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#1926269 What have you actually PLAYED tracker for 2010 (Season 3)

Posted by thegoldenband on Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:41 PM

All Genesis for the past couple days:


Marble Madness (Tengen) - 12 min.
Sword of Sodan - 88 min.


Marble Madness (Tengen) - 22 min.
Sword of Sodan - 47 min. (beat on 7 Lives, Easy)
Sword of Vermilion - 182 min.

#1922413 Other games like Adventures of Link and Simon's Quest?

Posted by thegoldenband on Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:37 PM

There are some exceptions, such as Simon's Quest...apparently there's no clues regarding the whole kneeling, red jewel thing to summon the tornado, according to the Angry Video Game Nerd. If that's the case, then it's just poor game design...

Many people have thought so, but according to ActiveGaming Media, it's actually the fault of a bad translation. It usually gets pinned on "hit Deborah Cliff with your head to make a hole", but that one's an accurate translation and deliberately misleading (as are many of the townspeople's statements in Simon's Quest).

Instead, the issue is with one of the hidden clue books. What should have been "Show/present the red crystal in front of Deborah's cliff and wait for the wind" -- which is pretty clear -- came out as "Wait for a soul with a red crystal on Deborah Cliff". Japanese games for the Famicom can be sadistic and/or very oblique with their clues, but they're usually not that bad!

I don't know whether "soul" and "wind" are related words in Japanese; assuming the above translation is correct, maybe that's what happened, or maybe it was just carelessness. (The original is "デボラノガケノ マエデ アカスイショウヲ カカゲ カゼヲマテ".)

EDIT: Well, Google transliterates the above as "Deboranogakeno Maede Akasuishouwo Kakage Kazewomate". Based on the very little Japanese I know, I believe kaze means "wind", and that kazewomate is something like "wait for wind". So...

EDIT #2: Aha! The kanji for kaze as wind is 風, but when you express it phonetically in katakana as カゼ, it looks like there is a homonym (?) that means "soul". So there you go.

#1922006 What have you actually PLAYED tracker for 2010 (Season 3)

Posted by thegoldenband on Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:48 AM

I spent several hours testing out my terrific new Harmony cart this week, as well as a freshly repaired C64, thus:

Atari 2600:
Incoming - 20 min.
Medieval Mayhem - 15 min.
Fall Down - 15 min.
2005 Minigame Multicart (mostly Marble Jumper and Jetman) - 15 min.
Bee Ball, Stay Frosty, Go Fish, Armor Ambush - all 10 min.
Cubis (beta), Jumper (unfinished game, 2004, by O. Achter), Juno First, Gunfight*, Kung Fu Master, Space War, Entombed, Forest, Walker - all 5 min.

Winter Games - 60 min.
Super Cycle - 30 min.
Medieval Adventure - 30 min.
Lemonade Stand - 30 min.
Solo Flight - 20 min.
G.I. Joe - 15 min.
World Karate Championship - 15 min.
Radar Rat Race - 10 min.

EDIT: Didn't realize Genesis games were also being counted -- in that case:

Sega Genesis:
Light Crusader - 3 hours
Toys: Let The Toy Wars Begin - 1 hour
Marble Madness (Electronic Arts) - 1 hour
Marble Madness (Tengen) - 15 minutes
Beggar Prince - 10 minutes

Also, here are my numbers for the first 10 days of the year (give or take), though I'm probably forgetting a lot:

Atari 2600:
Chuck Norris Superkicks - 10 min.

Tower of Doom - 4 hours
White Water - 10 minutes
Popeye - 5 minutes
Pitfall - 5 minutes

Monster Truck Madness 64 - 15 minutes
Nightmare Creatures - 10 minutes
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron - 10 minutes

Light Crusader - 3 hours (in addition to above)
Double Dragon - 1 hour
Columns - 1 hour
Rocket Knight Adventures - 20 minutes

Virtua Fighter - 90 minutes
Space Harrier - 15 minutes

Tandy CoCo:
Bedlam* - 3 hours

Atari 8-bit:
Basil the Great Mouse Detective* - 15 minutes
Mr. Do's Castle* - 5 minutes

(* = via emulation)

#1910711 playing roms on a commodor Vic-20?

