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Forget the naysayers complaining about it being "raw". It provides some great insight from a developer and those he worked with and around...Thank you both for it. Particularly, enjoyed these tidbits [bold mine]:

 

"Q)Moving onto Atari hardware of all things, you completed a conversion
of Paperboy for the Atari 7800, which you delivered to Atari, who in
true Atari style, sat on and never released! :-( You must have been
gutted (but hopefully paid!).So, what can you tell us about the
conversion?.How did it (and the 7800 itself) shape up again'st the
Sega Master system? and was the game ported from any other 8 Bit
system or did you code from scratch?.
A)This was my first project for Tiertex (in at the deep end!) I'd only
previously worked on commodore vic20 and 64 and so the Atari display
list system was a steep learning curve but once I'd worked it out it
was a very powerful system. No help at all for a word processor or
spreadsheet but ideal for games. I had some good advice to get started
from Andy Onions who had just finished 7800 tower toppler
The guy writing the master system version at the same time, Gary Vine,
was opposite me and it was interesting to compare the two as we
progressed. The Sega could display more colours but the 7800 could
show more and bigger sprites. What we called the 'venetian blind
effect' the paperboy screen fade, was really simple on the 7800 but a
pig on the Sega, but he managed it. I really like the arcade Paperboy
and it's one game of all I've worked on I wish had been released."

 

That 'steep learning curve yet very power system' statement again emphasizes the huge potential of the 7800. If developer's had more time (and if the system had more developers, period) so much more could have been achieved. Thankful we have a shot at seeing Paperboy; nonetheless, can't help to contemplate the game developers' perspective of Maria's ability to 'show more and bigger sprites' than the SMS; especially, in light of the recently discussed Double Dragon, and just SMH.

 

Seeing that 'Venetian blind effect' when screens change with Paperboy running under the 7800, if something can be found, is going to be sweet.

 

It annoys me that Atari just sat on this. Sure, it was probably back when they decided to discontinue all other game systems to focus on the Jaguar but they could've made the carts and sold it direct. They did have owners lists and even the subscriber base to The Atarian magazine here in the States. Same goes with MIDI Maze on the XE Game System, or having the programmer of Missing in Action on the 7800 just finish up the last 10% of the coding.

 

If the code to Paperboy is indeed found and can be brought out, I have a feeling this is going to be much bigger than Tempest on the 5200. I've never played the SMS version but I have a feeling if its equal to it, it'll surpass the NES and other 8-bit versions. Fingers crossed!

 

Edited: Wait a sec, Paperboy was done on the SMS in 1988 [watching a YouTube vid]. And this was done right after Tower Toppler was completed for the 7800. So that's long before Atari cancelled the 7800. Why on earth would they sit on this? The only thing I can think of is that this was before they had the licensing agreement with Tengen in place. Perhaps they thought they actually did have the rights to it - since Paperboy was released in the arcades in 1984 - and then realized they didn't have the rights after all. Then maybe whoever received the game at Atari left and it got lost like Electrocop later did.

 

Wow…for the SMS's sake, I hope there's FM audio buried in it for the Japanese SMS and modded American/European consoles...

 

Edit #2: Sorry, the 1988 copyright is for the SMS start-up code. The game's licensing copyright is 1990. Still, that's 2 years before Atari Corp cancelled the 7800. I doubt they would've held back the release just to favor the Lynx port so it's just a weird situation.

Edited by Lynxpro
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:-( Many, many months ago, when i 1st started doing these interviews, i made contact with a KEY person, Ex-Atari UK who could (i hope) have shed light on soooo many Lost 7800/Lynx and Jaguar titles.Sent him whole list of questions (wanted in particular to clear up Raze magazines claim of Turrican running on 7800).He wanted to do a SKYPE interview, i was working 6 day week, shifts at that so could'nt do it.

 

Since then i've sent i wager 15 'chase' emails, even had other industry figures i've spoken to email to say it's worth answering this guys questions, NEVER had a damn thing back.That an the host of lost C64/ST/Amiga games i put questions relating to, to another big industry name (again, contact made, questions sent) have been the 2 most frustrating interview attempts i've made so far.

