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Joel D. Park

The Story of Mythicon.. How cool is this.

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Hi, it's Joel Park, I haven't posted much for a while.. But I just recieved an email concerning something up on my site.

 

Here's what the email was referencing...

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http://www.atari2600.net/MythiconConspiracy.htm

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I got an email from Mr. Mythicon himself. And asked him if I could post this, he asked me to keep last names off and leave out his email address.. Also, I asked him if he had code for StarFox II, he doesn't have anything on it.

 

These are copied directly out of the emails so they might look a little funny..

 

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His original email to me: Titles, The Mythicon Conspriacy

 

Sorry... no conspiracy. I just needed test mode when I was trying to

write the damned things and I was too lazy to get up and try to

press the Reset button on the 2600.

 

Yep, I'm not jiving you. They were crap, weren't they? We didn't know how

to force the fine horizontal adjustment and had to

experiment.

 

The secretaries were sisters with ENORMOUS breasts.

Best!

 

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My Reply:

 

Hehe.. So you're the man responsible..

Sorry if I was a little harsh in my game reviews.. :-)

 

I didn't even realize they were posted out on the net anymore.. I'd figured

I'd lost the reviews when I redid my site.

 

Did you do any other games for the 2600? Or move on to any other systems?

 

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His Long Reply:

 

 

Yeah, I'm afraid I'm responsible for all three of the "Ten Worst Games."

 

We had no documentation and had to stay "clean" or Atari would have sued our butts off. I spent many many nights trying to decipher

the little chip (George's Television Interface Adapter or GTIA, I think)

that generated the TV graphics and made the sounds. StarFox

was cobbled together a few days later. The happy face was the practice

mode: if you're sitting back with a beer, you won't want to

get up to push Reset. I guess we could have run afoul of another copyright

issue: Happy Face was copyrighted by some guy in Worcester, MA. I would have put in more story detail but was hamstrung by

the schedule ("yesterday") and the ROM size (4k, no ifs-ands-or-buts). I remember searching around the binaries in the ROM for

a set of data/commands that could be used for an explosion: talk about "code reuse!" That way, I didn't have to store a set

of images for what was little more than an expanding

cloud.

 

Anyway, it wasn't until after StarFox that I had a good understanding of

sprite/player positioning and the strange little stack trick necessary to move a sprite in the few cycles available during TV horizontal retrace. After that, I was allowed to talk to Atari folk. By that time, Atari was a horrible place to work as everybody was back-stabbing everybody else and the schedules were more a function of who was a favorite. I remember Alan (famous for SmallTalk) just howling one week and then happy the next only to be livid the following week. That was sad; I wanted to work there until I heard the stories. I wonder what's become of Alan- I

live on the opposite coast now. I remember Chris and Dave too- ludicrously intelligent people who had to stay because of the money

but who later became very bitter.

 

Sorcerer and FireFly were just repackings of StarFox with different

graphics. The "music" came from a fellow named Bill Bryner. He

was pretty daunted when I told him he had only 16 bytes to hold the

"score." Even giving all credit to Bill, I admit I ran the tests

with the audio turned off most of the time.

 

The big deal for the technology was the first use of chip-on-board ROM

mounting- seventy-five cents per cartridge, only a dollar

packaged and in the box. The marketing trick was that since the wholesale

cost of the games was so low, the games could be packaged

in a cardboard stand (floorstanding or cash register) and did not have to

be locked up.

 

There was a StarFox-II. It was much better code and it simulated a 3D

experience: your viewpoint was some distance behind and above

the craft. I guess that makes the statement that StarFox was first in a

series technically true. I know that nobody else at Mythicon

knew that I was working on SF-II (maybe a fellow named Thorston -"The

Mighty Thor"- did; also a nice and very smart guy). I'd

learned enough by then to be pretty sure I could fit everything into 4k AND make a reasonable story-line. Too bad.

 

Wells Fargo Bank told us (among many) that we would not get a line of

credit (not to ANY video game company, even Atari) because we

were all doomed. Well, that certainly doomed us. Since payments are always 90 days or more later, we couldn't provide salaries.

Brenda and Pamela (sisters) headed off for other jobs; while both were

voluptuous, they were nice and way more intelligent that

their bust sizes would indicate. I took a contracting job deciphering

strain sensors for the SRM-1 rocket booster but tried to

finish StarFox-II. I wanted a game that would allow you to play

starship-fighter and then land on a planet and go "rogueing and

looting." The idea was to have two games in two cartridges. The SF-II

cartridge would have a plug on its back that could accept the

Loot game (sort of a cross between Adventure and Rogue) or the Loot game could be used by itself. The hardware was little more than

a latch. It turns out that the hardware for the bank switching 8k games

would have resulted in both SF-II and Loot being on the same

ROM die and being even cheaper. I did have a neat state counter algorithm that could store the layout of the Loot maze and the

location of treasures and monsters and stuff in only 3 bytes. Never mind-

it never came to fruition.

