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About AlwaysOnPlanetPatrol

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    Chopper Commander

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    Markham. Ontario. Canada.
  • Interests
    Soccer. Golf. Retro Games. Suburbia.
  • Currently Playing
    Summer Games
    Track & Field
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    Chopper Command

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  1. I bought a 65XE and a few cartridges a while back. There's one cartridge that I can't seem to get working; Speedway Blast by IDSI. Label indicates that it's for the 400/800 and does not specifically state that it will work with the XL/XE series. When I plug it in, the computer goes into diagnostic mode. Other cartridges work fine. Just wanted to confirm that this game is not intended to work on the XE. Can anyone advise please?
  2. That's great; chances are these purchases were less than a certain amount probably ($1,500?). I've had to provide proof of manufacture in Canada for items that I shipped with UPS and Fedex to avoid my clients a lot of hassle; mind you these items were valued over $2,000 so there may be some sort of threshold. In Canada, it's a glorious $20 and then you have to pay duty. Canadian dollars. It puts a damper on a lot of purchases.
  3. You're not paying Canadian sales tax (HST/PST/GST); you're paying state sales tax to your state. eBay adds it in and sends the money to your state's coffers. The seller doesn't see that money or has to process it. The Canadian government doesn't get cent directly from that sale. Foreign buyers (e.g. tourists) are exempt from Canadian sales taxes. You typically also have to pay duty when you import something into the US that was not manufactured in Canada or Mexico (or the US originally) under NAFTA. If you bought Extraterrestrials for $90k, you wouldn't pay Canadian Sales Tax or US duty (provided the seller can show proof that it was made in Canada). You would still have to pay your state's sales tax under the new rules from a few days ago.
  4. Yes, yet another Activision versus Atari blog entry! I read DoctorSpud's recently on Robot Tank and it reminded me of how this was Activision's version of Battlezone. DoctorSpud also made a comparison of how Enduro was their take on Pole Position. So I started thinking of how many times that happened. Most of us know of the lawsuit that Atari initiated against Activision and we also know that Imagic was sued over Demon Attack being close to Phoenix. I get it, they paid top dollar for a license of an arcade game and someone does a knock-off on their platform. We also have to consider where the limits are. Is every maze game a rip-off of Pac-Man? Video Checkers (Atari, 1980) vs Checkers (Activision, 1980) These games were even lame when they first released. Who went to the department store or TV place to buy a game and came out with Checkers? I doubt either decided to rip the other off. Checkers falls in between tic-tac-toe and the much more complex chess. It seems like someone's initiation on basic graphics, stored data in arrays, and some basic AI. Video Checkers was done by Carol Shaw who as everyone knows did the amazing River Raid and spanned the vertical scroller genre. Verdict: Doubtful. A common game and not really a best seller for either company. Tennis (Activision, 1981) vs Realsports Tennis (Atari, 1983) Activision's Tennis is one of the most fun sports games on the 2600. Simple control and a good AI. Atari decided to re-do all their sports games properly with the Realsports series. Tennis was bound to be picked since it would be easier to implement a two character game and keep it pretty authentic. Verdict: Doubtful. Atari certainly decided to do a better tennis game but the enhancements are big enough to dispute. As far as, game mechanics goes, the principles are the same but the game is not original and can only be done in a certain way. Pole Position (Atari, 1983) vs Enduro (Activision, 1983) Two great games. The Namco arcade game was massive and the Atari licensed version was pretty good all things considered. A good seller and very common, capturing the essence and play mechanics very well. Enduro is also an amazing game and brings up some original items. The typical scoring system implemented in most games especially Atari arcade ones, is implemented in Enduro instead as trying to last as long in the 5 day race. Verdict: Inspired. Enduro borrowed enough from Pole Position (and possibly other games) to generate its own version but game play and objectives is different enough. Star Raiders (Atari, 1982) vs Starmaster (Activision, 1982) In the beginning of the video and arcade game industry, there were only so many