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The worst 2600 arcade conversions!

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As a lot of you know, over the past few months I have been collecting 2600 arcade ports. I have discovered quite a few gems, and I have enjoyed all of the arcade ports that I have bought for the system so far. However, there are some that aren't so good that I've played on emulation.

Inspired by a recently dug-up post by @RickR on the best home conversions for the system, I will now be asking for your picks for the worst arcade ports for the system! There won't be a poll for this topic, so feel free to pick any port you like and tell us about why you don't like it. Just keep in mind that they have to be retail releases! No unfinished prototypes allowed!

My pick? That's a hard one. I'd have to go either Double Dragon or Zaxxon.

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My mind immediately takes me to Pac-Man, but I don't want everyone throwing Combat carts at me, so I'll pick something different.

Pooyan is another that comes to mind.  It just barely captures the gameplay of the original...but it's horrible.

@HDN, you've picked two awful ones.  Double Dragon is Triple Terrible.  It has no variety of attacks and is just no fun.  And Zaxxon is not even close in any way to the arcade original. 

 

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3 minutes ago, GRay Defender said:

No matter which one(s) you pick they will probably be somebody's favorite!  Came across this list over on AA:

List of ALL arcade ports? - Atari 2600 - AtariAge Forums

Very true. The most hated of the arcade ports by far, Pac-Man, is actually my favorite arcade port on the system and my second-favorite game on the 2600 overall. It's also my favorite version of Pac-Man ever! Donk donk donk! :pac_man::blinky::inky::pinky::sue::atari_2600:

But, if you'd like to share your opinions, that's fine too. I don't mind that lots of people hate one of my favorite Atari games. More for me!

I was looking at that link you shared with us. Is it true that Warlords was on the 2600 first? How cool is that?

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Wow I believe that is true.  Impressive!  Yeah I also love Atari 2600 Pac-Man, but I prefer Pac-Man 8K by Nukey Shay which makes a few improvements to the game... Although not an arcade port , I love ET... Got sooo much hate.  If I had to pick favorite arcade port it would probably be Space Invaders...

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@HDN your two choices definitely qualify.  Pac-Man, as an arcade port, is terrible.  No question.  As a clone of Pac-Man, though, it is a fun game.  Lilke GRay Defender, I much prefer the Nukey Shay 8K hack of the Atari game.  It's not arcade perfect either but it has enough of the game elements to make it a likeable version.  The original Defender...I have mixed feelings about.  It has the gameplay pretty well done but it doesn't try to look like the arcade.  Defender II/Stargate is the superior game.  Heck, there's a hack of Defender II that was turned into "Defender Arcade."  Now, that's an awesome version.

Edited by TrekMD

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15 hours ago, HDN said:

That's a hard one. I'd have to go either Double Dragon or Zaxxon.

Love the Zaxxon port but Double Dragon Double True! 🙂 

I get knocked out on the first screen and can beat the Arcade with a quarter.  

Edited by Mr SQL
typo

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9 minutes ago, dauber said:

And seriously, anybody who truly believes Pac-Man is necessarily a bad port, try this: flip the "TV Type" switch to B&W. You'd be amazed at what a difference that makes.

That used to be part of my "Pac-Man" ritual, before I got lazy and stopped caring.

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8 minutes ago, dauber said:

I have to agree wildly about Donkey Kong Junior. Just...awful and buggy.

And seriously, anybody who truly believes Pac-Man is necessarily a bad port, try this: flip the "TV Type" switch to B&W. You'd be amazed at what a difference that makes.

I was thinking about trying this soon. When I was watching Ferg's Extra Life Marathon and he was having video conversion issues, everything was almost black and white and when he played Pac-Man, it seemed to be easier on the eyes.

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34 minutes ago, dauber said:

And seriously, anybody who truly believes Pac-Man is necessarily a bad port, try this: flip the "TV Type" switch to B&W. You'd be amazed at what a difference that makes.

Au contraire - I'd say this proves it is a bad port.  What other game do you have to downgrade to black/white to enjoy?  Was the arcade version black/white?  This is like saying "well, if you squint your eyes real tight and get just the right lighting, that 1975 Ford Pinto looks like a Ferrari". 

TrekMD says it's a good clone of Pac Man, which is very true.  But that's why it gets so much dislike.  It was the licensed version and "clone" wasn't good enough.   Atari could have done better (Nukey Shay's excellent hack proves this) but did not care.  In retrospect, this was a huge sign of their impending doom. 

Edited by RickR

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On 12/9/2020 at 1:54 PM, RickR said:

 

TrekMD says it's a good clone of Pac Man, which is very true.  But that's why it gets so much dislike.  It was the licensed version and "clone" wasn't good enough.   Atari could have done better (Nukey Shay's excellent hack proves this) but did not care.  In retrospect, this was a huge sign of their impending doom. 

I will agree about it being a bad port to the 2600. Wafers instead of dots, vitamins instead of prizes, and the background choice. But the way I rank whether the game is a bad port is gameplay. Does Pac-Man play like the arcade? For the most part yes. Could it have been better? Yes, as Ms. Pac-Man proved a year later. But all in all, at the time, for the 2600, I considered this a good game and played it a lot because it was what we had at the time.

I look at this game and feel, like you said above, that this was a sign of the impending doom of Atari.  Some of the decisions that were made at Atari at this time were very questionable. Rushing games out before they are finished, only black backgrounds for space games because people would be confused with a black background on Pac-Man, and the holding back of the 7800 and using the 2600 sound chip in it to save money. What could have been if decisions had been made with consumer in mind instead of the bottom dollar savings.

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Graphics do not maketh game.

Sure, Pac-Man may not look great, but it resembles the arcade game enough. It’s not like you can’t tell what it is supposed to be. It looks like Pac-Man, just a little worse, which is expected. Could it have been done better? Of course. But I feel that 2600 Pac-Man really isn’t as bad of a port as people say it is, and I wouldn’t even say that it is a clone either, though I can totally see where @TrekMD is coming from.

Pac-Man on VCS is, dare I say, my all-time favorite version of the arcade classic.

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