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Galaga For Atari 2600

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BTW, how does the NES version compare to the 7800 version? The NES version is pretty damn close to the arcade aside for various tweaks to convert the game from portrait to landscape mode. I've played both the NES and the Arcade version plenty of times.

NES > 7800. The 7800 is definitely not as nice looking nor as "smooth", though it's hard to pinpoint what exactly about enemies' movements leads me to say that.

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A fair compromise for me would be what I like to call the "Demon Attack Approach ©". That is, sparse enemy count but more sophisticated enemy movement. I reckon the 2600 could use that principle to have one or two baddies (or even four if you want the whole group diving thing) on screen but have them swooping and diving while adding the space ship 'scoop' mechanic. I can see that working quite well actually. Afterall, once your used to Demon Attack you don't really notice the lack of on screen baddies... :)

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Here's what the MSX version looks like - same CPU, same video controller, similar sound chip. A ColecoVision port could effectively look exactly like that.

I have the SG-1000 version, which is very similar to the MSX one, and I can tell you that it looks a lot better than it plays.

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I have the SG-1000 version, which is very similar to the MSX one, and I can tell you that it looks a lot better than it plays.

Agreed. They should've just translated it from the MSX instead of doing it themselves and failing epically at it. It's hardly Galaga at all!

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I'm convinced if you really must have Galaga on 2600, just play Galaxian instead, or if you want to spend the extra dough, Galaxian Arcade for additional enhancements. I believe it's clear Galaga just won't work on 2600, at least not without severely compromising the enemy movements or tons of sprite flicker.

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Oh, I thought you meant there was a tweaked 2600 version floating around. That one's for the 7800... :dunce:

 

 

BTW, how does the NES version compare to the 7800 version? The NES version is pretty damn close to the arcade aside for various tweaks to convert the game from portrait to landscape mode. I've played both the NES and the Arcade version plenty of times.

 

The 7800 version of Galaga has blockier graphics, stiffer flight patterns for the enemies, and harsh sound courtesy of the dated TIA chip. Some people at AtariAge actually prefer it to the NES game, but I honestly can't understand why. The only advantage the 7800 version of Galaga seems to have is a brighter color palette. The NES never did saturation well, instead relying on earth tones and pastels. The colors on Atari's hardware just have more "pop," if you get my drift.

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Oh, almost certainly the CV could do it!

 

msx_galaga.gif

 

Here's what the MSX version looks like - same CPU, same video controller, similar sound chip. A ColecoVision port could effectively look exactly like that.

 

Holy crap it looks like they're putting 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. Not much room between the enemies and your ship.

 

BTW, how does the NES version compare to the 7800 version? The NES version is pretty damn close to the arcade aside for various tweaks to convert the game from portrait to landscape mode. I've played both the NES and the Arcade version plenty of times.

 

NES > 7800 but still the NES version suffers from having little room between enemies and your ship. Play arcade Galaga and you'll notice the difference.

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The hack looks awesome, but isn't it a graphical hack rather than a gameplay one? No gameplay changes are mentioned, so it probably still plays the same. I like the 7800 port, but the NES one still plays closer to the arcade.

 

I have the SG-1000 version, which is very similar to the MSX one, and I can tell you that it looks a lot better than it plays.

 

 

Similar hardware, but it doesn't look that similar gameplay wise. SG-1000 version doesn't even have the enemy transformations and keeps the same patterns for all of the stages while occasionally speeding the game up as an attempt to hide it. MSX version has patterns and enemy transformations. MSX version also has the bonus rounds, which, if I remember correctly, the SG-1000 version is lacking.

Edited by BrianC

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Holy crap it looks like they're putting 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. Not much room between the enemies and your ship.

 

And that 5/10 bag of crap (which is hanging over a large industrial fan) is about to burst! :-o

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The NES never did saturation well, instead relying on earth tones and pastels. The colors on Atari's hardware just have more "pop," if you get my drift.

 

You have that backward. MARIA, just like TIA and C/GTIA, uses a color generation scheme whereby the brighter a color is, the less saturated it is. It's literally impossible to specify a color that is both bright and saturated, so most 8-bit Atari games stick to the mid brightness range unless they specifically want pastels. The NES's hardwired palette, on the other hand, includes a smaller but more vibrant selection of colors that are both bright and saturated, has only about 12 pastels, and has barely any earth tones.

 

7800 palette:

post-9364-0-80184800-1350701972_thumb.pn

 

NES palette:

Palette_NTSC.png

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You know, even if you couldn't get the whole Galaga in a 2600 cart, it would be pretty amazing to just have a game that was round after round of "Challenging Stage", with formations of various alien bugs going by and the game giving you scoring based on completeness of their decimation. I'm not sure how you'd implement the linked ships for that mode,

 

I suppose in some ways that would resemble MegaMania, but with less emphasis on large horizontal regions of invaders.

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You know, even if you couldn't get the whole Galaga in a 2600 cart, it would be pretty amazing to just have a game that was round after round of "Challenging Stage", with formations of various alien bugs going by and the game giving you scoring based on completeness of their decimation. I'm not sure how you'd implement the linked ships for that mode,

 

I suppose in some ways that would resemble MegaMania, but with less emphasis on large horizontal regions of invaders.