ideas around. At the end of the day, you can only show a starship's view with a cross hair and stars in the background. These two came out in the same year, but it's certain that the 8-bit computer version Star Raiders had been seen by Alan Miller (especially since he was a former Atari employee himself). Verdict: Inspired. Many, many similarities but it's unlikely that Starmaster was created based on Atari's 2600 version, most likely that was the Atari 400/800 version. Space Invaders (Atari, 1978) vs Megamania (Activision, 1982) Space Invaders was really the most important shoot-em up at the time and what made a lot of people buy the 2600 to begin with, probably their best value from the license obtained from Taito. Megamania was one of the few shoot-em ups from Activision and really the only one that matches that genre the best. Verdict: Inspired. Megamania added a new elements such as varied enemy movement, enemy types and the energy bar to be different enough. The 3-4 years was a long enough to allow Atari to profit significantly. Decathlon (Activision, 1983) vs Track & Field (Atari, 1983) Two games released in time to cash into the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics. Lots of events to add some variety and the skill level centred around your ability to wiggle (or bash buttons) quickly. I mentioned it many times, I love T&F and which is why I love Decathlon. Verdict: Coincidence. Decathlon was released in March 1983 which means it would have started development in early or mid 1982. T&F made it to stores for Xmas 1983 and the arcade version was available earlier in the same year only. Chances are both games were developed in parallel. Defender (Atari, 1981) vs Chopper Command (Activision, 1982) I think we can all agree that CC is the vastly superior game of these two. Atari could not have been too pleased when this came out after licensing Defender from Williams. This one of the games when I realized as a kid that these companies were copying each other. Verdict: Ripped off. And we're much better for it since CC plays much better and is visually stunning. Gameplay is just too similar for it to be a coincidence. Battlezone (Atari, 1983) vs Robot Tank (Activision, 1983) Two tank games released at the same time. Battlezone had been doing its rounds in the arcade and was quite popular there. Such a unique scenario and such a similar execution. One could argue that a 1st-person Combat game could only be done in one way really. Verdict: Ripped off. RT actually exceeds Battlezone in terms of gameplay, and it seems obvious that both came from the arcade version. I can't fault Activision for trying to do a type of game better if they had the ideas and more importantly the ability to execute. I'm very happy that all these titles exist and that both companies defined how games should be done and laid the foundation of everything else that came after. If you come up with an original idea like Warlords, River Raid, Adventure, Pitfall, Yar's Revenge, or Keystone Kapers once in your life, then you have accomplished something very special.
  5. he actually commented to this story (2nd page of comments) and provided a link to this piece: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-coolest-thing-you-have-ever-created-alone-as-a-programmer/answer/Garry-Kitchen?fbclid=IwAR0qGeLtEp5PSqnC7K0NRDqFawtJzNQ8okP5wCtENHXWIJVAbP5ZbM-HGJk Interesting how he states that "Coleco had over 550 products (SKUs) in the market the year that the Atari 2600 Donkey Kong shipped. That single 4K cartridge represented 25% of the company's total revenue. " Considering that the Colecovision system and many of its games were released that year, one single game on the previous generation video game system generated that much money for the corporation. Curious if he got a share of the profit ...
  6. It's not that much fun; Romhunter has it nicely linked a playable online emulator from his page (http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-2600-vcs-extra-terrestrials_27608.html😞http://javatari.org/?PAGE_BACK_CSS=rgb(188,179,143)&ROM=http://www.atarimania.com/2600/dumps/extra_terrestrials.zip
  7. Was expecting to see someone mention this before me; this piece came into my daily news feed yesterday: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/09/how-a-basement-hacker-transformed-donkey-kong-for-the-atari-2600/ Pretty interesting piece; curious about the rest of Garry Kitchen and how he ended up at Activision. The book where this excerpt comes is Arcade Perfect; one good review and one bad review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Arcade-Perfect-Pac-Man-Coin-Op-Classics/dp/1079275541/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Arcade+Perfect&qid=1568682910&s=gateway&sr=8-1 .
