2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

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VideoGameCritic
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2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby VideoGameCritic » November 27th, 2021, 11:24 am

Check out my latest Atari 2600 reviews for Zookeeper (new from Atari Age) and The Earth Dies Screaming (a re-review).
My original Earth Dies Screaming review was very slight, posted on 7/3/1999! Same grade however.

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GeoX
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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby GeoX » November 27th, 2021, 2:22 pm

They actually took the title of TEDS from an old English horror film…

Image

The zombies (love those white eyes) were played by Atari upper management!

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GeoX
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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby GeoX » November 27th, 2021, 2:27 pm

I actually remember playing Zookeeper in the arcade! Notice how that guy would be a dead ringer for Mario if he just had a stache?
Regardless the graphics in this game look INCREDIBLE!
Do you know how much memory they used for this cartridge?

johnnywc23
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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby johnnywc23 » November 27th, 2021, 3:03 pm

GeoX wrote:Regardless the graphics in this game look INCREDIBLE!
Do you know how much memory they used for this cartridge?


Hi there!

The graphics were done by Nathan Strum (who has done most of the graphics for all of our games) and did an especially amazing job with Zoo Keeper.

The cartridge is 32K and utilizes a co-processor on the cart with 6K of RAM so we pushed the ol' 2600 to the limit! :D

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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby Gleebergloben123 » November 27th, 2021, 5:36 pm

As I posted before, I recently played the arcade version of Zookeeper (have always thought it was highly underrated) and the graphics and gameplay on the 2600 version seem absolutely astounding. I know the 2600 Zookeeper is 32K, but isn’t Circus Convoy a 128K game? And no knock on that game but it makes Zookeeper all the more impressive.

The Gleeber has Globened.

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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby johnnywc23 » November 29th, 2021, 3:11 pm

Gleebergloben123 wrote:I know the 2600 Zookeeper is 32K, but isn’t Circus Convoy a 128K game? And no knock on that game but it makes Zookeeper all the more impressive.


Hi there!

Yes, CC is 128K. Although it uses 4 times more ROM than ZK, ZK has the luxury of 6K of extra RAM (CC uses the stock 128 bytes of RAM) and the ARM processor for setting up graphics data and game logic. I believe CC uses many kernels to achieve what it does with lots of redundant code (thus the high ROM usage), but it is something that "technically" could have been produced in the 80's since it does not rely on extra hardware (70 Mhz ARM chips weren't around back then ;) ), although the cost of a 128K ROM cartridge may have been prohibitively expensive, at least in the mid 80's.

Either way, the good news is that excellent 2600 games can be developed no matter what technology is chosen. :D

Thanks,
John (developer of ZK for the 2600)

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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby GeoX » November 30th, 2021, 5:49 am

johnnywc23 wrote:
Gleebergloben123 wrote:I know the 2600 Zookeeper is 32K, but isn’t Circus Convoy a 128K game? And no knock on that game but it makes Zookeeper all the more impressive.


Hi there!

Yes, CC is 128K. Although it uses 4 times more ROM than ZK, ZK has the luxury of 6K of extra RAM (CC uses the stock 128 bytes of RAM) and the ARM processor for setting up graphics data and game logic. I believe CC uses many kernels to achieve what it does with lots of redundant code (thus the high ROM usage), but it is something that "technically" could have been produced in the 80's since it does not rely on extra hardware (70 Mhz ARM chips weren't around back then ;) ), although the cost of a 128K ROM cartridge may have been prohibitively expensive, at least in the mid 80's.

Either way, the good news is that excellent 2600 games can be developed no matter what technology is chosen. :D

Thanks,
John (developer of ZK for the 2600)


Well done John!
I worked out the cost once of 128k of ROM back in the mid eighties and it was over…
6,000 dollars!!!
Puts the $132 SEGA cartridge they once released to shame!
Anyway can you tell us what you have next in the pipeline?

Eric
Last edited by GeoX on November 30th, 2021, 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby strat » November 30th, 2021, 10:16 am

Ghost and Goblins for NES that came out in 1986 was 128K. Even though 4K Atari games were typically $20-30 in the early 80's, the price probably didn't scale evenly with ROM. In 1982 256K of RAM was $499-599 (source below). It's still a safe bet a 128K VCS game would've been too expensive.
https://jcmit.net/memoryprice.htm

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Re: 2021/11/27: Atari 2600: Earth Dies Screaming, The, Zookeeper

Postby johnnywc23 » November 30th, 2021, 2:31 pm

GeoX wrote:Well done John!

Thanks Eric!

I worked out the cost once of 128k of ROM back in the mid eighties and it was over…
6,000 dollars!!!
Puts the $132 SEGA cartridge they once released to shame!

:o Wow, that is quite expensive!

Anyway can you tell us what you have next in the pipeline?

Sure! AtariAge is getting ready to release RobotWar:2684 (our clone of Robotron) for the Atari 2600 in a few days.

For the 15th anniversary of Champ Games' Lady Bug (VGC review at https://videogamecritic.com/2600ll.htm ), we are releasing an "Arcade" version that uses the latest technology (the original used 16K of ROM and 128 bytes of RAM) to add many more features, including an arcade accurate maze, extra mazes, 2 player options (including versus mode), and high score saves to the AtariVox. We're hoping to have it released by end of year.

We currently have 3 other games for the 2600 nearing completion for release in 2022, including Turbo Arcade, Gorf Arcade and Qix. You can read about all of the games on our website at https://champ.games .

Thanks,
John


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