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Everything posted by Mezrabad

  1. Mezrabad

    Chronogamer, 1980

    Storing stuff I post during 1980 here.
  2. Boxing (Activision, Atari VCS, 1980) We've seen a Boxing game once before! 1978 on the APF-1000MP. I'd actually recorded that play session on a VHS tape which now will not load anything because my VCR won't work. Well, the mechanical bits won't work. The electronic bits still work as a conduit to serve my old consoles. All hail the conduit! Oooh, boy... boxing... I don't get boxing as a sport. I get that it takes skill, that it's a discipline similar to any skill that involves using the brain and body. I just don't like that competitive boxing's goal seems to be to punch someone until they're unconscious. Other sports might have greater risk for more serious injuries, it just seems odd to me that boxing still happens as a spectator sport. Enough about my bleh-ness on the subject. Boxing is one of six titles (Six? I don't know why I've always thought there were just four.) in 1980 to be released by a third-party. I'm never totally sure about who the first two parties are. I assume that one would be you, the consumer. The other party would be... the company that manufactures the console itself, in this case, Atari. But which one of those counts as the "first-party" and which is the "second-party". I'm going to guess that Atari would be the first and the consumer would be the second and then out of NOWHERE, comes the third-party, only doing stuff because the first and second parties have done something first. So, Activision. You know that something named Activision has something to do with the game because they spend precious screen-space to emblazon a logo on the screen to read "Activision". Without squinting, I could tell what the screen was supposed to be: two boxers facing each other in a boxing ring. I always thought it was a pretty fair representation of the sport. No need to complicate things by adding the rest of the body. The point is to knock each other out and the head is the best way to do that. Bob Whitehead, the designer and programmer had said that he decided to make the rounds two minutes, instead of however long they are in boxing, because... and all he says is "You'll see." I think what he was saying was "Because your button-thumb can't take much more than two minutes if it can even survive that." This is a tough game for your button-thumb. This is an Atari VCS game I recommend playing with an anachronistic (( Genesis )) controller if at all possible. I thought it was just my old hands complaining, but my son said that he definitely started to feel it after just two games, too. My son thought it was fun in a very simple way - like most games from this era. Not quite the strategy of the games he's into now (DOTA2), but it was short so no biggie. We both particularly liked the animation of the punch landing on the face of the other player and how it collapsed into the rest of his head. We were slightly disappointed that there was nothing to celebrate a KO other than the score changing to show "KO" but we weren't really surprised either. The game has difficulty options which control the speed you move. A difficulty and you're moving slower, B difficulty and you're moving faster. If you want to give your boxing opponent an advantage, set your difficulty to A and theirs to B. If you want a fairly tough game, put yours at A and play the computer on B. You'll likely manage to win, but your thumb will be sore so who's really the winner? I decided to see what the computer would do if you just let your player sit there and do nothing. The reactions varied. Sometimes the computer would come over and immediately start beating on the uncontrolled player-boxer and other times it would pause a few moments before starting the beating. Regardless, about "halfway to KO" the computer would step back a bit, as if to give the player a break, but still dancing around as if to say "So... you gonna fight or what?" and then continue beating the snot out of the uncontrolled boxer-player. Quick video here of the computer (console player?) player beating the uncontrolled boxer-player. No, it's totally not exciting but I posted it anyway. http://youtu.be/WSyW3lKDsSE Anyway, it was fun to see Boxing again. If I had to pick a way to compare it to the Atari games that had come out before it, and I'd say it seemed more "solid" and the graphics seem better defined with no blinking. (( Warning: Anachronistic Reference I asked my son "Who's that Pokemon?" and he immediately said "oh, ha. Geodude." )) Annnnd, next time... let's try Fishing Derby, a game I don't think I've ever played!
  3. (( Out of Character: Hahah! I didn't get an Atari until Christmas of 1980 and our starter carts were Combat (of course), BlackJack, (also, of course) and Space Invaders (which was, of course, the whole point) but I remember at some point during 1980 seeing commercials for "Skiing" by Activision and had no understanding that this was a "third party" making games for the Atari. I don't think it was until around the time I started seeing "M Network" games from Matel (and I knew Intellivision as, pretty much, "the enemy") that I realized that it was awfully odd. /ooc )) Yeah, you're right, I thought the box looked different on the next title, Boxing. I guess that's really weird isn't it? I guess they'd have permission from Atari to do that, wouldn't they? Wouldn't they have to? (( which is what my attitude would be if I were a little older when it was happening. )) (( Oooh, I guess I should be linking to old commercials on YouTube shouldn't I? That would be a nice addition to each article. )) Oh, and thanks, Nathan! It's great to see you, btw! ^ ^