 

So close yet so far from getting information.

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Maybe the game fell through due to Atari closing the Chicago development and division office around that time and consolidating everything back in Sunnyvale...

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Andy, how does this version compare to non-Mega Drive versions, like the NES?

 

I think the NES version is terrible. The SMS version is really good. The C64 version is only interesting due to the SID rendition of the music. The Genesis/Mega Drive version should've been arcade-perfect [like Tengen's versions of Gauntlet (IV) and Marble Madness] but it doesn't appear Atari Games/Tengen shared the source code with its developers because the music is off and so is the animation. The Lynx version is good* [although based on the ST/Amiga ports]. I don't recall personally ever playing the ST or the Amiga versions; the Amiga's audio should be better that what they delivered.

 

What I find odd is that Mindscape apparently didn't do an A8 version which is weird because they did for Gauntlet and Mindscape released both nearly at the same time based upon their combined advertising campaign.

 

The arcade audio is quite a combo. A 6502, Dual POKEY, YM2151, and a TI speech synthesis chip.

 

 

*I'm stating the Lynx version is good since it's a handheld version. I'm harsher on the ST and Amiga versions because they should've/could've been better that what was released.

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I think the NES version is terrible. The SMS version is really good. The C64 version is only interesting due to the SID rendition of the music. The Genesis/Mega Drive version should've been arcade-perfect [like Tengen's versions of Gauntlet (IV) and Marble Madness] but it doesn't appear Atari Games/Tengen shared the source code with its developers because the music is off and so is the animation.

 

Keep in mind, the original Arcade version of Gauntlet (II)/Marble Madness and the Sega Genesis was right around the typical 320x240 resolution (336x240 and 320x224 respectively). The Arcade port of Paperboy runs at a relatively high resolution of 512x384 - quite impressive for a 1984 game and understandably difficult to port while trying to scale down resolution and animation to make it as close to the Arcade as possible. The majority of arcade games around that time, and for many years after, stay within that 3XXx2XX or the 2XXx2XX resolution(s).

 

It's part of the reason in having the interest to see how a version of Paperboy could have (does?) look on the 7800, as this was likely (?) handled in a 160 mode, but even under the 320 modes (or a combo of the two), it would be tough to port. Agreed, the SMS version is good and hoping to see the 7800 version (soon). The focus though, most importantly, is game-play; how good or poor a game looks always takes a backseat to it - Unless it's circa '83-84 and you're "Bluth". :)

 

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Since he sat next to the programmer of the SMS version, perhaps Andrew can give us some insight on why SMS Paperboy doesn't have the same music as the arcade version?

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Keep in mind, the original Arcade version of Gauntlet (II)/Marble Madness and the Sega Genesis was right around the typical 320x240 resolution (336x240 and 320x224 respectively). The Arcade port of Paperboy runs at a relatively high resolution of 512x384 - quite impressive for a 1984 game and understandably difficult to port while trying to scale down resolution and animation to make it as close to the Arcade as possible. The majority of arcade games around that time, and for many years after, stay within that 3XXx2XX or the 2XXx2XX resolution(s).

 

It's part of the reason in having the interest to see how a version of Paperboy could have (does?) look on the 7800, as this was likely (?) handled in a 160 mode, but even under the 320 modes (or a combo of the two), it would be tough to port. Agreed, the SMS version is good and hoping to see the 7800 version (soon). The focus though, most importantly, is game-play; how good or poor a game looks always takes a backseat to it - Unless it's circa '83-84 and you're "Bluth". :)

 

 

All true but my criticism of the Mega Drive/Genesis version stems from the audio as well as the character animation. Sure, the Genesis doesn't have a YM2151 but it has a similar Yamaha chip that doesn't suck like the Atari ST's YM2149. Atari Games/Tengen was able to get the audio near-perfect on the Genesis for Gauntlet. Of course, one of the problems with Paperboy in the arcade - vs Gauntlet - is that they used a DEC CPU instead of a CPU from Motorola's 680x0 family. And Gauntlet in the arcade uses a 68010 instead of a 68000 which is also amazing how the Genesis version is so good despite having a CPU deficiency.

