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Atari Video Checkers vs. Activision Checkers

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Anybody ever done this before? I am playing Atari's Video Checkers against Activision's Checkers games to see which is better. I am using the highest difficulty setting on each version. However, the Atari can take a loooooooooooooooong time.

 

The match began about 8:00 PM this evening and is still going strong at almost 11:00 PM. Not the most exciting thing, but I was curious.

 

On a side note, the Atari seems to have a small flaw in its logic. I have noticed that some moves only had one option, to jump. But the Atari game still "thinks" for over 10 minutes about what it should do. Activision doesn't seem to have this problem.

 

I may have to start this match over some other time. I have to work tomorrow. :(

 

Hey, I just saw the "Edit" button on my first post in this thread. I really should've taken a forums class before I started posting. Better late than never, eh? I will update results on this first post so it is easier to find.

 

The updated table (with color!) is below.

post-10944-1177648088_thumb.jpg

 

I have also taken a picture of the test setup.

post-10944-1176958317_thumb.jpg

Edited by toymailman
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Much prefer Activisions version. Cleaner,crisper graphics and easier to move the cursor ;)

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Yes, I would agree. The Activision game is better from a users standpoint.

 

However, this battle was not to see which is better from that point of view. What I did was actually play them against each other. Literally Atari vs. Activision in a battle of wits!!

 

The Atari version actually made this possible because you can let the computer go first with the proper difficulty switch setting. So no move on the board for either side has to be made by a human player.

 

The battle went on until midnight and I went to sleep. I'll try it again later when I can dedicate many hours to it. Maybe I'll try the easier settings first because then each move will only take a few seconds instead of 20-30 minutes!!

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Cool idea, I look forward to hearing the results when you are able to get through an entire game. :)

 

..Al

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You might wanna try running the Atari version on an emu and speeding it up. So you don't have those long delays while it thinks. On the z26 emu its the -rN option, where a big number for N, like 10,000 will make it run really fast.

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Gosh, I spent hours playing the Atari version. I sometimes had to give up because it would chase my last king around and could never catch me. :P

 

I'll be interested to see the final results. But I wonder if one game will definitively prove that one is better (smarter) than the other? Maybe a best 2 of 3 is in order?

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Gosh, I spent hours playing the Atari version. I sometimes had to give up because it would chase my last king around and could never catch me. :P

 

I'll be interested to see the final results. But I wonder if one game will definitively prove that one is better (smarter) than the other? Maybe a best 2 of 3 is in order?

 

 

After the King makes seven moves and the other player has not at least put you in check once during the seven moves the game is a stalemate.

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Gosh, I spent hours playing the Atari version. I sometimes had to give up because it would chase my last king around and could never catch me. :P

 

I'll be interested to see the final results. But I wonder if one game will definitively prove that one is better (smarter) than the other? Maybe a best 2 of 3 is in order?

 

I will definitely post the results as I get them. Starting from the easiest vs. easiest setting and going up from there to see how it mixes up. The emulator idea sounds good too when I get to the hardest level for Atari (Game #9). I will also do at least the best 2 out of 3 or maybe 3 out of 5 if it goes quick.

 

Are there other games this can be done with? Any other versions of Chess, Othello, etc. besides the Atari versions to play one versus the other? I have about 350 boxed games in my collection now and at first glance nothing popped out besides checkers.

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This is too cool, Kind of like Kasperov vs Big Blue. well maybe not. anyway I am very interested in seeing who wins this

Edited by iguana
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Gosh, I spent hours playing the Atari version. I sometimes had to give up because it would chase my last king around and could never catch me. :P

 

I'll be interested to see the final results. But I wonder if one game will definitively prove that one is better (smarter) than the other? Maybe a best 2 of 3 is in order?

 

I will definitely post the results as I get them. Starting from the easiest vs. easiest setting and going up from there to see how it mixes up. The emulator idea sounds good too when I get to the hardest level for Atari (Game #9). I will also do at least the best 2 out of 3 or maybe 3 out of 5 if it goes quick.

 

Are there other games this can be done with? Any other versions of Chess, Othello, etc. besides the Atari versions to play one versus the other? I have about 350 boxed games in my collection now and at first glance nothing popped out besides checkers.