  4. Hmm... if I had to guess I'd say late summer, 2014...
  5. Hey, Thanks, Cybergoth! Happy to be back, too.
  6. Maze Craze: A Game of Cops and Robbers (Atari VCS, 1980) Someone in the 70s realized that there was fun to be found by using a computer to generate random mazes with a simple algorithm and allowing people to race through it. The first maze game that I can remember appearing on a home console was for the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES) and was cart #10 Maze, Cat and Mouse (1977). I don't know if this is the last "maze game" or not because I can't see into the future. (If I could, I'd have warned people about 80s hair.) This maze game decides to have a theme, and that theme is not merely "racing your buddy through a maze". Instead, it's a complex, textured and many-layered game which can be fraught with societal implications even to this day. It's not a game of cat and mouse! It's a game of Cops and Robbers! Which is totally different because if a mouse fights back, the cat is still gonna win. If a robber fights back, the outcome can be less certain. So, I could totally wax on that, but let's talk about the game instead. The cart contains 16 game variations with each variation further able to be varied by setting increasing parts or the entire maze "invisible". More on the invisibility aspect later. Players each have their little "cops" on screen, starting at the same point on the left side of the maze. The goal is to get through the maze to the exit all the way over on the right side of the maze. Yes, this sounds just like the other "maze" games so far, but wait...there's more!* *the phrase "but wait...there's more!" is over-used and a bit hokey and the creator of this blog would like to apologize profusely for its use. The game variations let you put "Robbers" in the maze. Two, three or five, depending on your selection. The Robbers start at the other end of the maze and randomly run through it. If you're playing the A difficulty game, your Cop moves just as fast as the Robbers. If you're on the B difficulty game, they move faster than the robbers. Players must maneuver through the maze, racing towards the exit, while avoiding the Robbers. This involves a lot of backtracking while trying to dodge the Robbers. How do you dodge the Robbers in what is essentially a single lane maze? You have to hope they take a turn down a blind alley giving you a chance to sneak by. I'm not going to lie, this is fun and depending on your emotional investment in the game, it can be intense (in a fun way). I will say that it's much more fun to play all of these with a partner but it's not necessary. You can easily play all of the games with just you leaving your Cop partner sitting alone at the starting spot. The 16 games the following variants with the number of Robbers or, in some instances, the visibility of the maze. Robbers - This is a race to the end of the maze, but Robbers come after you from the right side and will "take you out of the game" if you know what I'm sayin'. It's interesting because your little Cop doesn't disappear, it just becomes inert and doesn't move. We like to play that the dead Cop isn't really dead (yet) but yelling out to his buddy, "You gotta make it out, Louie! You gotta tell my family I died heroic and stuff...". (To keep things simple we pretended both Cops were named Louie.) Blockade - There's a variant that does let you play a cool trick on your opponent. By pressing the button you can drop an illusory wall to make it look like the bit of the maze you just passed through is actually a dead end. Yes, your opponent can just pass through this pretend wall, but it's a cool trick and if they weren't paying attention to you, they can fall for it. Capture - Another variant has the Cops doing what cops do in a game of cops and robbers, they can catch the robbers. Your goal is to get to each of the robbers and touch them before your opponent does. First to get all of them wins. There's no reason to not enjoy this game for a little while if you've ever felt some degree of satisfaction after getting through a maze. I fully intend to make an actual game play video of some of the more dramatic moments and linking y'all to it. I just didn't want to put off writing a new entry while I was still feeling the urge to write an entry. I wanted to talk about the "invisible" maze options. In most of the variants, if you choose to activate the invisibility option, the "invisible" parts of the maze will not be invisible. You will see your partner and the Robbers making their way along the invisible parts, and if you have a good head for mazes you can use their mistakes to your advantage. It's also possible to have an "auto peek" game or a player peek game. This allows you to see the invisible part of the maze for a brief