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Commodore 64 vs Atari 800 Xl

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I was an atari kid myself. I even had, played, nay enjoyed the infamous E.T. (the Raiders of the Lost Arc game was equally inane though). But as the number 2 system, I remember Colecovision even above Commodore. My best friend has Donkey Kong on Coleco it was surprisingly fantastic...at least that's how I choose to remember it.

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The atari 800 is generally a better built more solid machine, but the games were never as good as the 64!

 

The 64 is a newer design with hardware optimized for gaming. It can do a lot of things the A8 can't and sometimes manages to achieve an almost 16-bit look. However, the A8 can do some very impressive things when you start throwing more of the CPU at the screen (look at some of the RastaConverter pics). In this way it has a lot in common with the 2600 where the CPU is doing just about everything you see.

 

I appreciate the human engineering that went into the A8 as well. The cases were beautiful, the OS was thoughtfully designed and the SIO interface was very elegant for its time.

 

Most of this necrobumped thread is nonsense, but various platform arguments on AA have forced me to come up with somewhat defensible positions and not just put on a fanboy cape and jump off the roof. Anyway, I enjoy the challenge of making the A8 do things it shouldn't.

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The 64 is a newer design with hardware optimized for gaming..

 

Err, the 8-bit Atari's hardware was far more optimized for gaming than the C64's, being that it descended directly from an actual game console. The greater color palette, hardware scrolling, multiple graphics modes, highly flexible video chip, more "gamey" sound chip, faster CPU, etc. For gaming the C64 really only inches ahead due to, as you say, being a newer design that could take advantage of higher transistor densities. So they could cram in more/higher-res sprites, and more colorful backgrounds (from a limited, rather ugly palette). That's pretty much the only gaming advantages it has.

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Err, the 8-bit Atari's hardware was far more optimized for gaming than the C64's, being that it descended directly from an actual game console.

 

Well, I could make a computer out of a Channel F and it wouldn't be very optimized for gaming, but yes, both these machines were.

 

However, the C64 was released over two years after the 800 and had a more capable sprite and character map system, hardware scrolling, and was more in line with the typical arcade machine of the early '80s.

 

The Atari certainly continued to have specific advantages (I don't like the C64 palette either, but I understand why it was done that way), and I consider the C64 to be less friendly to use and inferior for non-gaming use.

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Having had and programmed both back in the day, I think the A8 was more advanced. It had a great graphics co-pro, the way that display lists are programmed is fantastic, requiring no CPU intervention. The only thing I didn't like is the ancient player/missile graphics system. That, frankly, sucks, compared to the C64. The C64 has 8 hardware sprites. Also, the C64 SID chip just beats anything of its era for sound, including the Atari ST. Great chip for its day. In general, I preferred the A8. Better looking, better BASIC (Commodore BASIC: joke, or rather, poke!). I loved my 800XL :-)

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Also, the C64 SID chip just beats anything of its era for sound, including the Atari ST.

 

For music. For sound effects, POKEY spanks SID easily. This should be unsurprising, since that's what they were respectively designed for.

 

Even the music can be a toss-up sometimes. There's no question that the best C64 music sounds better than most Atari music, but when it's not at its best it sounds like a

, which I find less aesthetically pleasing than
.
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For music. For sound effects, POKEY spanks SID easily. This should be unsurprising, since that's what they were respectively designed for.

 

Even the music can be a toss-up sometimes. There's no question that the best C64 music sounds better than most Atari music, but when it's not at its best it sounds like a

, which I find less aesthetically pleasing than
.

The 64 definitely has a particular character. The colors are a dead giveaway and most SID stuff sounds pretty similar. I agree that Pokey makes more distinctive sound effects, and that the ST's soundchip is a total joke.

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The atari 800 is generally a better built more solid machine, but the games were never as good as the 64!

So you played the wrong games ;)

 

Encounter

Dimension X

Drop Zone

Boulder Dash

Rescue on Fractalus

Koronis Rift

Ballblazer

The last Starfighter/Starraiders 2

Spelunker

Bruce Lee

Seven Cities of Gold

 

 

And where the real potential is to find:

 

Yoomp!

Project-M

 

C64 can never reach the quality of the A8 games, same as the A8 never can have a full working Armalyte (and similar stuff)

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For music. For sound effects, POKEY spanks SID easily. This should be unsurprising, since that's what they were respectively designed for.

 

Even the music can be a toss-up sometimes. There's no question that the best C64 music sounds better than most Atari music, but when it's not at its best it sounds like a

, which I find less aesthetically pleasing than
.

Yep. I'd go along with that. I can remember some pretty awesome sound effects from my A8 back in the day.

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Atari BASIC also was extremely slow. The benchmarks in Creative Computing show the 1.75mhz Atari was an order of magnitude slower than the 1mhz Commodore. Using a 3rd party BASIC solved this, the Atari coming out ahead. That being said, it is important to remember how strangely important the built-in BASICs were back in the 80s.

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Atari BASIC also was extremely slow. The benchmarks in Creative Computing show the 1.75mhz Atari was an order of magnitude slower than the 1mhz Commodore. Using a 3rd party BASIC solved this, the Atari coming out ahead. That being said, it is important to remember how strangely important the built-in BASICs were back in the 80s.

The C64 had BASIC ? ;)

Wasn't it almost a peek and poke orgy?

 

Well, the Atari BASIC was slow, but it was very comfortable for a built in Version. Just like the Syntax Helper...

The Atari Basic had also very powerfull commands, as with some additional pokes you could move/copy memory ranges at ML speed.

The Atari Basic was eventually too comfortable. While The C64 caused people to search for the needed registers to change, the step into using Assembler was way shorter, people chosed on the Atari to use BASIC.

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The atari 800 is generally a better built more solid machine, but the games were never as good as the 64!

I dunno.... I've yet to see anything on the C64 to the level of the Space Harrier homebrew on the Atari 800XL.

 

However, I'll hand it to the C64 for possibly the greatest port of Satan's Hollow ever made.

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I dunno.... I've yet to see anything on the C64 to the level of the Space Harrier homebrew on the Atari 800XL.

 

However, I'll hand it to the C64 for possibly the greatest port of Satan's Hollow ever made.

You mean "put a cartrdige in and get fast 3d colorful effect on tv" ? ;)

 

 

Yeah, Space Harrier is awesome project ! One in a decade project (or even once in 30 years) ...

You're right that c64 doesn't have such a large cartridge based game. With modern tools, miracles could be done with 1-2Mb of content.

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This one still needs to be seen to believe it really exists but damn doesn't it look fine?

 

 

 

I agree, it's extraordinary in every way.

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I played it at Gamescom and can confirm its existance :-)

I believe it is real, it's just that I want to play it right now on my c64 ;)

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Without a doubt the Atari 8-bit machines eclipsed anything Commodore had to offer. And we don't need 60 pages to debate it either; it's as plain as day.

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Without a doubt the Atari 8-bit machines eclipsed anything Commodore had to offer. And we don't need 60 pages to debate it either; it's as plain as day.

 

The Atari 800 was definitely way ahead of its time. It's a shame it never really caught on in a big way. The C-64 became everything the 800 probably should have been. That's business, though. It's not often that the product that "deserves it" or was first gets the accolades.

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