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Electrk

Atari 2600 as a style

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Blueberries are blue berries, but there are blue berries that are not blueberries.

Frye is indeed interlacing and racing the beam, but not the interlacing that offsets scanlines for doubled resolution.

 

Blueberries.png.6c555ce2bbccf8fc1ae1ced7b1734493.png

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On 10/21/2019 at 11:36 PM, Mr. Brow said:

Sure it can be a style.  Whether your average game consumer will pick up on the subtle distinctions between 2600 style and, say, Intellivision style is another question.

 

 

 

Anything blockier than NES is "Atari graphics" to the average person.

 

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On 10/24/2019 at 7:13 AM, Andrew Davie said:

My memory is not good enough to recall who wrote it.

 

I posted photos of the demo in this reply, which also has a link to Glenn Saunder's Stella list post which contains the ROM.  

 

Doesn't look like Stella or z26 support interlaced so you'll have to run it on real hardware.  Though based on this AtariAge News article about it z26 had been updated to support it. Maybe @John Saeger dropped support for it at some point, or maybe it was a one-off build.

 

Edit: from the z26 faq:

Quote

What's new in version (4.00)?

Dropped support for interlaced games. This may or may not be temporary, but I needed the display code to be a little simpler.

 

 

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Anything blockier than NES is "Atari graphics" to the average person.
 


It’s that extra blockiness that really does it for me.

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On 10/18/2019 at 2:23 AM, chewy said:

if youre not playing at least 90% of vcs games past and present with the Sega Genesis 1650, then you are not really playing anything, end of story.  It is necessary to have proper controls to play the games.

 

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1270572711_58694161_2250940048326082_7602509636280778752_n2.jpg.e4ecdfaf665ff9514372f665f92d2b58.jpg

 

I have a Sega genesis pad that I pull out sometimes. I also play a few games with a CX-10. I have a large variety of controllers that I use. I’m better with different controllers when playing some games. I really don’t have preference. I do enjoy my gold Best electronics CX-40 vs my regular CX-40. The gold plated one seems quicker, but it’s also more fragile. My son cracked the pcb while playing one day. I recently purchased a wico command control. It was seller refurbished. I’m excited to give leaf springs a play with the New Galaga 2600 Homebrew. I’ve owned a Suzo Arcade with microswitches. I found the switches to be a bit to far of a throw when compared with real Arcade Microswitched controllers(Sanwa JLF). I grew up playing mostly nes, but I really prefer a joystick of some variety when playing VCS games.

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As a Style,  Yes!...I Love it!  And I love real hardware and, I too, have my favorite choices in terms of controllers, but that's not really the question...

 

Here's where I, personally, get hard to please...I don't like PC games,..So any Atari inspired game that plays on a console is cool by me...And I personally don't think it has to be 100% playable on real hardware or anything like that...I DO like the look but also think that the good gameplay may have come about because the look was limited, so the focus was on Gameplay,  First and Foremost!  SO Gameplay is King, but the look is cool too...

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1 hour ago, adamchevy said:

 

I have a Sega genesis pad that I pull out sometimes. I also play a few games with a CX-10. I have a large variety of controllers that I use. I’m better with different controllers when playing some games. I really don’t have preference. I do enjoy my gold Best electronics CX-40 vs my regular CX-40. The gold plated one seems quicker, but it’s also more fragile. My son cracked the pcb while playing one day. I recently purchased a wico command control. It was seller refurbished. I’m excited to give leaf springs a play with the New Galaga 2600 Homebrew. I’ve owned a Suzo Arcade with microswitches. I found the switches to be a bit to far of a throw when compared with real Arcade Microswitched controllers(Sanwa JLF). I grew up playing mostly nes, but I really prefer a joystick of some variety when playing VCS games.

What, cracked the PCB?!  lol

 

The Best gold PCB's are supposed to have a "lifetime" warranty... did you contact Brad about a replacement? Bet he'd be interested to learn some of his PCB's are cracking. First I'm hearing of it though and what I've been using for the past few years. 

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What, cracked the PCB?!  lol
 
The Best gold PCB's are supposed to have a "lifetime" warranty... did you contact Brad about a replacement? Bet he'd be interested to learn some of his PCB's are cracking. First I'm hearing of it though and what I've been using for the past few years. 


I should have contacted him, I just tossed it and purchased a replacement. My son is really competitive when playing Freeway against his little sister who usually wins most of the time.

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As a Style,  Yes!...I Love it!  And I love real hardware and, I too, have my favorite choices in terms of controllers, but that's not really the question...
 