moment. The problem is that your opponent will also see it. (( Martin Brundle-Fly would have been good at this. ))* (( Yes, by including that gif I AM admitting that I know things about the distant year of 1989, but I couldn't resist. )) (( From now on, if I decide to type something "out of character" for whatever year I'm currently deluding myself into believing I'm in, I'll put those anachronistic comments in double parenthesis. )) Scouts - Also in "invisible maze" you can sometimes have "Scouts". Scouts are your friends who run ahead of you briefly and show you how the maze runs. It's still invisible, but it probably keeps you from breaking your joystick slamming your Cop into an invisible wall because the Scouts give you some idea of where you can go. There, a quick and dirty entry. I'm likely going to add to it with a gameplay video as well as a discussion of a maze generating algorithm. EDIT Still no gameplay video my attention span might not last long enough to do one. I went ahead and did a cringe-worthy pair of videos talking about the maze generating algorithm that I can only hypothesize is used in Maze Craze. I'm a little annoyed at both Quicktime (which seems to want to crop any clip you add to the end of another, instead of just fitting it into the frame... if anyone knows a setting I'm missing, please let me know.) and YouTube, which also seems to decide to crop things. Well, I shouldn't be surprised that there is a learning curve and that freestuff has its limitations. The links to these videos are: Part 1: http://youtu.be/WJBIxAHV28k (EDIT: I'm pretty sure neither of these work anymore.) Part 2: http://youtu.be/XdoPmLaxf8A As always, constructive and sincere criticism is welcome, particularly with regard to any facts that just blatantly seem to make up on the fly. My next entry should be Activision's Boxing.
  7. Hi!!! Yeah, Chrontendo is awesome. I used to link to it from my blog but I don't see it on there now! This shall be rectified. And Yes, Nelio, I could spend a lot of time there myself! I'm not saying I'm back, but I will say that I cleaned up my darn computer room and got the Atari 7800 hooked up to the VCR which then goes to the old Sony PVM and I did actually play a little bit of Maze Craze... then I had to start hunting for another controller. It will be fun if one of my kids will play it with me. I may have to bribe them with something from Steam. Hi, thegoldenband! Thank you and thank you for the link to the manual, heheh. I went and read it cover to cover. Now I want to learn something about maze algorithms...
  8. I haven't heard it yet! It's so great that he's still going strong. I remember putting my cassette recorder upside down over my clock-radio to record the Doctor Demento top 5, just in case a Weird Al tune was going to be on it. (Weird Al and Existential Blues which I actually still might have on cassette somewhere in a closet). Thanks for the review! I'll have to get it now.
  9. Okay, when I say chronogaming is not dead or sleeping, I don't mean this blog. I mean "there are other chronogamers out there" fighting the good fight! Now and then I'll type "chronogaming" into Google (ego-surfer!) just to get a nice warm feeling to see that the term actually gets tossed around out there like it's a real word! A lot of people, I'm sure, didn't get it from me. I think many get it from "Chrono Trigger" - but if it has anything to do with retrogaming I think it actually can be traced back to me. If it ever makes it into a dictionary someday, my parents, wife, children and their descendants will never hear the end of it. I may have coined the term (as far as I know) but it's the people who ran with it who deserve the credit for it actually propagating. The BIG standout is Dr. Sparkle with Chrontendo. For the record, if I'm ever able to get this blog out of the ground again, it's because Chrontendo has inspired me. Well, Chrontendo and the folks who continued to comment and read this thing years after I've written anything related to chronogaming (and Nelio! Thanks for fixing the links! You're awesome!). When I started the hiatus, (2008?), this blog had about 60,000 views and now it's above 200,000 or so. I know this is paltry by, say, "YouTube" standards but it blows my mind that people still find and read this. Things have changed so much since 2008! I mean, there are people who seemingly do "Let's Play" for a living on YouTube! There are probably "business models" out there for this sort of thing. I've always said this is more of a lifestyle choice than a "project". Writing is hard for me now, mentally and physically, by the way. I write all day at work and I'm probably getting some kind of carpel wormhole thing. Mentally, I'm much, much better than I used to be mood-wise, but it's so hard to focus these days. I can promise you that the writing would be even worse than it was before, so, you can look forward to that. I still have 90% of the systems and software I bought for this "project" back when I was first doing it so... where was I? Ha! Just kidding! I say that like I haven't been thinking about it for the last six years and saying "Damn, I need to get back to doing Chronogamer" I know darn well what game I do next: 'Maze Craze: A Game of Cops and Robbers'.
  10. Mezrabad

