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#3044728 Trying to own all of the Atari systems, did I get a decent deal?

Posted by ledzep on Fri Aug 1, 2014 2:24 PM

Sorry! I meant is the game (missle command) not the trackball the same. If the games are identical I might not want to pursue the 5200 trackball.


The games are more or less identical.  But the Trak-Ball is worth having for Centipede (and Millipede) as well as the homebrew Tempest.  And then you don't have to pull out your XEGS just to play Missile Command, right?  I'd also consider finding/making a Paddle controller (modified joystick) in order to really enjoy Super Breakout and the homebrew Castle Crisis (Warlords).


You want to own all the Atari systems, as you say, this is what needs to be done.

#3044334 Star Ship

Posted by ledzep on Fri Aug 1, 2014 4:31 AM

Man, those echo-y reverb crash sounds, haahaha.  I miss that vibe.  I remember when the 2600 was new and there were only like a couple dozen games and Activision didn't exist yet, we would buy a game or two once in a while.  Those early games were so damn primitive!  No more than blocks.  Surround is another game I can't believe was so basic yet so much fun as a kid, along with Air-Sea Battle And Indy 500.


I agree about Stellar Track, that was a great "secret" game (Sears Tele-Games only).  We would keep hitting Select (I think) in order to come up with a scenario with loads of enemies and a minimal amount of bases.  Same with 5200 Star Raiders.  We wanted more of a challenge.

#3010720 How much should I offer for these Vectrex games?

Posted by ledzep on Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:02 PM

Don't sleep on Bedlam, that is an addictive, hard game in the same frantic style as Kaboom! even though the game play is very different.  I've read reviews of it being a sort of inside-out Tempest but it's not quite that simple.  The game is fun, though.

#2993816 Arcade games that were better on consoles

Posted by ledzep on Mon May 19, 2014 12:39 PM

I think probably a lot of the early arcade games (late '70s especially) were probably as good or better on home consoles.  I always preferred the Atari 2600 Space Invaders to the arcade.  I know the graphics weren't quite as good but I liked the extra game play options.  Same goes for PONG and Canyon Bomber.  I also prefer the Atari 5200 of Space Dungeon to the arcade version.  My friend and I would play that for hours, one of us the pilot, the other the gunner.  Much easier to do that sitting on a couch or floor than standing at the arcade cabinet.

#2993457 Would you give up a 42" LCD TV for a 36" Trinitron CRT?

Posted by ledzep on Mon May 19, 2014 1:14 AM

Absolutely get it.  It's large enough to watch for sports (not huge, but good enough) and if it's an HD Trinitron like you say, it is superior to every LCD and plasma out there right now.  This is not up for debate, the image quality cannot be beat.  The only gripes most people have are that, for a decent-sized set like the one you're considering, it's a bear to move (so is a refrigerator or a washing machine yet nobody ever considers not buying one because its so heavy) and they're only so big (Sony made one 40" CRT, most of their best ones were 36" like the one I have).  Hands up the people who habitually move their TVs around once a week.  Once a month.  Uhuh, nobody.  My TV sits on a steel Boltz stand (itself heavy for its size, like this one but without the wheels) and when I need to move the TV I slide them both out from the wall (wood floor, felt strips on the bottom of the stand, it resists but it moves).


As a simple test for your viewing pleasure, watch a DVD or Blu-ray movie that you have on your 42" flatscreen TV.  Hopefully something that has darker (night time, space, underground) scenes in it.  Now, concentrate on just one corner of the TV image.  Watch the digital noise swim around there, notice how the TV cannot decide what color that blue or black area should be.  Then, watch the same scene on the CRT.  No noise swimming around (comparatively, if there's residual film grain noise in the source that can't be avoided).  Even better, compare something shot recently with HD cameras, like a music concert.  My brother recently bought a new flatscreen TV.  I let him borrow my Blu-ray calibration disc to defuck the out-of-the-box settings.  Even afterwards, it was pretty good (better than how it looked in the store), but the noise was still there.  My 10-year-old Sony Wega 36" picture looks better than his.  Sure, it's a little smaller but I don't care, I can't stand that noisy garbage.  And I can play old-school Atari 2600 and 5200 games on it as they were meant to be, 4:3 aspect ratio and with scan lines!

#2992623 If you could have three...

