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Scott Stilphen

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  1. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from TrekMD in Newsletter section now online at Atari Compendium   
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/newsletters/newsletters.html
  2. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from GRay Defender in Newsletter section now online at Atari Compendium   
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/newsletters/newsletters.html
  3. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from GRay Defender in Art of Atari book review   
    A beautiful-looking book, albeit a misnamed one.  From the moment you flip open the front cover, you immediately realize the focus is on Atari’s VCS/2600 games, which is a shame since Atari was a coin-op company for 5 years before the VCS was released, and coin-op games are only briefly covered.  The author probably should have stuck to the topic of game artwork, instead of veering into other areas (like prototype hardware), and attempts at being a historical reference book only succeed in making some of the factual errors within even more glaring.  Starting at pg. 57, there’s plenty of photos of VCS game boxes, although some of the boxes photographed are noticeably creased or damaged – starting with the first box, Air-Sea Battle.  Hundreds of thousands of copies were made and sold of the games in question. Time should have been spent finding better copies to photograph, considering the overall look (and price) of either edition.  Also, the games appear in random order, not alphabetically, so finding a specific game requires use of the index.  The first and last 3 pages are all screenshots of VCS games – except one.  Of the 108 screenshots, one is the 7800 version of Galaga.  Two are of games originally released by Coleco (Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior), and one is a bad screenshot of BASIC Programming (which was used again on page 98).  
     
    Notable errors (considering Marty Goldberg is credited for his "fact-checking", I suppose this is yet another book he has corrupted):
     
    Pg. 18, 49 The 7800 was initially released by Atari Inc. in 1984, not Jack Tramiel’s Atari Corp., who re-released it in 1986.
     
    Pg. 61  Cliff Spohn talks about Atari wanting to cut the artwork off from the outer edges.  Only the original, gate-fold Combat boxes included the full artwork as shown.  The 2nd trimmed should have been included for comparison.
     
    Pg. 64  Atari’s coin-op Starship 1 was released in 1976, not 1977; the VCS version (Star Ship) was released in 1977.
     
    Pg. 66   There were 3 coin-op “snake” games released in 1976 - Barricade (Ramtek), Bigfoot Bonkers (Meadows) and Blockade (UPL, Gremlin).
     
    Pg. 76  “I thought of Monte Carlo, outdoors, images of the car…”  Should be “images of the cards”.
     
    Pg. 86  Night Driver was the first VCS driving video game to offer a 1st-person perspective, but the arcade game was inspired by Nürburgring 1 (Dr.-Ing. Reiner Foerst GmbH 1976).
     
    Pg. 87  No mention of Outlaw’s artwork being a copy of that found on the poster for the movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales.
     
    Pg. 113  The interior manual artwork appears in the 1988 re-release of Pele’s Soccer.
     
    Pg. 115  As with Outlaw, there’s no mention of the artwork for VCS Space Invaders being a close copy of the artwork for Boston’s early albums, particularly their 2nd album, “Don’t Look Back”, except for in the book's afterword.  The artist for the Boston artwork was Gary Norman, but the artist for S.I. is simply Norman.  There's no other information the book about him or whether or not he's the same artist, or why an in-house artist wasn't used.
     
    Pg. 123  The Asteroids artwork is turned 90 degrees to the right, compared to how it appeared on the packaging.
     
    Pg. 130  Only half of the interior 5200 Missile Command artwork appears in the manual, and only in 1 color (red).
     
    Pg. 133  Both the coin-op and VCS versions of Warlords were developed concurrently.  The coin-op version was released first and featured multiple balls.  Programmer Jim Huether was the model Steve Hendricks used for his artwork, but the book makes no mention of this.
     
    Pg. 135  States the photo on the preceding page was for a 4-player Football ad, but the photo shows a baseball pitcher.  Atari never released a 4-player Baseball coin-op.
     
    Pg 136  States the VCS wasn’t able to reproduce the arcade game’s speech, which is incorrect.  Not only was the VCS capable of digitized speech, as shown with Quadrun and Open Sesame, Mike Mika released a version of Berzerk in 2002 that included voice samples during the game.
     
    Also, the interior artwork shown is cropped, compared to how it appears in the manual.
     
    Pg. 152  There’s no mention of this but besides Elliot’s expression, another change was made with the artwork – the “diamonds” around the center of the spaceship were made smaller.  The large diamonds appeared on a promo box and the initial run of cartridges.
     

    Pg. 164 States, “Atari paid handsomely for the exclusive rights to bring Pac-Man to the 2600.”  According to Al Alcorn, Atari signed a deal with Namco in 1978 for $1 million that gave Atari the rights to all of Namco's arcade games.  Pac-Man (AKA Puck Man) didn't exist in 1978, and considering the success the game would eventually have, Atari paid far less than it was truly worth, and Atari also got Galaxian as part of the same deal.
     

    Pg. 170  States, “the technical aspects of the 2600 made creating a mirror image of the arcade counterpart nearly impossible”, which is incorrect.  Several hacks and homebrews have been created in the last 15+ years to prove a better version could have absolutely been done with only 4K.
     
    Pg. 182  The RealSports cover art is reversed on the packaging.  Also, only the 2nd interior artwork appears in the VCS and 5200 manuals, and both are in color.
     
    Pg. 202 Ralph McQuarrie - the most famous artist outside of Atari mentioned in the book - did the artwork for VCS Vanguard and yet there's no story as to how this came about.  His name isn't even included in the index.
     