 

It would be interesting (and insanely time consuming) to play an entire game this way, keep track of the moves and end result, and then play another game on the exact same setting to see if both computers do the same thing. I'm not sure if Activision has different first moves or not, I rarely ever play Atari board games. Great idea. Have alot of beer ready for this experiment.

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I have attached a table below that summarizes what I am about to do. It has my predictions as to "who" will win each match and I have left question marks for matches that may prove very interesting. It is all based on the estimated length of time per move quoted in each of the game manuals. It will be a good test to see what company coded better logic.

 

post-10944-1176255799_thumb.jpg

 

I will start this experiment tonight!

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I have attached a table below that summarizes what I am about to do. It has my predictions as to "who" will win each match and I have left question marks for matches that may prove very interesting. It is all based on the estimated length of time per move quoted in each of the game manuals. It will be a good test to see what company coded better logic.

 

post-10944-1176255799_thumb.jpg

 

I will start this experiment tonight!

 

Oh ok, Atari goes first - sorry I got that mixed up. Keep up the good work.

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I would be very interested in something similar but with Chess, and across platforms. For example, have a little tournament pitting Atari Chess against Odyssey2 Chess, or Intellivision Chess. A new twist on the console wars.

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Yeah, that would be interesting to have one console vs. another. As for within the Atari 2600, I think checkers is the only game that a head-to-head competition is possible.

 

I did the first three matches on the list I put up earlier and the results were somewhat suprising. Atari is performing better and taking less time than Activision while doing it. I also figured out how to have Activision go first. It works the same as Atari where you toggle the right difficulty switch. I don't remember reading this in the manual, but maybe I missed it.

 

I did a best 2 out of 3 match. First game Atari goes first. Second game Activision goes first. Third game, if needed, the "weaker" player goes first. The initial results are below.

 

post-10944-1176271558_thumb.jpg

 

I give the first round (G1 vs. G1) to Activision with 2 wins and a draw. The draw could have been won by Activision, but it made some really bonehead moves in the end.

 

The second round (G1 vs. G2) could go either way. The table shows Atari, but it did go first twice as it seemed to be the weaker player going into the third match. For all intents and purposes these difficulty levels seem to be on par.

 

The third round (G1 vs. G3) was Atari all the way. It won both matches regardless of who went first and seemed to hold an advantage throughout. It also took less time for each move.

 

On average the time per move estimates from the manual were pretty good. So, in these initial matches the Atari game is not taking much time while Activision is using the 5-15 seconds specified. Also, it doesn't seem to be the same game twice.

 

I will continue the experiment tomorrow with G1 vs. G4. I expect Atari to win easily and if so then won't bother with the rest of the top portion of the chart. Instead I will advance the Activision difficulty to G2 and see how far it can get before Atari prevails. Any predictions? My initial predictions were way off.

 

After playing these games all evening, I do like the look and feel (control) of the Activision game much better. However, the Atari is proving itself to be the stronger opponent; so far.

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Isn't there a prototype out there of an alternate version of Video Chess? It'd be interesting to see how it plays against its released sibling.

 

I remember cross-platform chess matches all the time back in the 70s; there was kind of a fad for coding tiny chess logic programs on single-board computers (I recall the KIM-1 in particular being a favorite) and setting up games. IIRC, the Sargon series made a pretty splashy debut in just such a match.

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I was able to complete another match tonight and start the next one. The Activision Game1 vs. Atari Game4 was a surprise. After Atari seemed to easily win with Game3 regardless of who went first I thought this would be over before it began. I played four games. Twice Atari went first and twice Activision went first.

 

When Atari went first, it won. Not to big of an advantage, but won nevertheless. However, when Activision went first then it was able to maintain the advantage. In one game it ended up with 4 kings to Atari's lone king. However, for some reason it never did anything about it. It just kept moving the kings around and never tried to finish Atari off. Because of this huge advantage I quit after 30 minutes and called it a win for Activision, but very stange. The other time Activision went first, it did not press any advantage again. The game ended up with 5 kings for Activision and 4 for Atari. Each side just moved their kings around and I quit after 40 minutes and called this a draw.

