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Member Since 15 Feb 2010
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#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.

#2706032 5200 Tempest Now Available!

Posted by ledzep on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:47 PM

I cannot wait! Got my shipping update email, I had to resist the urge to call in sick to work to wait for it to arrive.

#2693028 If you had to pick one system to keep...

Posted by ledzep on Thu Feb 7, 2013 7:58 PM

Depends on the week. Right now, because of Tempest finally coming out for the Atari 5200, I'd keep the 5200. But I've been more successful tracking down homebrews and cool extras for the Vectrex, so maybe by next week I'd say keep the Vectrex and ditch the rest. I'm not sure I could choose just one. I might have to kill whoever was forcing me to make that choice if he wouldn't allow for one raster and one vector pick, haahahaa.

#2689139 5200 Tempest

Posted by ledzep on Fri Feb 1, 2013 8:17 PM

Thanks. Ordered mine ;)

Thank Odin, ordered mine as well (and a t-shirt!). What a stressful few minutes, though, haahaha. Between my work's beat down internet connection and me not remembering my store password (even reset it, that was also stressful, wouldn't let me through, had to do it like I was a new customer) I was worried that I would miss out on purchasing my favorite vector game of all time. Thank you Albert, Keithen and everybody else connected with getting this game to the 5200! Jeez, and only 2 days before the Super Bowl, this is too much anxiety!

#2683183 Are Apple II series computers worthless?

Posted by ledzep on Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:44 PM

Look up info on the III, they make the Coleco Adam look reliable. ;)

Ya, there is that aspect. I read up on the history of it on Wikipedia (I know, I know, but you have to start somewhere). Very interesting how they screwed themselves by making the Apple ///s backwards compatible with the Apple ][s but only up to 48k and without access to the better hardware internally, simply because they wanted interest for the Apple ][ to die off so everyone would buy the Apple ///s. Stupid move. And then trying to cram too much inside the case forcing them to use boards with traces that were too narrow. I don't understand when companies do that. They'd figured out the Apple ][, it was reliable and popular, then they create the sequel to that as though they'd never laid eyes on an Apple ][ before in their lives.

I wonder about that alternate universe where Apple didn't blow that opportunity and the Apple /// really took off. Of course that's the same alternate reality that has arcade games (real arcade games, dammit, with vector screens and dedicated unique controls) remaining popular for longer and The Crash never happened so that the Vectrex and Atari 5200 weren't kneecapped before they had a chance. Damn you, Reality.
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#2682834 Are Apple II series computers worthless?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:03 PM

My main Apple II is a IIgs with a CFFA 3000.
I have a II+ with a language card, an 80 column card, super serial card, and a CFFA board in case something doesn't run on the IIgs.

I also have a Laser 128, 2 IIc+'s, an enhanced IIe with 2 disk 2's (from the II+), an Apple III, and a Franklin Ace 1000.

Man, talk about nostalgia. A couple friends in high school had Apple ][s, can't remember if they were ][es or ][+s. I was always an Atari 800 guy, something about the Apples I didn't like, but I was always impressed by the room inside and the ability to slot in expansion cards. Seeing this thread and the pics sends me back to that time.

I remember watching "Tron" the first time and seeing that Apple /// that Flynn was typing on, thinking it was so damn cool. I had no idea that it wouldn't take off like the Apple ][s did. I wonder why those didn't take off, they seemed more serious and powerful than the Apple ][s.

Certainly none of those early Apples is "worthless". But there are a lot of young mindless people out there who don't know the value of anything older than 10 years (unless it's a car or a guitar) who wouldn't think twice about trashing an old 8-bit computer. But then they ditch smartphones and TVs older than 2 years so what do they know. If those old Apples became trendy, like vinyl record/'70s clothing trendy, then you see them scrambling to recover old gear and pretend to be educated about the value of those classic computers.

#2679967 Picked up a new Trinitron today...

