Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

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VideoGameCritic
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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 26th, 2006, 7:56 pm

I recently recently received an email from a guy named Mike Sanders who actually worked on the Atari 2600 version of He-Man: Masters of the Universe.  Here's what he had to say:

Hi,
 
Found the review - some things never die.  Glad that you liked the opening - so did I.
 
I worked on the opening, music, and the Wind Raider sequence.  BTW - the 2600 version was done first - the Intellivision followed.  "They" had so much more capability, and altered the 2600 game play to take advantage.
 
Music on the 2600 was a challenge - I'm happy with how that part came out.
 
Did anyone notice the homage to Chopper Command in the background of the Wind Raider sequence?

Mike Sanders



Naturally I replied and asked a few questions, including if the 2600 was more powerful, and also about Chopper Command.

Hi Dave,
 
No, the Intellivision had the power, but the 2600 programmers had more skill.  Who invented a 10-bit data word, anyway?
 
The scrolling mountains were a direct lift from Chopper Command - I always liked them.
 
While at Mattel I built a music keyboard (modified from a PAIA synthesizer - also 6502 based) that attached to the joystick ports.  It allowed us to "play" the 2600 and hear what the music might sound like before committing it to code.  Usually there was only one key that sounded sort of in tune - the rest were awful.
 
I am now working on Airshow Moving Maps that passengers watch while flying on commercial and corporate aircraft - still a video game, but the pilot has the controller!
 
Mike


Pretty neat huh?  If you guys want to send me some questions, maybe I'll compile a short list of questions (the best ones) to send him.

Dave


Shawn

Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby Shawn » September 26th, 2006, 8:09 pm

I think that is totally cool. Did he work on anything else for the 2600? The game was pretty decent; was there anything he wanted to do but couldn't due to the limitations of the technology at that time? Thanks.


a1
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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby a1 » September 26th, 2006, 11:44 pm

[QUOTE=The Video Game Critic]
 
I am now working on Airshow Moving Maps that passengers watch while flying on commercial and corporate aircraft - still a video game, but the pilot has the controller!
 
[/QUOTE]
 
I don't understand what it is he is describing here. You don't have to ask him, but if you know could you explain it to me?

Alienblue

Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby Alienblue » September 27th, 2006, 4:39 am

It's great that it seems like there will ALWAYS be new things to find out about the classic systems. I would ask if he programmed any games that were not released, and/or if their is any easter egg in he-man. Does it END at some point?

Does he know anything about the INTV he-man? If so only Burgertime and He-Man on INTV had what they called "Supergraphics"- I always wondered if that was just a praise for better graphics, or did the games actually use a special chip/ programming trick or something?

Atarifever1
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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby Atarifever1 » September 27th, 2006, 4:57 am

[QUOTE=a]
 
I don't understand what it is he is describing here. You don't have to ask him, but if you know could you explain it to me?
[/QUOTE]
I just took a trip this summer on a plane with these things.  It's a little map that appears on your in flight TV/movie monitor.  It shows you your plane's position on a map that has your destination on it.  That way you know where you are relative to how far you have to go.  It was nice to switch back and forth between that and Animal Planet so I could see how close we were to landing (I'm not a huge fan of flying once takeoff is over, as the rest of the time I think about crashing).

Adamant1
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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby Adamant1 » September 27th, 2006, 6:31 am

[QUOTE=a]I don't understand what it is he is describing here. You don't have to ask him, but if you know could you explain it to me? [/QUOTE]

It's a constantly updated map showing the plane's position at the time, viewable from a small monitor in front of the passengers.

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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 27th, 2006, 5:07 pm

I asked Mike if he worked on other classic games and this is his reply:

Dave,
 
Not any other M Systems games that got released - I was working on a D&D title when they closed the doors.  My only other "claim to fame" is NES Dick Tracy.  I worked on the "special effects" - opening title screen, talking cut screens, and a sprite editor used to create elements of the game.
 
Mike



chrisbid1
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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby chrisbid1 » September 27th, 2006, 9:25 pm

http://www.atariprotos.com/2600/software/towerofmystery/towerofmystery.htm

that is the d & d game he was working on

MappyMousePD

Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby MappyMousePD » September 28th, 2006, 3:26 pm

I am now working on Airshow Moving Maps that passengers watch while flying on commercial and corporate aircraft - still a video game, but the pilot has the controller!

I loved watching that the last time I flew to London.  It was more entertaining than the in-flight films.



m0zart1
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Insight from a real Atari 2600 Programmer

Postby m0zart1 » September 29th, 2006, 8:05 pm

[QUOTE=a][QUOTE=The Video Game Critic]
 
I am now working on Airshow Moving Maps that passengers watch while flying on commercial and corporate aircraft - still a video game, but the pilot has the controller!
 
[/QUOTE]
 
I don't understand what it is he is describing here. You don't have to ask him, but if you know could you explain it to me?

[/QUOTE]

When taking flights that last a long time over the Atlantic or Pacific, some aircraft have video screens showing you your location on the globe in real time.  I had them on flights to London over the Atlantic, and to New Zealand over the Pacific.  They help to keep you in perspective of where you are, and just how much @#$% travelling you have left to do.



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