  8. Related to that, now there's a CCE cartridge set for sale for $14k (Canadian): https://www.ebay.ca/itm/CCE-C-C-E-Color-Complete-Set-ATARI-2600-Video-Game-System-Dancing-Plate-Plates/291691429681 Crazy money. Let's see how much they will actually go for! I'm guessing there are lot of middle age folks who can spend some good money on their hobby. At this rate I'm going to list my CIB NTSC Puzzy games on eBay.
  9. Thanks, the family has been enjoying it. My youngest and I are having some serious Q-Bert, Pang, and Super Pac-Man battles. I tried to find the balance between maintaining the original 80s arcade feel and setting something up I can maintain. It feels a bit odd having a ton of empty space inside the cabinet but luckily I have the space in my basement so that it doesn't really clutter the place up.
  10. Thanks for the recommendation. Just bought one from there for my 65XE. I got 5-pin DIN connector on Sunday but just didn't feel like soldering tiny wires and I'm not in a rush.
  11. This is something I've been meaning to for the last 3-4 years. I've been slowly collecting all the necessary items but in the last 3-4 months I sprinted towards the end. I've always wanted to build my own MAME-type home arcade and have a bunch of games ready for me to play with. I knew I wanted to use MAME because I've been using since it was first released eons ago. The monitor I also knew that I was going to use a LCD monitor; at least 19" and certainly a 4:3 screen for the classic look. So step one for me was getting that monitor. A couple of jobs ago, I had a HP 20" L2035. I couldn't find one locally so I ended ordering one from eBay for $50 plus shipping. A couple of years ago I came across some fellow selling Dell Ultrasharp 2007FP 20" monitor. I bought six of the guy and met him at the IKEA parking lot. The Dell one has been awesome, it has composite, SVHS, VGA and DVI inputs! The resolution is an awesome 1600x1200 resolution and they are quite bright. It's also half the weight of the HP model. At this point, I've more than recouped my money by selling three of the Dell monitors and the HP model. Needed to clear some space in our cold cellar. I gave a Dell monitor to my buddy who was also building an arcade (more on that below). Since then I've been using these monitor to plug in my 7800 and get a super-crisp image. The emulator Back in 2017 I also bought a Raspberry Pi 3. I was torn between using a lean Windows 7 OS with either an open motherboard or a small ATX case. I could have done the Win7 system in my sleep, but also wanted to learn about the Pi3 so that ended being my choice. My biggest problem ended having to upgrade the power supply to one that could draw 5A as it turns out running a HDMI cable needs a bit of "juice". The 2.5A that came with it wasn't good enough. I ended up using the RetroPie set up and got the ROMs where people get ROMs. The controls In the meantime I got arcade buttons and a joystick from eBay. Ended up using those parts to build a 7800 controller. Had some buttons left over from a project to build a Track&Field controller. To test this set-up I ended up getting a cheapish arcade USB jostick; https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B078H7MSFC/ref=pe_3034960_233709270_TE_item . That allowed me to test the configuration and just build a POC. That was pretty much my set up for the last two years. HAPP competition joysticks was going to be my pick based what I used in the past; wasn't too fussy about buttons. I was happy with the ones I used for my 7800 controller so I ordered more of those. The cabinet The cabinet was an adventure. I wanted to get something that had been pre-cut so I could assemble it, but just as I finally decided to go ahead, the place I wanted to use to order it sold their CNC equipment and closed their doors! This happened in the week or so I mulled it over. Ordering from the US was crazy expensive and the places in Canada just didn't fit the bill. Most of them wanted to sell you completed one or bundle all the gear. I wanted to use my stuff which already had. So that left scanning Kijiji for months for an arcade cabinet. After a while there was a fellow who wanted to sell a pair of empty cabinets. A generic cabinet and a NEO GEO one. I reached out to my buddy who had mentioned a while ago he was thinking of building one and luckily he agreed to go 50-50 with me. Initially I wanted the NEO GEO one, but seeing the size I went for the generic one. I think my friend was happier with the NEO GEO one as well. So that worked out. I gave him a Dell monitor to help him get his project started