Posted by ledzep on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:00 PM

I have one of these Trinitron TVs and I love it. I also found this website that talks about calibrating CRTs and how to enter the TV's service mode to get to all the many many settings it has (the service mode page also has the information for ordering a service manual for your TV should you want one, I got one for mine and it's has every schematic for the guts of this thing). I did this for my TV in order to shrink down the image both horizontally and vertically so I wouldn't lose some of the edge information that I noticed was not being displayed.

I'm not sure if this website will help with your particular TV but you should be able to get an idea about the various ways you can adjust your image to get it exactly where/how you want it.

#2626145 New GUI for the Atari 8-bit

Posted by ledzep on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:06 PM

I think my preferred behavior would just be to never allow the mouse pointer off the screen. I realize you'd have to do some more advanced checking than just that for the menu bar issue and such, but if the mouse pointer can't be dragged off the sides or bottom of the screen, neither can the windows. Of course, you've probably already thought of this, and there's just something deeper going on that I'm not realizing.

Come on, obviously the preferred behavior for an Atari 8-bit computer would have to be a wrap-around screen! I'm kidding but I think that would be a hilarious easter egg or hidden feature, having the windows wrap side-to-side or top-to-bottom, so 2600.

#2622807 Vectrex Game Brainstorming!

Posted by ledzep on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:25 AM

This is probably too generic an answer but, for me, I welcome more games that take advantage of the Vectrex's analog joystick and that have useful overlays (Pole Position is a perfect example, Armor..Attack is another for the overlay alone). And also, games that take advantage of the vector graphic's ability to draw a straight line in any direction. It's always bugged me to play rastor versions of vector games on consoles, having only 12 or so directions in which to shoot when the arcade version let me shoot anywhere (Asteroids on the Atari 2600 being one of the worst).

Head On 2 would be great as far as the overlay goes (but vertical).
Reactor would be great, too (I've been told someone was working on a version of this with Spike as the player but enough with including Spike for everything already).
Quantum would be perfect for the analog joystick.

And not a game but I wish someone would brainstorm a trackball for the Vectrex. There must be a way to use the inputs for the joystick for that, still leaving the controller with 4 buttons. Quantum, Missile Command, Centipede, Atari Football, other games demand it!

#2565624 Is it blasphemy to use a stock Genesis/Megadrive controller with the VCS?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:39 AM

Use whatever controller you like but it is blasphemy to use a Genesis/Megadrive controller with the VCS. Those games were made for joysticks and paddles and driving controllers, not gamepads. Might as well put a Chevy 350 in a BMW (some do, it's wrong). Convenience or preference is a valid excuse but it's still blasphemy. You get these games presumably to run them the way they were meant to be run. That means original hardware and controllers.

#2561949 So how many people here do not drink the Atari koolade?

Posted by ledzep on Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:00 PM

I better explain myself before I get shot!! :lol:

What I mean is how many people here have a very balanced view of ALL past machines from 8-64bit regardless of whether they sport an Atari badge or not?

Not sure I understand the question. I mean, yes, I have a very balanced view of MOST past machines (haven't played with or even laid eyes on a few of them) whether they sport an Atari badge or not but, for me, most of them suck. I own/like the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200 and the Vectrex, the rest don't interest me. My first computer was an Atari 800 (by choice, a couple friends had Apple ][s and I didn't care for them, hated TRS computers and wasn't keen on Commodores) and I love it still. Not until I saw SGI Impact 2s at my first real job did I like another computer again. And a friend of mine had an Atari 400 but I hated it (that keyboard was hell).

Having said that there are some Atari products I don't like, or don't like enough. The Atari 7800, somehow, doesn't do it for me (and how stupid am I about that with recent Scramble, Moon Cresta homebrews?@!). I own a Falcon computer but haven't used it in a while, wasn't impressed after giving it a full (expensive for the time) try. I'm fully Linux now.

