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Room 34

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Everything posted by Room 34

  1. Oh right... I totally forgot about that! That's how I got my 7800 in 1997 or 1998, actually. But I don't think they ever sold 2600 games in the '80s (pre-crash). And believe me, I spent a LOT of time at Radio Shack in the '80s because it was the only place you could get tech stuff in my hometown. (I got all of my Atari games at Kmart or Kay-Bee Toys, but for anything like computers or stereo equipment it was either Radio Shack or out-of-town.)
  2. Definitely not, as it's missing my favorite Imagic game, Cosmic Ark!
  3. @JeffVav I think something else some people might not get is that with the joystick games, movement isn't going to be instantaneous. If you hold the joystick in a particular direction, you're going to move in that direction at a fixed speed. That doesn't translate well to the touchscreen and doesn't feel the way people expect it to. Therefore... it's all your fault, right?
  4. Sorry for the late response here... I just wanted to mention if it hasn't been already that I don't think Radio Shack sold 2600 games. They has their own Intellivision clone called the Tandyvision and I think they only sold games for that. Could be wrong but that's what I remember.
  5. Room 34


    Doesn't this belong on a prog rock forum? (I wonder how many people will get the "Nice" reference.)
  6. I just wanted to commend the Code Mystics team on another great job. The controls could still use a bit of refinement, but "follow touch" works especially well on paddle games... i.e. Kaboom! I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for an Activision Anthology on the iPhone and I have played Kaboom! on my phone every day all week. Pitfall II is tough with the touch controls though.
  7. IT WORKS! (No soldering required.) The key was deciphering the "3 FF" and "2 FF" codes. Page 6 of the owner's manual indicated that they corresponded to chips F2 and L2 on the board. I pulled those two chips out and re-set them in their sockets, and now it works perfectly.
  8. Thanks. That's helpful to know. Something else to consider: the machine WAS working fine for me previously. I have owned it for 10 years, and while it has mostly been sitting unused, and it did have an issue a few years back where the video collapsed down to a bright point in the center of the screen, it has otherwise worked fine. The last time I fired it up, several months ago, there were no problems. I am thinking the most likely scenario is that a chip has come loose. Hopefully that isn't going to require me soldering. (Again… you have no idea how incompetent I am with a soldering iron.)
  9. Hmm… another update. I found a PDF of the original owner's manual: http://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/A/Asteroids.pdf Page 6 talks about the "3 FF" and "2 FF" in the upper left. Looks like they are indicators of failing ROMs/PROMs, and since they're showing FF that looks like total failure. :/ I may be in over my head on this. Looks like some ROMs need to be replaced. Soldering may be involved. (Did I mention I am dangerous with a soldering iron?)
  10. Update: After a couple of weeks away from it, I decided to give the Asteroids machine another look tonight. Some interesting developments: 1. I inspected all of the fuses. I missed this before, but one of them was blown. So I went to Radio Shack tonight and got a replacement. 2. After replacing the fuse, the display still didn't work. But then as I continued inspecting, I noticed there were some latches that could be released to lift up the table top. (Yeah… I'm not an expert on these things. I had never noticed that.) So just for the heck of it I opened it up, and I discovered an instruction sheet for putting the unit in self-test mode. 3. In self-test mode, the screen came on immediately! I took a photo of the test screen so I could remember the codes that came up. Basically there was a row of 0's (which I assumed was good), and on the left, "2 FF" and "3 FF". Haven't deciphered that yet. 4. I Googled (not sure why I didn't try this before) and found some good troubleshooting sites, including: http://arcarc.xmission.com/Tech/Asteroid%20Tech/asteroidsrepair.html Which gave some good suggestions for what to do in my situation (both player buttons flashing quickly, with no video). That's all I'm going to be able to accomplish tonight, but I am now more confident that this thing is not dead and that I will be able to get it working. Here's a photo I took of the self test mode screen.
  11. I'm afraid much of what you said is beyond my understanding of electronics (and is one of the reasons why owning an arcade cabinet is not for the faint of heart). I can replace a fuse, but that's about the extent of my abilities. One thing that may be relevant though, suggesting the problem may not be with the CRT: it's impossible to start a game. I neglected to mention this in the video, but I had pressed the 1-player start button, and nothing happened… I expected to at least get game sounds, indicating the game was playing, but I didn't. Could it be that there's a loose connection on one of the cables, or a chip that's come loose? Since it hasn't been moved or jostled much, I didn't expect anything to have come loose inside, but I suppose it's possible. But then again, I expected that the purpose of the two red lights I saw inside was to indicate the boards were functioning normally.