Posted by thegoldenband on Sat Jan 2, 2010 1:54 AM

I'm no Vic expert, but if you haven't heard of it already, the Mega-Cart may be of interest.

#1901765 Good Multiplayer Games

Posted by thegoldenband on Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:18 PM

We had a thread discussing all the simultaneous multiplayer games that may be useful. I posted a list down towards the bottom that separates out all the homebrews and PAL-only games (there's only one of the latter that hasn't been converted to NTSC).

I haven't tried all the games in that thread yet, but aside from sports games and the titles already mentioned (Air Sea Battle, Armor Ambush, Combat, Double Dragon, Sky Diver, Space War, and Warlords), here's what I would suggest:

Classic-era titles: Demons to Diamonds, Fishing Derby, Freeway, Frogs and Flies, Indy 500, Joust, Maze Craze, Sprintmaster, Star Wars: Jedi Arena, Surround, Wizard of Wor

Homebrews: Bee Ball, Fall Down, Go Fish!, Medieval Mayhem

There are also a bunch of alternating games in which the turns tend to be relatively short (Bugs, Kaboom), or in which the alternation is an inherent part of the game (Artillery Duel, Human Cannonball).

In my house, our top 10 two-player games are probably Boxing, Bugs (!), Combat, Fishing Derby, Frogs and Flies, Indy 500, Kaboom, Sky Diver, Sneak 'n Peek, and Warlords. That list is likely to change, though, if I pick up some homebrews or a Harmony cart.

(too bad my Atari 2600jr doesn't support paddles.. oh well, trying to get another Atari in hopes it would)

By "doesn't support", do you mean that the Atari is damaged? I hadn't heard of any issues with the 2600 Jr. not supporting paddles.

#1883701 Just beat AD&D Cloudy Mountain (INTV) on Hero difficulty

Posted by thegoldenband on Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:34 AM

As the subject says, I just defeated the first Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game for Intellivision, aka Cloudy Mountain, on the hardest difficulty setting ("Hero") for the first time. Quite a rush!

For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a 2D cave/dungeon exploration game (with overworld navigation) that visually resembles the Apshai games et al., in that each room is only revealed once you first enter it. But the RPG elements are minimal -- there's no leveling up, point system, or treasure per se, and your character only employs a single weapon. It's not quite an arcade title either, though combat requires fast reflexes.

Instead, the focus is on managing your supply of arrows, planning the best way to Cloudy Mountain, and especially, on paying attention to the visual and audio cues that tell you what monsters are nearby. If anything, you're more of a hunter-tracker than a warrior. The result is almost like a cross between Gateway to Apshai, Hunt the Wumpus, and Dungeons of Daggorath for the Tandy CoCo (in that the audio cues are crucial).

Here are some tactics I found useful. These are all relative to the "Hero" level, and might differ on easier difficulties.

