Too hard on O2 games

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Atarifever1
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Too hard on O2 games

Postby Atarifever1 » January 30th, 2008, 11:05 am

I've noticed a general trend for you to dismiss O2 versions of popular 2600 games, despite their being similar to the 2600 games, and despite the systems being similarly powerful (or underpowered).  I find this odd because, although failing to upgrade a game on the INTV or Colecovision from the 2600 should result in a lower score, managing to get a performance equivalent to the 2600 out of the O2 has to be seen as a success (like getting similar games out of the Xbox and Gamecube).  Thus, I find some of the marks a bit off.  For example:

Circus Atari gets a B, while P.T. Barnum's Acrobats gets a D.  Granted the O2 clone is newer by 2 years, but then, it also has better graphics and is voice enhanced (even if the voice isn't terribly great, it is an addition which is better than not upgrading a 2 year old game).  Thus, I think the O2 game, with a couple upgrades, deserves to do a little better than two full letter grades less than an uglier, non-voice enhanced version on similar hardware.

Combat on the 2600 gets a B, while the Combat clone from a year later (Armoured Encounter) gets an F.  Granted the airplane part of Armoured Encounter isn't as fun as the airplanes in Combat, but that airplane part is basically the same as the Air Sea Battle game on the 2600 that you gave a B- to.  Thus, the O2 game has the better part of two 2600 games on it and gets an F.  Okay, you can't move away from the first hit in the Combat clone, but then make a house rule for no shenanigans, or just play to the first kill.  Whatever you have to do, this game can't be three full letter grades below Combat.

Outlaw and Showdown in 2100 may have been scored fairly, but I think you underplay how big of an addition to the genre a real one player version in the O2 game was, how much better sized the Showdown characters are, and how much more successful the backgrounds are (much better than the huge, screen eating objects in Outlaw).  If you put Outlaw and Showdown together, you'd get the Homebrew Gunfight, as neither of those games individually is what it should be, while Gunfight is.  Still, these reviews each have the correct score, but I don't think Showdown gets enough credit in the review for what it does right.

Anyway, that's my feeling on the matter, and I think perhaps nostalgia for the 2600 games may be clouding your judgment of the O2 games. 

Anyone wanting to try out PT Barnum's Acrobats should go here and play a browser version.  It lets you shoose Videopak or O2 versions (O2 one is better by far) and if you want the voice enhanced version.  The different variations are chosen by pressing, I think, 0, 3, 6, or 9, and the action button is spacebar.  Enjoy.
http://videopac.nl/forum/index.php?action=arcade;sa=play;game=23







Alienblue

Too hard on O2 games

Postby Alienblue » January 30th, 2008, 12:38 pm

Atari, I agree with you on the general feeling that there's little or no love for the O2. People who grew up with it LOVE the games. There are just fewer of them.

I must call you on PT Barnum though. This and Breakdown are absolutely SUCKY on the O2 because the O2 lacks a PADDLE CONTROLLER! I'll take the blocky CIRCUS with the smoooooth paddle controls anyday.

The O2 is not necessarily WORSE than the 2600, though, just different. It has mono colored graphics that repeat, but no flicker and smoother animation. Have you seen the O2 version of FROGGER? It is BETTER than the VCS. Same with Tutankham! This is why I want an O2 so much! It is a FUN machine!


Atarifever1
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Too hard on O2 games

Postby Atarifever1 » January 30th, 2008, 1:43 pm

[QUOTE=Alienblue]Atari, I agree with you on the general feeling that there's little or no love for the O2. People who grew up with it LOVE the games. There are just fewer of them.

I must call you on PT Barnum though. This and Breakdown are absolutely SUCKY on the O2 because the O2 lacks a PADDLE CONTROLLER! I'll take the blocky CIRCUS with the smoooooth paddle controls anyday.

The O2 is not necessarily WORSE than the 2600, though, just different. It has mono colored graphics that repeat, but no flicker and smoother animation. Have you seen the O2 version of FROGGER? It is BETTER than the VCS. Same with Tutankham! This is why I want an O2 so much! It is a FUN machine!

[/QUOTE]

I don't have any trouble without the paddle when using the O2 controller.  It's a solid controller that is responsive and has a good feel.  In other words, it's the opposite of the VCS controller.  As a result, I don't miss the paddles much with O2 games. 

