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"Apple-like" games on the Atari 800 etc.

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I would add "Crossfire" to the list, although there seem to be two A8 versions - one in black and white (relying on screen artifacts for colour) and one in colour. I played the colour version on the 800XL loaded from cassette... Good times :)

 

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Then there was the fact that games developed in the XL/XE era were usually constrained to 48K so they would be compatible with the 400/800. That's 33% in the case of an 800XL and less than 50% on the 130XE!

I suppose it's very hard to judge for a software company when the right time for software not (fully) supporting older systems has come. In Europe this might have been earlier than in the US as the installed base of 400/800 computers was probably negligible anyway.

 

Atari should have been interested in fostering development for software requiring new computers but under Tramiel they probably didn't care or didn't want to spend money on assisting developers and by 1983 it was not as clear as today that a computer is an investment that will be outdated in a couple of years, so manufacturers might have been cautious not to make recently bought computers look outdated after a short while (I didn't feel like that a lot when the 800XL came out as the 800 still seemed quite superior...)

 

I don't think "holding out against the NES" would have been a factor here. I always had the feeling that console gaming and 8-bit gaming were two worlds. I can't think of anyone I knew that moved from an Atari to, say a Sega or NES to get better games. Computer users went on to buy Amigas or STs and later PCs.

 

I still find it amazing (not only with the 8-bit) how games programmed for essentialy the same hardware have improved over time.

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Atari should have been interested in fostering development for software requiring new computers but under Tramiel they probably didn't care or didn't want to spend money on assisting developers.

This kind of "penny wisdom, pound foolishness" killed Atari corporation. If they could have fostered the kind of innovation we see on the platform now, I believe they could have been truly dominant.

 

...and by 1983 it was not as clear as today that a computer is an investment that will be outdated in a couple of years

Something that depreciates at that rate is not an investment, it's an expense. Today we embrace the rapidity with which technology advances; making the things we buy obsolete. Given the price point at which computers were being sold at that time, combined with the challenges around the adoption of whole new paradigms for productivity and entertainment, I guess building and maintaining a market required some finesse.

 

I don't think "holding out against the NES" would have been a factor here. I always had the feeling that console gaming and 8-bit gaming were two worlds.

I tend agree with you, but Atari Corporation was positively schizophrenic on this point. How many commercials do you remember wherein Atari marketed themselves against Commodore? I never saw one. But we all remember the Atari vs. Nintendo commercials. To this day I'm amazed they thought comparisons of Bug Hunt against Duck Hunt made them look good.

 

I still find it amazing (not only with the 8-bit) how games programmed for essentialy the same hardware have improved over time.

Yeah. Was it that developers on the platform, as well as Atari themselves, simply didn't know what the system was capable of? Is it that game development as a discipline has improved to the point that the way people program inherently gets more from less? Is it that adding modern technologies to the workflow improve speed and quality to levels that were simply unachievable previously? Probably a little of all these things. But I think the biggest factor is motive. Without the pressures and constraints of game development as a commercial endeavor, programmers, artists, and musicians are free to focus exclusively on quality. They do it for the love of it. And while the things we do for love may not always be done as profitably as they might, they are usually done well.

Edited by pixelmischief

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I like damn cool speakers that are built-in.. I think I want to put an LED nearby to light it up!

 

Anyways, Tony Suzuki's Star Blazer was another one I think.

Edited by Keatah

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I don't think "holding out against the NES" would have been a factor here. I always had the feeling that console gaming and 8-bit gaming were two worlds. I can't think of anyone I knew that moved from an Atari to, say a Sega or NES to get better games. Computer users went on to buy Amigas or STs and later PCs.

 

I still find it amazing (not only with the 8-bit) how games programmed for essentialy the same hardware have improved over time.

 

Videogames remain videogames irrespective of the hardware it may be on. While I only sampled a few NES games - it was at the time of the 16-bit home computers - that I felt that it's lack of quality in arcade type games were pretty obvious - ie. ST/Amiga - that I had to go towards the 16-bit games consoles to get my arcade games 'fix' - which was not realized on the ST/Amiga. I think this was probably due to the professionalism present in the developers for the 16-bit games consoles in their work.

Also the hardware difference was there - I really noticed the lack of smooth sprite movement and fine scrolling in ST arcade games.

 

I think we should count ourselves lucky - to have had some standout titles developed for the Atari 400/800 computers (and later machines) - done by people who weren't professionals as such (such as those under the Synapse label) - of course Atari did develop some stellar conversions up until 1983?

But around 1985-1986 what significant titles were developed around this time?

 

I did not play the NES super titles - the likes of Metroid, Zelda games - and others. There was nothing to compare with the Super Mario games? on the Atari 8-bit computers.