  • Learn to recognize which droppings/tracks are associated with which creatures. Skulls usually mean a reptile (snake or dragon) is in an adjacent room, while Y-shaped tracks connote a demon, and little dots (scat pellets?) mean a rat. With a little deduction, you can sometimes figure out where the enemy is, and shoot them without ever seeing them.
  • Similarly, learn the characteristic sounds of the different monsters (some are silent). Before you enter an untried room, stop and listen for a few moments, since snake and dragon sounds are intermittent.
  • Not sure where a sound is coming from? Try scrolling that area off the map, and see if the noise disappears. If so, that's your source.
  • If you're heading into an unknown area, be sure to ditch or kill any nearby bats, since not only do they get in the way, but the flapping of their wings will cover up enemy noises.
  • The pattern seems to be that each cave system will have three strong enemies, plus a smattering of spiders, bats, and blobs. Gray caves, for instance, seem to have two rats and a snake; blue caves have two demons and a dragon; and red caves have two snakes and a demon. If a tool item is present, one monster will guard it, while another guards the exit.
  • Always go to a gray cave first, and visit any others you uncover, so that you can build up your supply of arrows with a minimum of risk. Don't bother with the purple caves -- they're too dangerous, and you can usually find some way around the gates.
  • The manual claims that red (axe) cave complexes are harder than blue (boat) ones, but given that the dragon is by far the most dangerous enemy in the game, I'd rather face the snakes.
  • Because of the way the Intellivision controller works, you can't shoot and move at the same time unless you hold a controller in each hand, using one to shoot and the other to move. However, that two-fisted approach leaves you unable to run, since you can't really work the disc and hold the side buttons at the same time. One fun approach is to play with a friend who handles the shooting for you, but otherwise, it's best to play with one controller.
  • From time to time, you may need to lure an enemy away from whatever they're guarding -- typically a stash of arrows (when you're out of them), or the exit (if you're hurt and need to bail). If you hold down the "run" button, you can outrun rats, and your running speed is the same as a snake or demon's, so you can sometimes trick them into following you and then getting caught up on a corner. Don't bother running from the dragons, they'll catch you easily if you try.
  • When approaching a room, do so via the straightest possible passage, especially if you think there's a strong foe in there. If the hallway is curving, back up and find a different angle of attack. The dungeon wraps around in all directions, so there's always a way!
  • On a related note, if you suspect there's an enemy in the next room, it's almost always worth it to fire a trial shot in that direction as long as the hallway is straight. That way, if it connects, you have time for a second shot before the monster crowds you. These "blind shots" are pretty much the only way to defeat the winged dragons at the end, which take three hits. You can try to use the ricochet to your advantage as well, but I found it too unpredictable and dangerous.
  • When you first enter a dungeon, in the split-second as the dungeon walls are being drawn in, sometimes you can catch a glimpse of a monster in a nearby room. Use that information to take it out pre-emptively!
  • If a blob takes up residence in the room where you first enter the dungeon, be sure to lure it to a different room. Otherwise, if you lose a life, you're apt to rematerialize right on top of it, and be killed instantly.
  • If you're in dire straits and have no arrows left, you can always try making a beeline for the exit. It doesn't matter what damage you take en route, as long as you make it out alive, since you're healed completely as soon as you return to the overworld.
  • Make sure to have at least 10-12 arrows before entering Cloudy Mountain. You'll need at least six of those for the winged dragons, plus some more to take out any annoying bats or spiders. If you use your ears, it's easy to figure out where the dragons are, but you'll have to shoot quickly to kill them before they reach you; once they do, you're done for!

Anyway, I had a great time beating AD&D, and I hope this thread inspires someone else to give it a spin. Despite its limitations and flaws (especially the blob-death thing), I think it's a terrific game that plays to the Intellivision's strengths. Sure, the demon looks more like an evil bunny (or an insect-man with clown feet), but generally the graphics and sound are quite effective, and the game feels fair. Plus I appreciate the fact that the game has an ending/can be "beaten" and doesn't go on forever, yet it's got plenty of replayability thanks to the (literally) random terrain. It's tough on the hardest level, but with careful play and a bit of luck, it can be done.

So that makes the second Intellivision game, after Space Battle, that I've beaten on the hardest difficulty level. Now playing Tower of Doom on Waif level, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish...that game's hardest setting is beyond brutal!

#1860714 Atari v Commodore

Posted by thegoldenband on Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:12 PM

I've been reading this thread off and on for a while now. I understand the concerns about Commodore users "stirring the pot" and such, and I understand that the OP was looking specifically for games that are better on the Atari 8-bit. That's fine.

But I really, really hope that no one -- including the moderators -- think there should be one standard of behavior for Atari users in this thread, and another for C64 users, simply because this happens to be an Atari website.