 

I gave the edge to Atari in this match (G1 vs. G4), but almost wanted to call it a draw. Atari seems to finish off its opponents and actually try to win, although in each game it won it was by a very slim margin and it had to go first. When Atari did not go first then it could not win at this level. Activision was even able to build a large advantage to make a win easy, ... but then didn't. :ponder:

 

I read somewhere in the Atari manual that it changes its strategy beginning with Game #4. It is making some additional checks and trying to control certain aspects of the game and locations on the board to make it a more challenging opponent. However, this doen't appear to be the case in practice. At least with this initial level.

 

I have attached the updated table below.

 

post-10944-1176355499_thumb.jpg

 

I finished the first round of the next match (G1 vs. G5). Atari went first and it won. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when Activision goes first at this level. At some point I am expecting Atari to dominate the Novice Activision game, and not win by such slim margins or play to a draw.

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I think I see what's going on here.

 

The Atari program has as its command to try to get jumps and chain jumps when it has the advantage, to calculate piece-loss vs. opponent piece-loss for every move.

The Activision program, on the other hand, has protecting the pieces as its priority, even when it has the advantage. Thus, when it has an overwhelming amount of kings, it still won't risk them against a potential chain-jumping king controlled by the opponent.

In short, the Atari program is the more aggresive of the two programs. I suspect that the Activision program more or less blunders into its victories, that Atari makes a risk calculation based on its opponent and Activision is smart enough to make the most of any opportunity granted it by its opponent.

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I think I see what's going on here.

 

The Atari program has as its command to try to get jumps and chain jumps when it has the advantage, to calculate piece-loss vs. opponent piece-loss for every move.

The Activision program, on the other hand, has protecting the pieces as its priority, even when it has the advantage. Thus, when it has an overwhelming amount of kings, it still won't risk them against a potential chain-jumping king controlled by the opponent.

In short, the Atari program is the more aggresive of the two programs. I suspect that the Activision program more or less blunders into its victories, that Atari makes a risk calculation based on its opponent and Activision is smart enough to make the most of any opportunity granted it by its opponent.

 

You are probably right. This makes sense with what I have observed. It will be interesting when I change to Game #2 of Activision (Intermediate) to see if its strategy changes much.

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I would be very interested in something similar but with Chess, and across platforms. For example, have a little tournament pitting Atari Chess against Odyssey2 Chess, or Intellivision Chess. A new twist on the console wars.

Atari Chess vs. Saba Chess

 

I chronogamed something like this a couple of weeks ago, though I was not nearly as complete in my exploration of the abilities of each program as toymailman has been. I also noticed that I called it Atari vs. Fairchild when, technically, it was Atari vs. Saba. (Fairchild didn't release a chess program for the Channel F in the US but Saba did in Europe.) So, color me a little ashamed.

 

Anyway, cool idea!

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I have updated the results table on the first post in this thread.

 

I have finished Activision Game #1 vs. Atari Game #6. Atari seemed to win easily regardless of who went first so I only did the first two matches. I then pitted Game 1 vs. Game 7 and Atari dominated the first match. It may be time to move to Activision game #2.

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I did some more matches. The higher Atari difficulties eventually dominated Activision game #1. I only did the first two matches with Atari Game #7 as it was clear the Activision was outmatched at that point.

 

Therefore, I moved Activision up to its Game #2 difficulty and started the Atari from the bottom again. Activision easily won Atari Game #1, as expected. Then I moved Atari up to Game #2 and thought Activision would still easily win. However, this was not the case. The first game was a draw (5 Kings-5 Kings, each just bounced around). Then the second game, technically was a draw, but I gave it to Activision.

 

It seems Activision Game #2 still plays much too defensively. It had a large advantage over Atari (4 Kings + 1 piece vs. 2 Kings + 2 pieces). It never pressed it to finish Atari off. Atari always seems to try and finish the game if it has an advantage.

 

At this point I am not sure how much better of a player Activision Game #2 will be over its Game #1. It definitely takes longer to "think", but hasn't been able to prove itself better yet. We'll se what happens by my next update.

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Giving this dead thread a bit of a jolt to bring it back :)

 

Reading the Atari Chess thread reminded me of this - were there ever any more updates? I was pretty intrigued by this and was disappointed when it eventually dropped off the end of the page and into obscurity. The idea of computer vs. computer has always been pretty interesting...

 

What other games could be pitted against one another? Othello perhaps?

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