What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

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Rev. Stuart Campbell
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by Rev. Stuart Campbell » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:02 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:40 pm
I still think it would be a hell of a lot easier with left/right directional control on the stick, even if you keep the thrust button for speed control. Having a single button to flip directions just feels wrong to me. You can't map it to a stick, as it's a toggle, so two lefts = right etc.
I map thrust to both left and right, and reverse to a button. Feels entirely natural after five seconds.

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by acidbottle » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:18 pm

Lemmings on anything bar the Amiga.

The hardware mouse cursor controller made it flow real nice on the A500. PC version was pants.

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by oldtimer » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:03 pm

ET on the Atari 2600 truly iconic truly rubbish.
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by RetroBob » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:25 pm

Let's be honest with each other - Altered Beast sucks, and we all know it.
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by Matt_B » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:25 pm

ET is generally only considered iconic for being rubbish, which I find somewhat unfair.
  • It's a relatively complex game that you can't just pick up and play. Reading the manual is necessary if you want to know how play the game, in particular little things like how to get out of a pit are explained within, as well as what you have to do actually complete it. Once you know how to play it, you might still think that it's the worst game ever, but most of the people I know who've taken the time to figure it out have generally warmed to it a bit.
  • It was designed in one hell of a rush. Due to the wish to get it out in time for Christmas with the production schedules for cartridges, advertising, etc. there were only a few weeks to make the game. A little bit of extra playtesting might well have knocked off the rough edges, and a more reasonable timeframe might have eliminated some of the clunkier aspects entirely, but I'd think that Howard Warshaw must have done as close to a good job as possible with what he was given.
  • It was massively overhyped. While not the first license deal game, it certainly wasn't the last mediocre adaptation to get a bit marketing push.
  • It's a convenient excuse for a lot of other failings at Atari. Sure, we all like the idea of millions of unsold cartridges getting buried in the desert because the game was crap and dragged the company down in the process, but that's mostly myth. Realistically the Warner-era Atari died because they thought the boom would never end and projected accordingly. They had something like 10,000 staff on the payroll at their peak which is about 4000 more than Nintendo do today which is frankly ludicrous considering the relative size of the markets then and now.

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by the_hawk » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:14 am

RetroBob wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:25 pm
Let's be honest with each other - Altered Beast sucks, and we all know it.
Yes, Altered Beast is an absolutely dreadful game...that I go back & play time and time again. :lol:
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by the_hawk » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:07 pm

Q*Bert. Cute characters. Impressive for its time...but just plain fiddly, frustrating and no fun at all to actually play.

There's a reason why it hardly ever gets remade or included in billions of compilations like the likes of Pacman, Galaga & Donkey Kong etc do.
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by English Invader » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:13 pm

Matt_B wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:25 pm
It's a relatively complex game that you can't just pick up and play. Reading the manual is necessary if you want to know how play the game, in particular little things like how to get out of a pit are explained within, as well as what you have to do actually complete it. Once you know how to play it, you might still think that it's the worst game ever, but most of the people I know who've taken the time to figure it out have generally warmed to it a bit.
It was made by the same person who made Yars' Revenge (which also has a complex learning curve) and my theory is that the people who bought, played and enjoyed YR aren't the same people who would have bought ET and that the latter group lacked the patience to get past the learning curve.

ET wasn't a great game and suffered a lot from the lack of development time but I've played a lot worse. Both on the Atari 2600 and on other systems.

It's not actually that much different to David Crane's Ghostbusters on the C64. That one requires the player to read the manual and is quite limited once you know how to beat it but it was a huge commercial success. I love this game and wouldn't feel like I had a C64 if I didn't have it but I have to admit that it's over-rated and lacks depth.

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by English Invader » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:21 pm

acidbottle wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:18 pm
Lemmings on anything bar the Amiga.

The hardware mouse cursor controller made it flow real nice on the A500. PC version was pants.
Strongly disagree with that. I was very happy with the Mega Drive version while growing up. People make a fuss about not being able to play Lemmings on any system without a mouse but the d-pad on a game controller works just as well.