Treating each other with respect and civility is an obligation, and I think that everyone who slips in little "digs" and otherwise engages in trash-talking is bringing disrepute on the site, whether they're doing so in favor of Atari or of the C64. There's been some really nasty, disrespectful, and (above all) hypocritical stuff posted by certain people in the last 20-22 pages, and I'm kind of astonished they've gotten away with it. I don't even have a horse in this race -- I've never owned a working C64 or A8, and was mainly a Tandy and Apple user as a kid -- and some of the things that've been said have made my blood boil.

I think words like "biased" and "hater" should be banned from this thread, because everyone who's using those words seems to be using them as a replacement for "Anything that suggests my machine is better is objectively true and a fact, but anything that suggests your machine is better is a dirty lie made up by haters and trolls." People who act in that manner should not be welcome here, period. We are not on opposing teams, or members of tribes, or armies at war. We are all equals -- or, at least, civility demands that we act that way -- and we all deserve the benefit of the doubt. Anyone who can't be civil shouldn't be posting.

Also, for God's sake, will certain people start proofreading their posts? Show everyone some respect, and go to the effort to make your posts legible and properly formatted. If you're in such a hurry (or such a rage!) that you're leaving multiple broken tags in your post, then maybe you shouldn't be posting at all until things calm down.

#1839600 The definitive list of ALL simultaneous multiplayer games?

Posted by thegoldenband on Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:41 PM

This thread is extremely useful, and would make a great sticky for those of us who sometimes lose track when we're picking out games to play with our girlfriends, friends, or whatever.

I checked to see if there were any PAL-only 2-player simultaneous games, starting with Rom Hunter's list of PAL-only games. By crosschecking at Atarimania, it looks like Words-Attack is the only one that's listed as 2-player simultaneous, but I just tried it out, and I can't find any 2-player option. Am I missing anything? Plus it's an unfinished game that's not really playable, though we could list it marked accordingly.

All of the others are 1-player only or 2-player alternating (and only a few of those). So I guess, barring Words-Attack, there are no PAL-only simultaneous multiplayer games. Is that correct?

Given the above, here's my revised list of simultaneous multiplayer games for NTSC systems. I thought it'd be helpful to have the unreleased prototypes and homebrews listed separately from the released classic-era games, and also to note which games support 3-4 players. Here goes:

Classic-era games:
Air-Sea Battle
Armor Ambush
Breakout (up to 4 players, though only 2 at once)
Canyon Bomber
Demolition Herby
Demons To Diamonds
Double Dragon
Double Dunk
Fishing Derby
Frogs and Flies
G.I. Joe: Cobra Strike (up to 3 players)
Home Run
Ice Hockey
Indy 500
International Soccer
Mario Bros
Maze Craze
Party Mix (up to 4 players)
Pele's Soccer
Pete Rose Baseball
Quick Step
RealSports Baseball
RealSports Boxing
RealSports Football
RealSports Tennis
RealSports Soccer
RealSports Volleyball
Sky Diver
Slot Racers
Space Invaders
Space War
Star Wars: Jedi Arena
Steeplechase (up to 4 players)
Street Racer (up to 4 players)
Summer Games (certain events)
Super Baseball
Super Challenge Baseball
Super Challenge Football
Title Match Pro Wrestling
Track And Field
Video Olympics (up to 4 players)
Warlords (up to 4 players)
Winter Games (certain events)
Wizard Of Wor
Worm War I

Sea Battle

Bee Ball
Fall Down
Go Fish!
M-4 (2005 Minigame Multicart)
Marble Craze
Medieval Mayhem (up to 4 players)
Phantom II
Stella's Stocking (Grandma's Revenge, Cold War games)
Sync (Me First! game option)
Warring Worms
Warring Worms: The Worm Returns

It'd be nice to have a version that was annotated a bit more, especially making note of which games were cooperative or independent (rather than competitive). I like mcge0053's distinction between head-to-head games and "simultaneous but independent" games. I also think there should be an addendum that includes some of the strictly turn-based games like Artillery Duel and Incoming!, Human Cannonball, etc., since they're "practically simultaneous" and there's no danger that one player will monopolize the game by going on a long run.

