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  1. I had a fun time in Irvine. With my wife and kids (2, 7, & 9), I was mostly focused on how they viewed the Amico rather than myself. I was already sold on it so I was mostly curious about their reactions. We all played Shark Shark, Emoji Charades, Astrosmash, and Rigid Force Redux Enhanced. I personally had fun with all the games, but Emoji Charades was my least favorite. Ironically, Emoji Charades was everyone elses absolute favorite. It's well done, just not my style of game. It plays just like real Charades or Pictionary, except that you try to spell out the word by sending emojis to the TV using your cell phone. There are a good amount of categories to choose from including kids specific categories. My son LOVED when he got the word "fart." He kept sending poop and wind emojis until my wife guessed it and everyone was laughing. If you enjoy real Charades or Pictionary, you'll definitely enjoy this game. My favorite was Rigid Force Redux Enhanced. I played a little bit with Wolfy62, but played a lot longer with my son after he left. Usually when I play similar games with my son, he runs out of lives so quickly that I end up just playing all by myself and he gets bored. This didn't happen here because player two can't die. We could actually progress through the game and even make little strategies to beat the bosses by letting his ship take the bigger risks while protecting my ship further back to not lose lives. I'm definitely buying that game as a solid co-op experience with one skilled and one less skilled player. My second favorite was Shark Shark. I was helping my 2 year old play and the rest of my family were players 2-4. Because players can eat each other, it created some interesting dynamics. The girls all agreed to try not to eat each other while my son made it his goal to only eat the other human players. If a player dies, they turn into a skeleton fish and can keep swimming and bumping into things, but can't eat until they come back to life after a little while. Once they run out of extra lives, they stay a skeleton until another player beats the level by eating enough fish. Astrosmash played similar to the original game, but with co-op, power-ups, and a more modern gameplay feel. My son also had fun playing this. His favorite feature was that he could smash rocks by warping through them. He was literally jumping up and down each time he did it. I played this the least amount of time because my other kids wanted to play in the Boomers arcade. We were going back and forth between the arcade and the Amico event the whole time because that's what the kids wanted to do. I thought that the controller felt very strong and sturdy, but lighter weight than I expected. I purposely did not closely examine it at first and just picked it up and played to see if it was natural. The feel in my hands was completely natural and the two shoulder buttons felt fine. I was also surprised that the touchscreen worked fine as a single button. I was worried that I would not like a touchscreen as a button, but there was no problem here. On Rigid Force, it was the fire button. On Astrosmash, I would slide it to make my ship warp slide. I don't know if I could have just tapped the screen because I just naturally would swipe every time. The ship would warp in the direction the ship was traveling in. I wish that it would warp in the direction I swiped instead because I often wanted to change directions with a warp, but once I figured it out, it worked fine. I did not try to use the touchscreen on Shark Shark during gameplay. The screen showed the score during gameplay and let you choose your fish before gameplay. The disc took me about a minute to get used to. My mind kept switching my muscle memory from d-pad mode to thumbstick mode to original Intellivision disc mode. After about 60 seconds, I stopped trying to analyze it and just played the game. Once I stopped thinking about it, it became natural and my character on the screen simply did what I wanted it to do. It works just as well as both a D-pad and a thumbstick for the 2D games I played. On Shark Shark, I would also spin my thumb around the outside of the disc to swim in an arc which was fun. Tommy gave me an extra disc to take home as a souvenir. After looking at it, it really looks like a thumbstick with a very large diameter head and a very short shaft (please no jokes about my description lol). Add a fidget spinner to the face of that head and you have an Amico disc. You can really use it exactly like a thumbstick while you play. You can also use it just like a D-pad because it is large enough to do so. The spinning part is not an input itself, but it helps your thumb keep track of where it is just like the + shape helps on a D-pad. If you spin your thumb on the outside and push down pressure, it's similar to spinning a large diameter low profile thumbstick, but with a slightly different feel. It works well and I was very happy with it. My wife and kids put no thought into the controller because it works well enough to not have to think. Tommy also showed a few of us the physical media and what's inside the box. He also asked us not to spoil the surprise by telling exactly what's inside. I will say that original Intellivision fans will love it. Those who have not seen or heard of the original Intellivision will still be happy, but won't have the same intense nostalgia that I had when he opened the box. So many people argue about what is a digital and what is a physical game. I feel the Amico physical product is a mixture between the two. As a parent, I typically prefer digital games that my kids can't lose or break. As a collector, I like physical games that I can buy, sell, and trade later on with other collectors. Meeting other collectors in person is part of the fun of it for me. The Amico physical games accomplish both my parenting and collecting desires by being something between the two things and both at the same time. I will likely buy the physical version sometimes and the digital version other times depending on how much I am excited for each game. Some will see what the products are and not care to much about them and others will absolutely love them. I am happy to have the choice available to please those individuals who will love them. This is a very long post. If you have any specific questions please ask. I'm not in the video game industry at all and hopefully can provide the point of view from a regular family guy with a blue-collar job. The Amico is legitimately fun to play with my young kids. The last co-op game I had this much fun playing with my son was Blaster Master Zero on the Switch. The Amico will be that level of high quality in both gameplay and graphics, with perhaps even a higher level of innovation. It has the potential to be an Indy game mecca.
