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In defense of Pac-Man...


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#176 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:00 AM

yeah. well. so. 

does anyone know where I can find a disassembly of the good old 2600 PacMan?

lots of details i don't remember :)

 

Dennis Debro commented nearly half of it.  Don't know if he ever got around to finishing it.  Odd thing, every site that had the file appears to be offline...but this is the most-recent file I had from him:

Attached Files



#177 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:02 AM

I understand if some of you don't like Pacman, but you should still show some respect for the work that Tod Frye did. Most people only think of this one game and completely forget that Tod did much more.  I know, this iss the internet and talking sh*t is apparently a requirement. I've been guilty of it myself. I know everyone is entitled to their opinion and that's fine. I just don't think there's any reason to be so rude.  Overall, this community is pretty friendly and laid back, so some of the comments I've read in this thread really disappointed me. :(


My beef isn't with fry, it's with the management that said "close enough, ship it!". I work in software development, and that blows my mind. Everything is subject to many revisions. I understand it was a different era. Atari must have known this was their most important IP, so you'd think they'd give it MORE quality control, not less!

#178 JBerel ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:16 AM

My beef isn't with fry, it's with the management that said "close enough, ship it!". I work in software development, and that blows my mind. Everything is subject to many revisions. I understand it was a different era. Atari must have known this was their most important IP, so you'd think they'd give it MORE quality control, not less!

 

^^^ This.

 

I empathize with Mr. Frye, because I get to deal with the mediocrity of my company on a daily basis. If that was the real man, I'd love to hear more from him about the climate leading up to the release. If what I read on Wikipedia was true, at least he got a small per copy royalty on the game. If true, that was a refreshing change from the company working their developers into the ground to make a release, and giving them nothing on the back end. Probably a lesson learned from creating their own competition with Activision and others. Like I said, Atari set up a perfect storm in the day by building tremendous anticipation for a title over a long time, then not delivering what they were teasing people about. (Ataribox anyone?? Maybe they're not so different.) 

 

To be fair, the tech of the time did create real challenges for home ports. I would fully expect the typical televisions consumers were using was a real limiting factor. Lots of people would be on B&W sets, and phosphor burn on the big console color sets was a real problem. The color TVs were still really expensive then too. Ya gotta look through the lens of time to appreciate the actual motivating factors. Everybody today, even folks who remember the 70's, take a lot of technical factors completely for granted because they can nowadays.


Edited by JBerel, Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:19 AM.


#179 christo930 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:35 AM

 

My beef isn't with fry, it's with the management that said "close enough, ship it!". I work in software development, and that blows my mind. Everything is subject to many revisions. I understand it was a different era. Atari must have known this was their most important IP, so you'd think they'd give it MORE quality control, not less!


I never meant it as anything personal and it's only my opinion. There are obviously other people who quite like it. I might ask someone why they did this or that, but I'm not going to tell them they suck. It's absolutely nothing personal.-

#180 Tod frye OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:59 AM

 

Dennis Debro commented nearly half of it.  Don't know if he ever got around to finishing it.  Odd thing, every site that had the file appears to be offline...but this is the most-recent file I had from him:

Thanks! 



#181 Tod frye OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:00 PM

well. i am really me. and i sort of remember 1981. it was a long time ago...



#182 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:10 PM

well. i am really me. and i sort of remember 1981. it was a long time ago...

 

It's very nice to have you take the time to post about stuff that happened so long ago.  Would you mind answering questions about the games you worked on?



#183 Tod frye OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:18 PM

well. happy to share anything i can remember :)



#184 Inky OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:29 PM

Isn't there a "Celebrity" status for former Atari programmers and such?



#185 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:44 PM

well. happy to share anything i can remember :)

 

Do you remember anything about the Atari 2600 games you worked on that were never released?  Any thoughts or stories on them?

 

- The Last Starfighter (some partial source code was found)

- Xevious (http://www.atariprot...ous/xevious.htm)

- SwordQuest: Airworld



#186 G-type OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:49 PM

well. happy to share anything i can remember :)

Do you remember what project you had just completed when you and Bob Polaro were presented with the choice of tackling Pac-Man or Defender?



#187 JBerel ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:59 PM

Well howdy. Thanks for checking in. Can you say what limits or must-haves were typically placed on game developers at Atari when assigned a new project? Did management give you lots of marching orders on the front end or were you fairly free to experiment?

