What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

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MSR1701
Posts: 99
Joined: April 29th, 2019, 7:53 am

Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby MSR1701 » August 9th, 2019, 11:12 am

strat wrote:
Voor wrote:Arcade games being “superior” to their console counterparts is a cool element to video game history. Remember the fun of seeing how “close” a console game came to the real/arcade version? If they had perfected it right out of the gate, all that fun would have been lost.


Video games were slightly more interesting when ports had to be different from the source material. Now practically every multiplatform release is identical (exclusive content and performance issues notwithstanding).


Back in ye olden days, when porting you tried to support the programming style that got you as many releases on as many selling platforms as possible. For instance, one of the more common British Micros, the ZX Spectrum, used a Z80 CPU. You would try to program on this and the Amstrad CPC (which used largely the same core), and usually hired out the development of other paltforms (such as the Atari and C64) to other houses that specialized in porting from one design to another. Sometimes extra levels or extras would be added, sometimes the efforts would be disastrous.

Nowadays, the platforms have largely the same programming designs and abilities (look at how similar the XBONE and PS4 are), and aside from contractual obligations, why bother putting in extra time to one or the other?

Also, back in ye olden days, the development teams were smaller and were able to cram in extras and go the extra mile than nowadays. 32X Virtua Fighter had many extra options the original Arcade and Saturn versions lacked, and then there's Mortal Kombat II on the Genesis with the extra -ality hidden... ;-)

Sonicx9
Posts: 1631
Joined: April 27th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby Sonicx9 » August 9th, 2019, 1:33 pm

MSR1701 wrote:
strat wrote:
Voor wrote:Arcade games being “superior” to their console counterparts is a cool element to video game history. Remember the fun of seeing how “close” a console game came to the real/arcade version? If they had perfected it right out of the gate, all that fun would have been lost.


Video games were slightly more interesting when ports had to be different from the source material. Now practically every multiplatform release is identical (exclusive content and performance issues notwithstanding).


Back in ye olden days, when porting you tried to support the programming style that got you as many releases on as many selling platforms as possible. For instance, one of the more common British Micros, the ZX Spectrum, used a Z80 CPU. You would try to program on this and the Amstrad CPC (which used largely the same core), and usually hired out the development of other paltforms (such as the Atari and C64) to other houses that specialized in porting from one design to another. Sometimes extra levels or extras would be added, sometimes the efforts would be disastrous.

Nowadays, the platforms have largely the same programming designs and abilities (look at how similar the XBONE and PS4 are), and aside from contractual obligations, why bother putting in extra time to one or the other?

Also, back in ye olden days, the development teams were smaller and were able to cram in extras and go the extra mile than nowadays. 32X Virtua Fighter had many extra options the original Arcade and Saturn versions lacked, and then there's Mortal Kombat II on the Genesis with the extra -ality hidden... ;-)


Great points in fact X86 is the lazy mans programming as said here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSI701GEWsA

lynchie137
Posts: 193
Joined: November 15th, 2016, 6:46 pm

Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby lynchie137 » August 9th, 2019, 4:45 pm

ASalvaro wrote:What bothered me the most about 2600 Pac Man was not the graphics but the scoring..why in the world did they change the scoring from the arcade?


Agree 100% and possibly even more. To me, this was the biggest mistake the programmer who worked on the game made. Fortunately, the folks at Atari rectified this in their ports of Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Jr a few years later..

ThePixelatedGenocide
Posts: 268
Joined: April 29th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » August 10th, 2019, 1:58 am

The biggest thing Pac-Man on the 2600 still has going for it is the gameplay loop. Collect the wafers. Go for the higher risk brick, which is always changing. Get the power rush, and try to outsmart your enemies.

It's light years ahead of Sega's dot eating pioneer, Head-On. The next closest thing is Rally-X, released the exact same year. But Rally-X lacks the charm and the character, and it's nowhere near a mainstream hit. Still, the maze chase game would still be lurking in the gamer consciousness, much like fighting games, stealth games, first person shooters, and extreme sports games were before Streetfighter 2, Metal Gear Solid, Doom, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

So, by 1982, Pac-Man won't even have novelty going for it. And even worse, it's still ugly compared to other Atari 2600 games.

But most important, without Pac-Man fever ever creating a demand for maze chasers, its gameplay will look outdated compared to Donkey Kong.

So why would the Atari of the early 80's ever let a new IP based on an unproven formula get out to the public in this sad state? Especially when they're looking at a threat from the Colecovision? Don't get me wrong - they'll happily wreck Defender in the exact same way. But the name is what sells Defender. Atari was a bit more ambitious when it came to Asteroids, a port of their own arcade game, ultimately giving it an entire 8k of bankswitched cartridge to play with. If they believe in Pac-Man's concept enough to actually release it, they aren't going to rush out an unfinished version.

The real question is - how does all of this affect copyright law? Because there won't be a K.C. Munchkin. And very soon, Atari won't be in a position where it can afford to take anyone to court. A different judge could easily decide that basic gameplay mechanics aren't protected, any more than writing tropes are. Which is pretty much where we've ended up, eventually. Seriously, just imagine a term like "Metroidvania" existing in any other medium?

But if it happens earlier in the gaming industry's life? What changes then?
Last edited by ThePixelatedGenocide on August 14th, 2019, 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

MSR1701
Posts: 99
Joined: April 29th, 2019, 7:53 am

Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby MSR1701 » August 10th, 2019, 7:28 am

Atari was being run by suits that saw money, according to the programmers. In addition, as with the ET game, they gave the programmer an unrealistically short development time (weeks instead of months) to crank the game out.

Also, as far as Atari was concerned early on Pacman was a success, it was only months later when the games began to be returned in droves that it started to hit them.

GTS
Posts: 208
Joined: January 29th, 2017, 2:43 pm

Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby GTS » August 10th, 2019, 8:19 am

Without the arcade game, I still would not have liked 2600 Pac-man. It's very boring. The maze design is among the worst on the system.


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