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Bombs Away! (VCS / 2600)

one-button accessible 2600 vcs bombs away drop zone 4 bronze age remake meadows peace

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#1 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 1:55 AM

0-BombsAway.jpg  1-BombsAway.jpg  2-BombsAway.jpg  3-BombsAway.jpg

 

Attached File  Bombs Away! (NTSC).bin   32KB   82 downloads

Attached File  Bombs Away! (PAL60).bin   32KB   40 downloads

Attached File  INSTRUCTIONS.pdf   701.28KB   58 downloads

Attached File  README.txt   2.94KB   34 downloads

 

360px-ROUND-REFLECT-GAinfo.png  

Bombs Away! Game Accessibility Info

One-button play and restart. Easier play option (game variation 3). High-contrast. Colour-Blind accessible. Deaf accessible. Flashing off option. No time limit.

 

 

 

 

 



#2 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:07 AM

 
Drop Zone 4 and Bombs Away! "found" for the Atari VCS / Atari 2600 in time for its 40th birthday celebrations. Drop Zone 4 is the first commercial video game with a peace mode and first playable with one-button. 
 
The coin-op author, David Main, was a peace protester in 1975. He wanted to include a "peace mode" into his game where if you managed to ditch all your bombs into the sea without hitting any signs of life, you would be awarded a bonus free game.
 
A year or so later (so the anecdote goes) David was shocked to see Bombs Away! up for sale from Atari on their brand new Atari VCS console. It felt as though he had been pirated. Try Air-Sea Battle game variation 19 and spot the differences.
 
The Atari VCS version of Bombs Away! comes from a parallel universe where this was released instead of Air-Sea Battle, the peace mode made it in and programmers, artists and technicians were all given a written credit. Also, a world where game accessibility was given a thought from the start. Massive thanks to David Main (still working as an Electrical Engineer), William Pilgrim and all who helped resurrect this game. Happy birthday to the Atari VCS at 40.
 
This remake is part of the One Switch 100 project, which will be highlighting some of the most accessible games in history as well as some of the important accessibility features that came about with the Atari VCS.
 
Video and more at the OneSwitch blog: http://switchgaming....1976-atari.html

Edited by OneSwitch.org.uk, Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:54 PM.


#3 sramirez2008 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 8:41 AM

Thank you for providing the ROMs and PDF instructions.  Looking forward to supporting this effort by purchasing a cart when it becomes available. :)



#4 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 12:10 PM

Nice packaging! :thumbsup:

 

Some remarks:

  • AFAIK in the real universe, Cave1K (which is part of SWOOPS!) was the first one button game.
  • Bombs Away displays 251 scanlines instead of 262. This might be problematic for some TVs and will cause PAL TVs to loose color.


#5 SpiceWare ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 12:16 PM

AFAIK in the real universe, Cave1K (which is part of SWOOPS!) was the first one button game.

 

Canyon Bomber from 1979:
 

USING THE CONTROLLER

        For Canyon Bomber games, press the red button on the Paddle Controller
        to drop your bombs from the plane into the canyon.  The knob on the 
        Controller is inoperable during Canyon Bomber games.
 
        For Sea Bomber games, turn the knob on the Controller to move the
        dashed depth indicator up and down the playfield.  This sets the depth
        at which the charge explodes.  Press the red button on the Controller
        to release the bomb.

 

 

 

Canyon Bomber game variations are #1-6, Sea Bomber game variations are #7-8



#6 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 12:24 PM

Bombs Away! Game Accessibility Info

One-button play and restart.

icon_smile.gif



#7 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:11 PM

 

Nice packaging! :thumbsup:

 

Some remarks:

  • AFAIK in the real universe, Cave1K (which is part of SWOOPS!) was the first one button game.
  • Bombs Away displays 251 scanlines instead of 262. This might be problematic for some TVs and will cause PAL TVs to loose color.