    Back from Japan

    Wow, so I come back and think, "Hey, I think I'll do an entry" and then I can't figure out how to do an entry! xD I mean, literally, I can't figure out "new blog entry"... duh... more later...
  11. Mezrabad

    Outlaw aka Gunslinger

    Hmm.. I'm going to not watch that review on the grounds that I'm thinking of taking Chronogamer to YouTube and if I see something epic it might just scare me away. xD
  12. Mezrabad

    Space War, Atari VCS 1978

    Yes! Oh, speaking of astronauts... Kerbal Space Program. Oh my god. I've been loving that game intensely lately.
  13. Mezrabad

    Basketball, Atari VCS

    IA in the US is also the abbreviation for the state Iowa. Fun fact. xD
  14. Mezrabad

    1977 Retroview

    !! Wow, I hope that 2014 is going better for you. And what I hear about divorce is that "happy marriages don't end in divorce" so it's a new beginning for you both and I hope it's going well! Yes, I'm very behind in anything to do with this blog, though I've recently been forced to relocate my stuff. I'm hoping it will get me doing something again. ^ ^
  15. Mezrabad

    1978 Protoview

    Shoot, Nelio, that's a question I knew the answer to once-upon-a-time. It had something to do with the year being listed differently whenver I looked up its release date. Wow, the fact-checking I'll have to redo when I get started doing this again o_O makes me make a face. I think it had something to do with the Zircon resurrection, though, I don't entirely remember what that was. D:
  16. Mezrabad

    1977 Retroview

    The controller was definitely a fun-subtractor but 8 years in my rearview mirror and I still remember my feeling of indignation over the apparent lack of "quality" control in them. Of course... I've never programmed anything decent looking in my life. The only game I ever successfully completed looked very blocky (It was a knock-off of Tetris, so I guess I can be forgiven.) A joystick would have certainly made some of them less physically painful, but the raw aesthetic anguish (in this context, on a relative scale, the word "anguish" is appropriate but certainly not in real life.) Nelio, my friend, I hope you are doing well and may I say again how helpful those prev-next links are for fixing these articles up? Thank you!! ^ ^
  17. Mezrabad

    Air-Sea Battle + Little Girl

    Hey, thanks! I tried to fix it but I think I pasted the link to the "edit" page for the previous entry. Derp! ^ ^ Thanks for the kind words about my daughter. We made her ourselves! (bought a kit at WalMart.)
  18. Mezrabad

    Star Ship

    WOW... okay very interesting and I didn't know the bit of retro-conning about the maw either. very cool! I like how, when we all work together we learn stuff! Whooo!
  19. Mezrabad

    Space War

    BEWARE!!!! OMG... NUUUUU! It's like you've dug up that native indigenous burial ground and BROUGHT THE REMAINS INTO YOUR HOME!!!! xD Enjoy it in a sort of twisted "I'm having so much fun because this is so bad" kind of way... it's the only way to maintain your sanity.
  20. Mezrabad

