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2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: January 29th, 2015, 8:38 pm
by scotland171
[QUOTE=goldenband]The O2's sound hardware is a big shortcoming [/QUOTE]

Maybe the 2600 TIA is more capable than the Intel 8244 proprietary chip in the Odyssey, but it has not affected my enjoyment of O2 games. Dave gave the Atari 2600 a C+ for audio and the Odyssey a D. However, maybe some of that is from far more programmers learning the 2600. Is there an O2 game with decent audio sans Voice accessory?

Its also relative when you consider that many systems, even other programmable cartridge systems, still used beepers in the unit itself. The first model Fairchild Channel F had just built in beep circuit and speaker, as did the RCA Studio II. Look at Daves review of the Fairchild mark 1 as having cringeworthy sounds and no way to adjust the volume.

Perhaps the Astrocade would have done better if audio were really considered important. I think that they are called video games denotes that,at least in the late 70s, audio was set to a low bar.

2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: January 29th, 2015, 11:58 pm
by goldenband1
[QUOTE=scotland17]However, maybe some of that is from far more programmers learning the 2600. Is there an O2 game with decent audio sans Voice accessory?[/QUOTE]

There's one classic-era release I know of that plays a tune -- Frogger, as heard here. I think emulators don't support it properly, and I've seen at least one video where the melody is reduced to a static mess, but on real hardware it comes through.

Apparently it uses a kind of trick to pull it off, since otherwise the O2 can only generate that same spectrum of (roughly) F's and C's that appear in every game. Maybe the trick is similar to the one used in Channel F Pac-Man to play the theme music. Either way it takes a significant amount of CPU resources, and the O2 doesn't have much of those to begin with!

The Atari 2600 sound hardware is quirky, to say the least. But even without tricks, it can generate a far broader range of tones and pitches, and can put out two channels at once (which makes a huge difference for a VGM composer). It's dramatically more capable than the Odyssey 2, Channel F, or RCA Studio II.

The Intellivision is still more capable -- albeit more generic (since it only uses square waves + a noise channel) -- but with three channels it can pull off a rich soundtrack quite nicely.

[QUOTE=scotland17]I think that they are called video games denotes that,at least in the late 70s, audio was set to a low bar.[/QUOTE]

Sure, but I also think that hurt their legacy and longevity. If the Atari 2600 had only been able to pull off the Odyssey 2's fixed-pitch beeps, it probably wouldn't have lasted as long as it did, IMHO. I think the importance of music and sound to a game's presentation and atmosphere is consistently underestimated. It really is a big part of what makes a game seem convincing, complete, and polished.

So in my case, it actually has affected my enjoyment of O2 games, since the system is sort of teetering on the edge of credibility as it is. It doesn't affect games like Pick Axe Pete so much but over time I get tired of hearing the same pitches, like a piano with only two keys, over and over again. And that mangled rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" really beggars belief!

2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: January 30th, 2015, 2:18 pm
by SpiceWare1
[QUOTE=goldenband]The pre-defined character set is also a big limitation, but also a strength since it allows for more sprites onscreen than most other systems of the time. You can't really pull off Killer Bees on the Atari 2600 or Intellivision, from what I understand.[/QUOTE]

I'm not familiar the gameplay for Killer Bees, but the videos I just checked out on YouTube look very doable to me - there's less going on than in Frantic. One of these days I need to get back to work on it.

frantic berzerk.png    

frantic big otto.png    



2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: January 30th, 2015, 3:16 pm
by goldenband1
[QUOTE=SpiceWare]I'm not familiar the gameplay for Killer Bees, but the videos I just checked out on YouTube look very doable to me - there's less going on than in Frantic.[/QUOTE]

There was a discussion about it on AtariAge here, though since the thread was started tech developments over the last 10 (!) years may have changed things. If you want to take a shot at it, I'm sure many folks would welcome that. And...

[QUOTE=SpiceWare]One of these days I need to get back to work on it.[/QUOTE]

...I think we'd all be in favor of that! [biggrin]

Re: 2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: November 12th, 2016, 6:43 pm
by scotland
Reading in a 1982 gaming magazine where K.C. Munchkin is the first home video game to get a sequel (K.C's Crazy Chase).

Is that true?

Another contender could be the Imagic games of Atlantis and then Cosmic Ark, also 1982.

Re: 2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: November 13th, 2016, 9:19 pm
by VideoGameCritic
It's an interesting observation. Hard to believe that at one time video game sequels were new concept. Now they are more common than new games (sadly).

Re: 2015/1/18: Odyssey 2: K.C. Munchkin!, Demon Attack, Amok!

Posted: November 14th, 2016, 8:50 am
by scotland
Its also interesting in that both of these examples change the gameplay.

We know that KC Munchkin was a solid Pac Man clone, and was pulled for legal reasons. KC' Crazy Chase is still obviously inspired by Pac Man and KC Munchkin, but the gameplay is notably different.

Imagic's Atlantis and Cosmic Ark are very different games as well, with really nothing in common except a theme of a continuing story. You could tag another game on there, like Demon Attack, if you wanted, and just say its more of the story of the Atlanteans in Space.

Nowadays, sequels are more of the same but "Now with More!". Its good business, and I guess its what people want, but its a bit boring and safe too.