 

I'm imagining the 7800 version of Paperboy won't have as many colors on-screen as the SMS version but it'll scroll better. Funny thing about Paperboy though is the 5200 analog joystick would be more suited to the game since you could then mimic the arcade handlebar speed variance versus having to shove the ProLine hard to speed up the bicycle [unless fire button 2 could control pedal speed]. I should say that's all an educated guess on my part. Regardless, I have a feeling this port is gonna rock!

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lol, yeah, I think people often forget that these programmers of vintage games actually have lives and responsibilities that outweigh us nerds here :)

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This is a pretty incredible find if it turns up in his attic though. A game that wasn't even listed on any of atari's list of protos turning up fully finished according to the original programmer?

 

Is it April already?

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I don't think anyone's complaining. We're just so amped over this!

 

I'm still curious what part of Atari was supposed to handle this project...Atari UK or Atari Chicago? Whoever it was, they must've not passed their PMP certification to lose the completed work! :)

 

How many other games were being worked on that didn't make the official lists? Inquiring minds wanna know! :)

Edited by Lynxpro

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I'm hopin 720* or Toobin' are on the list. Or Tetris or Xenophobe. Also, would any Sega titles have made it to the 7800 do you think? Tengen and Sega did kinda have an alliance when "Alien Syndrome" was done for the NES.

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I'm hopin 720* or Toobin' are on the list. Or Tetris or Xenophobe. Also, would any Sega titles have made it to the 7800 do you think? Tengen and Sega did kinda have an alliance when "Alien Syndrome" was done for the NES.

 

Xenophobe was released for the 7800.

 

Tengen [Atari Games] didn't develop for the 7800. Around 1990, Atari Corp and Atari Games finally hammered out a licensing agreement so the Atari Games library would be available to Atari Corp consoles but Atari Corp had to either internally develop them or contract out the development.

 

Tengen hammered an agreement out with Sega to port some Sega titles to the NES although Tengen was no longer an official Nintendo licensee and both companies were battling each other in court. [Atari Corp and Nintendo were also battling it out in court too].

 

Tetris wouldn't be an option. Nintendo beat Tengen in court over the home console rights to Tetris. That's why Tengen's Tetris for NES was ordered withdrawn from the market. Why Tengen didn't just rename it "Not Tetris" and call it a parody is beyond me.

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I'd had requests for further questions for Andy from a few sources, so sent him an Interview P2 email the other day.He was kind enough to take time out to get back to me to say he was snowed under at work, but would look at the questions as soon as he could.The guy is an absolute diamond.

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I kept a lot of my stuff from tiertex and it should be in the attic.

No carts were ever made as far as I know.

The development kit was a cart emulator which was a PCB the size of an A5 sheet of paper. One end pushed into the 7800 cartridge slot and the other end connected to an atari ST through an rs232 cable. The ST software generated a ROM image which was downloaded to the PCB.

 

No promises I'll find anything but I'll look through what I have for the source code and I may have a binary ROM image file if any emulator people want to try to get it working again.

OMG!.......Words can't describe my feelings right now after hearing this news :) ..You're talking about a 26 year old + dream of mine that might be coming true after all!...I've posted about this a few times on this site already, it was the #1 game I wished would come out for my 7800 when I was a kid (Still one of my top games of all time to this day) & I even wrote Atari a letter inquiring about it all the way back in 1988! lol

 

Incredible that someone here was able to contact you about it after all this time...I would have never in a million years thought it was actually a title that was even planned at some point..Thank you so much for coming on here, giving us info & being willing to try & find it. You better believe I will be checking regularly for an update! haha :-D

Edited by Stevaside
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It's the Tramiel era. I really doubt it.

If it's a signature conversion like Commando was, then maybe...

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If it's a signature conversion like Commando was, then maybe...

 

There's nothing wrong with hoping for sure. But really, it only was COMMANDO and BALLBLAZER. Other signature conversions like Ikari Warriors, Xenophobe and Klax weren't designed that way unfortunately.

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