Here's where I, personally, get hard to please...I don't like PC games,..So any Atari inspired game that plays on a console is cool by me...And I personally don't think it has to be 100% playable on real hardware or anything like that...I DO like the look but also think that the good gameplay may have come about because the look was limited, so the focus was on Gameplay,  First and Foremost!  SO Gameplay is King, but the look is cool too...


I agree that it comes down to gameplay. Nothing tops the VCS in this department.
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On 10/18/2019 at 1:43 AM, Electrk said:

There are so many games using the "retro" styles of NES and SNES games, even if they don't strictly follow the limits of the console they're emulating.  What do you think of Atari 2600 as a style?  Like, it doesn't have to follow the hardware limitations 100%, just looks and feels like an Atari 2600 game, even if it's way more complex than a VCS game could ever be.  There are a lot of games that do this for other styles, why not Atari 2600?  I say this as someone who's interested in graphical styles that people don't traditionally think of using—for instance, I love N64 style graphics and want to make games in that style.

I think that once you throw high levels of complexity into a game, more than what was/is possible on the VCS with or without CPU assist, you're no longer adhering to the "design language". It is now some other style of game.

 

Quote

Do you think Atari 2600 is a legitimate graphical/audio style?  Do you think it's okay for games in this style to bend the rules a bit, or should they match up with the hardware limits of the system?

Sure it's a style. A sign of the times too, a marker in computer history, and many other things. Once you start bending rules and deviating from originality, well, you've just made something different and new. The only thing that can be claimed with the new thing is that it may have a heritage reaching back to the VCS.

 

On 10/24/2019 at 7:19 AM, Gemintronic said:

The 2600 is deeply entrenched in the era where hardware was unique and audio/visual output reflected that.

 

I can usually tell when a "look alike" modern retro game comes up short.  A big hint is when they use too many colors per horizontal line in either the sprites or background.

Hardware was simple and almost mechanical in nature. As a child I could almost have imagined the VCS (and other simple electronic games of the era) having pushrods, motors, pulleys and gears, valves and switches inside them. Not unlike the Tomy Blip style games.

 

The VCS is from a time when chips had only a few thousand transistors. And there was little to get in the way between you and the running GameProgram. And it felt that way too.

 

The VCS was like starting out on a journey, full tank of antimatter, 100% shields, no damage or anything. Especially when pulp magazines kept reiterating that the growth of capability of "computer stuff" was happening by leaps and bounds. Couldn't wait to see what came next.. What enhancement came next.. All the new styles and flavours of each new company, CBS, Imagic, Activision, TigerVision, and so many more. But all in the same big-picture style due to the hardware.

 

The Atari VCS console was also a warm and welcoming sight after a long hellish day at school. No more headachy visions about invisible men in the sky fading in and out (religion class) or utterly meaningless stories about people in covered wagons trying to cross the country (history class). For fuck'sake, just wait till they made airplanes! Then do your trip.

 

So.. I'd come home, sit my fat-ass on the beanbag and play Space Invaders or Slot Racers or StarShip to decompress and eat McDonald's. I could just about handle a quarter pounder and was now imagining getting BigMacs! When done "doing Atari" I would read real books, important books, like astronomy books or programming books. Books that actually taught me something useful and relevant.

Edited by Keatah
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Check out the Bit.Trip series of games on the Nintendo Wii. They are a love letter to the Atari 2600.  There are tributes to ball&paddle games, Cosmic Ark, Pitfall style and the on rails shooting game.

 

 

 

Edited by davyK
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On 10/18/2019 at 10:11 AM, adamchevy said:

As an aesthetic, maybe? To me the blockiness of the graphics are just a limitation of the system. Maybe the size of the play field has something to do with the graphics looking the way they do? Also the TIA probably influences this a bit? But I guess they do have a certain look to them. But most systems from that era have a very similar appearance. The odyssey 2, Bally Astrocade, and intellivision look similar to me. I’m pretty sure if you ported an Intellivision game to the 2600 they would look almost identical. Especially if you used some extra ram on the cart, or a melody board.

