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DamonicFury

In praise of 2600 Missile Command

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I played a lot of 2600 Missile Command as a kid. It was one of the first games I got with my Atari way back on Chirstmas 1981. It remained my favorite game for a long time.

 

Recently, I've become hugely enamored of the original arcade game, having luckily acquired one at an auction. It's enormously addictive and challenging, and I'm constantly driven to try to improve my performance on it.

 

Yesterday, I decided to fire up the old 2600 version and see how it 'felt' in comparison. And you know what? It's STILL an incredible game.

 

Yes, it's missing the left and right bases, the MIRV'ing missiles and the bomb-dropping planes and sattelites. Despite all this, it's still just as challenging, if not more so, than it's arcade parent (if the smart bombs are correctly made to be 'smart', of course.) The programmer, Rub Fulop, did an amazing job at porting this game, especially for the time in which it was released.

 

1. It was among the first (possibly the first?) 2600 game from Atari itself that featured a non-blocky score display.

2. The colors and sounds are reproduced fairly closely from the original arcade game.

3. The 2600's limitations (only three ABM explosions at a time) create a challenge that largely make up for the missing features of the arcade game. Since you can't "spray" your shots the way you can in the arcade, you must aim each of them with maximum accuracy in the 2600 version to succeed.

 

In short, 2600 Missile Command was a great port of a truly great arcade game. :-)

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I totally agree with you on this one. Missile Command was one of the best arcade conversions for the 2600.

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You can with the trackball hack that was made.

 

Otherwise it would be just like using a joystick, it does add more feel to the game (I will only play Reactor with a trackball), but as in reponse, its not as good as if you fire up the hack.

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Yup, Missile Command is one of the classics. It's one of those games like Asteroids, Berzerk, Seaquest, and Stargate that I find myself going back to again and again.

 

I got a question....Do y'all have the same strategy I do? As in, when the missiles start dropping fast enough and you've lost a few cities, do you start to protect 1 or 2 cities neighboring your missile base? That's what usually happens to me....then I'll get a bonus city way out in the hinterlands, and I'll say "Sucks to be you!".

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It's funny that the city explosions are actually more detailed on the 2600 than they are in the arcade game. You get to see an animated mushroom cloud that reduces the city to rubble, as opposed to a simple fireball that simply "blots out" the city. The dust stirring up when a missile hits an empty lot is also a nice touch.

 

I also got a kick out of watching two missiles hit an already-destroyed city and end up creating another explosion. I'm sure it was a programming limitation more than anything, but it always made me laugh.

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Its easily one of my favourite 2600 games and one of my fave games full stop, the Jag version really rocks! :love: I love Atlantis too which is very much like it.

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Yes, Missle Command is easily one of my favorite carts of all time (As my avatar suggests). Fulop truly did a genious job on this game.

 

Now that you mention in, I too enjoy the Atari 2600 version of MC more versus the Arcade version!

 

Gotta run, I'm going to go get my Missle Command on!

 

SjN

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Yes, Missle Command is easily one of my favorite carts of all time (As my avatar suggests). Fulop truly did a genious job on this game.

930630[/snapback]

 

Such a good job, IIRC, that Atari gave him a gift certificate for a free turkey. Ungrateful guy never even redeemed the certificate, but instead left Atari. :)

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It's always been one of my favorites too. The 2600 version is, IMHO, a great example of how an arcade port can be modified to fit within the system's limitations without seriously compromising the gameplay.

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It's funny that the city explosions are actually more detailed on the 2600 than they are in the arcade game.  You get to see an animated mushroom cloud that reduces the city to rubble, as opposed to a simple fireball that simply "blots out" the city.  The dust stirring up when a missile hits an empty lot is also a nice touch.

 

I also got a kick out of watching two missiles hit an already-destroyed city and end up creating another explosion.  I'm sure it was a programming limitation more than anything, but it always made me laugh.

930593[/snapback]

"A Nuke is still a Nuke."

 

A real treat is the Atari 400/800 version. I drooled over that when I was a kid. Still only one base, but the game was about identical in every other way. It's usually the first cart I pop into the 'ol 400 when I play it.

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A real treat is the Atari 400/800 version.  I drooled over that when I was a kid.  Still only one base, but the game was about identical in every other way.  It's usually the first cart I pop into the 'ol 400 when I play it.

