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ApolloBoy

I officially like Karateka!

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Yes, I actually sat down and played this dud, and I made it to the 5th level! Sure, the controls are slow, but once you get past that, it's a somewhat enjoyable game! :)

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I admit i did initially enjoy it, Until i finished it anyway. It is just a matter of getting the controls together.

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I enjoy KARATEKA too - just not the 7800 version. The controls are horrid, the graphics needlessly simplified and there are elements yanked out of the original computer game that didn't need to be.

 

I regard this as a game Atari deliberately crippled to make the XEGS seem more powerful.

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I enjoy KARATEKA too - just not the 7800 version. The controls are horrid, the graphics needlessly simplified and there are elements yanked out of the original computer game that didn't need to be.

 

I regard this as a game Atari deliberately crippled to make the XEGS seem more powerful.

 

I generallly agree with DracIsBack... Knowing that the computer version is much better kinda spoils the experience.

 

But I don't agree that Atari deliberately crippled it.

 

I attribute it to the general lack of quality control, or any eye for detail, or fine tuning. I wont go into my usual ranting about 7800 titles. But suffice it to say that numerous pre "tramiel" era titles on the 8-bits and even to some extent the 2600 were more "true" to their arcade counterparts than the 7800 and ST versions.

 

Not to say that the 7800 games do not stand on their own merits.

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But I don't agree that Atari deliberately crippled it.  

 

I attribute it to the general lack of quality control, or any eye for detail, or fine tuning.

 

The problem was that the Atari 7800 became the Tramiel's "premiere" game system in 1987/8, despite the fact that Atari desperately wanted the XEGS to be that system.

 

When you compare a lot of XEGS games vs. 7800 games, it sometimes does give the appearence of deliberate crippling of 7800 titles to make the XE versions shine more.

 

Examples:

 

Karateka: Bang on like the computer version on the XEGS. On the 7800, the graphics are simpler, the controls are worse, and some game elements are missing.

 

Summer Games: The XEGS version has all the events. The 7800 is missing pole vaulting and skeet shooting.

 

Fight Night: Several elements are missing from the 7800 version that are in the XEGS version.

 

Crossbow: The XEGS version has better graphics and digitized sounds than the 7800 version, even though the 7800 could do digitized sound (see JINKS) and has better graphics capabilities.

 

It could just be a an overzealous conspiracy theory on my part, but I really do remember Atari trying their hardest to make the XEGS their main system ... and only reluctantly putting the 7800 in that spot when it did a better job against the competition than the XE did.

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Didnt the XEGS come out after the 7800?  They didnt do much with the XEGS either

 

No - they didn't do much with the XEGS, but it was obvious at the time that Atari's (limited) resources were initially poured into the XE as opposed to the 7800. When they advertised the systems (Atari Advantage), the XE was front and center. When they had commercials, they were XEGS commercials. And for a while, games came out at a more rapid pace than on the 7800.

 

But, the XE failed to kill the NES or SMS like the Tramiels planned and actually sold worse than the 7800 or 2600jr.

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Karateka: Bang on like the computer version on the XEGS.

Maybe because it IS the computer version?

 

Yep - I'm aware of that. :-)

 

That's kind of the point: The XEGS is a exact port, the 7800 looks quickly thrown together.

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That's kind of the point: The XEGS is a exact port, the 7800 looks quickly thrown together.

 

Karateka was done by the same guy who butchered Hat Trick and Choplifter for the 7800. In fact I think someone told me that the programmer did the game in FORTH which may explain something.

 

I have a 7800 Karateka prototype that I should test and see if it’s any different. Looks the same to me though.

 

 

Tempest

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Keep in mind.. alot of the XEG games had already been made, atari pretty much just dumped them onto cart.

 

What was laughingly obvious at the time, is that anyone with a brain knew the 5200 and 8-bit computers were equivalent. Atari really screwed the pooch on their game console releases.

 

The 7800 was perfectly capable if carrying the load. It would have been even better if it had an extra pokey chip in it, or at least if they created more carts with a pokey chip on it.

 

Anyways I guess the "obviously too subtle" point I was trying to make is. When the tramiels took over all the talented programers probably left atari (or got laid off).

 

The only reason lynx games turned out so well is cause most of them were written by epyx (I believe as part of the contract for the purchase of the lynx).

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Karateka was done by the same guy who butchered Hat Trick and Choplifter for the 7800.

 

The 7800 version of Choplifter is a port from the Apple II version. Maybe you were expecting a port of the arcade version like the Master System had. Compared to the Apple II version I think the 7800 version is pretty good though...

 

Ben

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I never saw the MasterSystem version of Choplifter! .... is it really that different from the 7800?

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The 7800 version of Choplifter is a port from the Apple II version. Maybe you were expecting a port of the arcade version like the Master System had. Compared to the Apple II version I think the 7800 version is pretty good though...  

 

No it's not that, I just think the 7800 version of Choplifter could have been a whole lot better.

 

I never saw the MasterSystem version of Choplifter! .... is it really that different from the 7800?