I wasn't really saying it was less powerful than the VCS.  I was saying it certainly wasn't better than the 2600 hardware wise, as the INTV or Colecovision were.  Thus, if some of the games look better than the 2600 counterparts, it should be acknowledged.

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Too hard on O2 games

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 30th, 2008, 11:10 pm

I should probably give PT Barnum another go since I've heard from a lot of people about that one.

In general though, I don't usually penalize classic games too much for graphics.  It's the fun factor and challenge that really matters.  Usually, the games that are faster, smoother, and easiest to control tend to stand the test of time - even with primitive graphics.  I tend to frown on the slow, clunky games, and you sometimes see those on the Odyssey 2.

Circus is pretty ugly on the 2600 (square balloons?), but the frantic action, challenge, and responsive controls put it over the top.


Allpaul1
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Too hard on O2 games

Postby Allpaul1 » February 22nd, 2008, 3:04 pm

If my memory serves, there were different game variations on the O2. I remember in particular that there was a setting on odyssey football that made the game faster and much more playable. Why this wasn't the default setting is beyond me. I wonder how many other O2 games were crippled by this?

scotland171
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Too hard on O2 games

Postby scotland171 » September 5th, 2012, 3:33 pm

The Odyssey 2 football is another example where it could be compared favorably to the Atari 2600 version. The games are both early ones, circa 1978, and the systems are close in ability. The Odyssey game is rated 'F', yet the Atari Football is given a 'B+'.  The Video Game Critic has an obvious love of the Atari game (and rightfully so), and comments on its simplifying the game delightfully.  Yet the Odyssey game is criticized for simplifying the same game. The blocky players of the Atari game are considered charming, yet the player characters of the O2 game are quite nice in comparison. I grew up with the O2, and thought of this football game as 'backyard football', where we often had 4 downs to traverse the entire field (no first downs).   You could call rational plays in the 02, and each side controlled one player at a time.  It even had field goals, unlike the Atari, which were important. My brother and I still fondly reflect on this game, so we may be guilty of nostalgia on our end - but the game honestly deserves a better rating in light of the Atari football review.  An "F" could mean the worst in the library, and since the O2 has gems like Alien Invaders Plus and Helicopter Rescue, Football is the Hope Diamond in comparison. An "F" should could also mean unplayable, and this can be quite fun, and unlike the celebrated and complex Intellivision game (which got a 'B-'), its as easy to pick up as, well, as a football and twice as fun in the dark.

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Too hard on O2 games

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 5th, 2012, 5:04 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback!  Looks like I need to put O2 Football on my re-review list!

Allpaul1
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Too hard on O2 games

Postby Allpaul1 » September 8th, 2012, 2:10 pm

Cool.. I'm sure there were different game variations, but it was a long time ago, so I could be wrong..

scotland171
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Too hard on O2 games

Postby scotland171 » September 8th, 2012, 8:43 pm

In my experience, only a few Odyssey 2 games had meaningful difficulty levels. Atari games like Space Invaders and Combat had dozens of interesting variations, but some games like Cosmic Conflict are forever set to practice.   I played it for hours, trying to make up my own difficulty levels for it -- like playing by holding the joystick upside down kind of thing.  For want of a nail...

The lack of any variations was only part of the issue with some games. Games like Out of this World, which did have two adjustable gravity settings are missing the complexity that should have been there.  Once some basic mechanics were coded, development seemed to have ended.  Apollo landing games, whether text or graphical, were enjoyable staples of early gaming with all sorts of variations. Given the keyboard, Magnavox could have actually just coded one of the text versions of the game instead.  Or let there be lateral forces and thrust too.  Its not like even the tiny ROM chips of the day could not hold it, as they put a second (and equally disappointing) game on the same cartridge.  I'm torn between seeing Out of this World like a t-ball kid who struck out and saying 'there there, you can do better next time' and being annoyed that I actually spent my birthday money buying that cartridge instead of Kenner Star Wars toys.

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Too hard on O2 games

Postby VideoGameCritic » September 15th, 2012, 3:50 pm

I just discovered that I was playing Odyssey 2 Football on the slow, college skill level.  The pro skill level is a heck of a lot faster, and probably a lot more fun.  Stay tuned for an updated review next week.


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