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Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 5th, 2017, 6:08 pm
by VideoGameCritic
I wanted to revisit my Homerun review because it's a beloved game from my youth. Not that I expect to nudge it much higher than its current F grade. In my mind, once you know how to play defense you can basically shut out the opposing team (CPU or person) all the time.

However the other day I had my friends Brent and Kevin play it. They had never played it before and they actually had a pretty good time with it. They especially loved those "crazy assed pitches" you can throw.

So now I'm rethinking my review a bit. Thoughts?

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 6th, 2017, 9:44 am
by Herschie
Interesting tidbit, Homerun is 1.84 kilobytes in size. MLB The Show 17 is 38 gigabytes in size. That makes The Show 20.5 million times bigger than Homerun.

That would have been cool if games were 40 years more advanced, and you could play the 1978 season with today's technology.

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 6th, 2017, 10:06 am
by scotland
I'm going with your friends here - the game has some fun and lots of charm. In a strange way, you have to just put on your "Atari" hat and enjoy it for what it is, and not for what it isn't.

Yes, I'd give the edge to the Odyssey 2 Baseball here, but the Atari game is in the same ballpark (I made a funny). In Atari's favor is having a 1 player option and the fun of beaning the batter for a walk. (Shame there is no sound effect for a wawa trumpet or somthing). You gotta admit, this game is pick up and play fun for lots of ages, and you can rack up scores like a wild college football game. All of that is a 2k game.

I'm going to point you to another Atari 1978 sports game, Football. Another game from your youth, I believe, and one that you gave a good review too based not on it being like football (because its not), but just because you still had fun with it.

I think the F for Homerun is harsh. Maybe its that 'opening day' vibe in the air, but this game really really shouts "70s video game" , and its a game I can goof around with and have some laughs with. Of course, the F grade is not at all rare in your Atari reviews (sniff, poor Oink and Laser Blast), so even if it stays an F its not going to be lonely.

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 6th, 2017, 5:33 pm
by VideoGameCritic
Great feedback guys. I will incorporate some of this info into the new review.

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 7th, 2017, 3:11 pm
by Mr SQL
awesome you are revisiting homerun and also looking at factors like it's 1.84KB size!
That is really significant for an Atari game - the isometric Activision Tennis game is also pretty awesome at 2K you should take another look at that one too imo - always had a blast playing it.

Regarding the tiniest Atari 2600 games possible there is an annual tiny video game contest in 10 lines of BASIC that is now open to the Atari 2600 (Scotland, I think you may be surprised at how far we can push the VCS today!)

Here are my entries for this year and last year, you can try them in the Javatari browser:

One Player Tron, (10 lines of BASIC): ... Player.bin

0 if g=0 then g=1:for x=18 to 239:virtualworld(x)=0:next x else f=f+1:goto 2
1 for x=0 to 9:g=g+10:virtualworld(x)=g:next x: x=10:y=5:h=1: rem (dir right)
2 if f<4 then scrollvirtualworldtoggle=0:return else scrollvirtualworldtoggle=1
3 if joy0left=1 then e=1:h=0:i=0:j=0:AUDC0=8:AUDF0=BITIndex:SUSTAINFORFRAMES=15
4 if joy0right=1 then h=1:e=0:i=0:j=0:AUDC0=6:AUDF0=BITIndex:SUSTAINFORFRAMES=15
5 if joy0down=1 then i=12:e=0:h=0:j=0:AUDF0=11:AUDC0=BITIndex:SUSTAINFORFRAMES=15
6 if joy0up=1 then j=12:i=0:e=0:h=0:AUDC0=3:AUDF0=BITIndex*2:SUSTAINFORFRAMES=15
7 x=x-e:x=x+h:l=i/12:y=y+l:l=j/12:y=y-l:BYTErowoffset=BYTErowoffset+i:rem TRON!!
8 BITIndex=BITIndex-e:BITIndex=BITIndex+h:BYTErowoffset=BYTErowoffset-j:f=0
9 if vwpixel(x,y,on)>0 then COLUBK=100:SUSTAINFORFRAMES=100:goto 6 else return

WarpDrive (the game, but not the scrolling text, is 9 lines of BASIC): ... VE_AFP.rom

If you include the runtime these Atari games total about 2k like the classics above but only because BASIC wasn't built into the console.

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 7th, 2017, 4:02 pm
by scotland
Please accept a thumbs up. In BASIC too. Goto: awesome

A lot of that seems like macro / subroutine calls, and not forms of BASIC I am used to, eg, Sustainforframes. Is that Batari Basic?

I would like to learn some 6502 assembly one day.

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 7th, 2017, 10:06 pm
by Mr SQL
scotland wrote:Please accept a thumbs up. In BASIC too. Goto: awesome

A lot of that seems like macro / subroutine calls, and not forms of BASIC I am used to, eg, Sustainforframes. Is that Batari Basic?

