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Rick Reynolds

Intellivisionaries episode 28 is up! Space Spartans!

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In this episode we review the Mattel Intellivoice game Space Spartans. We interview the programmers Steve Roney and Bill Fisher. Rick reviews the Atari and Imagic box collection from Mark Oberhauser. Paul interviews Don Switzer and Gary Magnan about their upcoming Intellivision homebrew multi-game, which benefits Óscar ‘Nanochess’ Toledo (creator of IntyBASIC and several homebrew games). And of course George is here, along with our usual Feedback and News.

 

http://intellivisionaries.com/episode-28-space-spartans/

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Finished listening today, I love how the episode is almost 5 hours again. :). I'm going to be playing some Space Spartans this weekend. It is one of my favourite games on the Intellivision for sure.

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Nice interview. Some of these guys memories might be, understandably, getting a little fuzzy. Nurmix makes a good point about game speed; the frame rate seems different for all five speeds. Compare it with Dungeons and Dragons; where all four levels are the same speed (background scrolling) but the objects move slower. Or other games that have five or more levels (eg Space Battle, Star Strike, Sub Hunt) where levels four and five are the same speed but the game is harder in other ways.

 

Space Spartans is a little different for speed selection compared to the other older games, it's selected after you pass the title screen. I was looking at the Exec documentation and it describes two global variables in the exec. One variable controls the game speed by adding "interrupts" to the clock cycle. Three is the standard number of interrupts, and pressing keypad 'one' at the title screen adds one interrupt, pressing keypad 'two' makes it five interrupts, and pressing keypad 'three' is the slowest at six interrupts. I think this corresponds to 20Hz/15Hz/12Hz/10Hz frame rates. Even though Dungeons and Dragons uses the standard Exec method for selecting its four levels they must be overriding this game speed variable to always be three. Somehow Space Spartans has five speeds. A value of one or two might correspond to 60Hz and 30Hz frame rate but the Exec instructions say not to use those values. Then there's a second global variable that affects objects speeds (combined with each object's velocity). I'm guessing AD&D uses this one for its different levels.

 

When I got a new game I always started playing at disc speed. I think this is because the early sports games were just too slow at any other speed. If the game was too hard, eg AD&D, I would try one lower. I always thought Space Battle was a little odd having five levels; and then pressing keypad four gives you level five. Sub Hunt is a little odd as well since it looks like the disc is level three rather than level four. I'm not considering the third party games here.

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Rick mentioned an unintended keypad press problem. Specifically that a Space Spartans 'ship system' is being unintentionally turned off (keypad 7). I just wanted to comment that in my experience with the sears controllers, this is dependent on which side button you use. A misfire of the top-right side button can result in a third column keypad press. A misfire of the top-left side button can result in a first column keypad press. And a misfire of either bottom side button can result in a middle column keypad press. So if I use the top-left side button I could unintentionally turn a system off. If I use the top-right side button, I might unintentionally exit out of battle view. But if I use either bottom side button nothing of significance can happen from a misfire.

 

Nurmix mentioned that he didn't experience any problems like this. Maybe how often a side button misfire happens could depend on the type of controller you're using, condition of the controller, and maybe how you hold it and press the buttons. Just wondering which controller (eg. original, Int2, flashback) you guys used to play Space Spartans and which side button you used to fire?

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I play with the controller cradled in my left hand, my left thumb able to press action buttons while my right thumb manipulates the disc. I usually press the top action button for firing in games where both do the same. So top button for me.

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Space Spartans is one of my top games, and I've noticed this issue, too. I don't rightly recall at the moment, but I think I am primarily a bottom button pusher with my left thumb.

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Finally had a time to hear the program.

 

Thanks Tarzilla and freewheel, of course Crazyboss, Rev and everyone involved. Thanks from the bottom of my heart :)

 

BTW, surprised by your very clear voices :)

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Finally had a time to hear the program.

 

Thanks Tarzilla and freewheel, of course Crazyboss, Rev and everyone involved. Thanks from the bottom of my heart :)

 

BTW, surprised by your very clear voices :)

I'm glad you had no problem understanding our thick Canadian accents ;)

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I'm loving this episode, even the length, there's not much filler, thanks for that. :-)

Space Spartans always interested me but I never bothered with it for some reason. I guess there's always been a flashier space game within reach. I appreciate the helping hand into the somewhat inscrutable game. One YouTube video I found about it called it an "unnecessarily complex space shooter," which seems about right.