    Pg. 206  The photo caption states the artwork shown appeared in the Yars’ Revenge manual, but it didn’t.
     
    Pg. 211 The description for Big Bird’s Egg Catch says you have to catch eggs from one of two chutes, but different variations offer anywhere from 2 to 5 chutes, and a screenshot for the game on the first page shows 4 chutes.
     
    Pg. 221  The top photo caption states the color guide and marker comp was for the 400/800 version, but the illustrated screenshot is clearly for the VCS version.
     
    Pg. 222-223  The artwork shown is for the 400/800 versions, but the screenshots shown are for the VCS versions, which weren’t done by Atari but rather Coleco.
     
    Pg. 234  Incorrectly states players in Mario Bros. hurl fireballs.
     
    Pg. 238  The first interior artwork shown did not appear in either the VCS or 5200 manuals.
     
    Pg. 244  The Pole Position artwork shown is actually for Pole Position II.
     
    Pg. 246  The artwork shown on page 247 also appeared on the July/Aug 1983 V2N2 cover of Atari Age magazine.
     
    Pg. 262  Incorrectly states the winner of the SwordQuest FireWorld contest, Michael Rideout, melted down the Chalice prize to pay for college.  The winner of the SwordQuest EarthWorld contest, Steven Bell, is the one who melted down his Talisman prize to pay for college.
     
    Pg 264  Claims the SwordQuest WaterWorld contest was held and the Crown prize awarded, but as of yet, there’s no evidence that any of this happened.
     
    Pg. 266  Claims the final 2 SwordQuest prizes were returned to the Franklin Mint and ultimately destroyed, but again, there’s no evidence that any of this happened.
     
    Pg. 258  No high-resolution packaging artwork for SwordQuest EarthWorld; instead, a picture of a box with creases.  Also, Atari Age magazine is written as one word “AtariAge”.
     
    Pg. 260, 262.  Atari Age magazine is written as one word “AtariAge”.
     
    Pg. 276  Jr. Pac-Man featured a side-scrolling maze in the arcade version, but the VCS version features a vertically-scrolling maze.
     
    Pg. 279  The first photo caption states this was interior manual art for the 2600 and 5200 versions, but it only appeared in the 5200 manual.
     
    Pg. 280  Incorrectly states the artwork shown was for the VCS manual.  It didn't appear in the manual, but was featured in an ad for the game, on the back cover of Atari Age magazine (V2,N5).
     
    Pg. 291  Incorrectly states KLAX was released 12 years after the VCS system was released; it was 14 years.
     
    Pg. 298  The VCS model 2600A was a 4-switch version, not 6-switch as incorrectly stated.  Also, the Space Age joystick is a copy of Milton Bradley's proposed HD2000 joystick, and not based on the prototype trigger controllers shown.
     
    Pg. 303.  The 5200 controllers were not “spin-sensitive”.
     
    Pg. 317  Axlon is misspelled as “Axalon”.
     
    Pg. 321  “Tank II was to be the numerical sequel to Atari’s Tank arcade game.”  Atari (under Kee Games) released a Tank II arcade game in 1974, the same year as the original.  The “II” moniker for the home console was likely to indicate it was for 2 players.
     
    Pg. 328  Atari Age magazine is written as one word “AtariAge”.
     
    Pg. 329  Key Games didn’t just clone Atari games, they released many exclusive games, like Drag Race, Sprint One, Sprint 2, Super Bug, Tank, and Ultra Tank.
  4. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from RickR in EPCOT 35th Anniversary Merch   
    I went to the park back in 1982 soon after it opened.  It was basically Tomorrowland as its own park.  I'll attach some photos.  I'm pretty sure I also still have a commemorative ticket from that trip.  The two CommuniCore centers under the sphere were totally amazing at the time.  I remember they had touchscreens in there to try.  Hard to imagine now, but at the time, that was truly sci-fi stuff  Innoventions replaced all that with video games, which was a real letdown (I walked in and walked right back out).  The hydroponics farm in The Land was something else far ahead of its time.  The rides were really rather 'weak' IMO (as a kid, it didn't take long to be bored with waiting in lines at various Epcot buildings, only to be bored by the ride itself).  There was nothing like Space Mountain, that's for sure.  By the time they added Test Track (an attempt to draw more visitors, but it was hardly Future World material), the park was really dated/neglected, and a lot of the stuff worth seeing was gone.  It was a shame because Epcot was always intended to be in constant 'flux' and updated as new technologies came along, and it just wasn't.   I think Horizons was boarded up at the time, and I remember walking around and seeing garbage in the various ponds, which was rather shocking for a Disney park.  Last time I was there was in 2001 and Horizons was gone so I haven't seen Mission: Space or any of the newer additions.
     
    I'm also attaching an article I came across in the September 1982 issue of spectrum magazine about the park.


    epcot - spectrum_sep82.pdf
  5. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from kamakazi20012 in Atari Video System X   
    Pages 30-31 from that issue feature an ad for the 5200 ("Atari Introduces the 5200 SuperSystem").  Jump down to pages 64-70 to the article about the 5200, but the photo shown is the earlier "Video System X" model.  Guess they didn't get any updated photos from Atari to use?  To Arnie Katz's credit, he recognizes the immediate problem with the controllers and notes they made a poor substitute for paddles with the pack-in game, saying, "If Atari doesn't intend to produce a paddle, it would be a kindness to electronic gamers to refrain from creating games that require such a command device."  In the next paragraph, he goes on to say the system has 64K!  But then later says, "With the exception of Galaxian, all titles in the first group of releases are copied from either the computer or VCS catalogs with only the slightest changes."  Katz then claims Super Breakout "is certainly one of the best games ever packaged with a videogame system(!?), it isn't exactly fresh and new."  
     