  2. No worries! Thank you for the synopsis! So many things going on and seeing it all for the first time that I'm sure it's difficult to keep track of them all. Speaking of only the facts... Someone who went to the event tweeted some misinformation to a certain obsessed podcaster. So of course people are now believing things that were never true. And of course, people make false videos about it. But just to clarify (sad that I keep having to do this over and over). Contrary to what was said (and both @wolfy62 and @LinemanDoc can confirm this), pictures and videos were absolutely allowed at the event. It was said that we made people sign a waiver saying that we didn't allow video or pics. Absolutely not the case. I'm assuming the person who tweeted that may have misunderstood what was told to them. The waiver (which was clearly explained to everyone who walked into the area) was to give us permission to film them playing Amico. And if people didn't want to be filmed... they could still come in (we just had to make sure we avoided getting them on camera). Big difference than what is being told and now retold by misinformed folks. But that seems to be the "norm" these days. If people can raise some kind of concern or controversy or make up drama, they will in hopes of getting more "views". Aside from the pics posted here, there are others posted in one of the Amico Facebook groups that you can view here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amicogamingfun/posts/1274145676347901/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/amicogamingfun/posts/1274117536350715/ Just wanted to clear that up in case anyone was interested.
  3. You may be aware from updates to the Intellivision development history that I’ve been in contact with Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark for a while. They have provided some background to the creation of their PlayCable development system and the subsequent work on Bump ‘N’ Jump. This posting details the story from Joe and Dennis’ perspective and I’d like to thank them for helping me to put it together, and allowing it to be shared. Joe Jacobs & Dennis Clark Circa 1980 Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark are engineers who worked for Jerrold, the cable television division of General Instrument and manufacturers of PlayCable. Dennis joined Jerrold in the summer of 1978 working in Hatboro PA. Back then, in the early days of PlayCable development, Jerrold anticipated that, like Mattel, it would write games for the Intellivision to be distributed over PlayCable. In part, Dennis was recruited to go into arcades and scout for titles suitable for conversion. As it turned out Jerrold never wrote a game for the PlayCable, and Dennis did not make it to an arcade on company time. Instead, he worked in the Software Department writing firmware for cable boxes and PDP-11 software for Jerrold’s cable head-end infrastructure. Development of the PlayCable hardware was well advanced by the first half of 1979, and over the summer Dennis worked to develop the firmware for the PlayCable adapter. He was also responsible for the music tracker used by the PlayCable menu program, and he arranged the version of The Entertainer that can be heard playing on the splash screen of the menu. In early 1981 Joe Jacobs left Siemens, where he worked on automated test equipment. He was hired by Jerrold to work in their Head-End Division as a Project Engineer to develop hardware and software associated with the distribution of cable services. This equipment was used by cable companies to distribute and control their subscribers' access to channels. The systems that Joe worked on communicated with the converter boxes installed in customers’ homes that Dennis helped to develop. Whereas Dennis is primarily a software specialist, Joe is more of a hybrid engineer, his focus is on hardware development, but he also writes software. Although Joe and Dennis looked after different aspects of Jerrold’s products, they worked in close proximity to each other, and became good friends. Dennis recalls how Joe nicknamed him “Grumpy” because he always had a determined look on his face. Joe explained that “In the early 1980's, Jerrold was still a small to mid-sized company and most of Jerrold's engineering was in one building”. Dennis says that, under the management of Charles Dages, Jerrold’s engineering department was very supportive of engineers’ creativity and fostered collaboration. It should be noted that when Mattel partnered with Jerrold to develop the PlayCable the two companies had a symbiotic relationship. Jerrold brought hardware knowledge specific to the cable industry and Mattel supplied access to the secret sauce for the Intellivision. This included the APh assembler and linker, and details of the EXEC and how to use it. Joe describes a “HUGE listing called the Mattel 'EXEC'. This listing was an assembler list file generated when Mattel compiled the library routines that went into each and every Mattel Intellivision main unit. It was dot-matrix printed, on that wide paper with the holes at each end and was about two-inches thick. It described each and every routine available to the game developer, calling conventions, parameter passing, object creation and interaction, etc”. Dennis noted that the interrupt driven model of the Mattel EXEC was unusual for the time and something he thinks was very innovative. Although General Instrument could provide Jerrold with information about the Gimini chipset on which the Intellivision is built, it needed these Master Component specific resources to write software for PlayCable. Remember that Jerrold had to write the firmware ROM in the PlayCable adapter, the menu program used by customers to select games, and potentially original Intellivision titles. Therefore, Jerrold, like APh, was one of a small number of trusted partners, and Jerrold engineers like Joe and Dennis had an inside track on writing software for the Master Component. Interestingly, Dennis recalls that during the development of the PlayCable he visited APh in Pasadena to learn more about the Intellivision, a trip that led to him meeting Glen Hightower and the Intellivision developers. It seems that at some point in late 1979, one of Dennis’ colleagues, possibly Joe Rocci, realised that the head-end infrastructure could be used to create backups of Intellivision games that could be played at home. PlayCable games were transmitted from dedicated microprocessor controlled cards, housed in a PDP-11 minicomputer. These same cards were also used by cable company head-end systems to communicate with consumers' cable boxes. A side effect of the encoding scheme used to transmit PlayCable titles was that the game data could be recorded directly off the transmission cards onto a regular audio cassette. The image below shows one such a DCX11A (Dual-Channel Xmitter) card connected to an audio adapter that was used to record Intellivision games. DCX-11A DataChannel Transmission Card with Audio Adapter Jerrold engineers could load games into the transmission card, connect the digital output to a tape machine using the adapter box and record the resulting stream. At home, they could then connect a regular audio cassette