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Room 34

Member Since 1 May 2002
OFFLINE Last Active Feb 22 2013 6:56 AM

#2483530 Help! My Asteroids cocktail table is not displaying video

Posted by Room 34 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:49 PM

IT WORKS! (No soldering required.)

The key was deciphering the "3 FF" and "2 FF" codes. Page 6 of the owner's manual indicated that they corresponded to chips F2 and L2 on the board.

I pulled those two chips out and re-set them in their sockets, and now it works perfectly.
  • jhd likes this

#2256119 Massive Atari collection for iPhone launches tonight

Posted by Room 34 on Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:03 PM

I just went through the first 6 pages of reviews in the App Store and clicked "No" on "Was this review helpful?" for all of the 1- and 2-star reviews.

It's a small gesture, but it still made me feel better.

#2254205 Massive Atari collection for iPhone launches tonight

Posted by Room 34 on Fri Apr 8, 2011 10:36 PM

I'm happy to report that I just triggered the HSWWSH Easter egg.

#2253597 Massive Atari collection for iPhone launches tonight

Posted by Room 34 on Fri Apr 8, 2011 6:04 AM

Some are complaining about the borders on Pong, which is a legitimate complaint and I'm sure easily fixed.

I warned my contacts at Atari about Pong. So many people are unfamiliar with the actual original 1972 Pong. It had "bugs" (not really bugs, since the thing is built on TTL not software). We create games exactly, so we recreated these behaviours. So, for example, the paddles would cut off at raster row 256, but the ball would reach row 262. The ball is only 4 pixels high, so could sneak past the paddle at the bottom corner. Likewise, the pots weren't tuned such that the paddles could reach the top of the screen. They came up about 10 pixels short. So, again, the ball could sneak by. Third quirk: the ball wouldn't bounce until it touched the bottom of the screen, so you would see it blip on the bottom for a frame as it wrapped around from the top. You can turn off this behaviour and have the paddles reach the full scope (see Settings) but I'm adamant that arcade authentic behaviour be the default mode "out of the box". (It's bad enough Pong has an AI at all -- borrowed from Video Olympics -- because the arcade Pong never did.)

Back when we did the Nintendo DS releases I actually had to write a document that went out with review copies explaining to the press that these were not bugs in the recreation so please don't say we did a bad job because of this. :) No such luxury for user-based reviews on iTunes.

I actually want to add a disclaimer to future updates informing the user (just once) that the quirks are intentional. If they still don't read it, there's not much I can do.

I wish all of the 1-star reviewers on the App Store could (wait, I mean WOULD, since of course they COULD) read this before complaining. First of all, it humanizes the faceless entities that produce apps, but more importantly, it shows how much care and attention to detail DID go into this game. Do I think it's perfect? No. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that it's incredibly hard to find a good way to translate the experience of some of these games to a small, handheld, touchscreen device with no physical controls. That aside, you and your team clearly do know what you're doing, and you care about the quality and authenticity of the experience. (And I hope the review I wrote on my blog, before I'd been back here to see what was going on in the forums, conveys that respect adequately, despite any criticisms I give.)

#2132691 Getting my Atari history straight

Posted by Room 34 on Mon Nov 8, 2010 9:11 PM

For what it's worth, I remember absolutely that Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 was released in 1983. As someone else said, a copyright date does not mean that's the year it was released.

I have very specific memories tying Atari games to specific months in 1982-1983 as well.

I got my Atari 2600 in May 1982. I was in second grade. That summer I got Defender, shortly after it was released, in JUNE 1982. I also very specifically remember getting Berzerk, Star Raiders, and Pitfall! for Christmas in 1982. Ms. Pac-Man was not available yet.

Forget about copyright dates. Think about it logically:

For Christmas of 1982 Atari was aggressively promoting two games: Pac-Man and E.T. There is no way Ms. Pac-Man was available yet.

Also check the announced release dates for games in the Atari game catalogs of the era. Those were not always right, but the games were NEVER released BEFORE those dates.

Finally, focus on the label styles. The silver labels were introduced in late 1982, it's true, but the games that were released with those labels in 1982 were extremely limited. E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark are the only two I can think of, offhand, but I know Ms. Pac-Man was not among them.

Here are some links to relevant pages in the game catalogs:

A pre-silver label catalog announcing Berzerk's release in August 1982

And the same catalog announcing Star Raiders for September 1982

The first catalog to mention Ms. Pac-Man, with a February 1983 release date

#1984225 My Air Raid Auction Update

Posted by Room 34 on Fri Apr 9, 2010 11:21 AM

I know it's probably best for me to keep this thought to myself but... well... I just can't.

With a little less than a day and a half to go, the bid on this item is now up over $12,000.