 

 

Thanks for the comments and thoughts, Thomas. For my claim (saying anything's the first is a bit of a hopeful thing I find)....  Drop Zone 4 was a real world coin-op designed and released in 1975 (before Atari's Steeplechase by some months as I understand). This is the first one-switch video game using a TV that I've found. However, if you mean just on the VCS, and a game possible to start, play, restart then you may very well be right (bearing in mind how difficult the GAME RESET switch is for some players). 

 

This is my 1975 PCB running the game here (wrong cabinet though): https://www.youtube....h?v=45mhBa8zP4k

 

Re. scanlines, that's interesting and I didn't know about that. Would that include PAL TVs running the 60Hz PAL version? Might need to pick your brains a bit more, as we're struggling a bit with the real world cart.



#8 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:18 PM

Yes, it makes no difference if the game is PAL60 (actually PAL62.6 ;)) or PAL50. I would suggest that you change the scanlines to the standard (262).



#9 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:18 PM

I love the manual... and simple games.



#10 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:22 PM

 

Canyon Bomber from 1979:
 

 

 

Canyon Bomber game variations are #1-6, Sea Bomber game variations are #7-8

A pure one-switch / one-button game can be started, played and restarted all with the same single control (as with Cave1K, this VCS version of Bombs Away!, Air Attack on the Commodore PET from 1979 and so on).... But although Canyon Bomber, coin-op Drop Zone 4, Bombs Away! and Steeplechase are not that, they are "one-switch playable". Not as good, but still good. :)



#11 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:36 PM

I love the manual... and simple games.

 

Thank you! I love simple / Bronze age games too. William Pilgrim did a fantastic job programming this. Good luck getting 0 or 40. My best "war" score so far (on game 1) is 76. I had played it a lot though. Three ways to score 0:

 

1. Ditch all bombs in the sea (hard)

2. Hit a bottom level (yellow) ship with every single bomb including bonus bombs, clocking the score over to 0 (impossible?)

3. Don't drop any bombs at all (very easy)

 

The art work (the plane) on the cover is by Don Feight who kindly gave us permission to use his art for non-profit use: http://www.feightstudios.com/p2-i.html



#12 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:41 PM

Here's a short video of the original Drop Zone 4 and Bombs Away coin-op PCBs running for anyone with an interest in the arcane....

 


Edited by OneSwitch.org.uk, Wed Sep 6, 2017 2:59 PM.


#13 ONLYUSEmeFEET OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 5:54 PM

I've done some retro accessibility mods for the 16-bit era, but you went way back! I enjoyed playing Bombs Away, especially on the Difficult mode. Scrolling looks great in motion and I was pleasantly surprised by the sky/speed changes. My only suggestion would be to add a time limit/endless mode or similar to add replayability. Once you know the trajectory of the bomb, it's incredibly easy to wait and get a maximum score. The game loop is solid; just give me a reason to keep playing.



#14 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 1:57 AM

I've done some retro accessibility mods for the 16-bit era, but you went way back! I enjoyed playing Bombs Away, especially on the Difficult mode. Scrolling looks great in motion and I was pleasantly surprised by the sky/speed changes. My only suggestion would be to add a time limit/endless mode or similar to add replayability. Once you know the trajectory of the bomb, it's incredibly easy to wait and get a maximum score. The game loop is solid; just give me a reason to keep playing.

 

Thanks! I love your SEGA mods.

 

Can you score so easily in game variation 1? Can you score over 80? You must have amazing timing skills, or I'm slowing right down. I'm impressed. It's quite possible the "hard" (aka fast) game "2", is easier than game "1". What do you think? If you can score over 80 on game "1" I'd love to see a video. :)

 

The arcade version is definitely harder than the console version. I'm keen to get that emulated one day too if possible (in the DICE emulator).

 

I suppose the immediate progression in difficulty is onto Atari's official Canyon Bomber. Would love to see that hacked so you can start, play and restart the game with a single button.



