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One of the biggest
complaints from readers of Retrogaming Times is how time consuming it is
to have to peruse over 60 issues to find the articles they want.
Most regularly done articles have fans, whether it be The Many Faces
series or Classic Commercials or even Video Game Therapy. So I decided to start compiling the
articles together to make it easy for a fan of video games to easily
find what they want and enjoy it.
While there is alot of work to do,
there is quite a bit up already. We have a good chunk of the Many Faces
articles together. We also have all the Prose stories and Video Game Therapy together. In the
future, we will compile all the interviews and all the Classic
You can check out this work in
We continue our 20th
anniversary salute to games from 1982. I needed an easy, familiar game
this month due to a family vacation and by coincidenceOctober was also the month I made my Pitfall Harry costume (see Retrogaming
Times #27). Not to mention I am running out of time to review this, thenumber one home video game from '82. In fact, "Pitfall!" was probably
the leading selling and most played home video game & computer cartridge
basedgame of the era. The 2600 version
topped the sales charts for more weeksthan
any game ever did or maybe since then. It's no wonder that weconsider Pitfall!'s programmer, David Crane as if he were the Elvis or a Beatle of the
videogame industry. But I wonder how much it would have hurtits popularity or sales if David had not followed the advice of
his fellowActivision programmers just before its release to change it from
1 life to3 lives per game. Good move!
Otherwise the game may have been considered too frustrating with one
life as can be seen in too many Odyssey 2 titlesback then. 1982 was a great year and shame on you if you have
not playedthis fantastic game on any system.
Pitfall! surely paved the way for thefuture
of adventure games, side-scrollers in particular and also for packing as
much game/code as possible into those classic system'scarts. See also Retrogaming Times #10 Where Doug reviewed
Home Versions [All versions buy Activision, first on the Atari 2600 by
David Crane '82]:
C64 (Peter Filiberti '84), Colecovision ('83), Atari 8 bit ('84), Atari
5200 ('84), Intellivision ('82)
Rumor Mill: Apple II version may have been started but only Pitfall II
Categories (10 points each for):
Gameplay, Addictiveness, Graphics, Sound & Controls
Sequels: Pitfall II, also by Activision planning for around RT issue
Home Version Similarities: Except those in ( ) all home versions have:
the same 255 rooms (call them jungle scenes); same layout of treasures
andobstacles (C64, CV); 20 minute (A8
bit, 5200) clock and 3 lives; pretty much the
same time is required to cross a scene, or swing on a vine (C64); same points scored for treasures found or lost for falling down;
Activision patch if you score 20 K; no gameplay options no musical score
and most have no
Timing of events: [Warning, this section is boring & technical but not
likely to be told in any other "Pitfall!" review] I've not learned thisfrom any reports or
interviews, just by my own inspection, and loads of PTand videotape playback on the 2600 version, so I may be in error
here. The 2600 has what appears to be at least 3 sets of timers for
events, set 1) aglobal timer in sync with the
game clock, set 2) a local timer based upon
the time that you enter the scene, and set 3) a global timer offset fromthe game clock based upon some trigger event, such as when you
enter a specific jungle scene, or collected a specific treasure, or some
otherglobal event (not just from the current
scene, but anywhere in thejungle). The timer
for set 3 could easily be changed during the game using multiple trigger events, or even have subsets. In fact, the set 1 timer
may actually be the same as what I call set 3, but we'd need David toconfirm that. Thus all events (vines swinging, pits &crocodiles opening &closing) are all
set to one of these timers (or subsets of set 3) and stored in memory
ahead of time. If you play flawlessly every time, andtake the same path with no delays, you'd have the same sequence
of eventsin every scene every time. Note
that the scorpions and logs (and a large
number of pitfalls) always use timing set 2 on every version on every
scene AFAIK. I've never seen any random events on the 2600, but have seen them
on the 5200/8bit where (in specific jungle scenes only) if you exit &
enter ascene quickly over and over you'll see
almost every time the vine hasshifted to
somewhere it would not have been. This may be a glitch in the code and not randomness so I looked but did not find this on any other
version. Still, there's at least one scene on the Atari 8 bit not too
farfrom the start where the vine appears to
be random. Playing flawlessly(without
stopping) up until that point, and every time you do this, the vine
starts at a different location. Interviews
with Activision programmers hint that their (2600) code typically has no randomness or a lot less than you might think. This maybe critical to the game design & play testing as Crane made sure that itwas quite the challenge, but indeed possible to complete a game
(with timeto spare), every time you hit
restart. I expect that he was a pretty good game player, but if not, we
know that he was smart enough to turn off the
collision detection of hazards and verify play through completion. Thebest completed game ever verified had 59 seconds remaining, but
reports ofup to 2 minutes have been heard.