tape machine to a hacked PlayCable adapter and play the recorded game directly into the PlayCable’s memory. To make this work required some changes to the PlayCable adapter firmware, and for the digital board within the adapter to be connected to an audio input, rather than the normal cable receiver. These hacked PlayCable adapters were based on the earlier, limited-production Jerrold model which, unlike the later PlayCable branded units, had their digital sub-system implemented using standard off-the-shelf components. This made them much more hackable by exposing their inner secrets to those in the know, or with access to oscilloscopes and datasheets (see Sections 8.1 and 8.2 of the PlayCable Technical Summary for more information). Jerrold’s engineers christened these audio backups “PlayTape”. This innovation gave unrestricted access to the entire Intellivision PlayCable games library and was shared amongst some of the members of the engineering department. As Joe says, “all of us engineers had a modified PlayCable setup so we could play Intellivision at home. Remember, at the time, Intellivision was the ‘cat's meow’ of video games, handily beating the Atari 2600; Colecovision had not yet come on the scene”. Dennis believes that the management of Jerrold’s engineering department were probably aware of what their engineers were up to, but turned a blind eye, not seeing any harm in it. Title Screens for the Standard PlayCable (left) and Joe's PlayTape (right) On joining Jerrold in 1981, Joe quickly discovered what was going on and got involved, contributing to the modified firmware that ran on the PlayTape adapters. Before joining Jerrold, Joe had put together a small PDP-11/03 “Frankenstein” system of his own at home. This was compatible with the computers that were used to develop Jerrold’s cable head-end software and write Intellivision games. Through the summer of 1981 Dennis continued to tinker with Intellivision development, stripping sounds from Mattel games and building a sound board application to play them back. Joe’s interest in video games led him to start reverse-engineering the Arcadia Supercharger following its release for the Atari 2600. He figured out a way to read some of his Atari game cartridges and transfer them to the Supercharger replicating the “game-backups-on-tape” principle behind PlayTape. Catalogue of PlayTape Titles Through the fall of 1981 the library of PlayTape games was extended as new titles were released for the Intellivision, the pair also wrote diagnostic programs, and started to investigate the inner workings of the Intellivision’s EXEC. Joe realised that it would be possible to use a specially-modified PlayCable adapter, along with his Frankenstein PDP-11, and the tools he had access to at Jerrold, to develop rudimentary Intellivision games. Inspired, Joe suggested to Dennis that they "try and write a game for the Intellivision". Dennis was up for the challenge and explained the methods Jerrold used for Intellivision development. Joe recalls that the process was pretty simplistic. “It wasn't a whole lot, in my mind, it was basically EPROM burn and crash and burn and crash and... development". By this point Dennis also had a PDP-11 at home, put together from spare Jerrold equipment. Building such home systems was supported by Jerrold, as it allowed engineers to continue to work on company projects in their own time. In the meantime, Joe had started to think about how to improve the development tools, “I was, and still am, an in-circuit emulator kind of guy and prefer to do my software debugging in that environment if possible”. According to Dennis, testing was done using “something like ROM simulators to load the code from the LSI-11 to a modified Playcable type adapter”. This allowed test code to be uploaded from their development machines directly to the PlayCable, bypassing the need to use a broadcast card and audio cassettes. Joe says that “the whole concept was loosely modelled on the then-popular Motorola ExORciser development environment”. In the spring of 1982 Dennis and Joe concluded that they needed a demonstration to showcase their maturing Intellivision development capabilities and grab the attention of Mattel. They tossed some ideas back and forth and settled on writing Clone-Man, a homage to PAC-MAN. At the time PAC-MAN had just been released on the Atari 2600 and was at the forefront of public consciousness. Unfortunately, this next step in the journey coincided with Dennis suffering a back injury. Despite this, Joe and Dennis pressed ahead with Clone-man over the next two or three months whilst Dennis was off work recovering from his back injury. This led to Clone-Man initially being credited to “Bedside Productions”. Within the team, Dennis’ focus was on core software, with Joe sorting out the hardware necessary for their development systems and providing some additional utilities. Dennis says that he saw porting PAC-MAN as “just a challenge to see how to copy an arcade video game onto Intellivision”. Clone-Man - a Glimpse of Dennis and Joe’s homage to PAC-MAN The resulting “Demonstration Program” was a pretty comprehensive recreation of the game, with a landscape version of the original maze, power pellets, bonus fruit, and sound effects. However, the algorithms that drive the movement of Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde were not replicated and there are no intermissions. Overall, the game is clearly superior to the Atari 2600 version, but is not as polished as the Atarisoft version for the Intellivision, for example the sound effects are not replicated as accurately. As Joe says, Clone-Man “came out pretty good. Not good enough for commercial appeal, but good enough”. Dennis’ opinion is that “it would have been hard to tell it from Pac Man”, which is probably stretching things. However, with its more accurate maze, it clearly attempts to be more faithful to the arcade original than either the Atari 2600 or official Intellivision ports. Throughout this period, Joe and Dennis continued to enhance their PlayCable test systems. The modified adapters were linked to their PDP-11 computers using an RS-232 serial connection, and ran enhanced firmware containing a debugger called CYBER. The pictures below show the results of Joe and Dennis’ alterations (see Section 8.3 of the PlayCable Technical Summary for more details). Joe and Dennis’ Development Kit PlayCable Receiver Board Joe and Dennis’ Development Kit PlayCable Digital Board In addition to modifying the PlayCable adapters to support RS-232 communication, Joe added what he calls a “vector” board to their development Intellivision Master Components. These enabled breakpoint and single stepping features to be added to the CYBER debugger being developed by Dennis. A video showing CYBER being used to debug an Intellivision program can be seen here: The modifications made to the PlayCables were pretty extensive, and together with Dennis’ CYBER debugger, they led to the early MAGUS-like ROM emulator turning into a system that had similar features to Mattel’s Blue Whale test harness. This can be seen in the following list of CYBER commands: CYBER Debugger Command Crib Sheet Once Clone-Man was complete, Joe says he “did