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Jason_Atari

An observation on Activision games

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I was playing a round of spider fighter the other day and something dawned on me. I don't think there are any Activision games that have sprite flicker. Would that be intentional either due to sprite placement or good programming? Your thoughts?

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I don't think there are any Activision games that have sprite flicker. Would that be intentional either due to sprite placement or good programming? Your thoughts?

 

That, and they designed around the limitations of the hardware. Until the very late stage of the company, they never did any arcade ports, so they could do what worked instead of trying to copy much more powerful hardware. 

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I think it was magic or some future technology.

 

At least that was the way it seemed growing up.

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Activision had a strict "no flicker" policy. So they had to designs their games accordingly. Either by editing/limiting the graphic layout or by using advanced programming techniques.

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They were definitely graphical wizards.   I remember being amazed at the first Activision title I saw, Tennis.   Up until then, most 2600 games had very blocky looking graphics (Air-Sea battle, Adventure, Dodge-Em to name a few).  I think they forced other companies to up their game.  Even Atari's game featured much more detailed graphics after Activision hit the scene.

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I seem to remember they had a policy of minimal flicker, and while not necessarily original ideas, most games were made to fit into Atari limitations, so it worked well.

The quality of game design, in addition to most games being actually run was why Activision was one of the top games for the 2600 for me.

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The way I see it, Activision designed their games according to their OWN rules, not according to a corporate mentality.  When the people that started Activision worked for Atari, they could only design the games the way the "powers that be" at Atari wanted it done, but when they LEFT Atari and formed Activision, they were able to do things the way THEY wanted to do it and in turn took a better approach and we ended up with BETTER games, and if anyone that worked for Activision during that time is a member here they can say whether my hunch is right or not

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I believe ghost busters or rampage has flicker.
 
They also don't have those lines on the left.
 
lloyd

I have been meaning to look it up but I might as well ask. I have seen those black lines on the sides of the screen on some games and I had wondered what purpose they served.

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That, and they designed around the limitations of the hardware. Until the very late stage of the company, they never did any arcade ports, so they could do what worked instead of trying to copy much more powerful hardware. 

 

^^ this is huge, IMO. 

 

They certainly weren't afraid to draw shameless inspiration from game concepts that had proven viable in the arcades, but they absolved themselves from having to re-create infeasible one-for-one replicas of arcade hits by simply pilfering the ideas that they [i]could[/i] run with and marketing them as original games with different names. 

 

It's impossible to look at Kaboom and not see Avalanche, Megamania and not see Astro Blaster, Enduro and not see Turbo, etc.  But those games are excellent nonetheless, and, IMO, are in a very elite tier of quality in the 2600 library. 

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I love Activision titles for my Atari 2600, in particular Pitfall and Laser Blast (two of my favorites). Nary a flicker from what I can see. I could play both of these for hours and was always impressed by the way they programmed for the Atari 2600.

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There are a lot of 2600 games that, if you're unfamiliar with them, you'll have no idea what is supposed to be represented on the screen.  Almost none of those are Activision games.  Bright, clean, sharp, and you can tell at a glance what you're looking at.  With games, being fun is most important, and most Activision games are, but nice looking is a close second for me, and they do that in spades, as well.

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did someone say 

 

There are a lot of 2600 games that, if you're unfamiliar with them, you'll have no idea what is supposed to be represented on the screen.  Almost none of those are Activision games.  Bright, clean, sharp, and you can tell at a glance what you're looking at.  With games, being fun is most important, and most Activision games are, but nice looking is a close second for me, and they do that in spades, as well.

s_Blackjack_3.png

 

s_Bridge_3.png

 

different games (Blackjack vs Bridge) but Atari didn't even show the suits of the cards it displayed!

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