$12,000 for some cardboard, plastic and silicon, housing one of the crappiest video games ever made.

It's rare, sure. But it's still crap.

I don't have any ill will towards Tanman for selling this -- absolutely it's his prerogative and good for him for making it happen. I also don't have any ill will towards the bidders on this item, and the eventual winner who will pay at least $12,000 for it, maybe a lot more. There's a good chance that these bidders are part of the community here and if not, they're still probably known to some of the board members.

But... really. $12,000? For this?

I think it's madness.

If you are wealthy enough that you can spend that kind of money on a collectible item like this without incurring severe financial hardship, good for you. You've achieved a level of one definition of success that I am sure a lot of Americans (and others, but mostly Americans, of which I am one, although I don't count myself among this lot) both envy and aspire to. And you're free to spend your money however you like.

But, honestly... is this how you want to spend it? Do you anticipate looking back on this years or decades hence and think, that was a good way to spend that money? "It really made a difference in my life, in the world, for me to spend that money on this game and add it to my personal horde of rare items."

Minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour. A lot of people are struggling to get by in life on that. Working for $7.25 an hour, 40 hours a week, it takes over 41 weeks to make $12,000. Before taxes. Realistically, this is more than a year's wages for a person in that boat.

Good for you. You're not in that boat. But... again... really?

I'm not sure what Tanman plans to do with the money he'll make on this. And again, it's his prerogative to spend it any way he wants. I am just hopeful that he finds a better use for it.

That is all. Flame away.

#1143198 Attention Pac-Man Haters

Posted by Room 34 on Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:21 PM

To go with that tangent... how many people, like me, thought the 2600 version of Space Invaders was BETTER than the arcade version? As with Pac-Man, I played the 2600 version long before I ever played it in an arcade. (Gimme a break, I was 8.) But unlike Pac-Man, where, upon first playing it in the arcade, I thought "Whoa, man why does the Atari version suck so much?" (yes, I said "suck" when I was 8), when I first played arcade S.I. my thought was "Whoa, why does THIS suck so much?"

#1143071 Attention Pac-Man Haters

Posted by Room 34 on Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:13 PM

I still hold by my theory that 2600 Pac-Man started out as a generic maze-chomper game, and then Atari got the Pac-Man license, and slapped it on the generic game.

Isn't the history of this game pretty well known? I thought they got the license, stuck Tod Frye with the task of cranking it out in short order, and he did so... with a vengeance.

#928736 1980s prices of Atari 2600 games

Posted by Room 34 on Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:35 AM

I distinctly remember that when we bought our Atari in May 1982, we bought Pac-Man with it for $34.99. And when we bought Defender right at its release in June, we paid $39.99 for it.

Adjusted for inflation... :o Maybe today's games aren't so expensive after all!

#411429 How do you pronounce Karateka

Posted by Room 34 on Sun Oct 5, 2003 8:30 PM

Is that as in the way a priest pronounces couples husband and wife? :P

I always just say it like "karate" with "KAH" stuck at the end.


But then again, I'm an idiot.

This is off-topic, but what I really want to know is, how do you pronounce XYPE?

#393725 The indescribably bad Atari VCS and stupid families

Posted by Room 34 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 12:20 PM

A lot of 3rd party games bypassed the EXEC because the EXEC source code was not released to 3rd party developers.

Some, like Activision, used the EXEC because they hired away people who had originally worked internally (with a pretense that they were NOT to use their knowledge of the EXEC... yeah, right), whereas most definitely Coleco (at least on Donkey Kong) and probably Imagic as well, among others, did not use the EXEC. There's no reason you CAN'T write your own kernel and put it on the cartridge, bypassing the BIOS entirely, and that was a way that 3rd parties that did not have access to knowledge of the EXEC's inner workings had to write their games.

#253300 Why do 2600 maze games use dashes rather than dots?

Posted by Room 34 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 12:48 PM

Thanks for the info! Great explanation!

I agree... the gameplay on BurgerTime for 2600 is fairly good, despite those graphical challenges.

Of course, BurgerTime is one of the few games that I think is actually fun to play on Intellivision too (and one that I can actually manage fairly well with that stupid disc), and since I have my INTV hooked up to the same TV as my 2600, the 2600 version gets slighted...

#79459 Atari logo and name is it copyrighted still?

Posted by Room 34 on Wed May 29, 2002 11:20 PM


Originally posted by Varan:
I seriously think Infogrames might adopt Atari as their name.

Beats "Infogrames." What the hell is that? I don't care if they are French, that name doesn't make any @!#?@! sense!

As for the case for a lawsuit... it's not about whether you're making money or not. It's about whether what you're doing (even if you're giving it away) is preventing the copyright owner from potentially making money themselves.