the external design centers... perhaps New Jersey, LA, or Sacramento."

 

The characters look straight out of Sneakers and Fast Eddie. Anyone know Mark Turmell well enough to ask if he programmed this?



#152 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:00 AM

 

The characters look straight out of Sneakers and Fast Eddie. Anyone know Mark Turmell well enough to ask if he programmed this?

 

I noticed that too.  That's a good idea...


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#153 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:17 PM

Interesting. I've actually met with him on 2 or 3 occasions. I even have some pics someplace. But it was all MK related. Haven't seen him in years.

#154 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:36 AM

Contacted Crane about it.

I don't think I will get an answer from him soon, but who knows...

8)



#155 Cav OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:26 AM

I'm in contact with Mark Turmell. I've sent him the video and hopefully he'll check it out this morning. He's west coast so there will be a bit of a wait. Hopefully not long. 



#156 Cav OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:17 AM

Mark wrote back. Nice guy, but unfortunately a dead end. He suspected Steve Cartwright, but I said he didn't know anything about it. 

 
"Interesting. I was at Activision then and recall something like this being shown. Have you asked Steve Cartwright? Suspect it was his."
 

"Nope. It wasn't Sacramento. Sorry. Felt a bit like a Frostbite. Which was awesome. Maybe best vcs game ever."



#157 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:27 AM

Huh.  The mystery deepens I guess.  

 

Given the level of sophistication of the proto, I'm guessing it has to be a well known programmer.  If someone really wants to take a look at the code of the dumped version maybe they can see some similarities with another game and we can go from there.  Programmers tended to reuse their code where possible.


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#158 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:28 AM

Huh.  The mystery deepens I guess.  

 

Given the level of sophistication of the proto, I'm guessing it has to be a well known programmer.  If someone really wants to take a look at the code of the dumped version maybe they can see some similarities with another game and we can go from there.  Programmers tended to reuse their code where possible.

 

Good idea.

 

8)



#159 lazzeri OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:45 PM

Huh.  The mystery deepens I guess.  

 

Given the level of sophistication of the proto, I'm guessing it has to be a well known programmer.  If someone really wants to take a look at the code of the dumped version maybe they can see some similarities with another game and we can go from there.  Programmers tended to reuse their code where possible.

 

   I´ve read an interview with Mr. Van Ryzin on Digital Press recently. He said that his first game for Activision was "Cosmic Commuter" but it wasn´t published because it didn´t was good enough (his words). Only then he made H.E.R.O.

   Only when the US market collapsed Activision released Cosmic Commuter to grab some quick cash.

   My point is: Maybe A LOT of above-average games were ditched back in the day because even been great they were not "Activision Quality". So HH might even be a very nice first attempt from someone who got axed later on. :(

   I´ve asked him for an interview two weeks ago. He never answered. :(

   Here´s the interview: http://www.digitpres..._van_ryzin.html

   Here´s a very interesting quote from it:
 

DP: Where there any other 2600 games that you did that were never released? There was talk about some unreleased games by Activision, and little is known about them. I’ve talked to some other Activision programmers… supposedly Zenji was going to be released. Do you know of any games that were close to completion, but where never released?

 interview_john_van_ryzin_3.png

John Van Ryzin: Yes, there was a lot of that. You’d be amazed by how much of that happened. In the peak of the Atari 2600 days, Activision was very concerned about their image. They would only release games that were really good. If a game didn’t live up to their reputation, Activision had no desire to release it. Cosmic Commuter is a perfect example. I finished that game in the peak of the industry, when the 2600 was really hot stuff. Activision felt that it didn’t measure up. They decided not to release it then. That was really disappointing for me – I finally got a job with this big, successful company. I write a game, work like crazy to do it, get to the end, and then they decide that they don’t want to publish it! It probably took me nine months to write that game. So then I wrote HERO. They thought HERO did measure up and they released it. Six months to a year later, they decide to release Cosmic Commuter.

There were lots of games that the company was not thrilled with. Activision opened up a number of design centers where all the people who worked there wrote games. Then Activision would say that they didn’t like any of the games. Those games were not released, and then the design center would be shut down. There were some guys from the Boston design center that wrote a couple of games that were pretty good, and Activision never released them. I only wrote two for the 2600.


Edited by lazzeri, Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:46 PM.


#160 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:56 PM

Interesting.  Maybe it came out of the Boston design center then?



#161 lazzeri OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:10 PM

Interesting.  Maybe it came out of the Boston design center then?

 

   I´m not in USA so it might be easier for you guys to figure this out: Were was the prototype found?

   It seems plausible that since it was accidentally found "in the wild" it haven´t travelled around a lot. So maybe check wich was the closest design center to its finding location?


Edited by lazzeri, Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:11 PM.


#162 Good_Times OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:15 PM

 

   I´ve read an interview with Mr. Van Ryzin on Digital Press recently. He said that his first game for Activision was "Cosmic Commuter" but it wasn´t published because it didn´t was good enough (his words). Only then he made H.E.R.O.

   Only when the US market collapsed Activision released Cosmic Commuter to grab some quick cash.

   My point is: Maybe A LOT of above-average games were ditched back in the day because even been great they were not "Activision Quality". So HH might even be a very nice first attempt from someone who got axed later on. :(

   I´ve asked him for an interview two weeks ago. He never answered. :(

   Here´s the interview: http://www.digitpres..._van_ryzin.html

   Here´s a very interesting quote from it:
 

DP: Where there any other 2600 games that you did that were never released? There was talk about some unreleased games by Activision, and little is known about them. I’ve talked to some other Activision programmers… supposedly Zenji was going to be released. Do you know of any games that were close to completion, but where never released?

 interview_john_van_ryzin_3.png

John Van Ryzin: Yes, there was a lot of that. You’d be amazed by how much of that happened. In the peak of the Atari 2600 days, Activision was very concerned about their image. They would only release games that were really good. If a game didn’t live up to their reputation, Activision had no desire to release it. Cosmic Commuter is a perfect example. I finished that game in the peak of the industry, when the 2600 was really hot stuff. Activision felt that it didn’t measure up. They decided not to release it then. That was really disappointing for me – I finally got a job with this big, successful company. I write a game, work like crazy to do it, get to the end, and then they decide that they don’t want to publish it! It probably took me nine months to write that game. So then I wrote HERO. They thought HERO did measure up and they released it. Six months to a year later, they decide to release Cosmic Commuter.

There were lots of games that the company was not thrilled with. Activision opened up a number of design centers where all the people who worked there wrote games. Then Activision would say that they didn’t like any of the games. Those games were not released, and then the design center would be shut down. There were some guys from the Boston design center that wrote a couple of games that were pretty good, and Activision never released them. I only wrote two for the 2600.

 

Very interesting!  

 

Seems like Hard Head could have fallen victim to stringent quality control.

 

Thanks for posting.



#163 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 2, 2017 1:56 PM

Contacted Crane about it.

I don't think I will get an answer from him soon, but who knows...

8)

 

He was already approached about Hard Head and he said he has no clue about this game.






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