    Super Breakout was the worst pack-in IMO.  Friend of mine got the system as soon as it came out (late 1982) and playing that game with those controllers was such a letdown for a system that had been hyped all year, especially if you'd had already played the Atari computer version, which came out in 1979, and you realized what the next-gen system really was (an Atari 400)!  Trying to play a paddle game with a joystick was a huge step backwards.  I ended up getting a 5200 sometime in 1983, for Pac-Man more than anything else, but my copy of Super Breakout sat in the box until I sold the system.
  6. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Rhynekbc in What ever happened to the Swordquest prizes?   
    In the book, "Art of Atari" by Tim Lapetino, the following info appears on page 264:
     
     
     
     
    Both Vendel and Goldberg are mentioned in the acknowledgements section, so it seems their book of errors has started to contaminate others.  At least Lapetino states the crown was "allegedly" awarded (since, as I mentioned, no evidence has been shown to prove it ever happened).
     
    There's also some neat promotional artwork for the Philosopher's Stone that appears in his book, as well as a nice copy of the AirWorld box art:


  7. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Rhynekbc in What ever happened to the Swordquest prizes?   
    I've done more research on the SwordQuest games than anyone else in the hobby.   Here's my SwordQuest Revisited article, which is a compilation of everything to date:
     
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/articles/swordquest_revisited/swordquest_revisited.html
     
    I also recovered the SwordQuest Archive of Adventure website that Lafe Travis created in 1997, which featured Russy Perry Jr.'s solutions for the first 3 games in the series which originally appeared in the 2600 Connection newsletter:
     
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/articles/swordquest_archive_of_adventure/swordquest_solutions.html
     
    My Revisited article was meant to be a companion to the AoA. I also created the interview webpage for the Michael Rideout interview (on Digital Press).
     
    After reading Eric Grundhauser's article (which btw, features some of my photos but doesn't credit me for them) and seeing that he quoted Vendel and Goldberg, who are less historians and more historical revisionists, I expected it would include some incorrect and/or unproven "facts".
     
     
    In the Volume 2, Number 10 issue of Atari Life (Atari's internal newsletter), CED Product Manager Joel Oberman claimed more than half a million EarthWorld cartridges were sold in the U.S., and of those, only 1% - 5,000 - were semi-finalists.
     
    According to Robert Ruiz Jr., who created the "Adventurer's Club" in 1984, over 4,000 entered the contest.
     
     
     
    Should have said neither were either completed.
     
     
     
     
    Was this confirmed with Bell himself?  If so, why is there no proof of it online?  Why has this never been mentioned anywhere?  As of now, it has NOT been confirmed.
       
       
      Again, where's the proof behind this statement?  If someone won a $25,000 crown, you better believe we would have heard about it before now, either from the person who won it or someone who knows them.  Also, the SwordQuest Challenge was a nationally-advertised contest.  Vendel's claim that the WaterWorld contest had to be completed for the sole reason the game was released and people submitted entries for it doesn't ring true because the contest was comprised of FOUR games.  Each game's contest was part of reaching the overall contest- to win the sword!  Why else would Atari have paid off the winners of the EarthWorld and FireWorld contests if they legally didn't have to (because AirWorld was never released)?   From Michael Rideout:    
      So if Atari indeed had some "super secret" playoff, what of the rumor of Atari paying off the WaterWorld finalists?   If Atari paid off the 10 finalists at least $2,000 each, that would be nearly as much as what the Crown was valued at!   But again, no finalists have ever come forward to corroborate this semi-secret, non-public playoff, and IMO until someone does, this is just another unfounded rumor.   Finally, as to the whereabouts of the remaining prizes, there lies the ultimate rumor.    
      The Philosopher's Stone was housed in an 18K gold box, but the stone itself was actually a large piece of white jade, and not something that could be "smelted back down".  If the remaining prizes ended up back with the Franklin Mint, I'm surprised nobody there would have the foresight to hold on to them because, even though their base materials would always fluctuate in value, the prizes themselves would have eventually been worth more, being they would always be unique, one-of-a-kind items.    
      For one thing, that rumor stems from Vendel himself, from a post Vendel made on the rec.games.video.classic newsgroup back in 1998:   http://tinyurl.com/lqcybvk    
    Curt Vendel   4/13/98   Other recipients: ah...@freenet.carleton.ca   Hi Bill,     Go to www.atari.nu, goto the Atari Archives Section and read the Other Atari Projects area titled: Atari SwordQuest, you'll find out quite a bit, also if you decide to play the game, there is also a link to the SwordQuest Solution Site, also go to www.atarihq.com, there is an interview with the winner of the Fireworld contest.      In breif, Earthworld and Fireworld were widely released, both contests were run, WaterWorld was only released to Atari Club members through Atari Age magazine, since it was released in limited quantities and the company was in the middle of being sold, the Waterworld contest was cancelled, as to what happened to the crown prize is unknown, AirWorld was never started and as for the Knowledge Stone prize, that too is unknown.   However I found out several months ago from a close friend of Jack Tramiel the former owner of Atari, that the $50,000 sword of ultimate power is hanging over his fireplace in his home in California.   Curt     So which story is it, and who was involved?  Was the unnamed person a close friend or an Atari employee?  What's the person's name?  Were they a man or a woman?  lol  He offered no other information other than it was a close friend... or an Atari employee.  In my experience, you need to identify your source(s) of information, so that others can independently verify the information, because without that, your story is just that - a story - and it has no value or meaning.   Vendel also claimed in his RGVC post that the WaterWorld contest was cancelled and that AirWorld was never started.  See my Revisited article for statements from Tod Frye regarding how far he got with programming AirWorld (20% completed, by his estimate):   http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/articles/swordquest_revisited/swordquest_revisited.html#aw   All I know is, if Tod Frye - the person who CREATED the SwordQuest contest to begin with believes the prizes ended up with Jack Tramiel, then until I see some definite proof otherwise, at this time that's the story.   Lastly, the Atari-Warner Bros.-Franklin Mint connection was found by John Hardie, as he mentioned in his Michael Rideout interview:    
       