as he had one of those 1000 arcade game HDMI plug-in monsters. It did come with a 19" CRT but it had some bad screen burn and after asking my dad to take a look at it (he was a TV repairman for a while) he said that it wouldn't be worthwhile fixing it. The cabinet had to be cleaned up. Holes, dents, scratches, a couple of broken sections. I think I put like 8 layers of paint on the exterior. The control panel had been reconfigured so many times, it looked like swiss cheese. I put a new thick metal plate and set up my own layout. Street Fighter 2 six buttons was not a requirement for me. The plexiglass was darker and scratched, so with a LCD it would not be as bright as a CRT, I decided to replace the front plexiglass with something transparent. The theme Ultimately I wanted to be able to play my favourite arcade game; Double Dragon. So two joysticks and three buttons for each player for simultaneous action. Next was the theme: Double Dragon, Galaxian (for the colours and graphics), Bubble Bobble (funny characters and colour scheme), Centipede (I like colour scheme), Ms. Pac-Man, or Superman. The DD look I just didn't like; Galaxian was a bit too retro, Centipede wasn't going to go since I wasn't going to put in a trackball, Bubble Bobble just seemed silly, Ms. Pac-Man has been overdone. Superman was the one! Not common, I'm a DC comics fan, I always liked the game and the colour scheme was great (a blue Superman and his red variation, using the primary colours only!). Got red/blue joysticks, buttons to match the Superman colour scheme and blue t-moulding to replace the one it had before. Replaced the single speaker with two outward-facing stereo speakers and added an amp. Added LED lights to the marquee; they are not bright but since it sits in the basement it's good enough with the darker room. Rewired the power input with a fuse and attached to a power strip. Added a power button at the side and high so that it's convenient to turn everything on/off at once. Luckily the monitor remembers its state, so it turns on automatically even when completely unplugged. The powerstrip had a couple of USB plugs for the Raspberry and the LED lights. The graphics were an adventure. I had the panel and monitor overlay printed on glossy paper at Staples and obtained the art online. Ordered the marquee online and also ordered the side graphics at the end from another place (vinyl). Wished I had bigger side graphics but I didn't want to spend a ton of money. One of the problems with this project is that I've been doing it in spurts and with the graphics printed at Staples, I ended up guessing (accurately I might add) the dimensions for the overlay and panel. Got real good at cutting plexiglass towards the end. I used 3 48" sheets after a couple of failed experiments. Had a bad experience with a generic two-player USB control board, which lasted me less than week of use. Ended up buying two separate boards for each, one of them with LED light capabilities. That combo has worked best and no (zero) delay, and after a few weeks still working well. I still need to put in some finishing touches and once I had it one for like 4 hours at which point the monitor was complaining about overheating! So I'll probably have to put in a fan and set up some ventilation holes for cold air in and the hot air out.
  12. Interesting, when I was younger a friend of mine had the Dancing Plates, although it was from Quelle and I don't recall what the German title was ("Tanzende Geschirr oder Teller"?). I do remember it being a lousy game.
  13. Yes, I'm still baffled that things like this can be found. I went to buy a whole box of things primarily because I wanted to buy the 65XE the ad showed since I gave up on getting a 800XL at a reasonable price. All the other 2600 games I already had, so I went thinking "ugh, more common stuff to store somewhere" except when I saw those I was totally surprised. The gentleman selling them didn't know much about 8bit Atari computer stuff (to be honest, I'm a C64 guy, so I'm not an expert either), but he did know about the 2600 games and even admitted he could get a lot more for them and just wanted to sell them off quickly. It's weird, it's rare for me to check Atari ads on Kijiji and even more rare for me to have nothing to do on a Saturday so I can just drive 50km away and pick something up on the spur of the moment.
  14. Thanks for the quick response and maintaining the database, it's been very helpful in the past. I will e-mail the scans today. Cart, top label, manual, box front and back.
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