Posted by ledzep on Sat May 17, 2014 7:20 PM

My three would be


1) Tempest

2) Xevious

3) Star Trek SOS


Runner-up would be Space Duel.

#2947152 Arcade sequels that sh*t the bed, especially compared to the original.

Posted by ledzep on Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:49 PM

I liked Empire Strikes Back but could not stomach Return Of The Jedi.  Vector graphics, dammit!!  I hated Blasteroids for the same reason.

#2865795 Collecting: Is less = more?

Posted by ledzep on Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:24 PM

I think it's whatever brings you joy.  If having the boxes makes you happy, then it's a valid collection.


My recommendation is to never collect for completionism.  It seems to me that the completist path will inevitably lead to collecting things you didn't want in the first place.  If you don't at least look at it and think "I'm so happy I have that" then it's something that shouldn't be in your collection.


So my answer is that less is more.  It's a case where quality is more important than quantity.  Of course, even though my video game collection is small compared to many people here, it's huge compared to anyone I know in the offline world, so maybe I'm far from a position of wisdom on this point.


I do know a few years ago that when I purged huge numbers of RPG books from my pen and paper RPG library, I felt so much better about myself and that hobby.  I trimmed down to things I had genuine appreciation for, rather than keeping tons of books which I had purchased as a completionist or to keep up to date with other BS going on in the hobby.



That's kind of where I'm at, too.  I only collect for the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200 and the Vectrex.  And while I insist on getting boxed complete versions of the games (they can be worn, just not mashed) I've been pretty good at not trying to round up games that I think suck just to get closer to a complete collection.  For the 2600 I've made it a slight bit harder by wanting to concentrate on the Sears Tele-Games version of the games I want, too.  But I won't complete any of those collections because some of the games on each system I just hate.  I do try to get most homebrews, though, since those tend to be better games (too much effort to make a boxed homebrew game to waste on it being shitty, it seems) so it's worth it.  Now, if I were to stumble upon a Sears version of the blue boxed Superman game, even though I never liked it as a kid, I'll get it if it's a reasonable price.  But I'm not looking for it.


I'm a big Traveller fan so I've kept all my original RPG stuff for that game, too.  And there's lots of that crap and I don't think I'll complete that collection, either.  Back in the day dozens of companies sprang up making supplements and adventures and magazines for Traveller.  I hate the Judge's Guild stuff, they always seem so cheaply made, I can't even look at them so I don't collect them.  I have most of the FASA stuff for Traveller, though.  I bought it all back in the day when there were lots of RPG stores that had that stuff new.  No sense getting rid of it.

#2801516 Vectrex?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:27 AM

I don't know how anyone can say Vectrex controllers are unreliable. Well given their age this might be true now, but in principle it's built like a tank.

How do I know? Well I spent five years of my childhood playing Vectrex daily... it received some rought treatment and never had a single problem with the controller. It's very well built.

It's a great, great machine. ATARI really screwed up a HUGE opportunity to cash in with a similar console. Nothing wrong with the Cinematronics games though... but just imagine how much ATARI-licensed vector system would have sold.

I know! They certainly could have made a color vector system of their own with a slightly bigger screen and they certainly had experience with various controllers and custom chips. At the least, they could have released games for the Vectrex. Can you imagine official Atari games on that thing? I don't understand why they didn't release Asteroids and Lunar Lander at the least, or any other B&W games. Battlezone with a green/red overlay would be a no-brainer, same with Red Baron and Asteroids Deluxe with single color overlays. Dammit, if the Crash had waited a couple years maybe that could have happened. And then also games like Missile Command, Super Breakout, Sprint, Atari Football, it could have been the greatest time for the Vectrex and Atari.

#2798120 Vectrex?

Posted by ledzep on Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:32 PM

I've always wanted one, after playing em through the years. If I could find a decent Asteroids clone and a way to reduce that capacitor hum, I'd pay good money for one. Since I'm wishing: two joysticks, mint cabinet, multicart with repro overlays for all the games. That would make me happy!

This kit from Console5 might help. They also have a cap kit for the Vectrex. As for Asteroids, Norbert Kehrer seems to have coded up a real emulator using the arcade game's actual code. Currently for the Atari 800XL and Commodore 64, he says a Vectrex version is on the way. Hot damn!!