And the game is also well loved on both the Acorn Archimedes and the Atari ST with mouse control as well. The Amiga doesn't have the monopoly on that.

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by Matt_B » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:55 pm

English Invader wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:21 pm
acidbottle wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:18 pm
Lemmings on anything bar the Amiga.

The hardware mouse cursor controller made it flow real nice on the A500. PC version was pants.
Strongly disagree with that. I was very happy with the Mega Drive version while growing up. People make a fuss about not being able to play Lemmings on any system without a mouse but the d-pad on a game controller works just as well.

And the game is also well loved on both the Acorn Archimedes and the Atari ST with mouse control as well. The Amiga doesn't have the monopoly on that.
Yeah, those two versions play pretty much identically to the Amiga one. About all they're giving away is the music and a teeny bit of slowdown on the ST when you've got close to the maximum amount of lemmings on screen.

The PC version also has mouse control and I don't think it's that bad either. Support for more advanced sound hardware than the AdLib board might have helped it a bit though.

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by Antiriad2097 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:43 pm

I recall many 2 player games of Lemmings on the Atari ST, with Mrs Ant v1.0 on mouse and myself on joystick. The game is better suited to mouse control, but far from unplayable with a stick.

I quite like Q*Bert, it only suffers from the usual issue of isometric games that you need to rotate the joystick 45 degrees to match the on screen presentation - just like it was on the arcade cab. Not a problem with the handheld joysticks typical of the 8 and 16 bit systems. The colour changing tiles gameplay dynamic has been iterated over and over in many games for decades, so while it may not be a commonly licenced game, the gameplay has certainly been recycled (e.g. Pippo on the Spectrum is a well loved early example).
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by slacey1070 » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:59 am

the_hawk wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:07 pm
Q*Bert. Cute characters. Impressive for its time...but just plain fiddly, frustrating and no fun at all to actually play.

There's a reason why it hardly ever gets remade or included in billions of compilations like the likes of Pacman, Galaga & Donkey Kong etc do.
I love Q-Bert and the Gameboy version is awesome - I find its a real "flow" game. Once you get it, it feels great - but doesn't until you do. I find it takes me a few games now to get back into the flow - but then all is good!
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by English Invader » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:47 am

slacey1070 wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:59 am
I love Q-Bert and the Gameboy version is awesome - I find its a real "flow" game. Once you get it, it feels great - but doesn't until you do. I find it takes me a few games now to get back into the flow - but then all is good!
The Amiga has a very good shareware port called Q-Bic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqJ_kkwI20k

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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by the_hawk » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:09 pm

slacey1070 wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:59 am
the_hawk wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:07 pm
Q*Bert. Cute characters. Impressive for its time...but just plain fiddly, frustrating and no fun at all to actually play.

There's a reason why it hardly ever gets remade or included in billions of compilations like the likes of Pacman, Galaga & Donkey Kong etc do.
I love Q-Bert and the Gameboy version is awesome - I find its a real "flow" game. Once you get it, it feels great - but doesn't until you do. I find it takes me a few games now to get back into the flow - but then all is good!
Will give that Gameboy version a jolly good go then.

I've always had issues with isometric games being fiddly, but never want to write games off without giving them a proper try. :D
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Re: What's the most iconic retro game that's actually rubbish?

Post by slacey1070 » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:23 am

the_hawk wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:09 pm
slacey1070 wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:59 am
the_hawk wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:07 pm
Q*Bert. Cute characters. Impressive for its time...but just plain fiddly, frustrating and no fun at all to actually play.

There's a reason why it hardly ever gets remade or included in billions of compilations like the likes of Pacman, Galaga & Donkey Kong etc do.
I love Q-Bert and the Gameboy version is awesome - I find its a real "flow" game. Once you get it, it feels great - but doesn't until you do. I find it takes me a few games now to get back into the flow - but then all is good!
Will give that Gameboy version a jolly good go then.

I've always had issues with isometric games being fiddly, but never want to write games off without giving them a proper try. :D
I completely get the control issue - and the fiddly bit - I just found real "flow" with Q-bert - but that might be my dyslexic brain having fun!
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