Atari vs C64 // was: 8-Bit Computer Poll

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Best 8-Bit

ZX Spectrum
109
41%
Commodore 64
121
46%
Amstrad CPC 464
25
10%
BBC Micro
8
3%
 
Total votes: 263

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Emperor Fossil
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Post by Emperor Fossil » Fri May 18, 2007 4:36 am

Atari Frog wrote:
oswald wrote:on the top 2 pics, I think atari uses doubled scanlines... looks awfull. thats about memory saving flexible screen modes... again the 256 colors look totally useless when the level gfx can only use 4 of them at once..
There's a general consensus most Zeppelin ports could've been done better than the usual four color jobs. The programs play really well and are good games but there was no real competition at the time to push the platform's limits. Give the Atari the C64 market share and you'll see the difference.
There's certainly truth in this. Like I said earlier, it would have been interesting to see what kind of games might have appeared on the atari if had held a position as the main rival to the c64. As it stands, however, it doesn't seem to have much to offer past the early to mid '80s, though of course there's always the odd exception.

edit: Mind you, if the A8 had been the main competitor to the c64, we might have seen an overload of quick ports between the two, and a lack of games that made good use of the hardware on either side.
Last edited by Emperor Fossil on Fri May 18, 2007 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Atari Frog » Fri May 18, 2007 4:38 am

TMR wrote:If what Steven Levy says in Hackers is the case, most of the docs for the A8 were incredibly limited and it took third party coders like John Harris a long time and a disassembler to figure out how Atari's software seemed to be breaking the rules they were being told. Certainly, the docs i got with my 800XL weren't even a patch on the C64 manual and that's generally considered to be weak.
I really think everything got better by 1983 or 1984 but, generally, I'm on par with you. I believe we just disagree on how that certain lack of support was a real hindrance in Atari's attempt to capture the bigger portion of the market.

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Post by Atari Frog » Fri May 18, 2007 4:52 am

Mayhem wrote:Speaking of the Vic20, its price was a major factor in its reaching the magical 1 million selling mark before the Atari, even though it had been out only a fraction of the time. Its power was far better value for money compared to the Atari at that time. The same principal in part propelled the C64 to become the biggest selling and greatest home computer of all time.
Something that helped Commodore immensely as well was the distribution channels. Atari was a newcomer in the computer market while Commodore had already set up a solid network selling the PET. Atari's image wasn't as solid either, mainly because of the VCS.

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Post by TMR » Fri May 18, 2007 5:50 am

Allas wrote:
TMR wrote:To be honest, a pixel perfect conversion from the C64 of Impossible Mission wouldn't be possible.
is it necessary a perfect pixel conversion?
The discussion is which machine is better; if machine A can't do something machine B can do, it's not as good, that's fairly simple. Taking the playability of the games into account is impossible, no two people would agree and we'd get even less ground covered.
Last edited by TMR on Fri May 18, 2007 6:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by TMR » Fri May 18, 2007 6:01 am

Atari Frog wrote:I really think everything got better by 1983 or 1984 but, generally, I'm on par with you.
Yeah, but 1983 was four years after the hardware was released; the initial take-up of coders couldn't happen until at least 1982 when De Re Atari appeared. And could i get a copy of that here in 1984? Could i 'eck. If the system had been more open for the year i owned but couldn't get to grips with the A8, i'd probably have stuck with it.
Atari Frog wrote:I believe we just disagree on how that certain lack of support was a real hindrance in Atari's attempt to capture the bigger portion of the market.
We just have to look at the sales figures, at the relative levels of interest and, most importantly, at how under-used the Atari hardware is - and it's not me saying the latter, that's the Atari camp saying it.
Atari Frog wrote:Something that helped Commodore immensely as well was the distribution channels. Atari was a newcomer in the computer market while Commodore had already set up a solid network selling the PET.
And Apple had a head start on everyone but Commodore still managed to come along and make a dent in that market... which, considering Commodore's "marketing skills" is quite impressive really. =-)

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Post by emkay » Fri May 18, 2007 7:52 am

Emperor Fossil wrote: I realise these are a couple of pretty extreme examples (although the top game looks OK for an A8 game), but given everything that's been said about the A8's colour capabilities, why do such colour deprived games end up on the platform? Are the devs just not trying, or is it not that easy to create colourful games on the A8? Most of the colourful ones seem to rely on the old horizontal colour bars and/or some kind of super chunky low-res mode that isn't really much good for games.
Good question.
On the A8 so much more is/was possible:

For example:

Back in the 90's I wrote a game in my spare time:

http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.ph ... st&id=4030

As you can see: Hires besides colourmodes
You see hires coloured Text and the music used a test of sawtooth sounds in the "Fanfare" and in the "Pause Mode".
Well, particular the hires colour text cost nothing. It is possible since 1979,but you've never seen it in another game.
BTW: There is no use of PM (Sprites) in the game.

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Post by The Master » Fri May 18, 2007 8:03 am

oswald wrote:seeing the joy when ppl get a c64 for present is priceless:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fh3A0Lt ... ed&search=

:wink: :lol: :shock: :D :twisted:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!! wtf....

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Post by Atari Frog » Fri May 18, 2007 8:04 am

TMR wrote:We just have to look at the sales figures, at the relative levels of interest and, most importantly, at how under-used the Atari hardware is - and it's not me saying the latter, that's the Atari camp saying it.
Absolutely but my point is that bad marketing also had a lot to do with the situation. One of my other arguments is that there was no real competition to push the hardware to its limits. Finally, this was still an era of simple, amateurish 8-16K games for the most part. There weren't any software giants in the computer market at the time and things went slower.