  8. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Arenafoot in Atari Ireland: Tipperary’s Arcade Connection   
    Great article about the Atari Ireland arcade factory in Tipperary, along with several never-before-scene photos:
    https://arcadeblogger.com/2017/08/25/atari-ireland/
  9. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from The Professor in Atari Ireland: Tipperary’s Arcade Connection   
    Great article about the Atari Ireland arcade factory in Tipperary, along with several never-before-scene photos:
    https://arcadeblogger.com/2017/08/25/atari-ireland/
  10. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from RickR in Atari Video System X   
    Pages 30-31 from that issue feature an ad for the 5200 ("Atari Introduces the 5200 SuperSystem").  Jump down to pages 64-70 to the article about the 5200, but the photo shown is the earlier "Video System X" model.  Guess they didn't get any updated photos from Atari to use?  To Arnie Katz's credit, he recognizes the immediate problem with the controllers and notes they made a poor substitute for paddles with the pack-in game, saying, "If Atari doesn't intend to produce a paddle, it would be a kindness to electronic gamers to refrain from creating games that require such a command device."  In the next paragraph, he goes on to say the system has 64K!  But then later says, "With the exception of Galaxian, all titles in the first group of releases are copied from either the computer or VCS catalogs with only the slightest changes."  Katz then claims Super Breakout "is certainly one of the best games ever packaged with a videogame system(!?), it isn't exactly fresh and new."  
     
    Super Breakout was the worst pack-in IMO.  Friend of mine got the system as soon as it came out (late 1982) and playing that game with those controllers was such a letdown for a system that had been hyped all year, especially if you'd had already played the Atari computer version, which came out in 1979, and you realized what the next-gen system really was (an Atari 400)!  Trying to play a paddle game with a joystick was a huge step backwards.  I ended up getting a 5200 sometime in 1983, for Pac-Man more than anything else, but my copy of Super Breakout sat in the box until I sold the system.
  11. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Justin in What are the real facts behind Pac-Man’s 2600 development?   
    Just to reiterate some of Frye's contradictions:
     
    Development - has claimed:
    6 weeks - as quoted in the book, Racing The Beam (pg. 67)
    5 months - as quoted in the April 1998 Next Generation article
    6 months - as quoted in the documentary Stella At 20 - 
    (12 min in) 
    4K vs 8K - in the same Next Gen article, Frye mentioned 8K ROMS weren't available when he started programming it.  VCS Asteroids came out in July/August 1981 and was the first 8K VCS game released.  The bank-switching technique was developed (but not put into production) 2 years before, for Video Chess.  In this thread (http://atariage.com/forums/topic/232660-pac-man-review-from-1982/page-8), Goldberg claims to quote Tod from a Facebook conversation they had regarding the story about him being offered use of an 8K ROM for Pac-Man, which is something Rob Zdybel said happened in Once Upon Atari:
      Goldberg: Were you offered to move to 8K for Pac-Man towards the end of coding for it?   Frye: Nope. 8k wasn't even an option until after Pacman coding was complete.  I did have a meeting after Pacman came out, to assess the possibility of a quick revision with less flicker, if we used 8k as an option.   Goldberg: So where did the claim that you originally asked for 8K come from?   Frye: It came from thin air. I never considered 8k. rom was not really an issue. ram was.  
    Popularity - Frye also stated, "Pac-Man wasn't a particularly big game.  'Pac-Man fever' hit between the start and the finish of the project."   PuckMan was released in Japan in May 1980 and the Midway Pac-Man version in October 1980.  Working backwards, VCS Pac-Man came out late March 1982, and production took a good 10 weeks (2.5 months, so Tod likely finished it no later than December 1981 (since the game's copyright date is 1981 which reflects when programming was completed).  Go back 5 months at most for programming, so let's say he started no later than July 1981.  So since October 1980, Pac-Man wasn't a huge hit by the following summer?  A friend of mine remembers the Tomy and Entex handhelds coming out almost immediately together and Coleco's arriving quite a bit later (all in 1981).  Can't find any release date for Odyssey2 K.C. Munchkin; it was definitely out by January 1982 (it was reviewed in the March 1982 issue of Electronic Games), and possibly a few months before that.  Also, Buckner and Garcia's song was released December 1981 (and the album in January 1982). 
     