  12. I have an Asteroids cocktail table that I've owned for about 10 years. It has been sitting upstairs in my house unused for the past several months. The last time I fired it up, though, it was working perfectly. Unfortunately now I have a problem. I just turned it on, for the first time in months, and there's no video. It's definitely turning on (I can hear it) and when I open the cabinet while it's powered up, I see a solid red light on each board, and an orange glow coming from the bottom of the CRT. (Is that a vacuum tube? I have no idea.) But nothing ever comes up on the screen. My problem is, I don't know if the CRT is just dying/dead (in which case, I think it's pretty much a lost cause), or if there's a simple part like a vacuum tube or fuse that needs to be replaced. Or maybe it's something with one of the boards, but I don't think that's the case. I created a video demonstrating what I've described above, in case actually seeing it in action helps anyone diagnose the problem. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGol128neWY Basically, I am just hoping someone who knows more about how these things work can give me an idea of whether this is something I can easily resolve myself, whether it needs a pro repair, or whether it's just a lost cause. (I am old enough to know that it takes a while for this kind of display to warm up. But even after it was left on for several minutes, there was nothing on the screen.) Thanks!
  13. You replaced Bowling??? That's one of my favorite crap games. (Yeah, it's crap, but it has nostalgic value... it was one of the games I got on the day I got my Atari.) Couldn't you have replaced something like Video Chess or Star Ship? Oh the humanity!
  14. I just went through the first 6 pages of reviews in the App Store and clicked "No" on "Was this review helpful?" for all of the 1- and 2-star reviews. It's a small gesture, but it still made me feel better.
  15. To each their own but... ugh... I HATE tilt controls. Real Racing 2 is the only tilt control game I can stand to play.
  16. No need to speculate... that exact thing already did happen at least twice that I know of, with emulators for the Commodore 64 and DOS. In both cases I mentioned, the apps were subsequently resubmitted with changes that closed those back doors, and re-approved.
  17. Heh....I was trying to do that all morning yesterday; glad it can be done. I gave it a 3-star review....mainly because of the playability. Specifically, I don't like that if you don't use the D-pad option, you're forced to use a left-handed controller. When these games came out first, they were all right-handed, and that's how I learned 'em, and that's how I've been playing video games ever since. (And undoubtedly this is why I always sucked at the arcade versions of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye -- I couldn't get used to the left-handed controls!) Hopefully an update will offer a right-handed option. Crystal Castles (arcade, at least) was especially tough with this...and pretty unresponsive to the fire button, too... I was also disappointed by the non-inclusion of Food Fight!... But overall, though, it is a neat little thing....and yeah, $15 for almost 100 games is NOT an unreasonable price. But my REAL dilemma: I have two directories on my iPhone for games -- one simply labeled "Games," and another labeled "Arcade," where I have things like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, etc. Where should I put Atari's Greatest Hits??? BTW -- I'm actually happy that some of the more questionable ones -- like Math Gran Prix -- are included.....because I never owned them, so now I can check 'em out. (Yeah, I know, the ROMs are there for emulation, but still....) I definitely agree that the 2600 games need right-handed controls. And that goes for the paddle games as well as the joystick games. It just doesn't feel right. One game I've been meaning to ask about, i.e. where is it??? is Solaris. I wondered if maybe Atari didn't own the rights to it anymore (since the original game said copyright Doug Neubauer), but didn't he do Radar Lock (which was essentially a hack of Solaris, and is included) too? I've long believed that Solaris was the highest quality game Atari ever released for the 2600, and it would be nice to see it included here. I'm also realizing how many of the great Atari 2600 games were licensed arcade titles. I knew most of the early ones like Space Invaders and Pac-Man wouldn't be included... but for some reason I have a mental disconnect when you get to the silver label era. I knew most of those games were licensed arcade adaptations but it's easy (for me) to forget that Atari didn't own the rights to games like Dig Dug, Moon Patrol, Galaxian, Phoenix, etc. In other words, most of the games I actually enjoyed playing on the Atari 2600 as a kid. Sky Diver? Human Cannonball? Slot Machine? Star Ship? Night Driver? Rubbish. I don't think I ever even saw a lot of those pre-1982 games for sale, and no one I knew owned any of them. I'm not complaining that they're in there. I'd be disappointed if they weren't. It's just... hmm. Due to licensing issues, we're left with a not-very-flattering portrait of the original Atari 2600 experience. I'd be happy if Activision would finally release an iOS collection of their Atari 2600 games. Maybe if Atari's Greatest Hits has success they'll consider it. I still remember my excitement about the Activision Anthology for Game Boy Advance a few years ago, and that was nowhere near what's possible with iOS.