some checking with Jerrold management about our intentions of writing something for Mattel; they didn't have a problem so I went for it”. He used a Betamax video camcorder to record Clone-Man running on the Intellivision and sent the tape to Don Daglow at Mattel. At this point Joe says that “evidently, the crap hit the fan at Mattel”. Joe doesn’t really remember any fallout at Jerrold over Clone-Man, but the Mattel people were clearly “spinning in their seats”. Given Mattel’s paranoia over industrial secrecy, this was perhaps inevitable. Many phone conferences ensued over the next couple of months as Joe negotiated a deal with Mattel to write a game. This led to an agreement in December of 1982 that Technology Associates, the fledgling computer consulting company founded by Joe in 1981, would write a port of Bump N Jump for the Intellivision under contract to Mattel. Effectively, Technology Associates became a second-party developer for Intellivision, like APh. As might be expected, Mattel seems to have been concerned that Joe and Dennis could take their skills and knowledge to a competitor. However, Joe and Dennis are clear that this was never an option for them and, despite what is reported elsewhere, they did not threaten to do so. In fact, Jerrold was aware that Joe and Dennis had approached Mattel, and seems to have been supportive of their entrepreneurial streak, as they both continued in their day jobs. The reasons for Jerrold’s lack of concern over their game-writing endeavours are unclear, although Joe explains it like this, “We did not work on BNJ during our work hours at Jerrold for obvious reasons. Jerrold was aware of the situation and left us to it. At the time, we were pretty valuable employees... Besides, there was absolutely no negative karma, letting us do our own thing at the time. A benefit of working for a smaller company”. Regardless, like Clone-Man before, the Bump N Jump project was to be an extra-curricular activity for Joe and Dennis that occupied their evenings and weekends. What would have happened if a deal had not been struck? According to Joe and Dennis, they would have continued working for Jerrold at their regular day-jobs, and would have explored the Intellivision on their own time just for fun. Having landed the contract to write Bump N Jump, and with the dust settling, Technology Associates purchased two new PDP-11 systems from Sigma Information Systems, complete with 8” floppy disks and enormous 20MB hard drives. These machines would be used to do the bulk of the subsequent Bump N Jump development. Up to this point, Joe and Dennis only had a single PlayCable development system to test Clone-Man. Joe took the opportunity to rectify this by building a second test harness to use while creating Bump N Jump, and the pair set to it. In all, development of Bump N Jump took around six months of intensive work in the evenings and weekends. Joe suggests that “Dennis was, no question, the brains behind the code. While he worked on game play such as object generation, object interaction, scoring, etc. I was responsible for the entire background”. Dennis agrees, explaining that “Joe did the background and track work”, effectively being responsible for the accurate reproduction of the levels. To help with development, Mattel shipped an arcade version of Burnin’ Rubber (the international variant of Bump ‘N’ Jump) to Dennis' house. Once installed in the basement, Dennis' girlfriend's son played the game for hours and became an expert at it. Joe used his camcorder to record the teenager’s games for use in development. By watching the recordings back, over and over, ad nauseum, Joe was able to transcribe the levels of the arcade game using a level designer written by Dennis. Joe says, “The background of Bump ‘N’ Jump is basically a gigantic table of ‘cards’, with the presentation of those cards handled by Dennis’ level designer code”. As a consequence, the Intellivision port has a faithful reproduction of the playfield of the arcade version, including the track layout, bridges and other obstacles. Meanwhile, in addition to the core game mechanic, Dennis wrote more tools, including a music generator and an animation designer to support development. As Bump N Jump took shape it became clear that the 8K of RAM within their PlayCables was not going to be enough to hold the full game. Sadly, the limits of their homebrew development kit had been exceeded. So, Joe “contacted Mattel to ask what was available to get past the 8K limit, and their answer was a board called the 16K Megas board". Mattel sent a couple of Megas (aka MAGUS) test harnesses for end-to-end play testing and Joe sorted out the hardware necessary to interface them to their PDP-11s. This he did by customising a Heathkit parallel interface board. Joe explains that during use “you had to tell the Megas board to 'freeze' the CPU from accessing the Megas ram, load the RAM, un-freeze the CPU and then tell the CPU where to start executing. Basically, it was a RAM-based burn and crash idea, but instead of burning an eprom or rom, you 'burned' the Megas RAM and it was pretty quick. A lot quicker than burning chips. The Megas wasn't really for troubleshooting/debugging but more an end-to-end play/test of the game you were working on”. As was mentioned by Keith Robinson at Classic Game Fest in 2016, David Warhol acted as the liaison between Mattel and Technology Associates. Unfortunately, the relationship between the two organisations was not easy, as Joe observed, “I think the Mattel developers were definitely leery of us and certainly didn't voluntarily share anything on their own. If we had a particular question [that] needed answering they did answer but only the exact answer, nothing more, nothing less. We were still 'outsiders'”. Mattel’s attempts to limit the flow of information to Technology Associates can be seen as part of their ongoing attempts to hold their cards close and prevent third parties developing games for the Intellivision. Joe and Dennis finished the core game of Bump N Jump at the end of May 1983 and shipped the source code containing two levels to Mattel HQ in Hawthorne. Once there, it entered the Intellivision QA process. A BSR review meeting in the first week of June highlighted that game play tuning was required. The most significant points raised were that the game required a greater sense of speed, with the enemy cars needing to be easier to bump and kill, but also requiring more personality and aggression to increase the intensity of the game. A number of developers requested the inclusion of an engine sound, to provide auditory feedback of the player’s speed. It was at this point that Mattel decided a change to the title screen was also required. The original received mixed reviews, with some confusion about whether it depicted a road or a mountain. Regardless, it was felt to be too similar to the introduction of Buzz Bombers and needed an update. The final animated titles were developed by Daisy Nguyen and seem to have been added sometime in early July. As always, there were also some bugs found that were subsequently fixed. Although Joe and Dennis don’t recall Mattel requesting much work after the code was shipped, a message from David Warhol