The shortest distance path is documented, but not too difficult to map
out on your own via a videorecorder give it a
try. If you don't have time for that, or are ready to verify your map,check out Ben Valdes' great Pitfall! dedication page:
Unfortunately, on all versions but the Intellivision, there's a gameplay
difference (from the 2600), eitherrandomness
has been added or the location, spacing or timing of objects haschanged. This makes me wonder (given everything else is the same)
if winning the game is possible for every attempt, or even atall. Fortunately, the great game player Todd Rogers (and to date
only he)has achieved perfect games on all
classic versions of Pitfall! Actually there is no Twin Galaxies data for the C64 version, but I think he told
me once that he was perfect there as well. Maybe some day I'll set off
onthat lonely road of replaying these games
until I get 20 minutes ofperfection. Todd
has paved the way, so we know it is possible - maybe he should write
this review. Regardless of matching the gameplay of the 2600,the strategy and execution is still pretty much the same on all
versions -just learn what things are
different & adapt. It may be harder, but stillpossible and thus they are all unique additions to our classic
libraries. OK, now back to the typical review but for each significantdeviation from the 2600, I deducted a point in gameplay.
Have Nots: Intellivision (40) This version was the first third party cart for the Inty and
is graphically the closest to the original 2600. Kudos for making it
look so close, butthen Inty fans expected it
to be even better on their graphically superiorsystem. Graphics are still sharp (8) and nothing to be ashamed
of save for some vines hiding behind the tress. The Gameplay is fantastic (9)
and ever so close a match to the 2600. It took me quite a while to
prove thisto myself, but everything is really
there in place and in synch - at leastwithin
a pixel or two. Alas, even the slightest pixel differences can make a particular scene ever so slightly harder (or maybe easier), but it is
obvious that the programmers made every effort possible here to
duplicatethe original. No deduction here.
The Addictiveness is enjoyable (8), but I felt
that I had to knock off a point due to the slightly increased difficulty
and clumsy controller, and use of 2 fire buttons. I expected toadd back in a point for the usual INTY pause feature, but
shamefully,Activision stripped that feature
out of the code. The Sound is pleasant(8)
with no problems, and closest to sounding like the 2600. But it's
probably the worst of those scoring an 8. The Controls are very good(7). I started off scoring them a 5, but a couple hours of PThelped. Unfortunately, Pitfall! (or possibly Pitfall II) is the
most precise, controls demanding game of the era and the Inty
controllers justdon't cut it. It's
frustrating if the weak fire button just doesn't letyou jump at the right time out of 300+ jumps. Game over. Then,
the addition of a second fire button to jump OFF the vines. Why? How
would it help? Moving downward to get off a
vine, versus pushing a different button and
still moving some direction. Consider that there are a few sceneswhere you must get off a vine, then jump over something
immediately, this essentially doubles the complexity. I still keep
scratching my headwondering why Mattel never
made/added a better controller, if not for the
Inty I, then surely by the time of the non-hard-wired controls on the
IntyII. But overall it scores as one of the
top 5 INTY games in this column, and was a big seller for Activision on
Have Nots: Colecovision (41) As with every remaining version in this review, the graphics
and sound were enhanced. Or more accurately, they were intended to be
enhanced, but werethey, or was it at the
expense of the gameplay? The Gameplay is very good(7) and is pretty much all there, just a bit off. There was at
least 1scene where a log or other stationary
item is too close to the edge of the pit and a normal dismount at the
extreme edge of the vine would plop you ontop
of this hazard. Thus this makes the game harder, as you need to jumpoff earlier than usual. The larger character sizes may be the
reason thescorpions are significantly harder
to jump quite possibly there's no pixels of actual margin of error.