  18. I'm happy to report that I just triggered the HSWWSH Easter egg.
  19. Yeah... I realized later (when I finally tried Asteroids on the iPhone) that the 5-button configuration is iPad-only. Just as well though... I had a feeling it wouldn't work well on the iPhone, and Jeff could probably confirm that. I don't know... I still don't like the disc (default) controller for Asteroids, but I think the roller works pretty well. The arrangement of roller on the left and three buttons on the right feels fairly natural, even if the 3 buttons are a bit hard to get to -- but luckily I rarely use hyperspace or thrust -- and the roller works surprisingly well to control rotation. (And I think it works GREAT on Tempest.) One thing I'd REALLY like though is an option for landscape orientation on the 2600 games. It's so much easier to hold the iPhone in landscape for games, especially when there are on-screen thumb controls. My feeble old hands fall asleep if I play for very long holding the iPhone in portrait orientation... and I have the same problem with the DS... it's not the orientation, it's that the device is top-heavy. But the iPhone held in landscape mode is nicely balanced in the hands.
  20. I wish Apple would change their ratings system, or at least make complaints and reviews seperate. Too many of those "reviews" give a single star over ANY flaw, even if it is something minor. Some 1 star reviews even say the app is good. I think it would help if they allowed other users to vote up or down reviews, the way Amazon does. "0 out of 250 users found this review helpful." Ideally reviews with a really low rating like this would be dropped from the average rating score and not displayed with the rest of the reviews.
  21. Tried it again today and you're right. But I noticed something else... even on the correct 1-player game, the AI moves player 2, but you can still force it to shoot by pressing the button. Was the original that way and I just never noticed?
  22. I warned my contacts at Atari about Pong. So many people are unfamiliar with the actual original 1972 Pong. It had "bugs" (not really bugs, since the thing is built on TTL not software). We create games exactly, so we recreated these behaviours. So, for example, the paddles would cut off at raster row 256, but the ball would reach row 262. The ball is only 4 pixels high, so could sneak past the paddle at the bottom corner. Likewise, the pots weren't tuned such that the paddles could reach the top of the screen. They came up about 10 pixels short. So, again, the ball could sneak by. Third quirk: the ball wouldn't bounce until it touched the bottom of the screen, so you would see it blip on the bottom for a frame as it wrapped around from the top. You can turn off this behaviour and have the paddles reach the full scope (see Settings) but I'm adamant that arcade authentic behaviour be the default mode "out of the box". (It's bad enough Pong has an AI at all -- borrowed from Video Olympics -- because the arcade Pong never did.) Back when we did the Nintendo DS releases I actually had to write a document that went out with review copies explaining to the press that these were not bugs in the recreation so please don't say we did a bad job because of this. No such luxury for user-based reviews on iTunes. I actually want to add a disclaimer to future updates informing the user (just once) that the quirks are intentional. If they still don't read it, there's not much I can do. I wish all of the 1-star reviewers on the App Store could (wait, I mean WOULD, since of course they COULD) read this before complaining. First of all, it humanizes the faceless entities that produce apps, but more importantly, it shows how much care and attention to detail DID go into this game. Do I think it's perfect? No. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that it's incredibly hard to find a good way to translate the experience of some of these games to a small, handheld, touchscreen device with no physical controls. That aside, you and your team clearly do know what you're doing, and you care about the quality and authenticity of the experience. (And I hope the review I wrote on my blog, before I'd been back here to see what was going on in the forums, conveys that respect adequately, despite any criticisms I give.)
  23. They're not broken. You're playing a 4-player game (in Warlords) or a 2-player game (in Basketball) without networking. It should say "All Players" next to the controls indicating that you are controlling all players. It was either that or the other players did nothing at all when you weren't networked, and that would make Combat even more dull. Use Game Select to select a 1-player game. I did notice that in one game (can't remember which one), but in Basketball I specifically noted that it said "1 player" on the game select screen ("Console" overlay). (Then again, I seem to remember the 1-player version of Basketball being game variation 2, but this was variation 1.) I'll have to check more closely... but if this isn't a bug, then there may be some incorrect or misleading text on the game select screen.
  24. Seems to me most of the 1-star reviews are actually because it doesn't have licensed games it COULDN'T have (and which often already ARE in the App Store) or because they're mad about in-app purchase game packs, even though that's clearly explained at the beginning of the description.
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