suggests that the updates were split between Mattel and Technology Associates, with Mattel looking after graphical tweaks and Daisy’s title screen, while Joe and Dennis focused on game play tuning. It’s clear that not all Mattel’s suggestions were included, for example, music wasn’t added to Daisy’s title screen, and the requested engine sound isn’t present in the released version. The final game with its full set of levels was accepted for production by Dale Lynn and Traci Glauser on August 1st 1983 as can be seen in the QA report below. Mattel Bump N Jump QA Record At around this time it normally took Mattel about three months to get from acceptance of the final code to a game hitting the stores. Roughly two months of this time was ROM production, with the last month typically being consumed with finalising printed materials, packaging the game and distribution. The advert below for Bump N Jump was run in the October and November issues of games magazines across the US, and according to The Video Game Update, the title was one of the last games Mattel released when it hit store shelves in November 1983. Bump N Jump Print Advertisement Joe and Dennis are rightly proud of Bump N Jump and they feel that the title really pushed the capabilities of the hardware. The game play is very similar to the arcade, with the original levels and background music both faithfully reproduced. Unfortunately, interest in the Intellivision dwindled rapidly with the closure of Mattel Electronics at the start of 1984, and there seems to be very little about Bump N Jump in the press after its release. The Video Game Update did review Bump N Jump in their January 1984 issue, giving the title two and a half out of four stars for both graphics and gameplay, rating it as fair to good, but questioning the game’s depth, and therefore not recommending it. Video Game Update Bump N Jump Review However, history has been rather kinder to Bump N Jump, the title is now consistently rated amongst the Intellivision’s best games. This includes the current generation of Intellivision gamers placing it in the top 10 Intellivision titles in 2014, and the top 15 games in 2019. Reviewers such as The Intellivision Library, Intv Funhouse and Video Game Critic all rate the game highly, noting the quality of both graphics and sound, and the accuracy of the conversion. Overwhelmingly, the prevailing wisdom is that Bump N Jump deserves a place in your Intellivision collection. In late June 1983 Mattel Electronics announced the first round of redundancies that would mark the start of a death spiral for the division. Unsurprisingly given the timing of the completion of Bump N Jump development, Joe and Dennis didn’t receive offers of additional Intellivision work. With hindsight, the decision to continue to work for Jerrold whilst developing Bump N Jump on their own-time can be seen as an excellent one! Later, at the end of September David Warhol wrote to Joe and Dennis explaining the situation, and expressing the hope that more projects might be on the horizon with Mattel’s new focus on software; unfortunately, this future never materialised. Although they were initially unaware of the turmoil at Mattel, it was clear to both Joe and Dennis that they would always be considered outsiders at Hawthorne. In addition, Dennis explained that he enjoyed his work at Jerrold, and whilst writing Bump N Jump was profitable as a side-line, the money they made writing it wasn’t good enough to tempt the pair into giving up their day jobs. They also decided against pursuing opportunities with other games companies. Instead, they continued working for Jerrold and went back to just hacking for fun. Having grown tired of his lengthy commute to Hatboro, Joe left Jerrold in 1984 for a new role working for Omnidata (later Singer-Link Simulation) on power plant simulators, used to train control room engineers. However, Dennis continued with Jerrold, rising through the ranks to become Director of Project Management before retiring in the mid 2000s. So there we go, the story of the development of Bump N Jump and the mythical PlayCable development system from the perspective of Joe and Dennis. Incredibly, their whole Intellivision adventure lasted less than 30 months. It would be great to get the recollections of Mattel people like Don Daglow and David Warhol, and the management at Jerrold to complete the picture. Hopefully one day. One last thing before I go… A little birdy tells me that there is an Easter egg buried in Bump ‘N’ Jump that has gone undiscovered since the game’s release. Can the players and developers of the Intellivision Brotherhood find it? The challenge has been issued, just for kicks. Once again, thanks to Joe and Dennis for giving their permission to share their story and for their help in putting it together.
  4. ** If interested, please send me a private message.** What is Norseman about: As a Viking warrior, it is your duty to guard a precious relic: a golden helmet with magical powers! Unfortunately, the forces of evil are coming for it. Endless waves of bloodthirsty creatures are quickly converging to your position. You have no choice but to prove your worth on the battlefield. If the helmet is taken then all will be lost! Protect it with your life! This Intellivision version was created from scratch, and it is based on GST Video's original game which came out on the Videopac+ and MSX. All aspects of the game were revised: all the way from basic gameplay to the much improved original music by Anders Carlsson, a real Norseman himself! (just kidding) The Norseman Digital Bundle for Intellivision includes the following: - game rom: not encrypted nor copy protected, so you can play it anywhere! Rom is not tied to your LTO Flash or any hardware. - manual in digital format. - prototype content: assets include graphics, music and alpha roms. - buying this game in digital format will also give you access to any eventual updates or enhancements to the rom. - not happy with game? I will refund you. Price: Norseman Digital Bundle only: USD 15 plus Paypal fees. For a limited time: combine and save! Valid only until Sep 19th, 2021. Silver package: Norseman plus 1 game: either Antarctic Tales Enhanced Edition* or H.E.L.I.* USD 20 plus Paypal fees Golden package: Now is the chance to get all 3 games! Norseman, Antarctic Tales Enhanced Edition* and H.E.L.I*. USD 25 plus Paypal fees * Antarctic Tales Enhanced Edition and H.E.L.I. digital regular price: USD 10 each. Thanks in advance for supporting the release of new Intellivision games in digital format with affordable price points (much below CIB). Supporting this new release will help ensure future ones will also happen! ** If interested, please send me a private message.**
  5. I can personally verify that what Tommy said about the waiver is all accurate. I signed one,stating they had the rights to film me while playing the Amico. Pretty straightforward. And we didnt get a copy of the paper that was for their records only. Which is totally fine by me!👍
  6. Not sure that statement is good enough. You may need to make a video and get an attorney to work on a signed affidavit. Also, do you think you can get down to a UPS Store to get a Notary Public? Thanks!