I would like to learn some 6502 assembly one day.

Thanks scotland! :)

No, that is Atari Flashback BASIC (new), it has designers similar to Batari Basic where you can draw the virtualworld and the sprites with ASCII art and a tracker sequencer, but the contest games use old-school mode with line numbers where everything is programmatic.
SUSTAINFORFRAMES is a register for the soft sound FX chip. Instead of just an x,y addressable screen buffer for graphics this BASIC has a camera you can use to pan the screen about a much larger display buffer and BYTErowoffset and BITIndex are registers for the camera coordinates. It's also got a soft blitter chip for tilemapping, object repositioning and offscreen collision detection.

Here is game portion of WARPDRIVE which also uses the sprites:
0 data city 1,4,2,5,3,2,3,1,4,1,1,1,5,2,2,3,1,4,1,4,3,1,4,4,1,1,2,2,3,1,3,4,5,4,4,3,4,5,1,2,4,1,5,2,2,3,1,3,1,1,4,1
1 if g=0 then for j=0 to 7:player1(j)=189:player0(j)=pl(j):next j:BYTErowoffset=120:COLUPF=$50:COLUP0=$b4 else goto 3
2 for j=20 to 71:k=j-20:k=city(k)+14:for i=k to 19:vwpixel(j,i,on):next i,j:player0y=96:player0x=84:COLUP1=$74:y=20:g=1
3 COLUBK=0:AUDV0=0:scrollvirtualworldtoggle=1:BITIndex=BITIndex+1:missile0x=missile0x+2:data pl 0,224,127,231,252,192
4 if joy0fire=1 and y>=20 then AUDF0=6:AUDC0=8:AUDV0=15:x=BITIndex+9:y=11:i=96-player0y:i=i/10:y=y+i:data P 128,0
5 if y<21 then vwpixel(x,y,bindplayer1):j=y-10:y=y+1:COLUP1=M(j):data M $64,$54,$b4,$a4,$32,$44,$c4,$94,$f4,$54,$24,$42
6 if y<=19 and vwpixel(x,y,poll)>0 then vwpixel(x,y,flip):player1x=0:player1y=0:AUDC0=y:y=20:AUDF0=4:AUDV0=15
7 if BITIndex>71 then BITIndex=0:player0y=player0y-2 else missile1x=missile1x+1:missile1y=missile1y+3
8 if CXP0FB>126 then CXCLR=0:g=0:for i=0 to 255:AUDF0=i:AUDV0=i:COLUBK=$34:next i else missile0y=missile0y+2

6502 Assembly is alot of fun! Cool to mix it with BASIC too. Assembly on the Atari is usually very difficult because of the bizarre racing the beam hardware, but Assembly games can also be abstracted to use the BASIC runtime instead of talking directly to the hardware like the movie game PIXELS: ... Pixels.bin

Re: Homerun (Atari 2600)

Posted: April 6th, 2019, 8:12 pm
by Herschie
Found there was already a topic for Homerun. Copy and paste!

Ittt's a beautiful day at Wrigley this afternoon, a few clouds in the sky! It'll be Dennis Lamp going for the Cubs, facing Bert Blyleven of the Pirates! Hello, I'm Jack Brickhouse, and coming up we'll have Cubs baseball!

Bottom of the 3rd, and up steps Dave Kingman. Takes a pitch, ball one. Kingman comes in today with 14 homers on the year, hitting .254. The 1-0, fouled back. No score, Bittner takes his lead at 2nd. Blyleven the wind up, and the 1-1...that ball is hit, back, back, back...HEY HEYYYY! THAT'S A HOME RUN! Kingman, his 15th of the year, and the Cubs take the lead 2-0! Hooo, boy!

So that's two outs here in the top of the fifth, and now Willie Stargell has a chance to do some damage with the bases loaded. The pitch, curveball, hit right back to Lamp, runs and tags Bill Robinson on his way to 2nd to end the inning. Pirates don't score, on to the bottom of the fifth, Cubs lead 2-0!

See, you can really use your imagination in games like these. As I'd imagine most kids did in the late 70s. I wouldn't know, I used my imagination on NES black box Baseball in the late 80s. But now I can imagine I'm the 1978 Cubs, and in watching a few of their games on YouTube, the team seemed to have a real charm to them that I can't quite put my finger on.

In reality, this is more like backyard whiffle ball where the pitcher can run around tagging everyone out. You know, when you couldn't find nine friends to get a real game going. It's about as much fun as 1 on 1 baseball can get. It's cool how they were able to make a game that I can enjoy for a few minutes with the limits of the Atari 2600.

While all the improved graphics are nice, I always like to go back to games like these where you have to use your imagination.