 

I did try to work on my own project during this time - 1986 to 1989 - which eventually was completed when the hardware was at the end of it's retail shelf life.

Because of it's small market share - there was not a financial reward for anyone developing for this computer line anymore, and it did not fare well against it's competitors in it's hardware capability (say lack of multi-coloured sprites).

 

Harvey

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Is there a master list of games that use Artifacting somewhere? If not, someone should make one. It does look like almost all of them are just Apple II ports though.

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Microgammon 5200 uses this video mode.

 

 

We should try to compile a full list of games that use this color technique!

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There are some early Epyx games that use artifcating and they're not Apple II ports:

 

King Arthur's Heir

Escape From Vulcan's Island

The Crypt

The Nightmare

 

 

And some Crystalware games

 

Clonus

Clonus II

Gwendolyn

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As much as I hated to see games not take advantage of the hardware, what I hated even more was not getting ports at all after 1985 or so. I was very envious of my friends playing Ultima V, Bard's Tale, and Pool of Radiance, for instance. That, coupled with the fact that my school system was exclusively Commodore, led me to (gasp) jump ship to the C64 back in the day. I did regret it somewhat (that awful 1541 speed!!), but now I own both and look back fondly on the shared lineage.

Edited by gamer-stu

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As much as I hated to see games not take advantage of the hardware, what I hated even more was not getting ports at all after 1985 or so. I was very envious of my friends playing Ultima V, Bard's Tale, and Pool of Radiance, for instance. That, coupled with the fact that my school system was exclusively Commodore, led me to (gasp) jump ship to the C64 back in the day. I did regret it somewhat (that awful 1541 speed!!), but now I own both and look back fondly on the shared lineage.

 

Certainly a lot of it had to do with marketshare issues, but probably another factor was base RAM. Obviously, the C-64 always had 64K to work with, and, while the Apple II had similarly diverse RAM specifications, the arguably more affluent Apple buyer seemed more likely to jump to a 64K or even 128K system. I suppose it also helped Apple that by far their best selling model was the Apple IIe, which of course came with a base 64K. I'm not sure the Atari 8-bit platform had a definitive sales leader to maximize sales (other than 16K - 48K for maximum potential buyers).

 

Anyway, the point is, it was probably the combination of lower marketshare and a lot of software by then requiring 64K that slowed Atari 8-bit ports to a crawl after 1985.

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After about 1986 or so most Apple II games assumed that you had two disk drives and 128K. Many would work with only one drive, but they were obviously made with two drives in mind. I also found that many games supported a second drive even if it wasn't mentioned by pushing '2' at the insert disk screen.

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There are some early Epyx games that use artifcating and they're not Apple II ports:

 

King Arthur's Heir

Escape From Vulcan's Island

The Crypt

The Nightmare

 

 

And some Crystalware games

 

Clonus

Clonus II

Gwendolyn

FYI, Crypt of the Undead (not "The Crypt") was published by another company, bought by Epyx, and soon after renamed "The Nightmare".

 

Playing that game in the dark, only sound in that vast, stark cemetery your footsteps, walking into the Mausaleum and then a few steps in....

 

I'm pretty sure I have PTSD from that game. Scared the crap out of me.

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FYI, Crypt of the Undead (not "The Crypt") was published by another company, bought by Epyx, and soon after renamed "The Nightmare".

 

Playing that game in the dark, only sound in that vast, stark cemetery your footsteps, walking into the Mausaleum and then a few steps in....

 

I'm pretty sure I have PTSD from that game. Scared the crap out of me.

 

Yeah sorry, I get those Crystalware/Crystal Vision to Epyx name changes screwed up some times. Atarimania helps sort them out a bit.

 

IIRC...

 

The Crypt > Crypt of the Undead

Forgotten Island > Escape from Vulcan's Island

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Yeah sorry, I get those Crystalware/Crystal Vision to Epyx name changes screwed up some times. Atarimania helps sort them out a bit.

 

IIRC...

 

The Crypt > Crypt of the Undead

Forgotten Island > Escape from Vulcan's Island

I searched for that game for long time thinking it was "The Crypt" too. I was beginning to think I imagined it (no game could be THAT scary, lol).

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Yeah sorry, I get those Crystalware/Crystal Vision to Epyx name changes screwed up some times. Atarimania helps sort them out a bit.

 

IIRC...

 

The Crypt > Crypt of the Undead

Forgotten Island > Escape from Vulcan's Island

 

Escape from Vulcans Island was programmed by Marc Benioff - who I believe is the same guy who is the CEO of Salesforce now.

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Escape from Vulcans Island was programmed by Marc Benioff - who I believe is the same guy who is the CEO of Salesforce now.

 

Yeah I think all those games were programmed by him. They all use the same engine.

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