We're talking about jumping 8+ scorpionsin a
row and around 20 total a most tedious task for the CV it's justplain cruel. Some of the rolling logs are either spaced
differently or their timing is off. Also, see the latest release of the Digital Press
Guide for the glitch where you can walking through walls going Left.
Thereis also a neat introduction screen where
Harry swings across a vine. The
Addictiveness is enjoyable (8) but they ignored the pause capabilities
and I already mentioned the increased difficulty. It also takes too long to
reset the game, waiting for the intro screen in order to play again.
Thisis also the worst version for jumping
past / through the vines anddieing. The
Sound is crisp (8) and refreshing, but also annoying. The stereophonic
sounding vine swinging and collecting treasure is nice, butthe footfalls with every step and the echoes of every jump areundesirable. I think it would have been more interesting to add
sounds to the rolling log or crocodile's mouths closing shut! (ie to add effects
to the hazards not the norms). The Graphics are sharp (8), with
improvedcolor and details but also things are
a bit too big looking and the mostdifferent
from the others. The Controls are perfect (10) using an Atari
controller. Since there is no pause, and no options, you can easily use
anAtari just need to move to start the game.
Have Nots: Commodore
64 (41) The Gameplay is good enough (6) to
work, but the worst of the lot. Items are offset or pairs of rolling
logs are spaced differently but not makingit
more difficult. The worst problem is really obvious as it takes too longfor the crocs, vines and pits etc. to complete a cycle. You need
to pause and wait for it to go. They appear to be the same, but way off
from the2600. The scorpion is a little
harder to jump, and there is a spriteglitch
where you appear to have cleared the critter but then die. There is no randomness, but appear to be scenes with timing that is purposefully
off from the 2600. The addictiveness is outstanding (9) with a pause
using[run/stop]. Despite gameplay
differences, the game is still fun to play,
not much harder, just different. The Sound is effective (7), but the
worst of the lot. Every effect is off and nearly all are annoying, especially
the footfalls and jumps. Fortunately the Graphics are great (9),
possibly the best of the lot. The Controls
are perfect (10) as usual. Available ondisk
& cart easy to find. A second, simpler version of Pitfall! was
included in Activision's Gamemaker, but we'll not go there. Gold Medal: Atari 2600, 5200 and 8 bit (44) I could try harder to break this tie, but I know that they
all deserve a medal. Even if you feel that the timing of events as done
on the 2600 iscritical, or sacred you should
still enjoy these other 2 versions. And if
you are willing to accept a difference in gameplay, albeit slight or to
include randomness, then you'll like the minor improvements in the laterAtari versions.
Atari 2600 The original will always be the most loved and played of any
version. The Gameplay is first class (9) as good a classic era game one
can play (interms of variety, strategy, and
creativity) without having any gameplay
options. The Addictiveness is fantastic (9) - again - about as good as
one can get without adding a pause, difficulty levels or otherenhancement. Certainly knowing that this game is extremely hard,
butconquerable presents quite a challenge to
players from any era. Pitfall! will most certainly bring you back again for more. Also factor in the
mapping aspect, and that back in that era, common folk did not have a
VCR,or newsgroups to learn and share
information leading them to many, manyhours
of players lovingly trying to map this game out by hand. Other than RPG's or text maze games, this was unprecedented, but certainly yielded
results and players could gradually learn and progress with each newadventure. The Sound is pleasant (8), with a nice variety butsimplicity. Nothing sounds bad, but more effects and a musical
score would surely help. The Graphics too are simple yet sharp (8). A
few more characters and a little more
animation or action would have helped. The
controls are awesome (10) and were perfect for the challenge awaiting. This is the most common and cheapest version to find.
Atari 8 bit The Gameplay is very nice (8) and as mentioned earlier
includes randomness which appears to be a change from the original.
There are possibly sometrivial locations and
timing changes and the clock starts ticking
immediately, giving you one less second on this and the 5200 version.
