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Kickman for 2600 found and RELEASED!!

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9 hours ago, carlsson said:

As a side note, I just realized there are two versions of Kickman for the MAX and C64 respectively. They look similar but not identical. A while ago I learned that the C64 version of Wizard of Wor was reprogrammed, not using the already existing MAX version which makes me wonder if the same is true about this. I suppose a code review could reveal similarities inbetween those versions, which of course has nothing to do with the 2600 version.

Actually, I think there are at least 3 different versions. I need to go back and find my old notes because there is another one somewhere... V01 is missing.

 

From my old site:

https://c64preservation.com/dp.php?pg=ultimax

 

Edited by R.Cade
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On 10/23/2019 at 3:49 AM, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Alex gives credit to two other people who helped him with the code: Alex Nevelson and "Bob". Maybe someone has an idea about the names.

 

BTW: I noticed that "Roklan" has no Wikipedia entry. 

This game has a complicated development history and was supposedly at least started at Bally, although apparently Roklan and CBS may have had a hand in it at some point.  Alex Leavens, Alex Nevelson, and Bob Curtiss were members of a group working on 2600 games at Bally in Chicago, at least initially.  Tom DiDomenico and another programmer named Bob Fisher/Fischer (sp?) were also members of this group.  Bill Adams, who worked on several coin-ops including Kick-Man, was their manager.  Bill told me he lost several programmers to Roklan, including Curtiss and Leavens, but I don't know the specific details of their leaving and how it might've affected the development of this title.  Given the date, it's hard for me to believe this was actually developed at Roklan despite what it says but who knows.

Roklan does not have a Wikipedia entry, but you can find info on them here...
http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Roklan
 

On 10/23/2019 at 5:29 AM, Rom Hunter said:

BTW: I have also Richard K. Balaska credited for Kick-Man.

Dick Balaska worked for CBS in Greenwich, CT.  He told me that he went out to Chicago at some point and put some "finishing touches" on the game, which might have been something as simple as the fixes that Thomas applied to this game or possibly something more complex like removing the Pac-Men and replacing them with something else.  Either way that was the extent of his involvement, which is why this game wouldn't be on his list of credits on his website.  This game was originally supposed to have been published by Bally themselves and was only acquired by CBS later on, so if this version came from Bally or Roklan it probably wouldn't have any of whatever changes Dick may have made to the code.

In any event, it's nice to see this one finally surface.

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21 hours ago, CPUWIZ said:

No, AFAIK, this is a combined effort.

Correct...and most of the info on the Atarimania site (including game credits) comes from other sources.

 

On 10/23/2019 at 6:09 AM, carlsson said:

I see, so the question is from where Atarimania originally got the info. Balaska's website was last updated in September 2018 so chances are he is around to clarify that, if needed.

The info originally came from the Digital Press Guide.  The DP guys got in contact with Dick years ago.  I followed up with him a few years later (he lives not far from me) and I asked him to explain his involvement (see my last post).

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For some reason, the binary was not working for me so I had to redownload it.  This is a fun game!  I'm not any good at it...yet!  ;)

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Any & all information is always appreciated. But of course, asking people about things they saw, heard, or did over 30 years ago will always come with some inaccuracies.

 

I wanted to focus on this particular tidbit:  

“This game was originally supposed to have been published by Bally themselves and was only acquired by CBS later on, so if this version came from Bally or Roklan it probably wouldn't have any of whatever changes Dick may have made to the code.”

 

CBS was a much earlier publisher of 2600 carts then Bally/Midway. In fact, Bally/Midway came WAY later; as a new iteration of the SEGA games under a different label right at the 1984 crash. It not only makes no sense that it was a Bally game first & a CBS game second, it’s also chronologically impossible.

 

CBS announced & advertised this game, with screenshots & full box art as well, in 1983, long before Bally/Midway even existed yet. And again, early CBS carts were 4kb. This is a 4kb game. Bally/Midway carts are all 8kb games. So if anything, Bally would have gotten it AFTER, not before CBS, (the other way around) and then they would have increased it to 8kb as well.

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very interesting!  i ammended my title to just have the rom date and no Midway in the ( )---folder arrangement CBS ELECTRONICS ---> PROTOTYPES

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Wait a minute...I digress...Houston, I think we have a problem...and I apologize for jumping the gun here...

 

It’s possible the “Bally” that was being referred to may have been an earlier rendition of what might have been intended to become a company in the earlier 80’s making 2600 carts, which, never materialized, and thus the projects that were started there migrated to other companies.

 

And this whereas the later “Bally/Midway” which came afterwards had nothing to do with it.

 

I apologize for the confusion.

 

But for the record, CBS & Roklan were kind of synonymous entities with regards to software; particularly 400/800 carts later down the road. And many of the early CBS projects were originally Bally/Midway arcade games in America; such as Space Invaders, Gorf, & Wizard of Wor. So clearly Roklan, CBS, and Bally had working relationships.

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I have to correct myself. The original, non-converted source which I got just lately has no reference to Roklan. It only has Alex Leavens' name on it.

Quote

Jan 08, 1982  by Alex Leavens

Sorry for the confusion.