  7. LinemanDoc, Thank you for the sharing your experience with Amico. It was very helpful.
  8. Left to right: LinemanDoc,Tommy T.,Wolfy62. I can only speak for myself:I had a wonderful day at Boomers in Irvine CA.😊👍 Tommy and his crew were all very friendly and hospitable. It was fun to play a couple Amico games with LinemanDoc and another fellow named George who came up from San Diego but is not an Atariage guy,just a fellow videogamer in his early 50s. I enjoyed playing Shark!Shark! the most because it showed off the awesome Amico controllers ability to move easily and smoothly in all directions. No lag,no slowdown just smooth and fun gameplay. To say the least,I loved the controller. Its fantastic! 👍 Tommy was interacting with everyone there who wanted to play some games,explaining how the controller and games played and just being a great host. I met John Alvarado who ran me through the Shark!Shark! gameplay and explained the controller to me. Super nice guy! They provided pizza for us as well which was a nice added touch. Also,its important to note that although I didnt see the controller keypad doing all the things I am sure that it eventually will,everything that Tommy has shown to this point was exactly as he has stated. So,all my expectations for what I wanted to see and experience were met and then exceeded because I absolutely love how the controller works. I cant say enough great things about that! LinemanDoc brought his Wife and kids and they appeared to be having a great time with some family Amico games that I did not partake in. I had a good conversation with him, very friendly person. Hopefully he gives an account of how his day went for him and his family. Thank you Tommy for inviting us down,it was great to play and see the system before its commercial launch. That meant a lot to me and I wish nothing but success for Intellivision Entertainment,which I believe it will have lots of going forward. If anyone has any questions about something I didnt mention here,please ask and I will provide an honest answer.
  9. 7 points
    One of my favorite Garfield strips with Irma. I bust out laughing every time.
  10. That was pretty cool!!! Although, it looks like the author removed the video shortly after uploading?? Thanks to whoever put that video together. As you can tell, I have a great deal of fun using Photoshop. Also a big thanks to everybody here on AtariAge!
  11. Really? Why? From my perspective it seemes like you are just wanting people to jump through hoops at your request. I don’t need to see anything like that, and I’m sure most here would agree. I don’t need to be “saved” from my own decisions and perspectives; again, think most here would agree. I’m getting you might not care how you are coming across (the word that comes to mind is rude), but I hope I’m just wrong. If you have concerns and are genuinely just not interested, suggest you find something for which you are, beyond pot stirring.
  12. Thanks for the awesome recap! So glad you enjoyed what you saw! And thank you so much for your support. Looking forward to getting a group together at the Intellivision offices to play some original Intellivision at some point!
  13. 7 points
    The ending theme to 'Spaceballs' has been stuck in my head all morning.
  14. I have a 2 year old girl, 7yo boy, and 9yo girl. I'll go through what I saw with each kid. It will be a long post. 2 year old girl - She still struggles to control a character's direction on any video game. The only games I've successfully played with her at home are the original Frog Bog on Intellivision and Bowling on Magnavox Odyssey 2. These games only require one button to play and have no directional control (on easy mode). She was excited to hold the Amico controller and "pretend" to play Shark Shark. The touch screen captivated her and she was able to choose her fish by herself on it, but really was not capable of playing the game. Unless Amico comes out with an extremely simple game like Frog Bog, Magnavox Bowling, or a zero button motion game, 2 years old is just too young. I did not play it, but I understand that the pack-in game Cornhole will have user choices before the motion control of throwing and I imagine that would even be too complicated for a 2 year old. Hopefully a future game will work for that age, but I'd say you probably need to be at least 3 years old to actually play Amico and not have the parent or child get frustrated. 7 year old boy - He enjoyed Amico by far the most out of the kids. I think the biggest factor here was the game design and not the hardware or touchscreen. He liked the controller, but he also likes the Switch controller, Steam controller, and mouse/keyboard. The controller doesn't make a difference to him as long as it works well. Amico's controller works well and he simply takes that for granted. What the Amico does exceptionally well for his age is provide well designed games that play well when mixing his lower skill level with my higher skill level. I found Rigid Force Redux to be fun and challenging, but he found it to be fun and not challenging (he does not like challenging while I do). It works perfect to make him invincible and me not. I know this game concept is not new and I mentioned Blaster Master Zero from Switch on the other thread as an example. What is new is that all (or at least most) Amico games will be like this. Shark Shark had a playable skeleton fish when the kids died early. I did not play Astrosmash long enough to know what happens when the kid dies early, but I never noticed a time when he was not fully engaged in playing. I think we shared lives, but I'm not sure. Amico is perfect for a 7 year old boy. It is MUCH better for me than the Switch as a parent of a 7 year old boy because I don't have to search so hard for games designed specifically for our demographics. Amico's strong point here is definitely its hand picked game library. I understand this could also be its weak point if you don't fall into a demographic it's catered to. I selfishly don't care because it IS catered toward my family and we will enjoy it. I will still keep my Switch for my selfish one player games I play in bed before falling asleep while ignoring my family 9 year old girl - She pretty much only plays Minecraft in creative mode at home. She does not like games that have game overs or even have a clear objective or goal. I personally don't enjoy her style of games and she is the most difficult to find any video game to play together with and have us both enjoy it. We do enjoy playing board games together. Saying this, Emoji Charades was her favorite (and my wife's). While I don't particularly enjoy Charades or Pictionary, I do enjoy most other board games and party games. These are what I imagine playing with all 5 of us on family nights on the couch at home. Having a touchscreen on each controller is a necessity on many of these types of games. Amico may win the market on this niche category of video games because nothing else is even capable of hiding each player's deck of cards on a video game console. I guess except for Jack Box Party, but that's the only example I can think of. Amico has the potential to provide dozens more of these style games and really create a market for digital board games. I definitely feel Amico is well designed for families with at least one child aged 3-12. Teens may see it too childish, but would definitely still find it fun to play with a younger sibling in that age range. If they don't have younger siblings, it probably would collect dust in a teenager's room. Amico will also be great for grandparents to have for when the grandkids come and visit. I don't imagine my parents (70 years old) would play it by themselves, but I do see them playing it with thier grandkids. I could also see them buying it in a store on their own accord for that reason. My wife's parents are similar. They actually bought a Switch last year for the grandkids and hooked it up to thier TV. I visited them over Labor Day and went to use it, but realized they never bought a single game for it and were clueless as to why no one played it. Amico would be much better for them (even though they'd probably only ever have 6 games).