 

Why don't we have more modern remakes of Star Raiders? Light real time strategy combined with 3D shooting galleries seems pretty fun to me.

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Regarding Space Spartans 'systems' unintentionally turning on. I think when a 'system' is fully repaired after being damaged/destroyed the game automatically turns them on. Maybe that can explain what Rick was experiencing?

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Another excellent episode, guys. I used Google Play this time to listen to it while I was driving. Worked like a charm! :)

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Regarding Space Spartans 'systems' unintentionally turning on. I think when a 'system' is fully repaired after being damaged/destroyed the game automatically turns them on. Maybe that can explain what Rick was experiencing?

 

Hmm... I don't think I noticed that systems come on after repair - if that's true, then it might explain it.

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Nice interview. Some of these guys memories might be, understandably, getting a little fuzzy. Nurmix makes a good point about game speed; the frame rate seems different for all five speeds. Compare it with Dungeons and Dragons; where all four levels are the same speed (background scrolling) but the objects move slower. Or other games that have five or more levels (eg Space Battle, Star Strike, Sub Hunt) where levels four and five are the same speed but the game is harder in other ways.

Glad you enjoyed the interview. And I agree that the ideal for Space Spartans would have been either of the options you mentioned above.

 

 

 

Sent from my Intellivision ECS using Intelli-Tapatalk

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Nice interview. Some of these guys memories might be, understandably, getting a little fuzzy. Nurmix makes a good point about game speed; the frame rate seems different for all five speeds. Compare it with Dungeons and Dragons; where all four levels are the same speed (background scrolling) but the objects move slower. Or other games that have five or more levels (eg Space Battle, Star Strike, Sub Hunt) where levels four and five are the same speed but the game is harder in other ways.

Glad you enjoyed the interview. And I agree that the ideal for Space Spartans would have been either of the options you mentioned above.

 

 

 

Sent from my Intellivision ECS using Intelli-Tapatalk

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Nurmix mentioned that he didn't experience any problems like this. Maybe how often a side button misfire happens could depend on the type of controller you're using, condition of the controller, and maybe how you hold it and press the buttons. Just wondering which controller (eg. original, Int2, flashback) you guys used to play Space Spartans and which side button you used to fire?

I cradle the controller in my left hand, and typically press either the upper or lower RIGHT side buttons with my left index and middle fingers respectively. If they start to get sore, I'll switch to left thumb on upper or lower LEFT side buttons. So basically I make use of all of them at some point in a game, but I didn't notice the issue Rick mentioned.

 

Oh, and I played with both the Flashback controller and the standard [intellivision 1] controller on two different systems.

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my Intellivision ECS using Intelli-Tapatalk

Edited by nurmix

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I'm glad you had no problem understanding our thick Canadian accents ;)

Youz guys are a couple a knobs, eh.

 

 

 

Sent from my Intellivision ECS using Intelli-Tapatalk

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I'm loving this episode, even the length, there's not much filler, thanks for that. :-)

Space Spartans always interested me but I never bothered with it for some reason. I guess there's always been a flashier space game within reach. I appreciate the helping hand into the somewhat inscrutable game. One YouTube video I found about it called it an "unnecessarily complex space shooter," which seems about right.

 

Why don't we have more modern remakes of Star Raiders? Light real time strategy combined with 3D shooting galleries seems pretty fun to me.

Thanks, man. We also didn't use any artificial flavorings or colors this time around!

 

Space Spartans takes a bit to get into, but I feel it's sufficiently rewarding once you've put some time into it.

 

A modern remake of Star Raiders was done in 2011 for Xbox 360 / PS3, though I've not tried it so I can't really comment on the playability...

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Raiders_(2011_video_game)

 

 

 

Sent from my Intellivision ECS using Intelli-Tapatalk

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Great job as always guys!

 

I haven't listened to the whole episode yet, so maybe you guys talked about this. I think this game would have been much better if there was an ending for each skill level instead of going on forever until you're annihilated. Knowing that there's no ending actually hurts its replayability...

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And a new Intarivisions the same week! Sweeeeeet!!!

How had I not heard about Intarivisions before this? Must have been working when it was brought up on the podcast.

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