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Physical boxes obsolete? The story of Assembloids2600

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#1 enthusi OFFLINE  

enthusi

    Moonsweeper

  • 399 posts
  • Location:Potsdam, Germany

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 9:50 AM

Dear all fellow Atarians :)

almost a year ago, our game Assembloids2600 saw the light.
http://www.mobygames...ssembloids-2600
It's been in the AtariAge store summer last year and while it sells every now and then a single unit,
I was hoping for it to me more successfull.
Not for the money -  I have not yet received a single penny, which is totally fine with me.
Albert has sent out numerous free copies to me, the box artist, helpers and friends. One of them is in the Berlin museum of computer games even :)
When guests see it on my shelve at home, they sometimes even ask what I had to pay to get it released like that (top notch quality).
I am more than happy dealing with a guy like Albert here :) So thank you Al!
Sales for Assembloids2600 recently topped 50 sales (not counting the free units mentioned) which is quite cool already, considering the date!

I would love to recapture the past (year) and end with some open questions I have.
I hope you do not mind the long text...

An early version of the game was presented by a friend at Sillyventure.
Some gameplay footage even made it into polish TV back then. But I feel like this is a game that you have to
actually play for yourself to get an idea of what it is like. Yeah, cheap selling argument :)
It's simply not like Tetris where watching can be just as mesmerizing as playing it.

Before we finished it, we put it on display during the german Gamescom in 2016. It was played by literally hundrets
of people and remained busy for 10 hours a day during the exhibition.
That helped alot giving it the final subtle tuning. You can follow the thread about it here, even though I started it rather late in the process:
http://atariage.com/...sembloids-2600/

Since it hit the AA store
https://atariage.com...t_detail&p=1094
It got 7 quite positive reviews (thank you  :).
Some rather short, others more elaborated. All of them are highlty appreciated!

8 Bit guy featured Assembloids in one of his videos:
"Modern games for Vintage systems: Assembloids, Bear Essentials, and Bittboy!"

I was quite amazed by it :)
(Just as side note, this generated not a single sale)
[no, I did not use a teleprompter there, we just had one shot in a hotel room during vacation which is probably why I look so serious]

Since I designed the game to work with Supercharger and actually used it for testing, I made a small video
of a rather unique crossdevelopment setup - though most of the game was written on a PC :)


I was very happy personally when Metal Jesus reviewed our game in his youtube channel!
http://atariage.com/...0/#entry4004927
Or a direct youtube link is here:

That you enjoy this game means alot to me!

In fact, I spent alot of time polishing and tuning the game mechanics to make it 'more addictive'.
Some seem to hesitate when they see 'yet another puzzler', but still they enjoy it.

I love the style of the 'ZeroPage HomeBrew Video Gaming' channel.
They play games the way they should be played ;-) Well, reading the manual would be helpful but then again: who did that? :)


Maybe their review is a bit symptomatic? Obviously they enjoyed playing it, yet I hear 'for kids' somewhere inbetween.
Are these kind of fun quick games really mostly for kids these days? I had hoped not.
(This just made me thinking, no criticism here. I really enjoyed your video alot!).

In the end those that played seem to value it for exactly that: quick fun with some addictive component :)
It was mentioned in the Atariage "Party Game ;-)" thread to my delight ;-)
http://atariage.com/...s/#entry4007153

Even though some people actually advised against it, as he is known for his harsh reviews, I asked the
VideoGame Critic to give it a try. I consider his opinon on games subjective but honest and consistent.
It got an A- which I find great! ;-) Visitors voted it 'A' even.
http://videogamecritic.com/2600aa.htm
It also got tagged as 'hidden gem' and 'chicks dig this' (something I can confirm after the huge Exposition here and from my wife+daughter :)
Please read his short review - he summarizes all about the game I hoped people would feel/see.
Or on his forum here:
http://videogamecrit...mbloids#p156097

So everyone who played it, seems to really enjoy it.
Friends, family, gamers and even professional gamers :)
I got very nice feedback from people here, as well.
Thank you guys.

I am open for feedback of any kind here :)
So feel free to comment if you bought it and liked it, or didnt like it or decided not to buy it.
In case you consider the pricing too high, Albert just told me that a cheaper cart+manual version will be available soon, though.

Is the distribution of physical boxes with the sheer amount of releases along with more convenient SD card solutions obsolete nowadays?
What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading, playing and being part of this community :)
Cheers,
Martin, enthusi / PriorArt
 



#2 Keatah OFFLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 20,857 posts

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:03 AM

Is the distribution of physical boxes with the sheer amount of releases along with more convenient SD card solutions obsolete nowadays?
What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading, playing and being part of this community :)
Cheers,
Martin, enthusi / PriorArt

 

I believe they are. And I prefer downloads as long as I can make local backups. The space savings is enormous! The die-hard collector would disagree, however.