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@Psionic & @Supergun

Many thanks for providing this additional information. But I am not sure if I can fully align it.

 

What's the most likely story of Kickman for the Atari 2600 for you?

 

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Regarding Bally or Bally/Midway, the Wikipedia article for Midway Games mentions that while Bally bought Midway in 1969, and that the Midway division somehow had a foot in the Bally Home Library Computer (later Bally Astrocade), the Bally/Midway manufacturing division wasn't formed until 1982, in terms of arcade and pinball games I presume. It is true that e.g. on the home computer side, Bally/Midway games usually weren't ported and released by themselves but rather licensed to parties like e.g. Commodore, Sega and others - CBS not to be forgotten.

 

But what does it mean to publish a game? Can't a company develop a game and publish it through another manufacturer or distributor? Would Bally have to etch their own circuit boards, mold their own cartridge shells and find their own distribution channel to video game stores in order to publish home versions of their own arcade games, and everything else would be licensing? What about the Astrocde as mentioned above, didn't Bally publish stuff for that system on their own, meaning it wasn't entirely far-fetched if they would put out some Atari 2600 carts too while at it?

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12 hours ago, Supergun said:

So clearly Roklan, CBS, and Bally had working relationships.

That much is obvious.  The question is how the puzzle pieces fit together and what the timeline was for these deals falling into place.  I really can't say since I've never spoken to anyone on the business side of things.

 

For the record, the supposed Bally Midway releases from 1984 that you mentioned in your last post (i.e. the Sega games in white boxes like Spy Hunter and Tapper) were developed by Sega or by contactors under their employ.  They were also fully marketed and distributed by Sega and have UPCs and catalog numbers that reflect this.  Bally Midway's logo appears on the games but they had no direct involvement with them.  I'm referring to games that were being developed during the 1981-82 time period, when Bally was still supporting the Astrocade.

 

11 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

I have to correct myself. The original, non-converted source which I got just lately has no reference to Roklan. It only has Alex Leavens' name on it.

Sorry for the confusion.

That makes a bit more sense.  The only game that anyone from Roklan seems to remember Alex working on is Crazy Climber, and he did not finish that game.  The story I was told was that he had been working on the game for quite some time without making significant progress to the point that they had to send someone to his house to see what the hell was going on.  He apparently quit or was fired shortly thereafter and another programmer (Joe Gaucher) had to finish the game.

 

11 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Many thanks for providing this additional information. But I am not sure if I can fully align it.

 

What's the most likely story of Kickman for the Atari 2600 for you?

I really can't say for sure without reaching out to some people for more info.  But my opinion is that the bulk of the game programming was likely done at Bally Midway before Alex left to join Roklan.  Alex basically said so himself in the 1983 interview he gave with Video Games Player magazine...


"I designed Kickman for Midway a few years ago when they were thinking of entering the home video game market."

Later in that thread, Bob Curtiss chimes in and says that he and Alex had developed 2600 games at Bally before joining Roklan.

 

9 hours ago, Supergun said:

This much is certain, this would most likely have been how we got Kick Man, if we had gotten it.

I would not dispute that CBS would've been the one to ultimately publish the game had it actually been released.  But they had little if any involvement in the game's development and I'm not sure whatever changes Dick Balaska may have made would necessarily be in this version, since it was sourced from Bally or Roklan and not from CBS.

 

5 hours ago, carlsson said:

But what does it mean to publish a game? Can't a company develop a game and publish it through another manufacturer or distributor? Would Bally have to etch their own circuit boards, mold their own cartridge shells and find their own distribution channel to video game stores in order to publish home versions of their own arcade games, and everything else would be licensing? What about the Astrocade as mentioned above, didn't Bally publish stuff for that system on their own, meaning it wasn't entirely far-fetched if they would put out some Atari 2600 carts too while at it?

Exactly, but of course Bally lost interest in supporting the Astrocade and sold the rights to Astrovision.  One would then assume they similarly lost interest in publishing their own games for other home systems around the same time and sought other publishers (i.e. Roklan and CBS) for these titles.  Coin-op was their bread and butter.  They tried to form a consumer division and gave it a go but it just didn't work out.

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Bally was also working on games for the Atari 8-bit computers, Intellivision, and ColecoVision. I found this shot of Kickman in a CBS catalog. It looks like an Intellivision version, but it could just be a mockup like most of the shots in there.

 

932911409_Screenshot_2019-10-25Atari2600VCScatalog-CBSElectronics-1983-English.png.d17400a67c22cfee4c8f784072bd1297.png

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so.............in level 1 you pop baloons on your head, trying not to miss, then in the next part you catch baloons on your head and if you drop one you can kick it up and you get points and so on, is there a 3rd part i havent discovered yet.  im gonna watch the aracde videos to get a general understanding 

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Noticed an issue in Stella 6.2. The game doesn't always start properly. I get a column in the middle of the screen full of weird glyphs. I have to re-start stella 2 or 3 times to get the rom to play properly.

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1 minute ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Are you having any developer options enabled?

 

No. This is what it looks like. My settings are all default. :)

Kick-Man.png

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Ah, that's what I have seen before too. You have to disable randomizing the CPU's PS flag too. The developer forgot to clear the BCD flag.

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