    Colored background - In a keynote from the 2015 Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Frye states he wish he had made a black background with a blue maze, but claims Atari had a rule against black backgrounds because it would have burned the maze into the CRT (apparently this rule didn't apply to space games...).  This makes no sense since Atari touted the anti-burn-in effects of the VCS from day one, plus Tod included the color cycling code routine in his Pac-Man game!  And I've never heard any other Atari VCS programmer state such a requirement, either.  The story I heard back then was that Pac-Man had a colored background and muted colors, to help make the flickering monsters less noticeable (and they were relabeled as ghosts because of their flickering, which was more logical to accept than having flickering monsters).
     

  12. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from PacManPlus in Ms. Pac-Man - what went wrong with this version?   
    Maybe not (yet), but there's a lot more Atari 8-bit computer and 5200 owners out there
  13. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Justin in Ms. Pac-Man - what went wrong with this version?   
    If anybody can do it, it's you, Bob
  14. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from TrekMD in Ms. Pac-Man - what went wrong with this version?   
    If anybody can do it, it's you, Bob
  15. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Justin in Atari VCS/2600 carts   
    Latest update (1 week later)
  16. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from The Professor in Tempest 4000 is real, Jeff Minter is developing it and Atari is publishing it   
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-08-08-tempest-4000-is-real-jeff-minter-is-developing-it-and-atari-is-publishing-it
     
     
    By Wesley Yin-Poole Published 08/08/2017
    Surprise! Atari has announced Tempest 4000, the sequel to the classic arcade game Tempest, is coming out later in 2017 for PC and consoles.
      And get this - Tempest 4000 is being developed by Jeff Minter, creator of Tempest 2000, the 1994 remake of the Dave Theurer 1981 arcade game, Tempest.
    Here's the official blurb, courtesy of Atari:
    "In Tempest 4000, players are once again in control of the Claw, a powerful spacecraft equipped to destroy deadly creatures and other obstructions with rapid-fire shots on vibrant geometric prisms. With three game modes to choose from and 100 levels to conquer, players must eliminate all enemies as quickly as possible to survive and achieve that coveted spot at the top of the leaderboards."
    Those three games mode are standard, pure and endurance. There's a 4K resolution and a retro soundtrack inspired by 1990s techno.
    Here's a quote from current Atari boss Todd Shallbetter:
    "The original Tempest is a beloved arcade classic with a unique style and intense, edge-of-your-seat gameplay.
    "We're thrilled to be able to work with Jeff Minter again, someone who is a legend in the industry and has made a huge impact on the history of video games, to develop this highly-anticipated next installment of the Tempest franchise, updated with today's technology."
    News that Minter is once again working with Atari comes as something of a surprise. Back in 2015 Minter said he was "beyond disgusted" with Atari after the company blocked the release of his Vita game TxK on new platforms over similarities with Tempest.
       Follow Jeff Minter   @llamasoft_ox
    So yeah all the stuff we had ready or near ready will now never see the light of day.No TxK PC, PS4, Oculus, GearVR, Android. Thank "Atari". 7:34 AM - Mar 18, 2015     80 80 Replies       274 274 Retweets       67 67 likes
    Twitter Ads info and privacy     TxK, which Minter called a "distantly related sequel" to Tempest 2000, launched on Vita to critical acclaim in February 2014. Martin Robinson wrote in his 9/10 review: "All you need to know right now is that TxK is Minter at his finest, and it's absolutely mint."
     
    Well, it sounds like the pair have patched things up. Here's a quote from Minter from Atari's press release:
    "At the end of the day, video gamers always win. I am very happy to work with Atari again to bring a long-awaited sequel of Tempest to our legion of fans and a new generation of gamers worldwide."
    As for Tempest 4000 itself, Atari hasn't released any screenshots or gameplay footage, but did say the game will be at Gamescom later this month, so hopefully it won't be too long before we see some footage.
  17. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from The Professor in Ms. Pac-Man - what went wrong with this version?   
    The 5200 version of Pac-Man was quite amazing at the time when it came out in late 1982 (compared to the rotten VCS version).  It was even better than the 400/800 version that was released a few months earlier (which lacked intermissions and proper monster AI).  But the first time I played 5200 Ms. Pac-Man, it was apparent that although it looked better (esp from screenshots), it didn't run nearly as smooth as Pac-Man.  The mazes were also smaller, having all this wasted screen space around them.  On top of that, it flickered like crazy!  In fact, it shows the same flickering issues that VCS Ms. Pac-Man had, due to the use of vertical separation and variable flicker.  However, neither of those techniques were required for the 8-bit hardware since that allowed for up to 4 independent sprites (called "player/missile graphics"), instead of the 2 the VCS hardware offered.  And the 4 missiles can be combined to basically make another 'sprite', giving you 5.  Just look at the 1st Ms. Pac-Man intermission - you have 2 Pac-Man characters and 2 monsters, and when all 4 are on the same horizontal 'line' at the end, the 2 monsters alternately flicker - you can't even get a screenshot of them both at that point, and there's only FOUR objects on the screen!  Rather shocking to see just how poorly this version was implemented, being it's basically GCC's flagship title, and considering just how amazing the VCS version is.