#2797513 Logan Hardware - Chicago, IL

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:52 AM

You obviously didn't read my most recent post. (except instead of "god people,"I uhhh....meant "good people.")

I think it's still a fair question in terms of your initial reaction. In the mid-'80s that would have been a "meh" arcade but now? Ya, I'd kill to have a place with that level of variety close to me so that I could play those games. Sure, there's no Space Wars or Major Havoc or Armor..Attack or Battlezone or Galaga or Wizard Of Wor or some rarer ones like Quantum or Space Firebird or Space Fury or Omega Race or Space Dungeon or I, Robot or whatever. Do you live in an area where there are arcades with an as good or better selection of working games than that place? You are very lucky. Not everybody looks at arcade games as either Pac-Man or so what.

#2792662 Space Dungeon: tips, optimal strategy?

Posted by ledzep on Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:25 PM

How accurate is the Atari 5200 version to the arcade version, by the way? Maybe you could use one to train for the other.

When I was a kid my friend and I used to play Space Dungeon marathons where one of us would drive and the other one would shoot, like we were in an Apache helicopter. It seemed way more fun that way especially when one of us was about to shoot an enemy but the other would change direction to avoid something and the enemy would be missed. One of my favorite 5200 games. I don't remember ever seeing the game in any arcade I went into. It was very cool seeing it at California Extreme last year. Of course I died very quickly playing it.

#2791523 Any reason why 'multi button' joysticks weren't supported on home...

Posted by ledzep on Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:00 PM

Say someone comes along with a two button and/or analog joystick and there's one great game shipped with it (assuming somebody capable of producing a great game can also be persuaded to get on board in the first place), what incentive is there for other programmers to then come along and support this new standard? In most cases, the motivation behind programming an 8-bit is to get people playing the games so why would someone with that motive tie what they're writing exclusively to a device with a handful of users and lock out the majority of people? And if they don't lock people in like that and only optionally support it, how many joysticks will that software support sell since regular ones can be used?

Well, I'm not sure why you ask the question since that's the current climate - how many homebrew games do you see written for driving controllers or trak-balls? Or even paddles? If it's the first game a homebrewist codes I would expect him to code it for a joystick and for the most popular console(s) out there. That isn't really the Atari 8-bit computers in the first place, that's more the Atari 2600, the Vectrex, the 7800, even the 5200 and the Colecovision or Intellivision or whatever, right? It's rare to see announcements on this site for new Atari computer carts being made (the few that are tend to be conversions of previously-released 5200 games) so why own an 8-bit computer for games in the first place? For most of us it's nostalgia, not need.

On the other hand, I've seen comments on the 5200 Tempest game (boxed with manual, no less) thread from people who say that now they'll finally have to buy a 5200 in order to play Tempest. That's not a controller, that's the whole damn console. Why? For one game. Now, sure, that's not hundreds or thousands of buyers or users, no. But it's something.

Nobody is going to quit his day job to code games for Atari 8-bit computers. Anyone that dumb can't code in the first place. This is a hobby and, beyond that, a way to brag about having actually created a homebrew game that people like (I hope to one day). If you're lucky you pull off a 2600 Star Castle where people are drooling to own one. Otherwise it's a new 2600 game or something else. But it's still cool, it's still something that some people want. But there are lots of homebrew programmers out there now, for many systems. What's the next step up? The guy who successfully puts out a new controller that people want. And not just some reshaped joystick that works just like previous joysticks, a new controller... and a game, because who wants to just stare at a controller all day?

I'm one of those people who searched eBay for a 2600 Omega Race in a box so that I could also have the special controller it came with. We're out there. You won't get rich off of us, but we will buy something cool like that. Now, you could use that game as the perfect example of why a new controller won't work because who has written another game that uses the Omega Race controller? Well, nobody has. But the counter to that is that the Omega Race controller isn't currently and easily available. If it was, who knows. I also searched eBay for a boxed 8-bit computer version of Robotron so that I could have that plastic holder for the required 2 joysticks. There are some things besides the games themselves that are worth collecting and really helpful for certain games.

The right game will make people want the new controller and that will open the possibility for more games for that controller. And it wouldn't be new, crazy code, either. From what I can see it would just be paddle inputs and joystick inputs, things that are well-known.

A question springs to mind; "if you make a new multi-button joystick", "if you don't offer", "if they don't like your price or how your joystick looks"... why aren't they saying "if I make" or "if I don't offer"?