    Fun Tzu

    !! When did we get like buttons?
  21. Mezrabad

    Back from Japan

    @thelooon: Actually I adored the uniformed, customer facing politeness of all of the adorable shop people (even the guys, I just adored them in a "bro" way). I'm in customer service and A. I learned a few things and B. for quick transactions that require little interaction I love the extremely polite personas. For some reason having a cute girl say a bunch of very polite sounding things and then her giving me a bow (all this at the 7-11) makes me want to retire in Japan someday. I know I'm guaranteed to smile at least once a day. @thegoldenband! Hi and thank you for your encouragement!
  22. Slowly moving forward... and yeah, Channel F coulda been a contender. It's one of my favorite "also rans".
  23. Mezrabad

    Back from Japan

    Is there such thing as an obsessive compulsive disorder that procrastinates? Okay, so I've been busy. Since I had my moment of discouraged truth a few years ago, I've managed to keep my job, my kids have continued to survive and I've been to Japan. Let me try to express my feelings about Japan with a very intense understatement. Japan is cool. I know... it makes some of you uncomfortable when I get all gushy and emotional about stuff, so I'll just leave it at that and link to pictures. http://www.flickr.co...s/michael2japan (Edit: I have no idea where my flicker account went. Maybe I deleted it? No idea. Blurrrrrr.) NO, I don't even pretend that I can take pictures. These are blurry and the composition on most of them is carp. (That was a typo, but some how I think it relates to Japan, so I'm leaving it.) I also haven't gotten around to posting the pictures from Kyoto, which I imagine contain some photographs of shrines. I WILL say that I think it's actually more expensive to be an Otaku in Japan than it is to get everything translated/dubbed/licensed and released in the US. Maybe it's the exchange rate... but I went into Super Potato and everything seemed really expensive. I'm guessing it has a lot to do with the cost of rent in Tokyo and the fact that... well.. I haven't played the "how much should I pay for this" game in a while. I ended up getting two Wii games. (Essentially Fatal Frame 4 and 5, for 4900 and 3900 yen, respectively.) and for the PS2 a Taiko Drum Master game (for 955 yen) and an Evangelion game for 105 yen. The Evangelion game promises to be absolutely awful. I can't imagine a game selling for the US equiv of $1.33 at a Books Off (used book chain) being any good at all... and that alone was reason enough to buy it. That, and Evangelion seems as ubiquitous as Totoro in Japan. Not quite as ubiquitous as AKB48, and nothing can touch the widespread plague that is Hello Kitty, but when one comes across Asuka selling eye drops, you know they're still doing pretty well. (Actually I hella-like Hello Kitty) Okay, Chronogamer will live again. I am very slowly going through and trying to fix the formatting on stuff. Nelio has gone through and fixed a lot of Prev | Next links in his comments, bless his heart, which is making it a lot easier to fix. I also have a new computer cave that I'm fixing up for maximum Chronogaming anal-retentiveness. The advantages of this room is that I can lock the door to keep my kids from trying to escape when I need them to play two-player only games with me. Um... I'm going to say don't hold your breath. I mean probably a lot of you don't even remember this blog, it's been three or four years since I've actually done anything with it. And I've had several false restarts. Hell, this could even be yet another one! But it's always nice to come back and read through the blogs a bit and start to want to type/babble again. Okay, anyway. Uh, blog summary: Japan = Fun. Bought games there.Things are expensive. Japanese girls are sexy, huh, wut? Came back. Recovered from jet lag. Want to chronogame again. Don't confuse me with chronogamers.com - they aren't me. Not that they aren't worth a peek, and more organized and better writers and play more games than I do. They're just not me.
  24. Yeah, I don't know how they got like this, but it's interesting to note that when I edited this entry the "next" link from the previous entry broke, and your "previous" entry link in the comments of the next entry also broke. Thanks for doing that, by the way!
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