Games that pushed a system to the limit

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StickHead
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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by StickHead » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:11 pm

A lot of Thalion games really pushed what an Atari ST was capable of. It was always nice to see an ST nailing 50fps horizontal scrolling: "see, it is possible!" Wings of Death was awesome too.

Elite on the Acorn Electron. Even at the time, it seemed amazing to cram a whole galaxy into an Elk. Now, with knowledge of memory and storage limitations, it seems even more incredible.

Has anyone mentioned Dynamite Headdy? Similar to Gunstar Heroes in that there always seems to be loads going on, different effects etc.

Then, of course, there is David Crane's work on the 2600. There's an app available for iDevices that details how he squeezed so much out of a glorified pong machine.
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martyg
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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by martyg » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:39 pm

sebadude wrote: Dude I don't think you need to be so literal with this.. I think every example from everyone in this thread has been brilliant, and have really shown me what can be done with these machines.
My mistake, I thought the thread was "games that pushed a system to the limit" instead of "show me something I hadn't expected". :lol:
I look forward to tracking many of these games down! It's not all literally about processing and hardware - it's just as much about using graphical tricks and clever programming and game design to create the illusion of something that normally wouldn't be possible on the system.
I would disagree based on my experience in homebrew circles and what I've always seen used in my long standing of involvement in the retrogaming community in general. I've always heard it defined and used as I mentioned. When people say "Let's see what this baby can handle" in regards to a car, they want to see how it handles at extremes of speed, steering, etc. In this case of consoles and computers, graphical tricks and clever programming in relation to pushing a system to the limit means squeezing tricks out of the console's display mechanism (graphics chip) beyond what it was designed for. Pre-rendering 3d graphics on another system and generating 2D sprite images from them (ala DK Country) is no more pushing the system than any other 2D sprite. Now, actually generating said 3D polygonal graphics on the system, doing 3D collision detection, etc., etc. would be actually "pushing it to the limit".
Thanks for a valuable technical insight though! ;)
Appreciate it. It's actually very important when defining what actually constituted a "video" game vs. the later pop-culture originated incorrect usage that everyone goes by now (anything electronic with a display).
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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by sebadude » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:56 pm

Panorama Cotton looks awesome! Can't get past that name though.. reminds me of Fearne Cotton. Not that that's a bad thing ;)

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by sebadude » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:00 pm

martyg wrote: My mistake, I thought the thread was "games that pushed a system to the limit" instead of "show me something I hadn't expected". :lol:
No need to be a douche! ;)

Comix Zone has the best graphics of any megadrive game, so it pushes the system to the limit, regardless of how much the game actually taxes the processors. And we're not talking about cars! :P

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by sebadude » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:07 pm

Warioland - Gameboy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGTdvav_7G8
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I remember being blown away when this came out. Compare it to Super Mario Land and it looks incredible, those sprites are huge!

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by David » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:08 pm

pinocchio on megadrive

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by sebadude » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:14 pm


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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by Doddsy » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:13 pm

Fairlight for the ZX Spectrum 48k. Had multi channel music from your beeper (which was infact a trick to mimic multi channel sound) and you had a large detailed castle to explore with rooms which remembered what objects were left there. It had a physics engine and was leaps ahead of Knightlore in looks and gameplay in just a space of about 12 months all in one load too.

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by thevulture » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:32 pm

Audio wise? Mega-Apocalypse on C64, Superb music, meaty FX, Speech etc. Managed to push SID to places i`d never heard it taken. Bloody great game to boot!.

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by giss » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:39 pm

Found a better video of Panorama Cotton, this is more or less a montage of various impressive parts of the game. Well worth a nomination for best technical achievement on the Mega Drive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jcx_O6yAYQ
Image

also, you reminded me that I need to play Dynamite Headdy. I've owned if for a long time but haven't gotten around to playing it yet, more than just make sure the cart works.

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by RMLF » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:35 pm

giss wrote:Found a better video of Panorama Cotton, this is more or less a montage of various impressive parts of the game. Well worth a nomination for best technical achievement on the Mega Drive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jcx_O6yAYQ
Image

also, you reminded me that I need to play Dynamite Headdy. I've owned if for a long time but haven't gotten around to playing it yet, more than just make sure the cart works.
I dunno why but that just reminds me of Space Harrier 2 which is much older and has a bigger playing area

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by thevulture » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:12 am

Alien Res. on PS1 seemed to be maxing the hardware.Burning Rangers on saturn, Perfect Dark on N64 seemed to be asking more than the hardware could deliver, Quake 2 on PS1, coming after all the 'impossible to bring Quake to Playstation' crap.

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by Havantgottaclue » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:44 am

martyg wrote:
I look forward to tracking many of these games down! It's not all literally about processing and hardware - it's just as much about using graphical tricks and clever programming and game design to create the illusion of something that normally wouldn't be possible on the system.
I would disagree based on my experience in homebrew circles and what I've always seen used in my long standing of involvement in the retrogaming community in general. I've always heard it defined and used as I mentioned. When people say "Let's see what this baby can handle" in regards to a car, they want to see how it handles at extremes of speed, steering, etc. In this case of consoles and computers, graphical tricks and clever programming in relation to pushing a system to the limit means squeezing tricks out of the console's display mechanism (graphics chip) beyond what it was designed for.
For my part, I'm fascinated by what you had to say about the Atari 2600 in response to my post. But what's your view on the difference between demo programming and game programming? After all, I think for most posters here it'll be less about rendering a 3D object on the fly or getting a 48-sprite multiplexor on the C64 and more about innovative coding to much more pragmatic ends, that is, to produce a playable game.

I've seen some amazing Atari 8-bit demos that take full advantage of its colour palette, screen modes and other capabilities. However, from a gaming perspective you're up against some real limits. In a way, it's really game design that's pushed to the limit as much as the machine itself. Something like Crownland really exemplifies this, what with clever use of colour splits for the background and sparse placement of player-missile graphics to minimise flickering (there still is some when your character sprite goes on the same scanline as a star). The extent of the game's achievement, I think, can be measured against something like Green Beret which was a mess on the Atari 8-bit, perhaps because the game would not have functioned without more enemy objects. And for this the limitations of PMGs (at least horizontally) is critical, especially where you're having to use 2 of the 5 you have just to make one colour object. Crownland gets around this by having sparser enemies, but as a conversion Green Beret couldn't really adopt this approach. Alternatively if the game was vertical you could have more enemies because PMGs are screen high and can be horizontally adjusted down the screen. Unfortunately you can't just go changing Green Beret to an overhead vertical shooter (unless maybe you rename it "Shock Troopers" ... :D )

Then there's Yoomp!, a technical marvel which seems to be the perfect alliance of demo coding - those good old 3D tunnel effects are commonplace in demoland - and something that's actually a very good, and somewhat unique game.

So I would've thought that while it's good fun finding out what's under the hood, a game's design places peculiar circumstances on the coding that make it a less pure affair than demo coding.
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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by thevulture » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:23 pm

Return to genesis on ST.Steve Bak demoing that high-speed, 2-way scrolling WAS possible on machine.

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Re: Games that pushed a system to the limit

Post by Fred83 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:12 pm

Theres talk that galaxy force 2 on the saturn pushed the system- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd38gTmBZOE

Speaking of shadow of the beast,the c64 cart port must had pushed it too.

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