#3 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

KaeruYojimbo

    Stargunner

  • 1,661 posts
  • Location:Portland, OR

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:14 AM

Once the cart+manual option is available, Assembloids will jump to the top of my "to buy" list. There are too many collectors out there who want them for boxes to go away completely, and that's fine. If they want them, they can have them. But I think there need to be other options for those of us who want to play the games and support the developers without paying 20 dollars for some cardboard.



#4 Albert OFFLINE  

Albert

    Quadrunner

  • 34,514 posts

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 10:18 AM

Once the cart+manual option is available, Assembloids will jump to the top of my "to buy" list. There are too many collectors out there who want them for boxes to go away completely, and that's fine. If they want them, they can have them. But I think there need to be other options for those of us who want to play the games and support the developers without paying 20 dollars for some cardboard.

 

I have to take some new photos of all the games that are currently available just with boxes.  Once I've done so, I'll change them to cart+manual with an optional box, including Assembloids. 

 

 ..Al



#5 toiletunes OFFLINE  

toiletunes

    River Patroller

  • 3,795 posts
  • Hater Brigader
  • Location:Salem, Mo 65560 USA

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 12:16 PM

Given a choice between buying three games without boxes or two games with boxes, I opt for more games.



#6 iesposta OFFLINE  

iesposta

    River Patroller

  • 3,737 posts
  • Retro-gaming w/my VCS
  • Location:Pennsylvania

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 12:30 PM

[clip] ...
I was very happy personally when Metal Jesus reviewed our game in his youtube channel!

...

 

I love the style of the 'ZeroPage HomeBrew Video Gaming' channel.
They play games the way they should be played ;-) Well, reading the manual would be helpful but then again: who did that? :)
...

I am open for feedback of any kind here :)
So feel free to comment if you bought it and liked it, or didnt like it or decided not to buy it.
In case you consider the pricing too high, Albert just told me that a cheaper cart+manual version will be available soon, though.

Is the distribution of physical boxes with the sheer amount of releases along with more convenient SD card solutions obsolete nowadays?
What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading, playing and being part of this community :)
Cheers,
Martin, enthusi / PriorArt
 

 

 

My hope/opinion is that being featured on Metal Jesus WILL generates cart/manual sales.

Metal Jesus had Super Cobra Arcade also, which I helped with sound effects and TIA music.

My comment to Champ Games was not to answer (I have no right asking) that I'd like to know if featured on a YouTube channel with 1/2 million followers, how many games sales does that generate? And joking that now I wish I got royalties. 

My work was donated freely as a product of my Retrogaming hobby.

(I usually do get a free copy, but it would be okay if I didn't. I would still buy it if I helped or a suggestion of mine got included). 

It is quite an honor to have a game talked about by Metal Jesus. And that someday I hope I create something he talks about!

 

I also like the style of ZeroPageHomebrew!

I wish they had a computer or TV box set up offscreen to interact more with the chat (or read the manual) because they played Star Castle Arcade for quite a long time until my repeated messages were seen:

"You're on Advanced Difficulty!! It's not that hard at the beginning!"

 

I did want Assembloids boxed, but as you said the sheer number left me waiting for cart/manual sales for titles I didn't want a box. 

That cost of $20 per box actually is a bargain when you consider time and money of offset printing quality stock, the huge increase in shipping: 10 times what it used to be, (Atari's red/maroon boxes of the late 80's are fragile and nearly garbage), artwork, box assembly and packing in the manual insert cart poster etc. 

It is also a bit of the need to re-live opening the box and getting to the contents. 

A nice idea that saved work was Skelly's Vextrex boxed multi-cart shipping as a flat but glued box and the things you needed to stuff into the box and bend the tabs and close the top and bottom yourself.  

 

P.S. unrelated but tangent to streams / ZeroPageHomebrew:

Both my homebrew (which was featured 2nd) and Star Castle Arcade (featured 3rd) by sheer coincidence have 270 scanlines & 58fps (In my case the need to add visible scan lines & overscan for more CPU time). 

Do to the tech of streaming, the YouTube looks perfectly like my LCD displays, but the stream flicker was odd and extreme due to the 58fps of both games (but importantly they do not drop flickered objects like some streams, video recording and screenshots). 

Even though captured and broadcast at 60fps, our games that output 58fps really confused the live stream. 