  18. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from GRay Defender in Tempest 4000 is real, Jeff Minter is developing it and Atari is publishing it   
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-08-08-tempest-4000-is-real-jeff-minter-is-developing-it-and-atari-is-publishing-it
     
     
    By Wesley Yin-Poole Published 08/08/2017
    Surprise! Atari has announced Tempest 4000, the sequel to the classic arcade game Tempest, is coming out later in 2017 for PC and consoles.
      And get this - Tempest 4000 is being developed by Jeff Minter, creator of Tempest 2000, the 1994 remake of the Dave Theurer 1981 arcade game, Tempest.
    Here's the official blurb, courtesy of Atari:
    "In Tempest 4000, players are once again in control of the Claw, a powerful spacecraft equipped to destroy deadly creatures and other obstructions with rapid-fire shots on vibrant geometric prisms. With three game modes to choose from and 100 levels to conquer, players must eliminate all enemies as quickly as possible to survive and achieve that coveted spot at the top of the leaderboards."
    Those three games mode are standard, pure and endurance. There's a 4K resolution and a retro soundtrack inspired by 1990s techno.
    Here's a quote from current Atari boss Todd Shallbetter:
    "The original Tempest is a beloved arcade classic with a unique style and intense, edge-of-your-seat gameplay.
    "We're thrilled to be able to work with Jeff Minter again, someone who is a legend in the industry and has made a huge impact on the history of video games, to develop this highly-anticipated next installment of the Tempest franchise, updated with today's technology."
    News that Minter is once again working with Atari comes as something of a surprise. Back in 2015 Minter said he was "beyond disgusted" with Atari after the company blocked the release of his Vita game TxK on new platforms over similarities with Tempest.
       Follow Jeff Minter   @llamasoft_ox
    So yeah all the stuff we had ready or near ready will now never see the light of day.No TxK PC, PS4, Oculus, GearVR, Android. Thank "Atari". 7:34 AM - Mar 18, 2015     80 80 Replies       274 274 Retweets       67 67 likes
    Twitter Ads info and privacy     TxK, which Minter called a "distantly related sequel" to Tempest 2000, launched on Vita to critical acclaim in February 2014. Martin Robinson wrote in his 9/10 review: "All you need to know right now is that TxK is Minter at his finest, and it's absolutely mint."
     
    Well, it sounds like the pair have patched things up. Here's a quote from Minter from Atari's press release:
    "At the end of the day, video gamers always win. I am very happy to work with Atari again to bring a long-awaited sequel of Tempest to our legion of fans and a new generation of gamers worldwide."
    As for Tempest 4000 itself, Atari hasn't released any screenshots or gameplay footage, but did say the game will be at Gamescom later this month, so hopefully it won't be too long before we see some footage.
  19. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Justin in Tempest 4000 is real, Jeff Minter is developing it and Atari is publishing it   
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-08-08-tempest-4000-is-real-jeff-minter-is-developing-it-and-atari-is-publishing-it
     
     
    By Wesley Yin-Poole Published 08/08/2017
    Surprise! Atari has announced Tempest 4000, the sequel to the classic arcade game Tempest, is coming out later in 2017 for PC and consoles.
      And get this - Tempest 4000 is being developed by Jeff Minter, creator of Tempest 2000, the 1994 remake of the Dave Theurer 1981 arcade game, Tempest.
    Here's the official blurb, courtesy of Atari:
    "In Tempest 4000, players are once again in control of the Claw, a powerful spacecraft equipped to destroy deadly creatures and other obstructions with rapid-fire shots on vibrant geometric prisms. With three game modes to choose from and 100 levels to conquer, players must eliminate all enemies as quickly as possible to survive and achieve that coveted spot at the top of the leaderboards."
    Those three games mode are standard, pure and endurance. There's a 4K resolution and a retro soundtrack inspired by 1990s techno.
    Here's a quote from current Atari boss Todd Shallbetter:
    "The original Tempest is a beloved arcade classic with a unique style and intense, edge-of-your-seat gameplay.
    "We're thrilled to be able to work with Jeff Minter again, someone who is a legend in the industry and has made a huge impact on the history of video games, to develop this highly-anticipated next installment of the Tempest franchise, updated with today's technology."
    News that Minter is once again working with Atari comes as something of a surprise. Back in 2015 Minter said he was "beyond disgusted" with Atari after the company blocked the release of his Vita game TxK on new platforms over similarities with Tempest.
       Follow Jeff Minter   @llamasoft_ox
    So yeah all the stuff we had ready or near ready will now never see the light of day.No TxK PC, PS4, Oculus, GearVR, Android. Thank "Atari". 7:34 AM - Mar 18, 2015     80 80 Replies       274 274 Retweets       67 67 likes
    Twitter Ads info and privacy     TxK, which Minter called a "distantly related sequel" to Tempest 2000, launched on Vita to critical acclaim in February 2014. Martin Robinson wrote in his 9/10 review: "All you need to know right now is that TxK is Minter at his finest, and it's absolutely mint."
     
