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robsterman

Today's homebrews v. Yesteryear's Classics

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Here's an interesting question:

 

All things considered, if today's hyomebrew games were created 20 years ago, how well do you think they would sell?

 

Being a first-generation Atarian, I might be a bit biased. (I must have broken 50 joysticks playing Pitfall before I finally acquired all 32 treasures -- nothing worse than losing your last guy with 20 seconds to go and that treasure at the other end of the screen.)

 

For me, the classics will always have a special place in my heart.

 

I'm in my 30s now, so I see the latest games as a link back to my past. But, for thew next generation, those who played all the Atari games on an emulator, what do you think?

 

There are some awesome homegrown games. Gunfighter and Crazy Valet are but two exmaples of fabulous games. And then, you see a prototype, like Lord of the Rings, and you wonder why this cart was never released.

 

So, how about it: how would today's Atari 2600 games fare on yesterday's market?

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I think these homebrews would have sold well-

Thrust

SCSIcide

Alfreds Challenge

Oystron

 

I like these puzzle games,but wonder how well they might have done back then-

Okie Dokie

QB

Jammed

Crazy Valet

 

These unreleased games might have been good-

Xevious

Sinistar(if completed)

Shooting Arcade(if Atari had really wanted to push the lightgun)

LOTR

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I agree with liquid_sky on the SCSIside point.

I think the modern games would probably be the mid-range games of the original period with a few exceptional stand-outs (Gunfight, Qb to name a couple).

 

Every Stan old is new again

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I think many of the new homebrew games stack up quite well against the classics. Programmers these days can draw upon the knowledge learned in twenty years of programming the Atari 2600. And programmers back in the late 70s and early 80s didn't have access to the vast resources and collaboration that the Internet offers today. Programmers at each company probably had to learn everything from scratch, I doubt there was much sharing of knowledge between companies (not including people defecting from one company to another, of course).

 

We're seeing some impressive 2600 games coming out, especially given that these are being created by hobbyists in their spare time. I guess that's part of what makes most of these games special, is that they're not done by paid professionals but instead by people who want to make games everyone can enjoy. That's not to say the paid professionals didn't also want to make fun games, but there certainly are many stinkers out there that only could have been released to make a quick buck.

 

To answer your question of how today's homebrews would fare in yesterday's market, I have to say it probably would come down to marketing. We all know how great a game Pac-Man turned out to be, but how many people rushed out and bought Pac-Man because of Atari's marketing muscle? Back then, a game without any marketing probably wouldn't sell terribly well, especially in such a saturated market. That's not to say good games wouldn't sell, but you didn't have the word-of-mouth that today's Internet offers. Homebrews would also have to compete with the many licensed games with established names, such as all the arcade conversions and titles licensed from movies. Many of those titles had built-in marketing.

 

..Al

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quote:

Originally posted by dwh:

I think these homebrews would have sold well-

...


I think some more of the EbiVision tiltes, "This Planet Sucks" and the Tetris variations are missing in your list. IMO "Qb" is more an action than a puzzle game and sure would have sold very well.

 

And some of the upcoming new homebrews are looking also quite promising.

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I wonder if Qb would have spawned a licensing issue in the "Pac-Man vs K.C. Munchkin" variety, with Q*bert. Although the games are different, you have the similar names and a hopping gameplay mechanic... that's enough to spawn a lawsuit these days.

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QB would have probably been sued for being too similar to QBert (It even has the first 2 letters!).

 

And K.C. Munchkin was a lot more fun that Atari's Pac-Man was. I had a friend who had it back in the day and we used to play that one a lot. I haven't been in contact with him for years so I don't know if he still has it or not.

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quote:

Originally posted by AtariDude:

QB would have probably been sued for being too similar to QBert (It even has the first 2 letters!).


 

 

What rubbish. The games are nothing like each other, and hey, Quick Basic is referred to as QBASIC which also starts with the same two letters.

 

Have you actually PLAYED Qb?

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quote:

Originally posted by robsterman:

how would today's Atari 2600 games fare on yesterday's market?

 

It depends on who released the game. If they were released by Atari or Activision they would be big sellers no matter how bad they might be.

 

On the other hand, if the same titles were released by Commavid or Telesys, they would probably be ignored by the general public no matter how good they might be.

 

[ 02-16-2002: Message edited by: rolenta ]

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Oh yeah, if it had been released 'back in the day' QB would have been a smash hit, Andrew would have worked for Activision, become a household name, and now be retired with, like, his own island and 30 wives

..and Bill Gates would come round every wednesday to wash his car.

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