My guess being it is fine with fractions of 60, like 30 & 15, but fractions of 58: 29 & 14.5 cause frame drops in live stream. 


Edited by iesposta, Wed May 16, 2018 12:33 PM.


#7 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

Thomas Jentzsch

    Thrust, Jammed, SWOOPS!, Boulder Dash, THREE·S, Star Castle

  • 23,352 posts
  • Always left from right here!
  • Location:Düsseldorf, Germany, Europe, Earth

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 12:45 PM

Since I want my games to be played, I would be in favor of parallel non-boxed releases. But my understanding is, that boxes have to be produced in a certain quantity and with some investment. So releasing only boxed version first makes sense.

 

BTW: Yes, Star Castle flickers horrible in the stream. I am not sure if this can be fixed by their hardware.



#8 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

Reality Studio

    Star Raider

  • 53 posts

Posted Wed May 16, 2018 7:35 PM

Funny timing for this thread because I literally just bought Assembloids a few hours ago :) Personally I love the boxes because it's a nostalgia thing, just like opening up the boxes back in the day when you'd get a new game. I hope that trend continues as I'll always buy boxed over non boxed, but if boxes went away I would still buy homebrew games.



#9 FroggoGamer OFFLINE  

FroggoGamer

    Star Raider

  • 60 posts
  • Location:Ohio

Posted Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:13 PM

I still plan on buying a copy, and I buy the boxes when I can. I do like having the boxes on my shelf. It is simply the fact that I don't make much money so I have to buy my games one or two at a time every couple of months, and I have been more focused on the 7800.

 

I finally bought every 7800 AA offering. There should be some kind of special achievement for that. LOL



#10 cimmerian OFFLINE  

cimmerian

    Chopper Commander

  • 156 posts
  • Location:Vancouver Canada

Posted Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:24 PM

Thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed our Let's Play of your awesome game! We do eventually read the manual after a round or two, hahah, I just like to re-live the days for a tiny bit back when we had no access to manuals like we got games second hand (having no internet in the 80's!!). It also gives an idea of how intuitive the game is!

 

Personally I love the gorgeous art are work that goes into a boxed copy of a game and how they sit beside each other on the shelf. I don't buy games that don't have a physical release of some sort and as a consequence I fear my days of gaming on modern consoles will soon come to an end. Thank goodness for places such as Limited Run Games and of course all the Homebrew websites!

 

BUT, saying all that I know a lot of people don't share my point of view and would rather get the game more inexpensively on cart or rom only as to avoid the massive amount of clutter that can arise from having hundreds of boxes around the house. I can only hope that the people like me continue to buy enough boxed games to keep the incentive going for the people like you who want to see their games put out in full regalia!!

 

Keep on doing what you're doing, the homebrew community is richer for it!

 

I love the style of the 'ZeroPage HomeBrew Video Gaming' channel.
They play games the way they should be played icon_winking.gif Well, reading the manual would be helpful but then again: who did that? icon_smile.gif


Maybe their review is a bit symptomatic? Obviously they enjoyed playing it, yet I hear 'for kids' somewhere inbetween.
Are these kind of fun quick games really mostly for kids these days? I had hoped not.
(This just made me thinking, no criticism here. I really enjoyed your video alot!).

Attached Thumbnails

  • Boxed Games on Shelf.jpg

Edited by cimmerian, Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:28 PM.


#11 StanJr OFFLINE  

StanJr

    Web-slinger

  • 15,336 posts
  • fun or bust
  • Location:Louisville KY

Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:54 AM

the "must purchase box" is what keeps me from buying most of the new homebrew releases.   While the boxes are very cool, I have no space to store them and I don't want to pay a lot of extra money for something I'm going to have to either throw away, which seems disrespectful to the work that went into it, or put in a box in storage and never see again.

 

boxeless versions would see many more purchases from me



#12 enthusi OFFLINE  

enthusi

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 399 posts
  • Location:Potsdam, Germany

Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:37 AM

As Albert mentioned, it will be sold optionally without box rather soon, I guess ;-)

Meanwhile there is another playing experience on youtube:

http://www.youtube.c...5wQEsqZk?t=8490



#13 Albert OFFLINE  

Albert

    Quadrunner

  • 34,514 posts

Posted Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:40 AM

As Albert mentioned, it will be sold optionally without box rather soon, I guess ;-)

Meanwhile there is another playing experience on youtube:

http://www.youtube.c...5wQEsqZk?t=8490

 

Soon, I have taken all the photos I need to do this, just need to spend the time updating a bunch of entries in the store.  :) 

 

 ..Al







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