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Leeroy ST

Were there scrolling platformers before Super Mario Bros with decent graphics?

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Taito's Elevator Action from 1983.  The scrolling is vertical, but that still makes it a scrolling platformer:

 

 

 

Konami's Circus Charlie, 1984:

 

 

 

Bagman, from Stern / Valadon Automation in 1982:

 

 

 

There are undoubtedly others that I'm forgetting.

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Speaking of Circus Charlie, I found another obscure one for the C64 that has been dubbed "worst ever". It was released 1985 so contemporary with SMB but looks much worse.

 

While the C64 version of Circus Charlie has (c) 1984, it seems to have been released a few years later and the copyright date like usual refers to the original arcade version, not the date of the home version.

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3 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

No one brought up Doom but ok.

I did. And I meant being a shareware contributed to the success of Doom (I personally wouldn't have played it otherwise back in the days), even though it's not the only reason of course. Like being bundled with the NES contributed to the success of Super Mario Bros., but that doesn't change both Super Mario Bros. and Doom were really influential in their respective genre.

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6 hours ago, carlsson said:

I think the Doom reference was made as an analogy to your claim that Super Mario Bros mainly was popular because it partly was a pack-in game (in some markets and in some bundles) so many people who bought a NES, would get SMB included with the system, sometimes combined with Duck Hunt but if you didn't have a light gun that game is not playable anyway. That is to say that neither SMB nor Doom are particularly good games on their own, most of their respective success was due to how they were distributed - as a pack-in or as shareware.

Doom is the game that made me finally decide to get a PC.   I'm sure I'm not the only one.   Being shareware was a bonus, but I surely would have paid full price.

 

To put it in context,  Shareware had become a popular model for indie studios to distribute a few levels of their games on the internet, BBSes and cheap floppies you'd even find at the supermarket.   Doom wasn't the first to do this.  Apogee was already using this model before them

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

I did. And I meant being a shareware contributed to the success of Doom (I personally wouldn't have played it otherwise back in the days), even though it's not the only reason of course. Like being bundled with the NES contributed to the success of Super Mario Bros., but that doesn't change both Super Mario Bros. and Doom were really influential in their respective genre.

No one argued that...again...

Edited by Leeroy ST

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15 hours ago, zzip said:

Doom is the game that made me finally decide to get a PC.   I'm sure I'm not the only one.   Being shareware was a bonus, but I surely would have paid full price.

 

To put it in context,  Shareware had become a popular model for indie studios to distribute a few levels of their games on the internet, BBSes and cheap floppies you'd even find at the supermarket.   Doom wasn't the first to do this.  Apogee was already using this model before them

Most shareware ended up being near scams though. Those 100-200 game collections Me and pals had played through a lot of the compilations, you wouldn't believe what people were charging for $60+$10 shipping for barely graphical risc clone with just numbers over some random shapes that are "countries".

 

19 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Taito's Elevator Action from 1983.  The scrolling is vertical, but that still makes it a scrolling platformer:

 

 

 

Konami's Circus Charlie, 1984:

 

 

 

Bagman, from Stern / Valadon Automation in 1982:

 

 

 

There are undoubtedly others that I'm forgetting.

Speaking of elevator action was impossible mission vertical scrolling or was that static? Been awhile.

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Impossible Mission has smooth vertical scrolling in the elevator scenes. To make it even more impressive, there is the huge HUD at the bottom of the screen that doesn't scroll. Many of the systems with hardware scrolling tend to have raster line control so you could stop scrolling at a certain line, but not all can do that.

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7 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

Most shareware ended up being near scams though. Those 100-200 game collections Me and pals had played through a lot of the compilations, you wouldn't believe what people were charging for $60+$10 shipping for barely graphical risc clone with just numbers over some random shapes that are "countries".

Not really scams if you can try before you buy.   Shareware started so what we now call homebrew coders could put their games online and maybe make a little money for it.  These games were usually things that publishers weren't interested in.  Maybe they were too low quality, too weird, or blatant copyright rip-offs.   In the beginning they would usually just nag you with a shareware reminder that would go away if you paid the author.   Later paying would unlock more content.

 

But then Apogee and ID and others came along and suddenly highly-polished professional games were being distributed under the shareware model

 

But that's why quality is all over the place, sometimes the games were just a one person affair doing it as a hobby, sometimes it's developed by a professional team.

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7 hours ago, carlsson said:

Impossible Mission has smooth vertical scrolling in the elevator scenes. To make it even more impressive, there is the huge HUD at the bottom of the screen that doesn't scroll. Many of the systems with hardware scrolling tend to have raster line control so you could stop scrolling at a certain line, but not all can do that.

I thought about Impossible Mission too and wondered if it would qualify.  It seems like there must have been some of the rooms that also scrolled slightly as you moved up and down.  I seem to remember not being able to see all the platforms when you first enter a room.  Can't be sure though.

 

Every other game I have thought of that would be in the conversation has already been mentioned Pac Land, Jungle Hunt, Moon Patrol all involve jumping at least, and they unquestionably scroll to some degree.

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AFAIK none of the rooms in Impossible Mission scroll. All are contained within one screen.

 

Here is another early game that scrolls in all directions. Note that Gumshoe on the C64 has nothing to do with Gumshoe on NES.

 

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While we're digging for the obscure, here is Demons of Topaz: Ozzy Versus the Universe (1984) by Firebird.

 

Or how about Journey to the Centre of the Earth (also C64, 1984):

 

By 1985 scrolling became quite common, so plenty of games to choose from.

 

William Wobbler technically is contemporary with Super Mario Bros and while the two aren't particularly like, this is what graphics and scrolling had evolved into by then.

 

While definitely unlicensed, this Smurfs game also dated to 1985 also is a side scroller:

 

I already mentioned Frak! (1985) before, and while it is not side scrolling, I'll add a video anyway. It is worth noting that this game was ported from the BBC Micro (colour version) and Electron (mono version) but both had smaller graphics and less scrolling, while they decided to make the graphics super huge on the C64 version.

 

A final example is the obscure Australopiticus Robustus, also from 1985 and perhaps a bit dated by how games from bigger studios had evolved by then.

 

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