There you go. Stories from the dawn of time when the dinosaurs were merely

sick!

 

Best!

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Pretty cool! Thanks for posting the e-mails. I actually thought I was joking about the same code being reused when I wrote my own review, which some have called "harsh." Harsh? Criticism of a Mythicon game? Odd concept...

 

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FIRE FLY (and SORCERER) (Mythicon)

 

These and other games were sold in 1983 at bargain prices (ten bucks apiece) by Mythicon, who might be, if the games offer any evidence, the only company in gaming history at which the founder, accountant, P.R. man and programmer were all the same guy.

 

These are the only two I've played, but they are, quite literally, the same program with different graphics plugged in; I'm therefore pretty sure that the others are equally bad. It's more interesting to look at the illustrations on the cartridge labels than to play the games themselves. There's no substance to really attack. They almost don't even exist.

 

Your character is supposed to fly across each screen from left to right, exiting into further screens until he gets back to the first one. On each playfield is a bad guy that you can either ignore (this is laughably easy) or shoot. Most bad guys render a treasure when shot. Grab the treasure for points! (Phewww...)

 

If you opt to ignore your adversaries, the object of the game becomes primarily to move from left to right over and over again. It's like a primitive screen-saver that you have to operate manually.

 

If you get really sick this winter and drug yourself up so much that you can barely move, plug in a Mythicon game to get your video fix until you're healthy again and can move on to something more engaging, such as Canyon Bomber.

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The artwork for those carts was pretty decent...Especially sorcerer. Any clue where they got that artwork?? Maybe Mr. Mythicon would know.

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And see if he has any old pictures of the busty sisters for us to see!!

 

:D :twisted: :twisted:

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That's a great e-mail !

 

The best part of Mythicon games is that fact that I can say I own

every cart. that they ever made.

 

(all three :roll: )

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Thanks for sharing that little bit of history.

 

You should send him a picture of the Mythiconsole. :D

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So let me get this straight. This guy was the founder, accountant, PR guy and programmer for the company, yet needed two large-breasted secretaries?

 

No wonder his games sucked.

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So let me get this straight.  This guy was the founder, accountant, PR guy and programmer for the company, yet needed two large-breasted secretaries?

 

No wonder his games sucked.

 

I don't even have an office job and I would like to have two large-breasted secretaries.

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That probably explains the poor quality of Mythicon games.

 

:ponder:

 

Why didn't he just program a game about two busty secretaries? :D

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I remember buying firefly for $9.99 instead of Subterrania for $19.99 (boy did it take me decades to find subterrania again, and it wasn't $19.99 let me tell you,) and I really liked (not loved, mind you) firefly. If you actually do try to kill the stuff and collect the treasures and keep some speed going through the screens, the game is actually fun. It has a really neat, funky rhythm and I actually like the music. Hearing how little space it was given and how neat it turned out is pretty amazing imho. It's awesome to hear these tales behind companies that we previously knew nothing about (at least I knew nothing.)

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So let me get this straight.  This guy was the founder, accountant, PR guy and programmer for the company, yet needed two large-breasted secretaries?

 

No wonder his games sucked.

 

What do you mean? He was a genius :D

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Cool emails, thanks for posting them. Very interesting about Starfox-II, too bad he no longer has it as it sounds a bit better than the original game. :) Funny how he mentioned his secretaries' breasts in both emails!

 

..Al

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We didn't know how to force the fine horizontal adjustment and had to experiment.

I had a brief look at the Star Fox code and he really didn't know how to do it (nicely). The code is the most complicated and bloated positioning code I have ever seen. :)

 

But making it work at all, without knowing anything about the hardware, deserves a lot of respect. :thumbsup:

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So let me get this straight.  This guy was the founder, accountant, PR guy and programmer for the company, yet needed two large-breasted secretaries?

 

No wonder his games sucked.

 

What do you mean? He was a genius :D

 

Hey, I never said he was stupid. :D

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Guys. . I never got his real name.. His email address says Web Martians in it. So it didn't help me out.

 

I emailed him to see if he's willing to share his name.

 

Also someone asked about SFII, apparently he doesn't have it anywhere. I'll try to keep in contact with him, maybe he'll dig something up.

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Hey, here's what he said about StarFox II..

Also about releasing his email address.

 

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It'd be best if you leave the eMail address out and mention folk by only first name. I'm happy to try to reminisce for you, but I

don't want a ton of eMail from everybody.

 

I don't have any of the StarFox code any more. I rather liked the 6500

architecture- I understand it came from an argument that a

lead designer had over the Motorola 6800 (not a misprint - 6800 not the 68000).

I've often speculated how simple and small a

6500-like processor could be especially with today's design tools. ...maybe

something to design and then ensure that the documents

are in archival form for the next dark age. StarFox-II's code, on the other

hand, as I said, has gone the way of random noise.

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His name is.

 

Bruce de Graaf

Hm, (almost) nothing with Google. What is he doing now?

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