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About AlwaysOnPlanetPatrol

  • Rank
    Chopper Commander

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

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  1. I always thought that as far as "games" was concerned Atari's BASIC Programming was weird. For an actual game, I always thought "China Syndrome" was a tad bizarre. I mean, you're collecting different types of radiation. But then, not as far-fetched as an alien armada attacking Earth.
  2. Just found out; I'm shocked. Let's help his daughter out if we can. Thanks for posting the GoFundMe link.
  3. Holy crap, that was a lot of money back then! I remember my neighbours a couple floors below buying Air-Sea Battle for 129.00 Marks around 82 from 1.000 Toepfe in Hamburg and being shocked how expensive it was. Mind you I got my Atari for Xmas later that year for 299 Marks.
  4. FYI, for the disc replacement, I'm thinking of getting these: https://hoskinson-industries.myshopify.com/products/intellivision-metal-controller-disc
  5. Other than my main Atari 7800 console, the other (retro) console that gets a workout in my household is the Intellivision. I've always found the controls frustrating, especially the disc. Since I have two systems, I can actually compare what they are supposed to be like since one seems to have the controls working properly. The unit that's a bit more beat up cosmetically is the one that seems to function better. So I'd like to get the main unit we use working in the same way. I searched for replacement controllers, considering building my own out of arcade parts, and even debated about swapping the controllers. In the end I came across RWAP's replacement membranes. Interesting enough, I found the original thread here at AA after purchasing them. I have an Intellivision I, made in Hong Kong circa 1979 so I figured perhaps over the years the component degraded and worthwhile doing the replacement. I ordered mine and about a week or so they arrived from the UK. May have arrived sooner but with Covid-19 I wasn't really going to the mailbox every day. The pair of membranes look in pristine condition and pretty much identical keypad buttons. Here we are in 2020 and one can get amazing parts for an old system. Having done replacements in various Atari controllers, the Intellivision version takes more patience and I personally found it tricky. Unscrewing the controllers shows the simple (non-)mechanical nature of this controller. The trick to get these out is to slide the side buttons up. The 5 layers should come off easily. My circuit boards said REV E 1 and 2 for each of the controllers. The Replacement Process Open the controller by removing the four screws Once open take out the disk and the spring. Keep track of the plastic thin disc that goes between the two controller layers. Slide up the two side buttons. Pull out the entire plastic circuits. Nothing should be attacked or glued to the controller. I suggest you make a note of the order. The replacement pieces come gently pre-folded. On the two shorter keypad pieces do a proper fold on the two sides. The better you fold it, the nicer it will sit snugly on the controller. On my controller, the attached foam pad ended up being too thick. I used the replacement pad provided. Peel the thicker pad gently. Fold the longer membrane with the clear piece sitting in between. DO NOT fold it too much or you may break the circuit lines, fold in the clear sections to keep its shape. No that the disc contacts are set lower than the keyboard, so you will need to. There should be two plastic pins above and below the keyboard that allow you to guide the mylar replacements and provide alignment. The tricky part will be to replace it. Align the longer parts focusing on the keypad section. Place the two smaller keypad pieces above it. Push the two side button sections in and put the buttons back in. You may need to push the sides in a bit more although I found the action of putting the buttons back helped. Make sure the disc section sits centrally. Place the white disk between the clear and the bottom layer. Place the spring and the plastic disc controller over the circuit. Screw the controller case back in. I should note that the first time I installed it, I skipped the plastic thin disc and nothing worked properly. That's when I also noticed the bulge due to the thicker pad. Layer Order The layer with the circuit contacts with the foam attachment goes to the very bottom, while the gold keypad will be the top layer. The transparent long piece will go in between the two longer circuit membranes. Observations It's a tricky set-up and takes patience. Before this I never bothered to see how the internals of the Intellivision worked. It's great that RWAP included the thinner variety of the foam pad. For Snafu or Space Armada, I can notice the difference. For Pac-Man and Lock'n'Chase it's pretty much the same, so I'm guessing it's the game or my skill. I will probably order another pair just to have the parts. I'd love to find replacement brand-new side buttons or disc just to spruce things up a bit. Overall I'm very happy with the replacement part.
  6. RWAP, got mine a few days ago, thank you. Replaced one INT Rev E 1 controller and it works well. I can actually control the worm in Snafu properly. Nice to include the thinner sticky pad. Highly recommend these. Will put up a few screenshots.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 ...
  12. 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
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