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Terrible Old TI-99/4A Games You Probably Never Heard Of

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As a fan of Ashens, I've been kinda interested in his Terrible Old Games You Probably Never Heard Of series, where he describes the worst of the worst of 8- and 16-bit computers from 1980 to 1995 (no consoles like the NES or Sega Genesis or that, not even games like E.T. for the Atari 2600). He recently got a TI-99/4A, and I'm kinda curious if there's any truly terrible games on it that were commercially available that he could add to his list. Anyone want to take a crack at this?

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Star Trap by Databiotics was, in my opinion, pretty bad. It looked in promotion shots like a cool Star Wars arcade clone. In reality it's a static screen with only enemies moving and sound effects recycled from Parsec.

 

On disk, I'd go with Doom of Mondular from Symbiotech. It sounded like an awesome CRPG based upon the entry in the Triton catalog, but it's a really crude Might and Magic clone (if that) which runs like total crap due to the horrific copy protection scheme that was used.

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After really enjoying the handheld Mattel Football back in the 1970s I came upon Odyssey2 Football. That two-player action game was awesome for its time! Played and enjoyed it hundreds of times with my friends.

 

Then one friend got Intellivision which had a mind blowing rendition of Football. Again, played it hundreds of times and derived much pleasure from the experience. Lots of action plus strategy.

 

Then I purchased the TI home computer and soon saved up enough money for — FOOTBALL. Discovered it was some 1971 mainframe teletype style statistics turn-based “game” clone with ugly graphics. Lipstick on a dated pig.

 

The sports equivalent of the 1973 Hunt the Wumpus TI conversion.

 

One of the all-time disappointments in gaming for me. I played it because I paid for it. Zero joy derived. So my vote is for FOOTBALL.

 

 

 

 

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Football was indeed a disappointment- but do we have any fans of the incredible fast-action adrenaline packed module game ZERO ZAP???

 

The word "astonishing" captures it nicely.

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Interesting. There's a lot of games there that I doubt my boyfriend has heard about. Remember Ashens' 7 gaming sins, when coming up with this list:

 

1. Bloody Pointless (aka. random bits are too random to be good)

2. Too Bloody Easy (enough said)

3. Too Bloody Difficult (again, enough said)

4. Can't Bloody Tell What's Going On (aka. the goals and how to accomplish them are too cryptic and obscure to really make out without a guide)

5. Bloody Boring (aka. you can beat it with one repetitive strategy, to the point of tedium)

6. What The Hell Were They Bloody Thinking? (aka. technical options that baffle, like why a character moves in a weird way, or how certain things work the way they do; not to be confuded with Can't Bloody Tell What's Going On, with this the goal is easy to figure out, but stuff like the controls or game logic is so bizarre that you might as well try playing an M.C. Escher painting recreated by Salvador Dali)

7. Game Don't Bloody Exist (where the game is so technically broken in the fundamental code that it's impossible to actually play it, or there's really no game beyond a single screen)

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Football was indeed a disappointment- but do we have any fans of the incredible fast-action adrenaline packed module game ZERO ZAP???

 

The word "astonishing" captures it nicely.

7273c50986ae29d09c06cf1d6a3534fd.jpg

 

I tried this game based on blackbox’s recommendation. The graphics and sound are actually not that bad. I like the scoreboard animation and the crisp MB logo + game title at the top. Looks interesting at first. The problems start when gameplay begins.

 

ZeroZap is pinball without flippers. Am I missing something?

 

 

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Football was indeed a disappointment- but do we have any fans of the incredible fast-action adrenaline packed module game ZERO ZAP???

 

The word "astonishing" captures it nicely.

I've been playing Zero Zap. It's growing on me. My high score is 541 so far.

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I hate Espial for TI-99!

Yeah, that game is the TI version of a acid trip ... A bad acid trip, not the good kind....

I can't play it for more then a minute with out my eyes begging me to gouge them out.

Worst color scheme in a TI game ever?

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Posted (edited)

I've been playing Zero Zap. It's growing on me. My high score is 541 so far.

This is funny as there seems to be a ZeroZap revival going on here despite the complete lack of gameplay.

 

Looking back I’m guessing this was probably interesting to Milton Bradley people whom mostly designed and played traditional board games.

 

If you somehow missed out on playing a real computer based arcade game by Sept 1979, this may actually seem like fun.

 

It’s like a game for people with no desire to build gaming skills. Like playing the slots in Vegas. A game of chance. Something that won’t ever challenge you is comforting in a way.

 

This would be so much better with a breakout style paddle at the bottom of the screen.