  15. Here are pictures (and some video) from the VCF Midwest 2021 show. Amis, Paradroyd, and myself were fortunate enough to get to attend this year. Amis was kind enough to setup a message thread at his website (you don't have to create an account to view them): https://southernamis.wixsite.com/website/forum/general-discussions/on-the-ground-at-vcf-mid-west It was a great show and I personally had a wonderful time!
  16. And regarding the lack of buttons on joysticks for Atari ST... I was a big fan of Chase HQ but I had to use my chin to press the space bar for turbo! 🤣
  17. 6 points
    My Mom got a Covid19 test and it came back negative. She had been to a club to see a band and one her friends who was there tested positive a few days later, so my Mom had to get tested.
  18. Sorry guys. I posted in the mega thread before I even saw this thread existed. https://atariage.com/forums/topic/288558-tommy-tallarico-fun-amico-conversations/?do=findComment&comment=4904258 I don't have pictures, but I wrote my thoughts on that thread. To those who think my review is overly positive, just understand that I'm speaking from the point of view of a father with very young children. I honestly am very happy with Amico as a console to play with my kids and really think it has potential for less hardware intensive, but still graphically beautiful Indy games.
  19. hi everyone, I also posted this in the thread for the ram board but it really belongs here so I am putting it here too. please excuse the double posting. just a quick update, I have mostly assembled a 1090xl board and am happy to report it works, at least as far as I have tested. all power rails are proper voltage. leds light up. so things look good so far. there are numerous fixes I have applied to the board since these were made. enjoy. Ken
  20. The other 2 games on display were the revamped Astrosmash,not sure if that is what it is called now-and Rigid Force Redux. I liked Astrosmash well enough though I was never a huge fan of the original. The graphics and music were outstanding,and again the control was silky smooth. Rigid Force I played 2 player,one person steers and fires from a ship while player 2 fires from a blazing spaceball as the ships sidekick. Though you are controlling and firing your vehicle independently of each other. Great graphics and sound though I would have liked to figure out if there is an options menu where you can both fly a ship simultaneously that are different colors so you can tell your ships apart from each other,and not have to have one person fly the indestructible copilot ship. Just my two cents. There was one Amico hooked up with some of the interactive family stuff which was being utilized by families so I didn't check that out. Someone else may have input on that! I can tell by using the controller that games such as Skiing and Baseball will have a great chance of both being outstanding games for the Amico.👍
  21. Now I've finished the song, and have now tried that one trick of keeping the phase still, with an occasional shifting. Of course, because of the emulation wobbling emkay mentioned, in order to keep some of the instruments from sounding too thin, I have spliced two recordings to fill in a part which went silent (at about 1:58). I did try moving the phase shift instrument around, but it would make a different part silent in the tracker. Eventually, I just settled on splicing out the silent part just to give you all a listen to the proof-of-concept. Hope you enjoy!
  22. I’ve been around long enough to be able to adequately evaluate and critically analyze things. A quick assessment of character on both sides and knowing the longer history is all I need; should also be more than enough for most people; at least those without an agenda.
  23. Dang,sorry I missed out on Evil Knievel and Moon Patrol. I was there for close to 3 hours so I figured I saw everything. Its ok,because I know I want to purchase both games anyway. And thank you for being such a gracious host,and any corrections you make here regarding my synopsis. I only want the facts to come out on top in any situation. 👍
  24. Very cool write-up! Thank you for the detailed description. Was so great to meet your family and watch them play. Having a little something for everyone in the family is definitely our goal... so it's good to see that it was the case with your family as well. Looking forward to showing them more in the future!
  25. Made a little routine for moving enemies around, maybe the start of a 2022 10liner
  26. I was told that throughout the entire day we had just over 100 people from start to finish.
  27. We had Shark! Shark!, Emoji Charades, Astrosmash, Rigid Force Redux Enhanced, Moon Patrol & Evel Knievel. And someone had asked about Finnigan Fox so at the end of the day I sparked that one up for him.
  28. I’ve got two jaguars and one jag cd, only use one but I keep telling myself it’s never a bad idea to have a spare. A controller might be useful.
  29. Yeah the 7800 launch library was already kind of dated when it was supposed to release in 84. But when it finally released in 86 with the same titles, it was EXTREMELY dated. But by then Atari had separated from their arcade division and no longer had the pipeline of current games they had prior to 84.
  30. Thanks for your review as it really gives clarity to those of us who have not been able to attend an event. It's things like this that ignites the excitement I had when I first heard Intellivision would be releasing a modern console. Thanks again for the detail of your review, it makes me look forward to the consoles release even more!
  31. Well, a few weeks of "I don't have any time for games" later and I finally got a bit in! MZ-80K Numbertron - 157 minutes I finally remembered to get a picture of something, check out that Sharp! The MZ-80C earned a place on my computer desk within a week of buying it, I've been absolutely loving programming on this thing more than any other Z80-based retro computer I own for reasons I have yet to even understand myself, and this week it just got better. I found out about Sharpworks a while ago, Numbertron was actually part of why I bought that computer, and a physical copy of the game made it to my mailbox on Thursday! I love my simple arcade-y puzzle games, this definitely falls into that category, and it's been an absolute blast to play for the four days I've had it. My scores haven't been too amazing, I think 1,052 has been my highest and I've yet to actually clear more than half of the screen, so I'm hoping to do better over the course of this next week. Speaking of this next week I finally did things like buy a power adapter and controller extension for my PC Engine, my PC-9801VX is coming home after four years of being lent out to friends, and I managed to find an original model PC-9801 (plus a PC-9801E) for a price I'm willing to pay (under ¥10,000 for both) after six years of searching! It should be a pretty fun-filled / NEC-themed week, that's for sure.
