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Mr. Brow

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Everything posted by Mr. Brow

  1. I was a pre-teen in the early '90s when I went to my first arcade. My parents didn't let me go to them when I was younger because they said they had a reputation for catering to drug users and problem kids. In the early-to-mid '90s, I remember the fighting games being the real draw: Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct were the ones I remember most. The other type of game that seemed to be much better in the arcades than on home systems were the beat 'em ups, especially the Ninja Turtles games.
  2. LOL to Taito’s “tips”. Who’d have known you’re supposed to shoot the enemies? I wrote a whole slew of blog entries on this game recently, all linked in this earlier thread: Phoenix and Early Animation. I think the coolest part of the game is the flight animations, traced below with a sprite tracker:
  3. I've been playing a lot of Battlezone lately, so I thought it would be interesting to make 3-D models of the game characters. Details and larger versions of the models can be found on my blog. Presumably the simple polygonal structures were forced on the developers by the limitations of the hardware, but I think it gives the figures a unique style.
  4. I much prefer battling robots to battling viruses, so I've been inside spending a lot of time on Berzerk in the last few weeks. I wrote up an animated strategy guide and attempted to backwards engineer the AI. So tell me about your experiences with the game. Are the ports any good? And why doesn't Evil Otto have his own game yet?
  5. The SNES version of Jurassic Park scared the sh** out of me as a kid.
  6. NASA is now in mandatory telework except for critical personnel.  Boss is currently working to make sure I stay off that list...

    1. GoldLeader


      My tired eyes may have misread this earlier...So your boss is keeping you off the list so you Can do Telework, right?

    2. Mr. Brow

      Mr. Brow

      I can definitely telework either way, he's just concerned I'll be dragged unnecessarily into operations work on-site that could put my family at risk.  I have a live-in mother-in-law who's high risk.


      The first time I posted this the logic was messed up.  Instead of a list of "critical personnel" it had referred to a list of "non-critical personnel" who were allowed on-site.

  7. I put up a review of the game, thanks for the feedback. It's hard to imagine it being as fun without two joysticks -- that's pretty cool what they did with the Famicom version, I don't think I've ever played a NES game that used both controllers for one player.
  8. Fair enough -- I don't know what its revenues were like, so you may be right that it was popular in its day. My impressions are based on its Mobygames entry, where it has 6 votes with an average score of 2.1, the fact that its Wikipedia entry is in stub territory, and the fact that I hadn't heard of it until I started digging into arcade history. It has been ported many times, however (even recently), so perhaps it has a sizable cult following. Whatever its current status in the gaming community, I do think its worthy of attention. It took me a while to get the hang of it when I started playing, but it was well worth the effort, IMO.
  9. I'm surprised I hadn't heard of this one before. There weren't many games doing graphics this sophisticated in 1980 and the control scheme is really clever. Clearly a lot of TLC went into the development. I did write-ups on the controls, the scrolling background, and the sprites. It's acclaimed by critics, but I wonder why it didn't catch on more with arcade-goers. Perhaps the controls were too hard to learn or the difficulty curve too steep. What do you think? Anyone play this a lot in the arcades?
  10. Wow, I didn't think the game's appeal was broad enough to make a movie viable, but I guess it's still a widely recognizable name. It will be interesting to see what the remake is like.
  11. As far as I can tell, they don’t use sprites for anything. The player, the enemies, the bullets all appear in the tilemap.
  12. I just realized that I gave the wrong link. This is Part 3.
  13. It's just easier in the later stages because they attack in larger groups.
  14. Yes, but only using an emulator. I have a special saved state -- in the level with the white-green small birds, the third time through the rounds. It loads up just as ~10 of them are flying away, and even then I only get it about a quarter of the time. What a strange quirk. Is it known if this was an intentional game feature?
  15. Thanks for the feedback! Part 3 is finished. It talks about the unique approach Phoenix took to the graphics, animating all of its enemies with tiles. I had never heard of this game, what a cool concept! Going to check that out. Maybe the double-tilemap approach was hard to reproduce on other systems, explaining the relative lack of ports? Most home ports of arcade games of this era are totally different games anyway, even when the graphics of the original were simple. The 2600 version of Galaxian is... not Galaxian. So being faithful to Phoenix? Forget it. Funny you mention it, that was actually the next game I was planning to study. In addition to the graphics, it has a really interesting control scheme. The Intellivision running man is new to me... what game is it in?
  16. So the arcade version of Phoenix came out in 1980 and looking at its contemporaries, the animation is surprisingly complex for a raster game. For example, the large bird uses 14 distinct frames: I’ve been studying the game’s graphics in my blog: https://raisingthevgbrow.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-animation-of-phoenix-part-1.html Any fans of the game here? Also, does anyone know of other raster games from 1980 or earlier that were doing animation like this? I’ve seen some fancy stuff in vector games (I mentioned Warrior in a previous thread), but all of the raster games I’ve studied from this era were barely animated.
  17. Lately, I've been interested in vector graphics displays -- what are your favorites? I'm especially interested in the way the designers make use of the vector display. I recently stumbled upon a more obscure example called Warrior (1979). The game itself seems to play really awkwardly (in MAME, anyway), but the graphics are surprisingly sophisticated. Apparently, they used motion capture to animate realistic sword-fighting movements. I traced the points in higher resolution to get a better sense for how the joints were connected -- there are quite a few of them!
  18. I did a write-up about how the graphics were generated in some of these early arcade games. I know there are many here with more technical know-how than myself, so please let me know if I'm misrepresented anything there. I was surprised how much information I was able to glean just from the service manuals for these early arcade machines. Some of them go into a lot of detail about how the games work. Also, this document was a fascinating resource on Pong: http://www.pong-story.com/LAWN_TENNIS.pdf. I'm not experienced enough with TTL to follow all of it, but it's still an interesting read.
  19. I got into emulation in the late ‘90s while I was in college, and a large fraction of my early internet experiences revolved around it in some way. Emulation made the internet like a candy shop. I didn’t use MAME much back in the day since I’m more a product of the NES/SNES era (Nesticle was mind-blowing) but I now have a much greater appreciation for arcade emulation. I was also a staffer at Zophar’s Domain for a while in the 2000s and had a script that queried emulation sites to look for updates. I remember announcing the first release of Nestopia in particular, that generated quite a bit of excitement in the community.
  20. From what I’ve read, the first arcade game to use a microprocessor was Gun Fight in 1975. It’s not complete, but the list of games emulated by the Discrete Integrated Circuit Emulator (DICE) is a good starting point: http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/DICE
  21. Lately I’ve been exploring the very early history of arcade games, where the game was a product of discrete integrated circuits rather than microprocessors. I mean games like Pong and Breakout. Does anybody own functioning units of this kind? Have you opened them up? Perhaps even repaired them? It’s amazing to me the complexity of the circuits that went into a game as simple as Pong.
  22. I didn’t spend a lot of time at the arcade as a kid but I remember having a similar attitude about the game. Just like with pop music, though, sometimes I go back and discover there was something to the fascination after all. Maybe someday I’ll actually go back and watch Titanic... and like it. Not today, though.
  23. Finally got around to writing up a full review of the game, which you can read here. Also, I can't stop staring at this polar projection of one of my playthroughs. It connects the ends of the wrap-around tunnel at the bottom of the image (you can see Pac and the ghosts disappear briefly when they go through it). It looks like the game is on the inside surface of a tube.
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