    Well, it sounds like the pair have patched things up. Here's a quote from Minter from Atari's press release:
    "At the end of the day, video gamers always win. I am very happy to work with Atari again to bring a long-awaited sequel of Tempest to our legion of fans and a new generation of gamers worldwide."
    As for Tempest 4000 itself, Atari hasn't released any screenshots or gameplay footage, but did say the game will be at Gamescom later this month, so hopefully it won't be too long before we see some footage.
  20. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from RickR in Tempest 4000 is real, Jeff Minter is developing it and Atari is publishing it   
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-08-08-tempest-4000-is-real-jeff-minter-is-developing-it-and-atari-is-publishing-it
     
     
    By Wesley Yin-Poole Published 08/08/2017
    Surprise! Atari has announced Tempest 4000, the sequel to the classic arcade game Tempest, is coming out later in 2017 for PC and consoles.
      And get this - Tempest 4000 is being developed by Jeff Minter, creator of Tempest 2000, the 1994 remake of the Dave Theurer 1981 arcade game, Tempest.
    Here's the official blurb, courtesy of Atari:
    "In Tempest 4000, players are once again in control of the Claw, a powerful spacecraft equipped to destroy deadly creatures and other obstructions with rapid-fire shots on vibrant geometric prisms. With three game modes to choose from and 100 levels to conquer, players must eliminate all enemies as quickly as possible to survive and achieve that coveted spot at the top of the leaderboards."
    Those three games mode are standard, pure and endurance. There's a 4K resolution and a retro soundtrack inspired by 1990s techno.
    Here's a quote from current Atari boss Todd Shallbetter:
    "The original Tempest is a beloved arcade classic with a unique style and intense, edge-of-your-seat gameplay.
    "We're thrilled to be able to work with Jeff Minter again, someone who is a legend in the industry and has made a huge impact on the history of video games, to develop this highly-anticipated next installment of the Tempest franchise, updated with today's technology."
    News that Minter is once again working with Atari comes as something of a surprise. Back in 2015 Minter said he was "beyond disgusted" with Atari after the company blocked the release of his Vita game TxK on new platforms over similarities with Tempest.
       Follow Jeff Minter   @llamasoft_ox
    So yeah all the stuff we had ready or near ready will now never see the light of day.No TxK PC, PS4, Oculus, GearVR, Android. Thank "Atari". 7:34 AM - Mar 18, 2015     80 80 Replies       274 274 Retweets       67 67 likes
    Twitter Ads info and privacy     TxK, which Minter called a "distantly related sequel" to Tempest 2000, launched on Vita to critical acclaim in February 2014. Martin Robinson wrote in his 9/10 review: "All you need to know right now is that TxK is Minter at his finest, and it's absolutely mint."
     
    Well, it sounds like the pair have patched things up. Here's a quote from Minter from Atari's press release:
    "At the end of the day, video gamers always win. I am very happy to work with Atari again to bring a long-awaited sequel of Tempest to our legion of fans and a new generation of gamers worldwide."
    As for Tempest 4000 itself, Atari hasn't released any screenshots or gameplay footage, but did say the game will be at Gamescom later this month, so hopefully it won't be too long before we see some footage.
  21. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from MaximumRD in Final release SCRAMBLE for 2600 !   
    John does phenomenal work.  I had the chance to interview him about 10 years ago, when he started getting into programming the VCS:
     
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/interviews/john_champeau/interview_john_champeau.html
  22. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Starbuck66 in What are the real facts behind Pac-Man’s 2600 development?   
    There's some info about Frye in the VCS FAQ:
     
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/faq/faq.html#general25
     
    Frye has contradicted himself more than once, especially when it comes to specifics. But generally, he wasn't rushed with making VCS Pac-Man (Atari signed the licensing deal for it sometime in 1980, well before the game became a huge hit) and all the design choices were his and his alone. Frye is a very good technical programmer, but not one for making games that were interesting or having a lot of replay value. The fact is, VCS Pac-Man is atrocious. Most of his VCS games were either never released (Aquaventure, Save Mary) or finished (Ballblazer, Shooting Arcade, SwordQuest AirWorld, Xevious). Even his Atari 8-bit computer Asteroids is clunky. The one SwordQuest game he did finish and release (FireWorld) was a disaster, along with the whole contest. He actually never understood why people flipped out over the fact the tunnels in his Pac-Man were on the top and bottom, instead of the sides, as the above video shows.  And that's the essence of why his games (especially his arcade conversions) really aren't anything special. Todd wasn't a gamer, he was a programmer. To him, making games was simply a project to be completed, like making a deck. You get some boards, you put some posts up, and you nail all the boards together. Pac-Man was a maze game with dots and tunnels and 4 enemies, so he made a maze game with dots and tunnels and 4 enemies:
     
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebr9caOVlaU&feature=youtu.be&t=12m25s
     
    (jump to 12:25 to hear his comments about Pac-Man)
     
    In his mind, it was "Mission Accomplished". Making the game look or sound even remotely close to the arcade version simply wasn't a priority of his, and yet... that was the first thing everybody noticed before they even played it. And of course once they played it, they realized it had even less in common with the arcade game. Nobody expected it to be as good as the latest homebrew version (http://atariage.com/forums/topic/229152-new-pacman-for-atari-2600/) but there's been several hacks and homebrews in the last 15+ years to prove a better version could have absolutely been done with only 4K, so there's really no excuse for why it's so bad other than he was the wrong person for the job.
     
       
    Yep, Hiro's original artwork makes perfect sense since he depicted them as monsters and not ghosts
  23. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Starbuck66 in What are the real facts behind Pac-Man’s 2600 development?   
    I wrote an article about this years before that book came out, where I detailed the history of when the monsters in Pac-Man became ghosts.  Here's a copy of the article:
     
    http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/articles/pac-man_monsters_ghosts/pac-man_monsters_ghosts.html
     
     
    The authors of that book took issue with it because it didn't jive with their pre-conceived assumptions.
     
