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RickR

Rob Fulop interview on ArcadeAttack

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http://www.arcadeattack.co.uk/rob-fulop/

I found this to be a worthwhile read.  Rob Fulop created a lot of the very best Atari games.  Missile Command, Night Driver, Demon Attack, etc. 

 

One interesting quote from this article in regards to the 8-bit version of Space Invaders:

 

There was nobody looking over my shoulder to tell me that I should copy the original Taito arcade version as closely as I could so I just made up my own, inferior, version. Nobody cared, nobody even looked at my version compared to the original, they just released it. Looking back, it seems incredible that the company was run so recklessly but it’s a testament to how seriously mismanaged Atari was at the time. Literally not one person in the company asked “hey, why not just make our Space Invaders look exactly like the coin operated version that we are licensing?” That’s how little they cared

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We've seen similar quotes from other Atari programmers.  For example, Tod Frye on 2600 Pac Man stated he chose the colors based on how 2600 Asteroids took some liberties on colors.  And Howard Scott Warshaw on ET stating that they basically left the whole design up to him and to get it done as quickly as possible. 

 

Seems like there should have been some oversight or guidelines for arcade ports.  Even something as simple as "Make it look and sound as much like the arcade game as possible". 

 

These guys were in their 20's in most cases.  I know from personal experience -- I needed some reigning in with my own work decisions at that age. 

 

For me personally, I ask if I could go back in time and suggest changes -- I think some simple oversight and guidelines would have been in order.

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And also on that 8-bit version of Space Invaders -- it's interesting that they used this version as the basis for the 5200 version.  They made some changes, but not to get it closer to the arcade version.  In fact, it went a little further graphically from the arcade version.  I don't think Rob Fulop got any credit for the 5200 version though. 

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I just find it a fascinating topic -- how games were made -- what input and oversight did management have? -- how much freedom did developers have?...were their guidelines at all for arcade ports?

We probably won't ever know the full story, but it's fun to get little tidbits here and there.

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