2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 21st, 2015, 5:58 pm

Let's hear your thoughts on this pair of home brew reviews.

sixam1
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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby sixam1 » January 21st, 2015, 7:27 pm

About Astro Blaster, it should be noted that was an awful clone of the game called "Threshold," that was released home consoles and computers back in 1981. It had the exact same gameplay mechanics; a laser that overheats, warp activation, and a fuel gauge that you refill by docking with a mother ship. You reviewed the 2600 version of Threshold, and the Colecovision version is included in the Colecovision Flashback. You should check it out, it's awful. Lacks the frantic pace of the arcade original. Here is the description on Moby Games http://www.mobygames.com/game/threshold

LS6501
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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby LS6501 » January 21st, 2015, 11:13 pm

I was very surprised by your low score for KC Munchkin.  I love the original O2 version - it's a better Pacman than Pacman.  The controls must be really pooched if you gave it a 'D'.

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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby PacManPlus1 » January 22nd, 2015, 9:33 am

Hi:

Regarding your review of KC Munchkin, the controls are actually *EXACTLY* like the O2. I played that game for many years at a friends house. You can't just turn (or reverse direction) at any time. It had to be at specific points, and I purposely put that in there to match the O2. I have no problem playing the game and getting a high score, and I suspect that anyone who had an O2 back in the day won't have a problem either. :)

 (...and BTW, if you don't like the graphics you can always hold down 'pause' while turning it on until it gets to the title screen to have the original O2 graphics - I put that in as an 'Easter Egg')

Thank you,
Bob DeCrescenzo

I'll give you that about entering the High Score name.  Without a keyboard, I had to come up with a scheme to enter the name with a joystick.  I decided to mimic the 7800 'High Score Cart' way of selecting letters (Up/down to select letters).  Moving the joystick left or right keeps the letter and moving the joystick right on the last letter saves it.  It was the best I could do. [frown]

Did you try the maze editor?


FinalLapTwinkie1
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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby FinalLapTwinkie1 » January 22nd, 2015, 8:14 pm

I like the idea for the Easter Egg. I must be in the minority but I remember being able to change direction at any time. I regularly play KC Munchkin using OEM and it allows quick direction change as well.

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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 22nd, 2015, 9:03 pm

Bob,
Please don't take that review the wrong way.  The game is still enjoyable and frankly my D is probably equivalent to a C on most sites.  I really appreciate what you do and do not want to discourage you.
VGC

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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 23rd, 2015, 3:57 pm

I think the K.C. Munchkin remake falls into the no-win situation of trying to improve upon a game that was nearly perfect to begin with.

It's like when Hollywood remakes movies like Total Recall and Robocop.  The original films were so good, any attempt to recreate them is going to fall short.

Also, people who are fans of the original movie (or game) are probably going to be much more critical.  People who've never experienced K.C. Munchkin before might be a lot more forgiving.

That said, I don't want to discourage home-brew programmers because these are the people who keep the classic consoles alive.  Unfortunately, not every one can get an A or B grade, but that doesn't mean a D game isn't enjoyable.

Your thoughts?

Sut1
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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby Sut1 » January 23rd, 2015, 5:37 pm

It's always difficult to be critical of Homebrew titles, not unlike the PD/Shareware flood on the ST and Amiga.
I personally try and give them an easier time because they are essentially hobbyists creating the games.
Perhaps (not sure if this is feasible) have a separate section purely for Homebrews/PD titles ?
And just have commercial releases under the system headings, at least then you can compare Homebrews against homebrews.

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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 23rd, 2015, 7:31 pm

Sut,
I hear what you're saying, but that would actually result in lower grades for home-brews (assuming I would continue to grade on a curve).  

Right now home-brew games have any advantage over the old games.  Not only can home-brewers see things in retrospect, but they often can use extra memory and new programming techniques not available to the original programmers.  In general, the home brews rate higher.

I doubt readers want me to "go easy" on home brews.  Would I give them the benefit of the doubt?  Maybe, but I try very hard to write an honest review.

That said, I love home-brews and hope programmers realize my criticisms are meant to be constructive in nature.
VGC

scotland171
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2015/1/21: Atari 7800: Astro Blaster, K.C. Munchkin

Postby scotland171 » January 23rd, 2015, 9:37 pm

I appreciate the home brewers too, and I'd like to give it a try myself someday. There is batari, but its the odyssey that is closest to my heart.

Was it Gene Siskel who said, don't remake good movies, they've already been done right. Of course, porting good games like Frogger everywhere, or filling a niche with Amok! are keeping with the tradition of the times when every console had a version of Space Invaders, but it does raise the bar since we have seen the game done well already. Perhaps focusing on hacks of mediocre games has merit. No shortage of disappointing games out there that maybe just need a new dress and a makeover to be presentable.

I did pop in KC Munchkin on the Odyssey this evening, and did not encounter having to turn at a precise point. It is a great game. The panic of trying to outwit a moving dot while not blundering into hewey louie and dewey is an uncommon delight on the console. Wonder how it would play on a larger map.


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