930943[/snapback]

 

It's one of the few 400/800 games where the analog joystick on the 5200 is actually good for something.

 

Missile Command is a clever game, in that there's really not all that much to the basic play mechanic but it looks really cool. I coded a 1K version of it for an Atari 2600 with a Supercharger http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?s...ic=73350&hl=sdi (the Supercharger adds 6K of RAM to the Atari 2600). Although the game doesn't have scoring digits (those would have used up 100 bytes or so) and the missiles simply hit the ground (15 hits==game over), it does have a level indicator and the play mechanic is IMHO pretty darned good. Up to 31 simultaneous missiles and explosions.

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MC was def well done - This was one of the few Arcade conversion I played alot on the 2600 - Bezerk and Venture are 2 others.

 

Fulop took the essence of MC and made it work on the hardware limitations - No one can say that the 2600 doesnt feel like the arcade - The only thing missing are the sattelites - but the balance in gameplay makes this a non-issue.

 

I love the 800 version also - though the programmer was a bit lazy not putting the additional graphics on the sattelites

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Some things that make it less than perfect to me: the lack of the giant THE END explosion cloud, and the high-score table for entering initials.

931102[/snapback]

 

You can't really single out Missile Command for that. Before 1984, virtually no Atari 2600 games had high score tables or "Game Over" screens. The memory for them just wasn't there.

 

Actually, Missile Command was one of the first 2600 games (or perhaps even the first) to have any kind of feature specifically for the end of the game, as opposed to just going to back to the color-shifting pattern. That final explosion always impressed me when I was a kid.

 

The majority of my Atari time back in those days was spent on a tiny 13" black-and-white TV. When I lost the game and that explosion lit up the screen, the rapid changes in light made it a little hard for that poor TV to keep the picture steady. As a result, everything on screen would shake, making it seem that much more destructive, that much more "final." As happy as I would be whenever my mother would let me hook the Atari up to the living room's color TV, that part of the game just never had the same effect.

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Missle Command was one of my most played games back in the VCS' heyday. And it may well be the best game on the Flashback 2 (lack of comb filter and extra "bar graph" next to the bullets due to the FB2's hardware implementation notwithstanding).

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The majority of my Atari time back in those days was spent on a tiny 13" black-and-white TV.  When I lost the game and that explosion lit up the screen, the rapid changes in light made it a little hard for that poor TV to keep the picture steady.  As a result, everything on screen would shake, making it seem that much more destructive, that much more "final."  As happy as I would be whenever my mother would let me hook the Atari up to the living room's color TV, that part of the game just never had the same effect.

 

Hah that's great. :D

 

Speaking of old tv's, I remember on ours it had some major brightness control to the point where you could make the background 100% BLACK in games like Space War and thus get rid of the stupid green background. I would then jack up the color and the ships, shot and 'sun' would literally be flourescent againsts the black. Shots would start to have tracers too. It was great :D

 

Can't seem to do that on today's tv's though. The brightness just seems to lower the the glare of the entire screen.. including the ships. And you can never even really get the background pitch black :(

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And you can never even really get the background pitch black :(

931242[/snapback]

Space War Black - you'll need a Krok Cart, Cuttle Cart or a Supercharger. Edited by SpiceWare

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You can with the trackball hack that was made.

930580[/snapback]

 

I tried that hack through my Supercharger with my CX-80 trackball. No dice. The cursor just jiggles in place. I've tried it in JS and TB mode. Am I missing something?

 

Gotta run, I'm going to go get my Missle Command on!

930630[/snapback]

 

[insert Beavis & Butthead laugh here]

 

- Jason

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MC was def well done - This was one of the few Arcade conversion I played alot on the 2600 - Bezerk and Venture are 2 others.

 

Fulop took the essence of MC and made it work on the hardware limitations - No one can say that the 2600 doesnt feel like the arcade - The only thing missing are the sattelites - but the balance in gameplay makes this a non-issue.

 

I love the 800 version also - though the programmer was a bit lazy not putting the additional graphics on the sattelites

931111[/snapback]

 

What he said.

 

It's also one of a few 2600 games that I play.

 

Having said that, I had never bothered with Dragster until the thread about the game in this forum.

 

2600 games can really have some hidden depths, but MC is top class right upfront.

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