Well, in my case, it's because I don't have the ability to make new controllers and sell them. I use "you" in the plural sense or the hypothetical person sense (because I hate how Elizabethan it sounds to write "...one would hope that..."). I was hoping to reach a current homebrew vet who was thinking of the next thing to do and who maybe wanted to do something more than code a game that's a mash-up of two other games. I mean, I bought a couple of those re-worked 2600 Adventure sequel games. I don't think I'm in the mood to buy any more, how many versions of Adventure does one person need?

But I'm no expert when it comes to the homebrew scene, anyway. I mean I watched as the first few 5200 Tempest games were released and the game testers complained that the trak-ball code was off and made it impossible to move slowly around the Tempest levels. But then someone else released an update from Atari from way back that explained how to initialize the trak-ball and everything was fixed once that bit of code was included. I was sure that once that happened we would see a modded Crystal Castles for the 5200 with trak-ball support (as Crom intended). But that hasn't happened, so much for my predictions.
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#2787474 Nostalgic about being nostalgic?

Posted by ledzep on Sat Jul 6, 2013 4:01 AM

Part of it is nostalgia. I, also, collect various things because back when I was a kid we couldn't afford all that I'd want. I've tracked down most of the LEGO sets I liked but could never buy (especially European sets that weren't ever available here to begin with), I plan on tracking down the old Tyco slot car set we got one Christmas, I'm about halfway finished with the Hot Wheels orange track elements (curves, bridges, etc.) that I always wished I'd been able to get but never owned (my best friend had some of them). Not enough time and money back then. And I will get the many Atari 2600 games I'm missing along with the few Vectrex and Atari 5200 games I'm missing (mostly homebrews so that's technically not nostalgia)

Part of it, though, is simply a love for the styling. I'm not a big fan of the woodgrain on the Atari 2600 (though I really like the shape) but I love the design of the Atari 800 computer and the peripherals. I also love the cabinet designs of most of my favorite arcade games. Check out this book about old computers -

http://www.amazon.co...rds=core memory

the design approach to them gets me and I say this having never seen any of those before so it's not nostalgia for them, it's nostalgia for that kind of design, at least for me. Same goes for mid-'60s/early '70s muscle cars and also mid-century/contemporary architecture (Koenig, Neutra, Eichler), there's just something "right" about those buildings even though I never lived in one, only saw them around as a kid. That design speaks to me. This is why I much prefer old video games that are boxed - I want the cover art and the special fonts and all the rest that the packaging offers even though you can't play the packaging.

It does take me back to my childhood, all of it. I miss that time a lot. But I also prefer old 8-bit games to the current choices. I want a fun game, not a photoreal rendered sim. My mind can fill in the blanks just fine. I know Space Duel and Xevious and Tempest aren't realistic and I don't care, that's not the point.

#2772255 The best arcades you have ever been to?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:07 AM

Man, back in the day living in The Valley (north of Los Angeles) there were arcades everywhere. Hard to pick a favorite. But -

1) Castle Park(?) in North Hollywood - they had lots of games, I believe also miniature golf and water slides. I think this place had the only cockpit Star Trek I ever saw along with the only Armor..Attack I remember playing.

2) Chuck E. Cheese in Panorama City(?) - I remember it for being the only place that had Moon Cresta, which I loved even though it beat me ragged. And I loved their pizza.

3) The Sega Center in the Sherman Oaks Galleria - One of the only places I frequented that had Omega Race. And a Space Fury which I stupidly ignored because I hated the talking alien head. But back then there were so many new, cool games coming out it didn't seem like a big deal.

4) The arcade next to Space Mountain at Disneyland - They had one of the only Tail Gunners I could find, they also had a couple Space Duels and air hockey tables. And Tron, of course.

5) Castle Park in Sherman Oaks - Lots of games, miniature golf and batting cages. Close to my high school so I ended up there often.

There are a few others that I can't put names to, they weren't that great in terms of number of games but one small one had a Polaris (which I love), the arcade closest to my house was the first place I ever saw Tempest and the only arcade with a Space Firebird, I remember the Sears in the Northridge Mall had Canyon Bomber (which to that point I thought was only an Atari 2600 cartridge), I really really miss those years.

Damn you, now I think I'll look online for some arcade game flyers I'm missing.