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SegaSnatcher

Atari 8 Bit games that really pushed the hardware?

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Looking for great examples of Atari 8 bit computer games that really pushed the hardware to its limits.  I'm always interested in games that really pushed systems to their limits.  

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The IK+ demo

 

Games from back in the day:

 

International Karate aka Would Karate Championship,  Rescue on Fractalus intro,  Alternate Reality Intros.   Now some of these games might not be pushing the hardware all that hard, but rather had competent developers showing off what the hardware could do.

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old Games: Dropzone, Koronis Rift, The Eidolon, Electra Glide

new Homebrew: Last  Squadron, AtariBlast!, Bomb Jack

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Posted (edited)

Mercenary I ("Mercenary - Escape from Targ") - True miracle at the time.

Edited by Pokeypy
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SegaSnatcher said:

Looking for great examples of Atari 8 bit computer games that really pushed the hardware to its limits. 

Nearly all, or almost none.

What is pushing the hardware to the limits? Having e.g. no CPU cycles left for idle? Nearly all chess programs fall then into the category.

Take for example "Lunar Jetman": the screen clearing is a big unrolled loop to have an appropriate frame rate, but I guess nobody would put that title into the category...

 

Making extensive use of all (base?-)memory, any graphic hardware (modes/PMG) and all sound channels, while having no potential left to optimize?

There is nearly always room for improvement.

 

"Wayout", "Capture the Flag" makes clever use of ANTIC but is in the PMG and sound department quite dull, and now?

 

And not to forget "M.U.L.E." which uses the full potential of the 4 joystick ports of the A800.

 

So IMHO this categorization doesn't make much sense at all...

Edited by Irgendwer
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1 minute ago, Irgendwer said:

Nearly all, or almost none.

What is pushing the hardware to the limits? Having e.g. no CPU cycles left for idle? Nearly all chess programs fall then into the category.

Take for example "Lunar Jetman": the screen clearing is a big unrolled loop to have an appropriate frame rate, but I guess nobody would put that title into the category...

 

Making extensive use of all (base?-)memory, any graphic hardware (modes/PMG) and all sound channels, while having no potential left to optimize?

There is nearly always room for improvement.

 

"Wayout", "Capture the Flag" makes clever use of ANTIC but is in the PMG and sound department quite dull, and now?

 

And not to forget "M.U.L.E." which uses the full potential of the 4 joystick ports of the A800.

 

So IMHO this categorization doesn't make much sense at all...


It can be any category.    We can take NES games for example and see that some games made use of parallax scrolling even though NES didn't have hardware based parallax scrolling.   

Basically games where devs made extremely clever use of the hardware that made for impressive graphics or audio which many would not have considered possible.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, SegaSnatcher said:

Basically games where devs made extremely clever use of the hardware that made for impressive graphics or audio which many would not have considered possible.

"Alley Cat" for SFX

"Seven Cities of Gold" for parallel loading

"Stealth" for clever color cycling

"221B Baker Street" for PMG and DLI enhanced graphics as well as digi sounds

"Schreckenstein" for separate scrolling in all directions

"Bristles" for soft sprites

"Joust" for flickering sprites

"Gremlins" for overall sprite count ;)

Edited by Irgendwer
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Posted (edited)

And of course "Pitfall II" for the most beautiful and colorful use of a single sprite:

 

Edited by Irgendwer
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Posted (edited)

Master of lamps for color placement.    It should not be possible according to the specs to have so many different colored gongs on a single scan line in 160x192 mode and still have a multi-colored sprite on top of them!

 

master-of-the-lamps_10.png

Edited by zzip
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Starrraiders. 

The game is totally underrated by today's "eyes". 

The game has been "ultimative" back in 1979.  

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mediator by english software... lots of levels + gameplay variety - a smashing game

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1 hour ago, Wrathchild said:

Henry's House for colour changes
image.thumb.png.d49b62d80ed044507626608f1b762f3b.png
 

Without a doubt!

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

It should not be possible according to the specs to have so many different colored gongs on a single scan line in 160x192 mode and still have a multi-colored sprite on top of them!

 

Presumably a screen kernel changing colour registers on-the-fly mid scanline?

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2 minutes ago, drpeter said:

 

Presumably a screen kernel changing colour registers on-the-fly mid scanline?

yes, that's exactly what it is.

 

As a teen, learning ASM and DLIs,  I wondered if it was possible to do such mid-scanline color swaps.   I wrote code to try it, but I couldn't figure out how to time it precisely and stabilize it.    I would stare at Master of Lamps and think "well THEY did it, it must be possible!"

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Posted (edited)

The Alternate Reality games for bitmaped 3d graphics, depth of gameplay, music, color use and state-of-the-art long loading times.

Edited by Sugarland
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23 hours ago, SegaSnatcher said:

I'm always interested in games that really pushed systems to their limits.  

 

Megablast! by Thorsten Karwoth.  It pushed the hardware to where slowdown is visible during big explosions.  That's pushing the hardware to its' limits, more than pulling off clever hardware tricks.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Faicuai said:

Without a doubt!

Yup, Henry's House is undoubtedly one of my fav Atari games - the colours enhance the whole experience so well. 🙂

Edited by Beeblebrox
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Posted (edited)

Well it's hard to say when it is pushing hardware to the limits. A few titles that do cross my mind:

* Yoomp
* Bosconian
* Thetris/Rolltris
* Stunt car racer
* Bomb Jack

* Prince of Persia
* PacMan (the Arcade remake) -> especially because of the speed of the game, this port is amazing.
* AtariBlast! 

* Time Pilot!

From the (slightly) older games, I absolutely think of Zybex and BallBlazer, and some other titles that are already mentioned here. 
 

Edited by Marius

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Posted (edited)

 

I'm not clever enough to actually say what pushing the limits actually means even though I've used the phrase myself, is a game that shows slowdown because its using the CPU to threatest extent or is it just poorly programmed...Pass.

 

I prefer to say there are games that impressed me, was it fantastic programming or just that they were well thought out and the gameplay hooked me, again, I don't know..

 

Star Raiders ALWAYS impressed even though the programmer claims his 3D math skills were limited which is true as our own Avery Lee fixed a lot of the big explosion slow down but as a game its fantastic.

 

Spelunker impressed, both inventive and had the hook..

 

Atariblast (like everyone else) just seems to be doing the almost impossible..

 

Space Harrier, who would have thought that game would hit the Atari and be THAT good..

 

I'm sure there's many others but I'd be listing them because I like them and not always because they impressed me..

 

Paul..

Edited by Mclaneinc
Spalling..... :)

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