 

Yeah it's different. It's more an arcade style game rather than a computer game. Think Sky Kid meets Choplifter.

 

 

Tempest

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As the leader of the team at ibidinc who did these games, all I can say is

the specs were tightly controlled by Atari -- they bought the rights to the game and subcontracted the conversion out to us. There was no room to improve, change or modify. The Tramiels (especially Jack's son) kept us on a very short leash.

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As the leader of the team at ibidinc who did these games, all I can say is the specs were tightly controlled by Atari -- they bought the rights to the game and subcontracted the conversion out to us. There was no room to improve, change or modify. The Tramiels (especially Jack's son) kept us on a very short leash.

 

Interesting. I don't think we've ever had a 7800 programmer grace these forums before. Can you tell us what it was like to be a 7800 contractor back then and little about your experiences with Atari?

 

Tempest

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I hate to disappoint, but I don't remember too much -- it was almost 20 years ago.

 

I do remember that we had to create the development environment from scratch. We had had a lot of experience with C64s and Apples so we were familiar with the 6502. At that time, we wrote most of our stuff in Forth. This gave us the advantage of being able to develop debug on a PC and then port the results to the Atari. Forth is fairly portable and has the advantage of easily integrating with assembler code. The final product was probably mostly assembler, but the main control loops were written in Forth.

 

I vaguely recall having some kind of card that plugged into the cartridge slot that allowed us to download stuff our binaries and we also burned eproms and mounted them into blank cartridges. We also had a PAL 7800 and a PAL TV with some adaptation so it worked on US current.

 

I do not remember the work on these games as enjoyable. The environment was difficult, the 7800 is a pretty limited machine and the client was equally difficult. I clearly remember one trip out to Silicon Valley (we were Hartford based) where Len Tramiel spent an hour yelling at me because he didn't like the shade of blue used in the Choplifter sky.

 

I think that exhausts my remberences. Good luck to all the 7800 collectors and enjoy. There is a ton of programmer's blood sweat and tears in every cartridge.

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What games did Ibid do for the 7800? I know of Choplifter, Karateka, Hat Trick, and GATO (which was never released).

 

Tempest

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I hate to disappoint' date=' but I don't remember too much -- it was almost 20 years ago.

 

I do remember that we had to create the development environment from scratch. We had had a lot of experience with C64s and Apples so we were familiar with the 6502. At that time, we wrote most of our stuff in Forth. This gave us the advantage of being able to develop debug on a PC and then port the results to the Atari. Forth is fairly portable and has the advantage of easily integrating with assembler code. The final product was probably mostly assembler, but the main control loops were written in Forth.

 

I vaguely recall having some kind of card that plugged into the cartridge slot that allowed us to download stuff our binaries and we also burned eproms and mounted them into blank cartridges.[/quote']

 

 

Did it look like this?

 

 

We also had a PAL 7800 and a PAL TV with some adaptation so it worked on US current.

 

I do not remember the work on these games as enjoyable. The environment was difficult, the 7800 is a pretty limited machine and the client was equally difficult. I clearly remember one trip out to Silicon Valley (we were Hartford based) where Len Tramiel spent an hour yelling at me because he didn't like the shade of blue used in the Choplifter sky.

 

I think that exhausts my remberences. Good luck to all the 7800 collectors and enjoy. There is a ton of programmer's blood sweat and tears in every cartridge.

 

I have a question maybe you can answer, who was Jack Sandberg that put his name in the binary code in all of the ibid games?

 

Mitch

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I really don't remember what the development cartridge looked like.

 

Jack Sandberg was the lead programmer on the Kareteka and Hat Trick Atari projects. I believe Jon Turner was lead on Choplifter. I was their boss at the time and I remember doing the PC version of Hat Trick that Jack ported to the 7800.

 

Other people probably contributed to the project including artists and sound programmers.

 

I believe Jack is still in the Hartford area, but I haven't heard from him in years. Jon, who was an extremely talented musician, went back to school and now is a professor of music.

 

-Mike

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Karateka: Bang on like the computer version on the XEGS.

Maybe because it IS the computer version?

 

Yep - I'm aware of that. :-)

 

That's kind of the point: The XEGS is a exact port, the 7800 looks quickly thrown together.

 

It's not a port... it's exactly the same version. The XEGS was just a new hardware design for Atari's aging 8-bit computer line.

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It's not a port... it's exactly the same version.  The XEGS was just a new hardware design for Atari's aging 8-bit computer line.

 

Yes, I'm aware of that too! :D My appologies for not being correct in my terminology.

 

I am quite aware that the XEGS was a reboxed 65XE, which in turn, was a "low cost" replacement for the 800XL. :P

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I clearly remember one trip out to Silicon Valley (we were Hartford based) where Len Tramiel spent an hour yelling at me because he didn't like the shade of blue used in the Choplifter sky.

 

There are a few other programmers who've got stories like that about programming for the 7800. You also hear tales of Tramiels griping about cost a lot .... "you're taking too long to program that", "it uses too much space", "no you can't have RAM in the cartridge", "no you can't have a POKEY".

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