Also, did I miss any games that support more than 2 simultaneous players? I counted G.I. Joe, Party Mix, Street Racer, Steeplechase, Video Olympics, Warlords, and Medieval Mayhem. There's also Breakout, which alternates between 2 simultaneous players at a time. Any others?

#1827978 Which consoles lose the most through emulation?

Posted by thegoldenband on Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:43 PM

ZSNES has never quite cut it for me. Every version on every computer I have ever tried with every controller has an unacceptable input lag. Also, the sound is just a tad too "metallic", if that makes any sense at all.

I've never tried ZSNES, but I've never noticed any input lag with SNES9X. I wonder if the "metallic" quality you're hearing is aliasing? Maybe the SNES hardware itself has a better anti-aliasing filter.

I don't really know which loses the most, but neo geo emulation always seemed the most obviously 'off' to me. There are so many twitch and timing based games/moves on that system that it really shows off lag in the control emulation.

Interesting. The Neo Geo is definitely an example of a system I'm unlikely to collect, between the high cost and the focus on certain genres of games -- though I love those comically gargantuan cartridges! I haven't tried it via emulation yet, but I'll keep your comments in mind.

The Nintendo DS and Nintendo Virtual Boy for obvious reasons.

Yes, my experiences emulating the Virtual Boy have been pretty dismal -- without the 3-D, it's basically pointless. Sooner or later we'll get another stereoscopic console. (I wonder if my sister still has her VB?)

I'd say pretty obviously, the Vectrex pales...Not that the emulators aren't good. They are great. But you can't simulate Vector screens. Not really....

That was the big revelation for me when I last visited Funspot, seeing how wonderful Asteroids looked with those little pinpoints of light. I have a friend with a Vectrex, but we've never gotten together to give it a spin.

The Atari Jaguar.

Indeed, that was the main 1990s console that crossed my mind. Are there any significant emulators out there for the Jaguar? I'm an OS X user, and I get the impression that there's basically nothing -- and also that the Jaguar community is somewhat hostile to emulation (is that correct?). I have yet to see one in the wild, and can't really see myself collecting for the system, but I would like to try it someday.

PS1 emulators are now doing 100% emulation with only minor glitches like FMV skipping and sound popping. Sauturn emulators are almost there. They just need to work out some speed issues. N64 Emulators are dead on perfect and they increase the resolution to make the games look even better.

I'll have to check out the latest generations of all three. I can get full-speed N64 emulation on my PowerBook, but I don't have an appropriate controller (though I do own a N64). I've tried Yabause, but it's quite slow on my machine. Wasn't there a decent commercial PS1 emulator some years back? I assume the current emulators are more accurate, and consequently slower.

The 5200 - although you gain better controls you lose the frustration of dealing with those analog controllers.

We used a 2600 controller adapter back in the day! I'm trying to remember which games really needed the 5200 controllers -- it's only a bare handful, no? Maybe I could figure out a hack to use my CoCo joysticks to get that non-centering goodness. :)
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#1827688 Which consoles lose the most through emulation?

Posted by thegoldenband on Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:34 PM

Many of us have limited space and budgets, and need to be choosy about which consoles we seek out. Obviously, the best ones to collect are the ones we enjoy the most. But it seems to me that another good benchmark when considering a purchase is: how much does this console lose through emulation?

For example:

The NES seems to me to lose very, very little via emulation. Faithful, full-speed emulation is a present-day reality on most machines. The NES library has been more or less completely dumped, and the homebrew scene is small, so there's very little if anything that's only available on cart. The console itself is notoriously flaky, 72-pin connector replacement notwithstanding, but shows up everywhere. The games are actively sought by collectors, and it's almost impossible to get a complete collection, especially if you're interested in foreign games. And the standard controllers are very easy to imitate, while the nonstandard ones (Zapper, Power Pad, etc.) are only used in a handful of games.