The "Challenging Stage" would be the most difficult part of the game to pull off on 2600 hardware, likely impossible without ruining the formations or creating a horrible flicker fest.

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The flicker for the challenging stages wouldn't necessarily be that bad. In arcade Galaga, there are eight aliens per swarm, with five swarms per challenging stage. Assuming the aliens and the player's ship would never cross paths, which they don't in the challenging stages, both "player" sprites could be dedicated to the aliens. The worst-case scenario would then be all eight aliens flickering two at a time, 15kHz flicker. That's the same flicker frequency used for the ghosts in 2600 Atari Pac-Man. With more intelligent code that flickers only when necessary, actual flicker would be less most of the time. The challenge would be coming up with a smart flicker routine that doesn't get in the way of the code needed to track the positions of all eight aliens, however, several games, particularly Dig Dug, Crystal Castles and Millipede have shown even a stock 2600, or at least a stock 2600 with extra RAM in the cartridge, can handle juggling multiple on-screen enemies while keeping flicker to a minimum. Throw in Melody hardware, and it would be a cinch... relatively speaking.

 

Juggling the aliens on the normal levels is actually more challenging because there is also the formation to keep track of, and of course the extra kamikaze aliens in the later stages.

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Flicker mitigation would be a horrible mess with Galaga. There would be many situations where more than 2 sprites would be on the same horizontal line.

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Flicker mitigation would be a horrible mess with Galaga. There would be many situations where more than 2 sprites would be on the same horizontal line.

 

Again, flicker would be no worse than it is in Pac-Man, at least on the challenging stages. 15kHz for when all eight aliens are on the same horizontal line. I would say it would actually be more tolerable in Galaga, since flickering against a black background is much easier on the eyes than flickering against Pac-Man's blue background.

 

If I remember correctly, there can be up to 12 aliens per swarm in the normal stages, counting the kamikazes, plus the aliens in formation. So yes, that can turn into a mess without some sort of redesign of the stages.

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The 7800 version of Galaga has blockier graphics, stiffer flight patterns for the enemies, and harsh sound courtesy of the dated TIA chip. Some people at AtariAge actually prefer it to the NES game, but I honestly can't understand why.

I realize opinions are opinions but I just don't understand how this is even possible. I had a 7800 when it was current, but never saw or played Galaga on it back then. A few years ago my sister picked up a 7800 and a copy of that game, so I was able to play it for the first time. I thought it was pretty bad... almost a disgrace, actually. Same story for Donkey Kong.

 

If I'm playing an arcade port on the 7800, it's going to be Xevious, Robotron, or Food Fight.

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You guys seem to be forgetting that 2600 Gyruss exists, which has challenge stages basically identical to Galaga's. Go fire it up and see how well it handles the sprite load.

Edited by ZylonBane

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15kHz for when all eight aliens are on the same horizontal line.

That's the horizontal refresh rate of CRT displays. Are you sure you didn't mean 15 Hertz?

 

Sorry if I'm being a geek... 8)

 

As much as I enjoy Galaga, I still believe there are other arcade games that can be better ported over to the VCS, for recent examples look at Pacman 4k, Starcastle Arcade, and Donkey Kong VCS. I can't imagine a VCS homebrew port of Galaga that would run any better than say the NES version. For instance, I actually enjoyed the Pacman 4k homebrew more so than the Namco/Tengen NES ports.

Edited by stardust4ever

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I realize opinions are opinions but I just don't understand how this is even possible. I had a 7800 when it was current, but never saw or played Galaga on it back then. A few years ago my sister picked up a 7800 and a copy of that game, so I was able to play it for the first time. I thought it was pretty bad... almost a disgrace, actually. Same story for Donkey Kong.

 

If I'm playing an arcade port on the 7800, it's going to be Xevious, Robotron, or Food Fight.

I think the 7800 port of donkey kong is excellent and pretty darn close to the NES version from which i think it was built, If i had owned a 7800 when it was released i would of been totally happy with this version as i loved the nes one in 90'

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I think the 7800 port of donkey kong is excellent and pretty darn close to the NES version from which i think it was built, If i had owned a 7800 when it was released i would of been totally happy with this version as i loved the nes one in 90'

 

I don't understand what you mean by that. Both the NES and Atari 7800 versions were developed completely independently from each other.

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I think the 7800 port of donkey kong is excellent

 

It isn't. It's terrible. The graphics are grotesquely stretched out, and the sound effects are easily among the worst the 7800 library has to offer. Even the 2600 version sounds better.

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I think he means that the 7800 DK is based off the NES version. It even has a TIA-ized version of the theme music, which wasn't in other versions of the game. Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario Bros 7800 are also based on the NES version. They have the title screen music and are missing the same things the NES version is missing. Mario Bros even has those odd looking turtles that don't come out of the shell. I don't doubt they were developed independently of each other, but there is plenty of evidence in game that the games are based off the NES versions.

Edited by BrianC

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