Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

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kiwimike
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Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by kiwimike » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:04 am

Just an idea inspired by the VCS screenshots in another topic, showing an early launch game, then a late in its life game when programmers had really learnt to get the most out of it.

I thought it might be cool to have a feature that covered an assortment of consoles and computers, showing what launch games looked like, followed by games late that really shown what it can do. Can include interviews with programmers explaining how they achieved what they thought was not possible, reactions of the time etc.

What comes to mind especially are the Sinclair computers, VCS, Commodore VIc & C64...well, pretty much anything really. There were so many examples in gaming history when certain machines were not supposed to be able to do something...and some clever bugger worked out how to! :)

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by Antiriad2097 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:14 am

Would you include homebrew in that? Many systems (like the Oric) didn't have that long a lifespan to show what they were capable of, so there's not much advance from early to late games. In recent years we've seen homebrew that compares well with games that came out much later on contemporary systems (e.g. the port of Skool Daze, or the Elite update, 1337)
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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by kiwimike » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:20 am

Antiriad2097 wrote:Would you include homebrew in that? Many systems (like the Oric) didn't have that long a lifespan to show what they were capable of, so there's not much advance from early to late games. In recent years we've seen homebrew that compares well with games that came out much later on contemporary systems (e.g. the port of Skool Daze, or the Elite update, 1337)
Yeah I don't see why not. The point of the feature (for my eyes) would be to show what a console/computer was supposed to be capable of with it's specs at launch, and then during it's lifetime how creative and talented programmers exceeded what it was supposed to do. So some homebrew programmers that have been tinkering with the same machine for literally years would know it inside and out, how to get the best from it, and ways around shortcomings of said machine. A special homebrew section on how Spectrums, Orics, Ataris etc are still getting new games or ports that show what these machines could do.

IMO it would make a terrific feature, especially if some of the programmers could be interviewed and provide stories of how they acheived something that shouldn't have been able to, through 'happy accident' or just sheer stubborn perseverance! Maybe even stories like the Apple II years when hardware peripherals came out to specifically acheive things (sound and graphics for the sierra adventure games for example), or the Hi Res ZX81 games...and so on.

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by kleinemaus » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:26 am

It's just amazing how the 2600 went from Combat to Boulder Dash
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Of course programmers figured out how to add RAM into VCS carts (CBS RAM +), or Sara (Activision Pitfall II) or tapes (Starpath), later Famicom used MMC chips to increase the RAM in cartridges.
The Atari 8-bit and C64 went from cartridges to FDs, this increased programming space immensely (Atari's classic game and killer-app Star Raiders (1979) was 8k cart, Omnitrends famous space adventure Universe (1984) was 4 double sided FDs).


Didn't the Spectrum go the other way around, you had colourful games from Ultimate early on and later all Spectrum games went 1 couloured.

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by TwoHeadedBoy » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:03 pm

It'd be a great little feature that. Take the Mega Drive for example, starting with the likes of Altered Beast and ESWAT:

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(which still look great, of course)

And finishing with Sonic 3D (which had FMV!) and VectorMan (which sort of had polygons!) and Alien Soldier (with semi-transparancy etc):

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by paranoid marvin » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:55 pm

It would also highlight that a lot of the later,graphically superior, games didn't have a patch game-play wise on earlier titles.

For example Atari 2600 Pitfall II was in all departments better than the original bar one - gameplay.
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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by psj3809 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:13 am

kleinemaus wrote:Didn't the Spectrum go the other way around, you had colourful games from Ultimate early on andSpectrum games went 1 couloured.
Yet again more boring anti-speccy crap from yourself. Take a look at R-Type on the speccy in its later years, full of colour. If you don't like the machine then fair enough but please cut out the endless jibes

Shouldn't you be scanning the latest German retro gamer for commas in the wrong place or something?

