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Brian R.

'Star Raiders' - Video game's first space opera

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Found this interesting article using Google News: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1890...pace_opera_.php

 

Doug Neubauer’s Star Raiders was a game that made a vivid first impression. Released in 1979 for the Atari 400 and 800 computers, the game was a surprisingly complex space combat simulation. However, what left players entranced was its smooth, three-dimensional graphics. Star Raiders achieved a level of realism that few people had seen in a video game before.

 

I have this cart, and I seriously need to get a copy of the instructions and give this game a spin. I remember being pulled in by the 2600 game - so much that I would just "fly" around in space because it seemed so real back then!

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I have this cart, and I seriously need to get a copy of the instructions and give this game a spin. I remember being pulled in by the 2600 game - so much that I would just "fly" around in space because it seemed so real back then!

 

The side and aft views didn't really have any useful purpose, but they sure added to the effect.

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I have this cart, and I seriously need to get a copy of the instructions and give this game a spin. I remember being pulled in by the 2600 game - so much that I would just "fly" around in space because it seemed so real back then!

 

Yeah, you do! Star Raiders is without a doubt, one of the best games ever made. To this day, there is nothing quite like it. Even the more modern spin-offs fail to capture the immersion level of this 8k wonder of a game.

 

Here's a link to the manual and some strategies: Star Raider's Tribute Page

 

Feel free to ask for help! This game still captivates me to this day. Played it three days in a row last week, actually. I'd kill for a sequel that does it justice.

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I have this cart, and I seriously need to get a copy of the instructions and give this game a spin. I remember being pulled in by the 2600 game - so much that I would just "fly" around in space because it seemed so real back then!

 

Yeah, you do! Star Raiders is without a doubt, one of the best games ever made. To this day, there is nothing quite like it. Even the more modern spin-offs fail to capture the immersion level of this 8k wonder of a game.

 

Here's a link to the manual and some strategies: Star Raider's Tribute Page

 

Feel free to ask for help! This game still captivates me to this day. Played it three days in a row last week, actually. I'd kill for a sequel that does it justice.

 

Thanks.

 

Since I played Star Raiders a lot on the 2600, my biggest question has always been - is it that much different on the computer cart vs the 2600?

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Since I played Star Raiders a lot on the 2600, my biggest question has always been - is it that much different on the computer cart vs the 2600?

 

Star Raiders on the Atari 800 had many details which made it seem much more 'real' than the Atari 2600 version. On the sector map, you didn't just select a sector--you could move your cursor smoothly to any spot within a sector. You could look out of various viewports, set your speed from 00-90 (in multiples of 10) and watch in different views as your ship went into hyperspace. Phaser Patrol adds back some of the missing touches, but it's hampered by the lack of a keypad.

 

I wonder why there were so few joystick+keypad games? That really would be the ideal way to handle a lot of games.

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Since I played Star Raiders a lot on the 2600, my biggest question has always been - is it that much different on the computer cart vs the 2600?

 

Yes. The aft view is critical because in SR you can get hit from behind. Only Robot Tank allows this on the 2600, not Starmaster or any of the other space games.

 

Also, you have the gyroscopic longrange scanner which is more eyecandy than anything else in addition to multiple starbases. The particle explosions are also missing.

 

The only element that was really ported over pretty much 1:1 was the feel of the dogfighting itself, which I think is smoother and more exciting than the other space sims.

Edited by mos6507

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I wonder why there were so few joystick+keypad games? That really would be the ideal way to handle a lot of games.

 

The answer is because the keypad was not included with the 2600 (the same argument of why the driving controllers were not used in more paddle games). So when such a game is developed, you'd be selling to a subset of gamers that bought a previous game that used the controller, or that bought it seperately. Then there's the whole "is the keypad the same as the keyboard controller?" confusion.

 

The ideal way to handle things is to rethink the control scheme so that the native controllers work with the game...you are not shooting yourself in the foot right out of the starting gate. Of course, with SR this is impossible without ending up with an almost 1:1 copy of Activision's Starmaster.

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Agreed here too.

 

This was a defining game for me. A friend of mine was the first to get an Atari computer. It came home with a copy of Star Raiders. I will play this game to this day. It's well balanced, complex enough to keep you thinking and has great visuals overall.

 

It's aged a whole lot better than many games have.

 

I really liked the rank system. It gave this game a "big" feel that makes it special.

 

The 2600 version captures the essence of the game and is fun to play. If you've not played the computer version, you are missing out on a great game experience. This game says "Atari" all over it. Set the bar pretty high for the time.

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I remember seeing Star Raiders and then trying to program something similar in BASIC on a TRS-80 Model 1.

I think that was the most cloned game of the time.

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This was the first game that differentiated "computer game" from "video console game." It had depth above and beyond most other games of the time. This is still really where I draw the line. Computers can easily play most console games, but most consoles cannot easily do depth. IMHO, Star Raiders today is nothing special, but the "big" feel it has says everything about that difference.

 

It's gonna take me a while, but I'm working on a port for the Propeller This is a little micro controller, with some perfect on chip graphics capabilities. I think it's a perfect fit, resource wise.

 

It's a really great and complex game. On that note, are there any disassembles of this game available anywhere? Somebody care to generate one? I'm curious Curious about the data structures used to represent things. Been laying out various schemes and it all seems way too big. I've been playing it off and on to help me visualize how things might go.

 

The group of us, programming for fun as kids, did similar things. Most of those ended up more like Tail Gunner than anything else.

 

Anyone play this game two player? As kids we used to do this. One person is the pilot, the other is the engineer. Kind of a Kirk / Scotty thing. (yeah, we loved Star Trek then as well.) It's really fun, and a rare complementary gaming experience. My kids enjoy this today. The first time we got the Atari out for some gaming, my youngest loved running the keyboard. Calling out warp 9, aft view, shields got him going. He would press the keys and watch the action happen. Let him get involved while lacking the dexterity to pilot.

Edited by potatohead

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Since I played Star Raiders a lot on the 2600, my biggest question has always been - is it that much different on the computer cart vs the 2600?

 

Yes. The aft view is critical because in SR you can get hit from behind. Only Robot Tank allows this on the 2600, not Starmaster or any of the other space games.

 

You mean Battlezone. Bullets that went off-screen in Robot Tank became nonexistent.

 

Actually you can get hit from behind in Radar Lock, too.

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Since I played Star Raiders a lot on the 2600, my biggest question has always been - is it that much different on the computer cart vs the 2600?

This is roughly equivalent to asking if a cut of Kobe beef is much different from a McDonald's cheeseburger.

 

I have nothing but pity for people who hear "Star Raiders" and automatically think of the watered-down 2600 version.

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Wow, this thread is making me wonder if it would be worth it to go through the hassle of setting up the MESS emulator, chasing down an 800 BIOS, and tracking down a copy of the SR ROM to see for myself. Should I?

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Wow, this thread is making me wonder if it would be worth it to go through the hassle of setting up the MESS emulator, chasing down an 800 BIOS, and tracking down a copy of the SR ROM to see for myself. Should I?

Well, you could have tried it for yourself on a real 800XL or XEGS if you had come to the Florida Classic Gamer Show. :ponder: :P

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Wow, this thread is making me wonder if it would be worth it to go through the hassle of setting up the MESS emulator, chasing down an 800 BIOS, and tracking down a copy of the SR ROM to see for myself. Should I?

 

Use whatever emulation you want to. Totally worth playing.

 

It's best on a TV though.

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