 

 

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Edited by Airshack

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Posted (edited)

I was curious to see what the most someone has paid for ZeroZap on Ebay is. The answer would appear to be one cent.

 

What a rip off.

Edited by pixelpedant
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This is funny as there seems to be a ZeroZap revival going on here despite the complete lack of gameplay.

 

...

This would be so much better with a breakout style paddle at the bottom of the screen.

 

 

 

Are you saying you want a ZeroZap 2?

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...This would be so much better with a breakout style paddle at the bottom of the screen.

Reminded me of the C64's Pinball Spectacular:

 

post-13896-0-27572200-1553621119.png

 

Still without flippers, more like Pinball Craptacular. But at least the game was infinitely more "playable" than Zerotalent Zap. :lol:

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You can perhaps appreciate my joy in paying US$32 for Zero Zap back in 1983, when money was worth more than now. Using UK inflation that would today be US$90!!!! Quite a lot for not very much. It colours my love for the program a little.

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Are you saying you want a ZeroZap 2?

Don’t you think ALL the bad titles deserve a reboot?

 

 

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You can perhaps appreciate my joy in paying US$32 for Zero Zap back in 1983, when money was worth more than now. Using UK inflation that would today be US$90!!!! Quite a lot for not very much. It colours my love for the program a little.

We need to start a Go-Fund-Me page to help right this wrong.

 

 

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Generally speaking I'm not in love with the software on the TI 99/4A. It has a stiff feel which is made worse by those horrendous controllers. The Attack is a cool idea in theory, with seemingly harmless spores coming together to form ravenous monsters. You could really run with an idea like that, but after you play this, you might consider running in the opposite direction. Same deal with Chisholm Trail... it's an interesting concept undone by stiff control and unclear objectives. "What the hell do you do?" is never a question you want to ask in a video game, and you definitely don't want that confusion in an arcade-style game that's supposed to be pick up and play. This is more like "pick up and scratch your head for a while."

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The TI versions of a lot of games definitely have their own unique 'TI' feel, but the controller objection is easy to rectify. Even BITD, I never used the TI sticks. Get an Atari Adapter (they're even currently made today) and can thank me later. :)

 

Some of he better conversions around too... Centipede quickly comes to mind. Burgertime. Miner 2049'er. Frogger, Popeye, Q*bert, Defender, Congo Bongo, Donkey Kong, Jawbreaker II, Jungle Hunt, MASH, Moon Patrol, Star Trek and TI Invaders and many more come to life with better controllers.

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I remember playing The Attack in the arcades in Times Sq. NYC. 9 SHIPS for a quarter! But yes, perhaps the fastest to become "played out" no way to "win" strategy, but still challenging. One thing that I recall is that the TI version of The Attack performed so very identically to the arcade version! Part of the why did the home games all suck(performance wise) question. Somewhat conversely in one way and similarly in another... Atarisoft's TI version of Donkey Kong both met my performance expectations compared to the arcade versions of Crazy Kong and was a game I loved to play! Unfortunately it came too late for me. :|

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Posted (edited)

I've been playing Zero Zap. It's growing on me. My high score is 541 so far.

Wasn't there a zero zap - like game in basic for the TI also?

Edited by jrhodes

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The Attack was an arcade game?? I can't even find it on Google...

 

I know Car Wars was based on an arcade game also - any other TI games based on arcade? Of course I know of Munchman. :-)

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Most games are pretty bad. Speed and Collision problems. How slow can Pac Man really go? I tried to redo it.. Yup, even slower!

 

BITD, I only played Parsec and Moon Patrol really. A few hours on pole position, congo bongo, demon attack.

 

However, with emulation I have put the most hours in to Star Runner. That would certainly been my favorite.

 

All other are pretty weak to me. Munch Man is okay. I find the control to be funky on it, the speed is fantastic! Of course I mostly played games on the Intellivision and C=64.

 

But I loved my extended basic cart!!!

 

Space invaders is a good port, but I never really liked that game. I am impressed that it was done so well on many classic systems.

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The Attack was an arcade game?? I can't even find it on Google...

 

I know Car Wars was based on an arcade game also - any other TI games based on arcade? Of course I know of Munchman. :-)

Interesting on hearing this too...

 

Some rare arcade titles made it into the Ti software library: Espial, Munchmobile, Sega's Blasto, Hustle and Buck Rogers

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Surprised I never noticed it's absence on MAME. Definitely played it on B'way PLAYLAND between 47th 48th St. near the TARG machine I think.

 

I found this:

 

THE ATTACK

 

I think it was Alien Attack.

 

Same music, same game, SAME!

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