 

I strongly disagree there.  I grew up with all those systems when they were new and I can tell you, my love for the Atari "aesthetic" was as strong as my hatred for the Intellivision and Odyssey 2 and Astrocade looks.  I owned a 2600 as a kid, a friend had the Vectrex, another had the Intellivision and 5200.  So I was very familiar with all those systems and I remember a strong aversion to everything about the Intellivision in terms of looks.  And I also remember seeing the Odyssey 2 in stores and hating every game I ever saw on it.  I can't figure out why, since we're comparing similar systems in terms of capabilities (8-bit) but something about the way the Intellivision games looked and played, same with the Odyssey 2 (including those hellish joysticks and shit sound), always rubbed me the wrong way.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy many games on the Intellvision at my friend's house, we especially liked the sports games and a few others.  But the look was just wrong.  Always loved the 5200 and Vectrex, though, more than the 2600.  But I could tell immediately if I was looking at a 2600 game or something else.

 

 

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I strongly disagree there.  I grew up with all those systems when they were new and I can tell you, my love for the Atari "aesthetic" was as strong as my hatred for the Intellivision and Odyssey 2 and Astrocade looks.  I owned a 2600 as a kid, a friend had the Vectrex, another had the Intellivision and 5200.  So I was very familiar with all those systems and I remember a strong aversion to everything about the Intellivision in terms of looks.  And I also remember seeing the Odyssey 2 in stores and hating every game I ever saw on it.  I can't figure out why, since we're comparing similar systems in terms of capabilities (8-bit) but something about the way the Intellivision games looked and played, same with the Odyssey 2 (including those hellish joysticks and shit sound), always rubbed me the wrong way.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy many games on the Intellvision at my friend's house, we especially liked the sports games and a few others.  But the look was just wrong.  Always loved the 5200 and Vectrex, though, more than the 2600.  But I could tell immediately if I was looking at a 2600 game or something else.
 
 


I didn’t grow up around any of those systems except for the Atari 2600. But even the 2600 is a distant memory. The first system I really remember was the Nes. It’s really interesting to hear from someone who was actually there and remembers. I feel the same way about the Vectrex.
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BITD I had nearly all the 8-bit systems beginning with the Atari VCS and ending just before I got a 486 PC in the early 1990's. I don't recall ever hating any system except for the Amiga. Systems like the O^2 and Intellivision simply had different personalities and matched (at one time or another) my various seasonal moods.

 

I disliked the Amiga because of lack of available software (to me) and promises by advertisements for products that were equally unavailable. They said there would be arcade games available. One was. Marble Madness. That was it. And on the hardware side I so wanted to get the Tecmar stuff, the stuff that had red leds and stood beside the machine. It all looked too cool, and turned out to be vaporware. Really pissed me off.

 

But today I've become rather fond of the platform more or less and WinUAE takes its place alongside my other emulators.

 

 

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The Atari 2600 as an aesthetic is an interesting concept, but there are only a couple of things that I think of that would visually identify a game as a 2600 game.

 

* The use of duplicate/triplicate enemy sprites moving collectively.

* Flicker when more than 2 sprites in the same horizontal line.

* Low resolution 40 “pixel” background/playfield.

 

I don’t believe many other 8-bit systems of the time had a simple way for developers to make duplicate copies of their sprites. This readily available feature probably resulted in many games on the 2600 to use this feature (other systems wouldn’t implement this, unless they were trying to port a 2600 title). Triplicate enemies is the most identifiable thing that screams a2600.

 

Many games for many systems have flickering sprites. I don’t know if flickering sprites alone would be enough for someone with a keen eye to tell whether it is flickering because it ran out of available 2600 sprites.

 

Even the low resolution background can be fudged, with multiple display kernels handling different horizontal sections of the screen. All player, ball, and missile graphics can be used, making the Atari appear to be able to display better graphics than originally thought possible.

 

Double Dragon (1989) (Activision) (PAL) a.pngDouble Dragon (1989) (Activision) (PAL) a_1.pngimage.png 

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On 10/18/2019 at 8:51 PM, JasperAK said:

I'm not much of a fan of the aesthetics, although I admit some of these original games are beautiful and some of the homebrews are amazing. It's the gameplay that I love. When I started collecting a little more than a year ago, Berserk was one of the first games I got. Within three weeks or so I had 25k points. Tonight, I slapped it in for about 5 minutes and got nearly 8k. I had a blast as the difficulty ramped up with every completed board. If I played for a couple of hours straight, I'd probably hit the 25k again. These Atari games you can pick up and play for a few minutes, lose, start right over; get into a rhythym and start racking up the score. Many 8-bit and some 16-bit are like that for me, but most of the Atari 2600 games are like that. I've not played too many games from other generations that are as pick-up-and-play. That's what I think of when I think Atari. So yes, Atari has a visual style that some programmers really nail, but its play style is why I've spent about $400 over the past year building a collection.