  32. I didnt sense any lack of enthusiasm from anyone,and it was a small group of maybe 40 people. I think most people who showed up knew pretty much what to expect,so for me I kept my excitement level internalized.Though I was thrilled to be there! Probably due to the fact the e-mail was sent out on short notice the day before it kept the crowd to a minimum.
  33. Wolfy, what other games were there and did you have takes on any of them? Thank you for providing your reactions/take on the event for those of us who weren't able to attend!
  34. It's okay. But it's good to know how well the disc works. I can't wait to try out the controller once the system launches.
  35. Yeah,I may have stated that incorrectly as I wasnt aware of the fact it moves in 64 directions,which is obviously even better. It definitely moved well and smoothly in every direction,it felt like you imagine it would to actually be a fish swimming!
  36. If any of you also want to take a look at the module, here's the .rmt and visualizer .obx (thanks, VinsCool!): Agent_X_II_-_Level_1.obx Agent X II Level 1.rmt
  37. A lot of people always mention this. Very hard to describe through words or video, but there is just something so right about the way it controls and moves the fish.
  38. Well, the Japanese are even more baseball-crazy than most Americans, so that one did escape the island. . .I just found a simpler personal solution: I ignore all professional sports and pretty much any other level of sport. I will sometimes humor my friends when they are in a game of some kind, but that is about as far as I can push myself to endure the torture of watching a game (or match).
  39. 404770 level five Intellivision hardware There's a bit of a cat and mouse aspect to this game. It's fascinating.
  40. From my personal perspective, the 7800 came out too late and offered more of the previous same types of games from Atari. It was confusing from a consumer perspective, that had clearly moved on to the next big thing. As a kid that was around ten when the console came out, it was only offered in a few stores in my area that I remember, and not marketed that much at all(Montgomery Ward had a few). I have come to LOVE the 7800 in my adult years, and feel that the homebrew support of the console makes it much more appealing NOW. Back then, I can tell you that it was only sparsely offered in rural Northern California.
  41. I twisted my ankle badly on Saturday, so a busy weekend of little gaming suddenly became a weekend of heavy gaming. Almost all emulation this time around. Game Gear: Arena Maze of Death - 65 minutes. Played through the first ”world” repeatedly on normal then changed it to easy and almost finished the second. Notably the difficulty setting doesn’t change the actual hard parts (timing the autogun fire, running off the edge of platforms into instadeath), it just cuts out unthreatening enemies and also cuts HUGE chunks of content out of the game. It’s a way to see more of the art in a hurry but normal mode seems more fulfilling. Played on a 3DS SMS/GG SD cart. Tintin in Tibet - 20 minutes. More like “Tintin is suicidal”. Played on a 3DS SMS/GG SD cart. Alien Syndrome - 35 minutes. Man, I can’t get enough of this. Sega of America really messed up by not bringing it over. One of very many catastrophically stupid decisions that kept the Game Gear an also ran. Played on an Analogue Mega SG. The BerlinWall - 15 minutes. Rarely has a Lode Runner like game felt so claustrophobic. It’s not bad, but it’s CRAMPED. Played on a 3DS SMS/GG SD cart. Daffy Duck in Hollywood - 20 minutes. So beautiful. So full of amazing animations. So cheap. This was probably made as a Master System game and cropped down. Something keeps bringing me back to it, though… James Bond 007 The Duel - 15 minutes. I always thought this was a APB-like or Chase HQ-like racing game, having confused it with Test Drive the Duel. I think my idea would be better. This is just alright. Sensible Soccer European Champions - 20 minutes. I can’t say I really know what I’m doing but it’s fast and fun. I actually won a game… Monster Truck Wars - 20 minutes. It’s not Micro Machines, but this clone isn’t bad if you want something a little (and I mean a LITTLE) different. The tracks are tiny compared to the sprawling maps of the Galoob/Codemasters classics, but that is truer to the source material. Big moguls will throw your vehicle around with subtly impressive animation to back it up. I don’t hate it. NES: Flea - 60 minutes. It’s a really great game. But some levels make me want to throw my Evercade out the window. Played on Evercade Indie Heroes cart. Star Soldier - 15 minutes. I don’t like this game. It really doesn’t have anything in common with the series that bears its name, which takes a lot more from the Aleste playbook. Life Force - 105 minutes. Beat the game one time. This is one of the only shmups I’ve ever beaten legitimately, and I’ve beaten it multiple times, despite not loving the NES one. Played on 3DS. PC Engine: Salamander - 35 minutes. I love this game but it doesn’t love me back. So much nicer looking and more exciting than the NES one. Then again I was playing it on a FunKey S… Genesis: FoxyLand - 25 minutes. This game is so close to being really fun but the plethora of cheap deaths really reduce the fun. It would be really easy without the cheap deaths and rough edges, though, so maybe it was their idea of “balance”. Played on Evercade Indie Heroes cart. Alien Cat 2 - 30 minutes. Not the most original “move multiple characters through a maze of death” puzzle game, but really well done. Played on Evercade Indie Heroes cart. The Indie Heroes cart is one of my favorites, and given that the Evercade has a great 7800 emulator it makes me hopeful that out of print homebrew unencumbered by unofficial use of trademarked characters (read: Rikki & Vikki) might be a possibility on the next one. Game Boy: Pinball: Revenge of the Gator - 15 minutes. Sometimes you just gotta whack gators with steel balls. Virtually.
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