#15 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 5:39 AM

Does anyone know how to get this listed in the AtariAge database? You can hunt for homebrew using the rarity dropdown menu I see. Would love for this to be listed if possible.



#16 Silvio Mogno OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 6:18 AM

Wonderful vintage all-round 2600 art!  :)

 

Please add the classic 2600 attract mode!



#17 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 6:25 AM

Wonderful vintage all-round 2600 art!  :)

 

Please add the classic 2600 attract mode!

 

Thank you. Are you talking about the colour-changing (screen protection) that Combat, Space Invaders and so on have? We did think about this. You never know, we might add it in an update. There's also an overlay for adding colour to black and white TVs in the full package.



#18 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 9:40 AM

The attract mode is the game being played out by AI which would show the prospective customer what he is missing.



#19 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 9:56 AM

I'd have thought the classic VCS (circa 1977) attract mode would have been more Air-Sea Battle like, with some (mostly very ugly) colour cycling. That's what we were thinking about. AI a bit of a rarity back then.



#20 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 12:11 PM

Earlier games had color cycling. Later games had attract modes.



#21 OneSwitch.org.uk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 1:56 PM

Thought this might be interesting to share, from David Main's old work bench....

 

DavidMain's-StainedGlass.jpg

 

...a stained glass window based on Drop Zone 4. From around 1975. For the Church of the Old Arcade game perhaps. :)

 


#22 ONLYUSEmeFEET OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 3:18 PM

 

Thanks! I love your SEGA mods.

 

Can you score so easily in game variation 1? Can you score over 80? You must have amazing timing skills, or I'm slowing right down. I'm impressed. It's quite possible the "hard" (aka fast) game "2", is easier than game "1". What do you think? If you can score over 80 on game "1" I'd love to see a video. icon_smile.gif

 

The arcade version is definitely harder than the console version. I'm keen to get that emulated one day too if possible (in the DICE emulator).

 

I suppose the immediate progression in difficulty is onto Atari's official Canyon Bomber. Would love to see that hacked so you can start, play and restart the game with a single button.

 

Thanks. :)

 

Wouldn't the max score be 60; 4 points x 15 bombs? I guess the underlying issue I'm getting at is a max score is easy to obtain with tons of patience. It all comes down to waiting for the ideal game state before dropping a bomb. I'm sure someone here more patient than myself could get 60 points in no time. A timed endless mode would be more fun to compare scores against one another and should have a fairly high skill ceiling with some RNG involved. Then again, I'm a score chaser, so if you'd rather the game cap at a set amount of points, that's cool. I'd still recommend putting a timer somewhere on screen to break ties, though. 


Edited by ONLYUSEmeFEET, Thu Sep 7, 2017 3:18 PM.


#23 Kiwi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 3:53 PM

 

Thanks. :)

 

Wouldn't the max score be 60; 4 points x 15 bombs? I guess the underlying issue I'm getting at is a max score is easy to obtain with tons of patience. It all comes down to waiting for the ideal game state before dropping a bomb. I'm sure someone here more patient than myself could get 60 points in no time. A timed endless mode would be more fun to compare scores against one another and should have a fairly high skill ceiling with some RNG involved. Then again, I'm a score chaser, so if you'd rather the game cap at a set amount of points, that's cool. I'd still recommend putting a timer somewhere on screen to break ties, though. 

The instruction said you get 10 more bombs if you get more than 40 points.  I think 100 is the maximum points. 



#24 ONLYUSEmeFEET OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 4:04 PM

The instruction said you get 10 more bombs if you get more than 40 points.  I think 100 is the maximum points. 

 

Cool, thanks for letting me know. In that case, especially since the code already exists, there could be an endless mode where you keep getting bombs so long as you continue to hit score targets.



#25 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 7, 2017 8:51 PM

This is a fun game to play and only needing to use one button makes it interesting. :thumbsup:  Simple to play, hard to master. That's the way games should be!







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: one-button, accessible, 2600, vcs, bombs away, drop zone 4, bronze age, remake, meadows, peace

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