 

Agreed.  I still love to play Surround from time to time and that game is as simple/ugly looking as it gets.  But the gameplay sells it, at least for me.  Same with many of those first wave games, many of which are conversions of equally primitive arcade games (Combat, Air-Sea Battle, Gunslinger, Indy 500, Star Ship, etc.) that looked so LEGO block that I honestly don't know how the console succeeded long enough for better-looking games to appear.  But those games are fun.  Simple, but fun.

 

On 10/18/2019 at 8:51 PM, JasperAK said:

Plus it uses joysticks (or paddles which my kids love--Warlords I'm looking at you). If they are not playing games where swipe with their index fingers, they are playing games with a much more tactile feel. When my kids and I play the NES, we use two advantages. Now don't get me wrong, they like playing LEGO and Skylander games on the 360, but its the Atari they continuously ask to play.

 

Right again.  I love the original controllers.  I grew up with the golden era of arcade games, I'm used to oddball/unique controller schemes.  It bores the hell out of me to play a system like the NES or some other console where all the games are coded for only a joystick or a 4-button gamepad.  I like joysticks (digital and analog), trak-balls, spinners, paddles, buttons, all of them.  And in combination, that's even cooler.  Playing everything through one controller type sucks.

 

I really believe that little kids growing up should be exposed to the 2600 first, let them play those games and get into the gameplay and the different controllers.  The games are fun and straightforward.  Then they can move on to something more modern or complex.  But the 2600 is like giving them a history lesson.  Not just of the best of the early 8-bit consoles but also because they'd get an easy way to playing those old late-'70s arcade games that they'll never find and that nobody feels like porting now.  I'd also include the Vectrex since how else will they ever lay eyes on real vector display games?  Of course if possible, get them to a California Extreme or similar arcade game expo (and also pinball machines!) so that they can see what they are missing out on, that would be higher learning video game history lessons.  I mean, a real Tempest or Defender in person is far better than whatever home port they could play.  And then dad (or mom) could show them how it's done, haahaha.

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48 minutes ago, ledzep said:

 

I really believe that little kids growing up should be exposed to the 2600 first, let them play those games and get into the gameplay and the different controllers.  The games are fun and straightforward.  Then they can move on to something more modern or complex.  But the 2600 is like giving them a history lesson.  Not just of the best of the early 8-bit consoles but also because they'd get an easy way to playing those old late-'70s arcade games that they'll never find and that nobody feels like porting now.  I'd also include the Vectrex since how else will they ever lay eyes on real vector display games?  Of course if possible, get them to a California Extreme or similar arcade game expo (and also pinball machines!) so that they can see what they are missing out on, that would be higher learning video game history lessons.  I mean, a real Tempest or Defender in person is far better than whatever home port they could play.  And then dad (or mom) could show them how it's done, haahaha.

And last night my daughter and I played Medieval Mayhem for the first time. Holy crap, three fireballs rocketing around. I was the first to go down and then her and we watched the computer duke it out for a few minutes. We started over again with different settings and I lost first again. After the computer had two wins, she one, and I none, I called for bedtime. I felt like a shit heel because she was winning, and after the requisite melt down, she was truly sad because we couldn't keep playing. Never before, even when she won or was winning, had I seen her like that. I think she felt true agency in the game, and it takes simple games like this to develop that feeling. These new mobile games have no agency; they are just glorified hamster balls and Skinner boxes. I think some people get that. She doesn't get it, but I think she will. And all of this from an awesome remake of a forty-year-old game. Fuck yeah the 2600 and retro gaming.

 

Suck it Fred, Atari Age and all of these awesome programmers have it figured out. Take your shit box and go home.

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I didn't see anyone discussing the Mega Man and Mega Man II "Atari demakes." Guess they're retro games made more retro but it's a modern effort. atariage_icon_smile.gif

 

 https://youtu.be/JM4QyMYfRI4

 

 

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I just bought a lot of 50 Atari games. One of them was Rampage and it cost significantly more than the others. I was considering leaving that one out but after looking it up on YouTube I actually like the look of it. It has this weird artsy look, hard to explain. Sure the 7800 version looked better overall and I really like the facial expressions on that one but there was just something about the 2600 version that was really appealing to me so I said, "what the heck" and got it anyway.

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I can't bring myself to play 2600 games with the MD pads. It probably makes more sense but I prefer the original controller.

 

There is something about the colour palette and sounds of the 2600 that really strike a cord with me.  It can display some really nice tans and gold yellows on the PAL machine.

 

Love those explosion sounds on Asteroids and the background throb of Yars' Revenge. Classic. 

Edited by davyK

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