     
     
    Yes, yes they are.  But more than that, their book is full of incorrect information, which I mentioned a few examples of in my article.
  24. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Lost Dragon in What are the real facts behind Pac-Man’s 2600 development?   
    Just to reiterate some of Frye's contradictions:
     
    Development - has claimed:
    6 weeks - as quoted in the book, Racing The Beam (pg. 67)
    5 months - as quoted in the April 1998 Next Generation article
    6 months - as quoted in the documentary Stella At 20 - 
    (12 min in) 
    4K vs 8K - in the same Next Gen article, Frye mentioned 8K ROMS weren't available when he started programming it.  VCS Asteroids came out in July/August 1981 and was the first 8K VCS game released.  The bank-switching technique was developed (but not put into production) 2 years before, for Video Chess.  In this thread (http://atariage.com/forums/topic/232660-pac-man-review-from-1982/page-8), Goldberg claims to quote Tod from a Facebook conversation they had regarding the story about him being offered use of an 8K ROM for Pac-Man, which is something Rob Zdybel said happened in Once Upon Atari:
      Goldberg: Were you offered to move to 8K for Pac-Man towards the end of coding for it?   Frye: Nope. 8k wasn't even an option until after Pacman coding was complete.  I did have a meeting after Pacman came out, to assess the possibility of a quick revision with less flicker, if we used 8k as an option.   Goldberg: So where did the claim that you originally asked for 8K come from?   Frye: It came from thin air. I never considered 8k. rom was not really an issue. ram was.  
    Popularity - Frye also stated, "Pac-Man wasn't a particularly big game.  'Pac-Man fever' hit between the start and the finish of the project."   PuckMan was released in Japan in May 1980 and the Midway Pac-Man version in October 1980.  Working backwards, VCS Pac-Man came out late March 1982, and production took a good 10 weeks (2.5 months, so Tod likely finished it no later than December 1981 (since the game's copyright date is 1981 which reflects when programming was completed).  Go back 5 months at most for programming, so let's say he started no later than July 1981.  So since October 1980, Pac-Man wasn't a huge hit by the following summer?  A friend of mine remembers the Tomy and Entex handhelds coming out almost immediately together and Coleco's arriving quite a bit later (all in 1981).  Can't find any release date for Odyssey2 K.C. Munchkin; it was definitely out by January 1982 (it was reviewed in the March 1982 issue of Electronic Games), and possibly a few months before that.  Also, Buckner and Garcia's song was released December 1981 (and the album in January 1982). 
     
    Colored background - In a keynote from the 2015 Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Frye states he wish he had made a black background with a blue maze, but claims Atari had a rule against black backgrounds because it would have burned the maze into the CRT (apparently this rule didn't apply to space games...).  This makes no sense since Atari touted the anti-burn-in effects of the VCS from day one, plus Tod included the color cycling code routine in his Pac-Man game!  And I've never heard any other Atari VCS programmer state such a requirement, either.  The story I heard back then was that Pac-Man had a colored background and muted colors, to help make the flickering monsters less noticeable (and they were relabeled as ghosts because of their flickering, which was more logical to accept than having flickering monsters).
     

  25. Like
    Scott Stilphen got a reaction from Justin in Nolan Bushnell one of several contributors to Wonder's smartphone-console hybrid   
    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2017-06-28-wonder-raises-USD14-million-for-smartphone-console-hybrid
     
    Wonder raises $14 million for smartphone-console hybrid Former Zynga GM, Scopely exec's community-focused start-up draws investment from Nolan Bushnell, Shakira, Neymar Jr, and more 
    Nintendo's Switch has shown the audience exists for a console-handheld hybrid, but new start-up outfit Wonder wonders if there's a similar audience for another kind of mixed-market offering. The company today announced that it has raised $14 million in Series A financing for "a new type of portable hardware device that might be considered a hybrid between a powerful smartphone and a gaming console."
    While Nintendo may aim for a broad audience with its products, Wonder is targeting an enthusiast crowd that considers gaming a strong part of their identity. Leading the effort is Wonder CEO and founder Andy Kleinman, whose previous experience in the industry included stints as Scopely's chief business officer, GM at Zynga, GM at The Walt Disney Company, and president of Vostu.
    "We are building a company where everything we do revolves around our community," Kleinman said. "Most companies focus on the product first, but our focus has been on understanding our core potential audience and what they care about most. Once you can truly understand your audience, you can innovate and build products and services that are focused on making them happy for a long time. We all consider ourselves our core audience, so the approach is very real and authentic."
    The lead investors are Grishin Robotics (investment firm of Mail.ru Group co-founder Dmitry Grishin) and Chinese telecom TCL Communications, but Wonder has also attracted smaller contributions from a number of notable names. The games industry is well represented in Wonder's investment base with the participation of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, former Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama, ex-Disney Interactive president John Pleasants, and former Zynga/Facebook/MySpace exec Owen Van Natta. Outside of games, the company has attracted investment from football superstars Gerard Pique and Neymar Jr, Shakira, and former Coca-Cola marketing exec Emmanuel Seuge.
    "There is strong potential for a gaming platform that would go beyond the software realm and expand its capabilities through innovative, cutting-edge hardware," Grishin said. "Grishin Robotics has an understanding of both - and we believe in investing in companies that not only have tremendous potential, but where our areas of expertise and experience can help our entrepreneurs in a meaningful way."
    The company has said it will release details of its actual product soon.
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