#188 Tod frye OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:59 PM

400/800 Asteroids



#189 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:48 PM

bitd I thought it was distinctive and a lot of fun! :)

 

imo it wouldn't have been as much fun if the game was a clone of the arcade or the VIC-20 or 400/800 versions - all of them were more fun for being different; I like playing all the ports of classic games and enjoy the different creative effects that programmers put into their ports.

 

I bet a lot of folk who had an Atari bitd were glued to their Televisions playing the game. Phosphor made a big difference over LCD, even without dropped frames.



#190 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:21 PM

400/800 Asteroids

... which I still love playing to this day!  I recently introduced it to three of my nephews, ages eight to twelve, and we ended up playing head-to-head in four-player competitive mode for nearly two hours.  (They almost never play a single game for two hours straight, so that's really saying something.)  We all had a lot of fun, so thank you very much for that.

 

And I don't care what anybody says about 2600 Pac-Man, I had many hours of fun with it, too.



#191 bradhig1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:00 PM

I remember playing Pacman like crazy on our old Heathkit console TV until it broke for the umpteenth time.   That console TV was a problem child back in the day and in the mid 1980s dad scrapped it after it broke on time too many. 



#192 retroeight OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:16 AM

 

 

I am sick and fucking tired of people, who quite frankly have _ZERO_ understanding on the difficulties of WRITING a VCS game, just shit all over "game x" .... When you have spent many weeks counting to 76 and carefully timing each instruction to make sure that you have enough time to reset each element of playfield, player, missile, and ball, to create something that can DRAW the game state you have...and you go through the difficulties of trying to carefully make sure that your game state calculations happen within the allotted time when things AREN'T being drawn.... then you'll have perspective...and will be much more likely to shut the fuck up about it.

 

-Thom

 

Well... There are some programmers that can program a great ATARI game. Not sure if you are one of them as I haven't seen what you can program. It doesn't take a degree in Rocket Science to be able to tell if a game is any good or not. (Yes... I was a programmer. Didn't bother me one bit when non programmers criticized by games.) To each his own I guess....



#193 retroeight OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:17 AM

fyi... I didn't think PAC MAN was that bad a game. 



#194 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:05 PM

fyi... I didn't think PAC MAN was that bad a game.


Yeah, it's not Mythicon bad. It's mediocre with a dash of "What's the difference between a dog turd and a diamond? They're virtually the same. I just don't get it." tossed in.

 

Some people can't see a difference between Richard Donner's Superman and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. They both have a guy in tights flying around. They both have bad guys. They both have a girl that the flying guy wants to bang. No difference. Same thing.



#195 SmittyB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:13 PM

I didn't own a 2600 until a few years ago and didn't know anything about the history until after. I found Pac-man to be on par with the other games I had for it at the time, adventure, space invaders, moon patrol, asteroids, etc.
Not being the best Pac-man player I actually find this version to be the most playable.

#196 frankodragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:19 PM

I used to adjust the contrast, color, etc  knobs on the TV when playing Pac-Man to make it bit more interesting.  I could of even set the colors to make a chome-ish tint which was popular back then.



#197 Mad-Mike OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:32 PM

My family had 2600's off and on after the crash for dirt cheap (we were poor-ish) from flea markets, garage sales, and thrift shops.  Pac-Man was a family staple in 2 player mode and everyone LOVED that version of the game.  Granted, we were not big into the video arcades, so rather than looking for arcade accuracy we were just looking for cheap but relevantish entertainment at the time.  My mom and oldest sister would have high score wars all the time. 

 

I still play the orignal today, while I see it's limitations, I still find it fun because of the "flavor" like others have mentioned.  Actually, the odd part for me is the 2600 Pac-Man feels more authentic to me than the arcade version because I grew up playing only the 2600 version.



#198 Tod frye OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:17 PM

well. what an odd feeling. 

just got my dasm and stella.

and assembled Pac-man for the first time in over 36 years. 

 

Some sort of time-warp. 

Mind boggling.



#199 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:13 PM

HI Tod. Why did you assemble,and not just use the original Rom? Your Pac version was disappointing BITD, but we've read about the restrictions you were under, so it's all good. Many of us played it endlessly!

#200 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:24 AM

And don't forget, thanks to that game, we had numerous Pac-Man clones afterwards on VCS. Thanks to Pac-Man those companies/programmers learned from this game and took their efforts to the next level. eg Ms. Pac-Man, Alien, Cat Trax, Mouse Trap.

Pac-Man paved the way, a bit like Elvis






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