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Post by Matt_B » Fri May 18, 2007 8:12 am

TMR wrote:And Apple had a head start on everyone but Commodore still managed to come along and make a dent in that market... which, considering Commodore's "marketing skills" is quite impressive really. =-)
Apple didn't have a head start on Commodore. The KIM-1 was on the market a year before the Apple 1 and the PET and the Apple II were launched together at the West Coast Computer Faire in April 1977.

Commodore's marketing might only have been half-competent at best, but that's still at least half better than Atari's. :)

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Post by TMR » Fri May 18, 2007 8:39 am

Atari Frog wrote:
TMR wrote:We just have to look at the sales figures, at the relative levels of interest and, most importantly, at how under-used the Atari hardware is - and it's not me saying the latter, that's the Atari camp saying it.
Absolutely but my point is that bad marketing also had a lot to do with the situation.
We-ell, i can't talk about the US because i don't know but i can say that for the UK, Commodore sucked donkeys when it came to marketing and that extended throughout it's entire lifespan; trying to market the C64, the Plus/4 and then the Amiga as business machines, not telling the independents about the A1200 until launch even to the point of denying it's existence even though we had an Argos catalogue with it in... that sort of stuff.
Atari Frog wrote:One of my other arguments is that there was no real competition to push the hardware to its limits. Finally, this was still an era of simple, amateurish 8-16K games for the most part. There weren't any software giants in the computer market at the time and things went slower.
i have to disagree there because i feel that competition doesn't come from the companies, it comes from the programmers trying to out-do each other; the biggest innovations in 8-bit code mostly came from one or two person backroom teams who may have been tied to a publisher but more often than not weren't. Thalamus were mentioned earlier, but i don't believe even Stavros Fasoulas was a staffer as such, but if he was then he was the only in-house programmer and all the other titles like Hawkeye, Snare, Creatures, Armalyte, Retrograde and so on were written by small teams working from home. Hawkeye is a case in point, the way it handles it's scrolling lead to games like Flimbo's Quest, Rubicon and Greystorm, the original idea was evolved to make it more versatile.

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Post by TMR » Fri May 18, 2007 8:44 am

Matt_B wrote:
TMR wrote:And Apple had a head start on everyone but Commodore still managed to come along and make a dent in that market... which, considering Commodore's "marketing skills" is quite impressive really. =-)
Apple didn't have a head start on Commodore. The KIM-1 was on the market a year before the Apple 1 and the PET and the Apple II were launched together at the West Coast Computer Faire in April 1977.
But the PET wasn't aimed at gaming or really for home use; no user-defined graphics, no sound, green screen display and it was very much the archetypal image of a business computer. Or a Star Trek prop. The Apple was aimed fairly and squarely at people who wanted a computer at home that'd make pretty things happen on the screen, a very different market.

And the KIM-1... well it was a hobby project rather than a computer in the same way the Altair was, it hardly counts as a "consumer device" like the Apple 1, Atari 8-bit and later hardware did. And it's not really a Commodore machine as such, it was built and originally marketed by MOS Technologies. =-)

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Post by Emperor Fossil » Fri May 18, 2007 8:46 am

emkay wrote:On the A8 so much more is/was possible:

For example:

Back in the 90's I wrote a game in my spare time:

http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.ph ... st&id=4030

As you can see: Hires besides colourmodes
You see hires coloured Text and the music used a test of sawtooth sounds in the "Fanfare" and in the "Pause Mode".
Well, particular the hires colour text cost nothing. It is possible since 1979,but you've never seen it in another game.
BTW: There is no use of PM (Sprites) in the game.
Unfortunately, Atari age requires a user log-on to view attachments. :(

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Post by TMR » Fri May 18, 2007 8:48 am

Emperor Fossil wrote:Unfortunately, Atari age requires a user log-on to view attachments. :(
Soon fix that...

Image

The bit to watch is that upper third of the screen; it changes display mode three times per scanline to produce three diffierent areas. This isn't quite the same as what the C64 can do, since it can arbitarily change back and forth between hi-res and multicolour on a character by character basis (and it doesn't lock the CPU up during the display either! =-)

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Post by emkay » Fri May 18, 2007 9:04 am

TMR wrote:
Emperor Fossil wrote:Unfortunately, Atari age requires a user log-on to view attachments. :(
Soon fix that...

Image

The bit to watch is that upper third of the screen; it changes display mode three times per scanline to produce three diffierent areas. This isn't quite the same as what the C64 can do, since it can arbitarily change back and forth between hi-res and multicolour on a character by character basis (and it doesn't lock the CPU up during the display either! =-)
As I said, the coloured hires Text (in the middle of the screen) cost nothing.
And what is the problem , when using some CPU time?
We can use almost 50% of it and have still a faster machine than the C64 is. So where is the offence?

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Post by Atari Frog » Fri May 18, 2007 9:25 am

TMR wrote:i have to disagree there because i feel that competition doesn't come from the companies, it comes from the programmers trying to out-do each other; the biggest innovations in 8-bit code mostly came from one or two person backroom teams who may have been tied to a publisher but more often than not weren't. Thalamus were mentioned earlier, but i don't believe even Stavros Fasoulas was a staffer as such, but if he was then he was the only in-house programmer and all the other titles like Hawkeye, Snare, Creatures, Armalyte, Retrograde and so on were written by small teams working from home. Hawkeye is a case in point, the way it handles it's scrolling lead to games like Flimbo's Quest, Rubicon and Greystorm, the original idea was evolved to make it more versatile.
What I meant was that there was no real competition from other computers. Moreover, software development was still in its infancy from 1979 to 1982. People had a unique beast with the Atari 800 and maybe it also took a bit longer to master than other platforms. That doesn't mean there weren't breakthroughs on the Atari side after some time, it's just too bad things didn't last a bit longer...

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