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.
- jhd likes this