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UPDATE: The final version can be found here! Donkey Kong was one of my childhood favorite games. I have always loved the attention to detail in the Atari Computer port. The gameplay is smooth, and it include more game nuances than other conversions of the time. I always thought that Mario and Donkey Kong could have looked a little better. I actually thought Pauline looked BETTER than the arcade. (I did make her more arcade-like in this hack, because I am going for arcade closeness.) After I dug into the game, I found even more appreciation for the A8 version. The memory-saving techniques that Landon used were great. His software sprite routine is terrific. These techniques allowed him to fit SO MUCH into 16K. They did come with a price. Donkey Kong is a mirror image, which means that there are some sacrifices that need to be made. In order to keep Kong's eyes only 1-pixel apart, his mouth is a little off-center in one of the chest-beating frames. Drawing the software sprites on screen seems to mean one less color than a "tile/character" mode. That means no white teeth or eyes for Kong. However, the smoothness at which the software sprites move make it totally worth it. So, in the end, I am trying to make some tweaks, using the advantage of modern day tools. Mario will be the toughest. Mario's made up of 3 player/sprites: red, flesh, and blue. The blue player seems to always be 1-pixel behind the other two. I would really prefer to get rid of that, because it is going to create issues for some of the frames. At this point, I have tweaked most of the playfield objects (Kong, Pauline, Girders, Oil Can, Still Hammers, Fireballs, Pies, etc.). The only player (sprite) I have touched is Mario, and I have only replace ONE of his frames at this point. Pauline's items are also a player. I am sure, as with JR, this will evolve. Original Update Updated Screens:
I was just checking out the 2600 version of Super Cobra. I am amazed with how the 2600 can be pushed beyond previous limitation, with the use of the DSP chip. I am not knowledgeable enough in HOW the DSP works, but it appears that ONE thing the DSP does is manages the placement (reuse-ability) of the 2 Players. Is this possible, because the VCS is so simple? What I mean is, would Antic and GTIA get in the way of any possibility of on-board enhancement chips for the A8/5200? Given the sloppy introduction of the 5200, the controller reliability issues, and the inexcusable, original, pack-in game, the 5200 never got to a point to require add-on chips. From what I understand, the 5200 was just starting to overtake the ColecoVision when they pulled the plug. Sad that it had its life cut short. Could an add-on chip handle calculations, to allow even more on-screen 5200 Players, like the 2600. I realize this can be done in code, since the 5200 has more memory than the VCS, but would an add-on chip offload the burden? Are there limitations to the 5200 cartridge slot/rear bus, which would make this an obstacle? Even a "SGM" type add-on would have been cool. My gut tells me that it may only work on the VCS, because programmers are already "racing the beam." Just curious. I wish the 5200 would get some love with a Harmony-like upgrade.
I don't intend this to be an evaluation of the current 8-bit Donkey Kong. Additionally, there are other threads comparing the various ports.. I am just wondering how difficult it would be to convert the Ocean version to the 8-bit. The Commodore 64 version looks awefully close to the Amstrad CPC version. The Amstrad used software sprites, and it is powered by a Z80. The C-64 uses it's Sprite chip, and it is powered by the 6502. However, it seems like SOME porting was done where possiuble. It would be nice to see that version duplicated on the 8-bit, as the graphics are a little more arcade-like, Mario looks like Mario, Donkey Kong looks like DK, and all of the screen levels are present and proportional. Don't get me wrong... I love the Atari version. The Atari version has a better jump (with spring back), Mario ducks down on the third frame, and the gameplay is uniquely fast. I am a huge fan of the arcade, but I like the Atari version in an apple/oranges way. I would also appreciate a version like the Amstrad/C-64 on the Atari.