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About WolfAmongWolves

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  1. In the early 80s, I think the Imagic games were the most advanced. At the time many of their games just went a step beyond other publishers in terms of visual and aural details. Demon Attack is a prime example. The way the demons appeared, the pieces flying in from the left and right of the screen to form the complete creature accompanied by that scary whooshing noise just blew me away as a kid. Then, as you progressively shot the demons, the pitch of the music became higher and higher, adding a sense of urgency to the game. Compared to other shooters at the time it definitely stood out. I also remember playing Laser Gates for the first time. Those epic explosions when you shot down the enemies in the tunnel, with glowing sparks flying in all directions and then fading, was unlike anything I'd seen up to that point. Each obstacle also had its own distinctive sound, so even with your eyes closed you could tell whether you were fighting a Byte Bat or a Homing Missile, or what type of force field you were coming up against. And finally Cosmic Ark: that huge scintillating spaceship descending from the top of the screen accompanied by that awesome warbling sound, the beasties that changed every two levels, and that escape shuttle that zipped away at the end of the game.
  2. Totally agree with this. As a kid I liked the game, but the constant firing in conjunction with the original Atari joystick totally did my thumb in, to the point where I had to stop playing the game because it became so painful. Otherwise I thought it was an engaging game, especially on the smart bomb settings. I also liked the fact that you could land and repair the ship after a hit, a feature that to my knowledge no other game had at the time.
  3. I have a few PAL cartridges, and they all have that vertical rolling issue. I still have an old TV with a vertical hold knob, so it's easy to fix. You just have to accept the weird colors. I'm not sure if there is a fix for a more modern TV though.
  4. Are the colors off as well? Might be a PAL cartridge.
  5. Thanks for the info, guys. Let's see if Dan can shed some light on this matter. I'd be really interested to know if the non-appearing energy pod is a bug or if it is just generated randomly and sometimes the player is just plain out of luck.
  6. Laser Gates is one of the rare 2600 games that is supposed to be beatable: Destroy the four failsafe detonators, and according to the manual you've won the game. What has always frustrated me about this game is that it doesn't seem possible to reach the fourth detonator. Even if I manage to shoot or avoid the obstacles and keep my shields up, I always die because I run out of energy, as the game simply does not provide an energy pod when needed. This often also happens before I reach the third detonator. Energy burns at a steady rate, unaffected by laser fire and collisions. The Dante Dart also advances down the cavern at a steady pace, and even if you fly to the left side of the screen to dodge an attacker, you can never slow down or stop your overall progress. While it is possible to accelerate your advance by flying to the right side of the screen, this is not really a feasible technique because that's where all the enemies and obstacles appear, and you don't have time to shoot or dodge them if your ship is glued there. I'd really be interested to know whether anyone has ever managed to actually destroy all four failsafe detonators and beat the game. If not, has anyone ever taken a look at the game's code and figured out at which intervals the energy pods are supposed to appear or what triggers their appearance?
  7. Keeping a score notebook and trying to beat your last score can certainly do tons for your motivation to keep playing and getting better, but I think the second part of your epiphany is even more important: 2.) If a game doesn't make sense, I go on AtariAge and read the manual. In my opinion reading the manual is key to getting the most enjoyment out of a 2600 game, regardless of whether or not the game makes sense without it. Sadly some manuals are just lazy descriptions of the game's controls, but most of them offer great backstories that add depth which the game cannot convey by itself. It makes a difference whether you think you are being chased by a red duck, or whether you know that that's Rhindle, the fiercest and meanest of the three dragons. You may very well be able to figure out how to play Yar's Revenge, but once you read the manual and the comic book, the whole story makes sense and the action becomes much more "alive", for lack of a better word. Did you know that the four Warlords have names, and what grief they caused their poor parents King Frederick and Queen Christina? Lastly, read the manual to Riddle of the Sphinx and see if it doesn't immediately make you want to play the game. Anyway, enjoy the manuals, enjoy the games, enjoy getting better and beating your high scores.
  8. Could you elaborate on that, Thomas? I always thought the two stages scale in difficulty at the same level, i.e. usually when I start getting destroyed multiple times in the meteor stage I'm not able to pick up any more beasties on the planet surface stage either. Those lasers just fire so fast that I always thought it was pure luck whether you make it through or not. Is there a secret technique that I am not aware of?
  9. Which collision detection are you talking about exactly? I always thought the collision detection in Cosmic Ark is spot on. Maybe you're thinking about the later meteor shower levels, where your shot sometimes misses the wobbly meteor? I'm relieved to see that there are many others who don't love Yar's Revenge. It shows up on so many top 10 lists that I thought there must be something wrong with me.
  10. Stellar Track, believe it or not. The game has been driving me nuts because I haven't been able to beat it once, on any setting. One of these days I'll figure it out...
  11. I still don't see why that would dissuade you and other programmers from continuing to make great games. I'm not a programmer myself, so forgive me if this sounds naive, but I always thought that today's 2600 programmers were in it for the fun of programming (even if those last 20% are a chore), the sense of personal accomplishment derived from constantly pushing the machine beyond its limits, and the recognition they receive both from other programmers and from players if they develop an exceptional game. As Thomas said, it's not about the money, so I assume you are using the sales numbers as a measure of appreciation for the game rather than as a measure of return on your invested programming time. As I said before, you guys get recognition in spades here on AA. When a truly great homebrew is released, people notice, and people know who the programmers are. There's an entire thread here dedicated solely to how awesome Stay Frosty 2 is, discussing it's level design, sharing how far people have gotten, etc. I don't see any of that for the low quality collector's edition games, because the people who buy those are mostly content just owning them. You're catering to a different market, and the fact that there's collectors out there who will buy anything doesn't in any way affect the appreciation that players feel for a truly great game and for the programmers behind it. Case in point, I'm absolutely certain that if e.g. you, Thomas, or SpiceWare had started something like the "Knight Rider 2600 Project" thread, the reaction to it would have been very different, because AAers would have known and trusted that you have the skill and dedication to pull it off. And that has absolutely nothing to do with sales numbers.
  12. You shouldn't measure your success or appreciation by sales numbers alone. You and many other programmers here are kind enough to make your roms available free of charge, knowing that this may hurt your sales numbers. Everybody who has played your games knows what an exceptional programmer you are, and your reputation on AtariAge is proof of that.
  13. I don't think that bad homebrew games will have a negative effect on the homebrew market. Back in 1983 the Atari was a current game system, and people bought games primarily to play them, expecting state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay. Back then there was no AtariAge with game discussions, no Youtube with gameplay footage, and no downloadable roms that let you try the game for free. Often you would buy the game blindly, and if you bought three stinkers in a row at $30 to $40 a pop, it's easy to see that people could give up on the system. Today there are just as many 2600 collectors as there are players, and they tend to care less about the quality of a game than about owning it. Collectors are willing to spend lots of money on a crappy game simply because it's rare, or because it's a label variation, or because it's on a V-case pirate cart, etc., and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. A collector may get just as much enjoyment out of knowing that he is one of only 50 people in the world who own that particular crappy limited edition homebrew, as a player gets out of playing a truly great game. As for the players, I think the 2600 homebrew scene still offers lots of really great games. With the help of AtariAge and Youtube it's relatively easy to tell the crappy homebrews from the good ones, and I have never made a homebrew purchase that I've regretted. The glut of bad homebrews out there certainly won't stop me from purchasing the good ones. As for the good homebrew programmers, I can't imagine that they will be discouraged from programming further good games just because others are releasing bad games. It just makes their games shine even more.
  14. Mountain King, if you count scrolling as multi-screen.
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