My best friend had an Intellivision and a 5200 when we were kids. Loved the Atari 5200 (finally buying one years later), really didn't like the Intellivision (minus a few good games we played a lot). No desire to own one and it's one I grew up with. There is/was just something about Atari that "does it" for me. The 2600 is primitive beyond all others yet I really like it still. The 5200 rocks. It's just a look they both have (graphics, game play). Same goes for Atari arcade games, there was a run of a few years where they practically could do no wrong by me. Cinematronics was also solid there, some Midway and Sega games, but Atari ruled... until the later '80s when all new arcade games sucked for me. Wrong look, wrong game play. Forget it, I'll play Tempest. I remember seeing an Odyssey 2 in a store and trying to play it, hating everything about it (keyboard, game graphics, joysticks). Never liked the Nintendo and it's offspring.

Most fans drink the Kool-Aide for their favorites. I agree that the fanatics are intolerable, their favorites are completely perfect and superior to all others. But fans are rarely fans of everything in the genre, they pick their favorites. I love the Vectrex as much as the 2600 and the 5200 but what I would really really love to see? The Atari vector arcade games ported to the Vectrex.

#2558288 Anyone remember Solar Fox

Posted by ledzep on Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:14 PM

Man, my brother and I played that in the arcades a lot. He even bought one (though it refuses to display correctly now), it was always a fun game to play. I never liked the Tron joystick, though, it always felt like I was going to break that thing off its base because of how hard I was pushing it to try to avoid dying, haahaa.

#2557032 Questions...possibilites, opinions on development of retrogames

Posted by ledzep on Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:48 PM

I can't answer the questions because I have no real experience in the homebrew world, though I would say that the Vectrex seems to have as good as or even a more robust homebrew scene than the 2600.

As much as I hate the way it played out I'd say that the 2600 Star Castle Kickstarter example is a way to do this that you might not have considered. You can set a money goal that can, if you feel like it, include development costs. You don't reach the goal, you don't move on it but it would seem that people would expect something soon so you'd almost have to have been working on the game before getting the money. But you could set up pricing and availability that way that would for sure cover your costs. What I didn't like about the Star Castle example was that the guy got waaay more money than he was asking for but didn't allow for extra carts to be made for purchase. So someone like say, me, who didn't hear about it until a week later, was S.O.L. in terms of getting one even though the guy got plenty of money to produce a few extras and I would have put down for the boxed (most expensive) version. I wouldn't do it that way if you went that route, I'd allow for some of the extra money to either have more examples made or get folded into the next game down the line.

I would like to see a Vectrex Kickstarter with tiered pricing for cart only, cart + manual and cart + manual + box + overlay. Since boxes and overlays are the biggest pains they'd make that 3rd level the most expensive. It would be obvious how many of each were being asked for and the pricing would cover that + maybe some extra for the effort. If it exceeded the total then some extras could be made for after-the-fact sales. Maybe after 2 or 3 of those you make a name for yourself and don't need Kickstarter anymore.

Also, pricing depends on what you're making. If it's a popular "Why wasn't this game ever made for the [fill in the blank]?" port then you could probably charge more than for your own unique idea that might not resonate with potential customers. I'm thinking of a Halo or Boulder Dash for the 2600 or a Warrior for the Vectrex or a Moon Cresta for the 7800 as opposed to a game that might be really cool but nobody can wrap his head around your description, you'd have to already have them made so people could see a YouTube video of gameplay or something. Along with that, if you go the full monty with boxes and screen overlays (Vectrex) or controller overlays (5200, Intellivision) then you could charge more for that "completeness" as well.

There's also the possibility of teaming with others who already exist. Marc on this forum offers boxes for some games (which I've bought and really like), maybe he could be convinced to make them separately for your games and whoever bought your carts would be told to contact him for any box needs. And omeganu makes overlays for Vectrex games that are pretty good compared to the originals and he also makes overlays for homebrew games that never had them, you could supply him with the image and be done with it from your end. Actually I hope more homebrew programmers do that, I think it's best when you can have the option of compiling a complete homebrew game as opposed to just having a downloaded file to run on an emulator.