The 2600 is, to my mind, a borderline case. The emulators are great, of course, especially Stella. The game library has been dumped and is easily available, but there are a lot of excellent homebrews only available on cart. The console is robust and widely available, and most of the better games are relatively common, though the rarest games are impossible to find. The joysticks are easy to emulate, but the paddles (and driving controllers) are extremely distinctive, and I haven't found a good substitute, though I know there's a USB adaptor out there.

The Intellivision is also very well-emulated (by jzintv), but it's not easy to do the controllers justice. The game library has been dumped and most of it is legally available via various collections, but the majority of Intellivision games are available relatively cheaply, even CIB, though the later ones are fairly expensive. The console seems reasonably robust, though the controllers sometimes give out, and you don't see a lot of them in the wild. The homebrew scene is admirable, but quite small. The controllers are quirky and difficult to reproduce in an intuitive way. For some games, the control you get via emulation may be preferable, but for others you really miss out on the complete experience if you don't have the original controllers with overlays.

So if I were making recommendations to a friend, I'd say "Skip the NES, keep an eye out for a cheap VCS, buy the INTV on Ebay with a good lot of games."

(Which, as it happens, is exactly what I did myself.)

What about you? Which ones are "close enough", and which ones aren't? For the ones where you insist on the real thing, is it the controllers, the quality of emulation (or lack thereof), the packaging and extras, or some indefinable something else that makes you say "Real hardware or bust!"
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#1697030 Advanced sound techniques: how do they work?

Posted by thegoldenband on Thu Mar 5, 2009 9:12 PM

This is, perhaps, a rather vague set of questions, so bear with me:

I've come to a fairly good understanding of how to use the TIA's sound hardware "by the book". In other words, using bB, I'm able to write my own two-channel songs, and have become reasonably adept at rapidly switching between distortion settings to create the illusion of 3-4 channel textures. All of these songs are synced to 60Hz timing -- so in other words, to quote the name of Eckhard Stolberg's excellent sound editor, I've essentially been writing "Frame Timed Sound Effects".

But I have no real understanding of what's involved in manipulating the sound channels at a speed faster than 60Hz. For instance, let's say I wanted to phase two low-frequency waveforms against each other: distortion setting 1, pitch value $1F, on both channels. Is there a way to make the two waves slowly and smoothly in and out of phase with one another, say with a two- or three-second periodicity, by somehow introducing miniscule delays to one channel? Is it possible to do this with reasonable results?

Or, to take a more advanced example, the voice samples in Quadrun and Open Sesame -- I assume they're somehow generated through rapid toggling of square waves. But how does that work? Does Supercat's 4-voice demo of "The Entertainer" use the same method? I notice that he's able to keep an onscreen display going while playing the music, whereas the other two titles have to blank the screen.

What about -- even though it's different hardware -- the music for the Fairchild Channel F, as heard in Pac-Man for that platform? Is the basic principle the same? Would the Odyssey2 be capable of the same things we've heard from the Channel F? I remember hearing about the Apple II's 1-bit speaker, and how people were able to push out multivoice music through that. Are people using special programs to convert pre-existing soundfiles into...is it pulse-width modulation format?

I should add that I have only the most rudimentary understanding of ASM, and I get the impression that pushing the hardware in this way really demands some knowledge of ASM. That's in my to-do list for the medium-term future. That being said, I can probably follow simple examples, though I'm mainly interested in just understanding conceptually how these things work.

#1615263 Anyone think Ballblazer is possible on the 2600?

Posted by thegoldenband on Mon Nov 3, 2008 9:56 PM

That one boop in the background that comes around once in a while should be changed a bit or at least have its volume turned down, but the whole thing is much better than it was.

Good catch, that helped me find one more small thing that needed to be tweaked:
Attached File  ballblazer_start_zylon_alt7.bas   2.34KB   979 downloadsAttached File  ballblazer_start_zylon_alt7.bas.bin   4KB   407 downloads
The lower note in the "boop" was an octave too low, compared to the way it sounds on the 8-bit.

Roland, I think this version is ready for inclusion, if you'd like to add it to your WIP!