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by kiwimike » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:48 am

Well colour or no colour on the spectrum, you compare very early games- Horace goes skiing for example- With the likes of the some of the stunning Ultimate games later on and it's just incredible.

*Edited add on : If there was such a feature, what consoles/computers would people like to see? For me, the main one would be Atari VCS, considering it's limitations and what some clever people squeezed out of it. The sinclair computers as well, with the hi res games on ZX81 appearing and some terrific spectrum visuals...Even to PS1 perhaps with early blocky pixellated things going to late very impressive visuals of the time.
-So i guess the popular systems that hung around for some time, giving programmers time to stretch every little bit they could out of them.

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by shiftytigger » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:37 pm

Sometimes I was amazed by the technical prowess of the 'demo' makers who put together music and graphic demos on the magazine tapes on YS , Crash etc. Some of thos things were amazing in their ability. I understand the idea would mainly be games comparisons but some of these programmers really knew how to push the hardware ,when sometimes the games writers couldnt be arsed so much.

I'll take the spectrum example and run with it. I started playing games on my spectrum with things like Jet Set Willy,Chequered Flag , Horace goes Skiing etc and to some degree even now.But by the end of the spectrums life we had some amazing graphics monochrome or otherwise.

R-type is a fine example and really good to play,but just look at Cabal and Midnight Resistance for combining colour and quality.

Some fine examples of later games for clarity and quality of graphics (and music) if not gameplay.

Final Fight - dog rough but quite an achievement nonetheless
Destiny Mission 2 - fairly standard side scroller with a wicked 2 layer scrolling background
Streetfighter 2 - to look at , as with Final Fight not a bad achievement.Just dont play it.Ever.
Ninja Warriors - not great to play but well defined graphics and my favourite late life theme music.
Shadow Warriors - bursting with colour and more playable than Final Fight (just)
Rainbow islands - compare to Horace and its miles ahead.Rodland also looked lovely.
Dan Dare 3 / Savage - never really played them much but remember how amazing those chunky graphics looked
Chase HQ - loved Chase HQ and still do - amazing to play and a far cry from Chequered Flag.
Hammerfist - again monochrome but well defined chunky characters and not bad to play.

As for knocking monochrome , it did the Gameboy no harm and helped programmers get around the limitiations to create games that may not have made it as colour iterations.

The same goes for most other systems - programmers eventually understand how to get the best from the hardware. Took a while before anyone really harnessed the use of DVD rom on the PS2 for example.(my ps2 refuses to play Blue discs these days)
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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by aidano » Sun May 05, 2013 1:52 pm

This is a great idea. I'd love to see it extended to the Amstrad CPC..the lifespan was long enough that we saw things go from the Galactic Plague

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..to Rainbow Islands

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by mqark » Mon May 06, 2013 5:22 pm

I think this is a great idea as well.

The C64 has some great examples of this improvement once tricks and exploits had been worked out and had become common knowledge amongst programmers who were skilful enough to break away from the conventional and easy way of writing games and squeezing every last bit of performance out of the machine.

I believe demo coders pushed most hardware and once these exploits had become commonplace the games improved exponentially. But then they didn't have the commercial pressure to get a game out in a short period of time. Demo coders had the leisure to experiment.

Don't forget though that a game could be programmed in such a way that was technically competent and the graphics could be terrible, often because the programmer was producing the graphics and not a dedicated artist. Later in a machine's life, with bigger teams, more money and the commercial pressure to sell games it was much more important to have great graphics and sound.
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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by The Laird » Mon May 06, 2013 5:43 pm

I was thinking about my original post on here showing the advances on 2600 and I have actually been doing something around this on my own website HERE for those interested.

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Re: Feature Idea: Early/Late game comparisons on Consoles

Post by kiwimike » Wed May 08, 2013 1:11 am

The Laird wrote:I was thinking about my original post on here showing the advances on 2600 and I have actually been doing something around this on my own website HERE for those interested.
Awesome, cheers for that :)

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