Atarisoft Mario Bros for Commodore 64

2018-02-15

A friend recently found this video of someone playing the Mario Bros for Atarisoft that my friend John Alvarado and I created right out of high school when we were 19 years old.

I'm embarrassed to say at 19 I couldn't figure out how to make the platforms warp when you bonk your head into them given the sprite limits on the C64. Similarly I could not figure out how to make the platforms freeze for some reason. (Of course I could do it now ..... probably )

The problem was the C64, in that mode, is tilemap based so the best I could do is change the 4-6 tiles above your head which wouldn't match where you actually hit your head, at least if I only had one set of tiles. Maybe if I had a set for every other pixel or something but you only get 256 total but assumign we just needed every 4 pixels and 4 frames of animation that would 6 x 4 x 4 or 144 tiles. Some of the tiles are needed for numbers etc. Maybe I should have done that! No idea if I thought of that and was just too lazy or didn't think of it. Of course it would need a few more for the edges and then a different set for the bricks and another set for the ice so maybe it isn't possible. Less positions and less frames maybe. 10 tiles (edges) by 2 frames by 2 positions by 3 tile types is 120 tiles ... I wonder if it would have fit.

Looking at the Ocean version whichd did ship I see their solutions. They don't have any end pieces and the just push up whole tiles. Either 2 or 3.

What else I can add .... I remember being super late on it and getting flown out to Atarisoft to get asked when we'd be done. For some reason I seem to remember we went to some restaurant where I was introduced to fried bananas.

It was a cartridge so IIRC it had to fit in 8k. (Could be confused there). I know Centipede was 8k. Centipede was a port from Atari to C64. The Atari version only used around 6k of the 8k cart so we had room to add animation and a few other things.

Got paid $10k. Still feel guilty about that since it didn't ship. I don't think any of that was shared with John. Sorry John!

Comments below the video for our version seem be pretty positive. They say it plays better than the Ocean version. Of course it helps that both John and I were totally addicted to the arcade version. We'd play together all the time. Such a great co-op game!

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NES/Famicom, A Visual Compendium - Corrections

2017-04-07

I very nice book came out with images from tons of NES games called "NES/Famicom, A Visual Compendium". I saw several of my friends had backed the kickstarter and when they go their copies they mentioned one of my games was in it so I had to buy a copy.

It's a gorgeous book. I'm not 100% sure I'm into the sharp emulator captures graphics as they look absolutely nothing at all like the original games. As art they're very cool but as representations of what those games looked like they are far off the mark. You can see a comparison on this article and see how when blown up in an emulator they look all blocky but back when the came out they looked smooth. Still as graphic art it's cool to see them in the book.

That said I looked up M.C. Kids and was a little disappointed to see things reported incorrectly. I not blaming anyone in particular. I assume it's an issue of like the game "telephone" where as the message got passed from person to person it got re−interpreted and ended up in it's present form

For M.C Kids it implies Rene did all the enemies but that was not the case. I'm not sure the percent of enemies created by Rene but IIRC Darren Bartlett and Ron Miller both did enemies as well.

I then notice there was an unreleased section and sure enough there was Robocop vs Terminator listed.

It's also wrong. It's says "Graeme Devine moved me from Caesars Palace Gameboy to Robocop Vs Terminator". What actually happened though is Graeme Devine moved me from Caesars Palace to Terminator NES, not Robocop vs Terminator. I worked on an animation tool to be shared between Terminator NES and M.C. Kids NES. Later I was asked to work on M.C Kids and Terminator was given to David Parry to make Terminator for Sega Genesis. When I finished M.C. Kids and I was no longer at Virgin Games I got a contract from Interplay to code Robocop Vs Terminator for NES.

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Bloodborne - Objectively Bad Game Design

2016-12-29

Bloodborne fans, explain it to me.

Is Bloodborne only playable if you played Dark Souls first? I’ve never played any of them. Was told told skip those and so I gave Bloodborne about 1 hr and gave up. One of the worst experiences I’ve ever had.

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After 11 years of waiting The Last Guardian has some how lost the magic

2016-12-11

It's been 11 years since Shadow of the Colossus shipped for PS2. I was such a fan of Ico that even though I sat directly next to the Shadow of the Colossus team at Sony Japan and all I had to is stand up and look over my cubicle's divider to see work in progress I made my best effort to not look because I didn't want to spoil the experience of whatever they were making.

So, now, 11 years since then the team has finally shipped their next game, skipping an entire generation of console.

And ....

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Crunch in Games

2016-04-17

So this commentary on some other commentary is making the rounds.

http://ramiismail.com/2016/04/an−inline−response−to−wage−slaves/

Let me first make it clear I'm 100% on the side of less crunch. You'll probably forget that after reading my comments but, at least try to remember.

So I agree with Rami's commentary I just wanted to call out a few things

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GDC 2016

2016-03-23

Just a few random things from GDC 2016

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Tonde Iko, a 6 Screen 5 player game

2014-11-12

This is what some friends and I made in October

You can read more here

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HappyFunTimes

2014-05-09

Something like 3 years ago I made a game called PowPow that let a bunch of players use a browser to connect to a game and use their browser as the controller. Either a desktop or a smartphone browser could be used.

Back then I thought, "You know, I should really make a library out of this" but one thing lead to another and I what do you know, 3 or more years have passed.

Well, I finally got around to it.

Check out HappyFunTimes

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Bitsummit 2014

2014-03-10

A few notes from bitsummit 2014

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

2014-03-06

I just finished "The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds" for the Nintendo 3DS so here's a few random thoughts.

The hype for this game led me to buy it. I actually sold my 3DS back in July, 8 months ago, and so I had to by a 3DS just to play.

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