The Addictiveness is fantastic (9) but somehow there is no added pause. The
randomness may make the game a little harder, but not significantly that
Ican tell. The Sound is impressive (8).
Similar to the CV, the addedfootfalls and
other effects are more stereophonic but can also be annoying. The
Graphics are superb (9) and add in just a touch more realismwithout being overdone. The Controls are perfect (10) as you
wouldexpect. This version is the least
common of all on cart, but still not hard to find, and is available on disk. So if you are willing to accept
some changes, and a new challenge, then you'll like this version even
morethan the 2600.
Atari 5200 The same game as the 8 bit, but there are the usual
differences in controls. The Addictiveness is awesome (10) as you have
all of the bestabove, plus a pause button
[pause]. The Controls can go three ways. With the pack in controllers
you better just get your 20K score and then forget about playing any more. Wait until you get a Wico or other good
controllers and then they are great (9). If you have a Masterplayinterface you may be able to conclude that they are perfect and
then thisversion would be the best. In fact,
I know that I consider the Wico sticks a (10) for Pitfall II, and so
maybe they could be a 10 here, but I had too
much trouble with the crocs and scenes where you jump off the vine thenimmediately jump again. Vines and crocs are not part of Pitfall
II. But come back in Jan '04 when the 5200 may earn a 49 or the only perfect 50
in the Many Faces of Pitfall II.
Come back next month, for another of my top 10 favorites, Dig Dug and
its 10 faces on the Apple II, Atari 2600, 5200, 8 bit, 7800, INTY, Vic
20,TI-99, C64 & CV. Alan Hewston can be
Hewston95@stratos.net orto trade see my
new pages at:
http://my.stratos.net/~hewston95/Hewston_vg.html This article
written with the theme of Pitfall II almost haunting me, playing
non-stop in my head.
For this edition of the vault, we take a look at an advertising
method most companies use: mud-slinging. Talking smack about a
competitor's system is nothing new. Who could forget Sega's infamous
"Sega Does What Nintendon't" campaign. Well
this can even be found in the classicgaming era, folks.
The two ads I have this month are for the Atari 5200, but they also
feature the Colecovision. When Atari was working on the 5200, it was
first designed to go against the Intellivision. But soon the graphically
superior Colecovision burst on the scene, forcing Atari to change gears.
After they released the 5200 they soon targeted the Colecovision with
several ads trying to prove they have the better system.
Commercial 1 This first spot shows people gathering to a movie theater for
sneak previews of the upcoming arcade hits for the 5200. Once the
curtain opens, we see several screens of 5200 games, such as Joust,
Jungle Hunt, and the like. We also have a movie-style announcer narrate
"Here's what's coming from the arcades to the 5200 SuperSystem.
Cartridges only the SuperSystem can play. And the SuperSystem versions
are the best versions of the great arcade hits you can play at home. The
Atari 5200 Supergames. You can't play them on Colecovision. Only on the
Atari 5200 SuperSystem."
"Hurry guys, or we'll miss the game previews."
"Coming soon to an Atari 5200 near you."
"SEE! A man defend himself from evil ostriches."
"WATCH! As a driver attempts the win the cup."
"LOOK! At a Bugs Bunny impersonator."
"All this and more on the 5200 (not Colecovision)"
I have seen a slightly different version of this ad that doesn't mention
the Colecovision. Does anyone know which came first?
Commercial 2 This ad takes a more direct approach, saying why you should
buy a 5200 instead of a Colecovision. Why? Because
their games are superior and you can't play them in a Colecovision.
"Do you think Colecovision plays all Atari games?"
"You mean it can't?"
"Here's Pac-Man on Colecovision(shows 2600
version). But here's Pac-Man for the 5200 SuperSystem(shows 5200 version)."
"Now you're talkin'."
"And it doesn't work on Colecovision."
"But won't their adaptor-"
"It won't play SuperSystem cartridges."
"Not Pole Position?"
"Not this Pole Position."
"Not this Centipede. Only on the Atari 5200 SuperSystem. "
"But aren't they hard to find?"
"The Atari 5200 SuperSystem."
"Say have you heard the news? You can't play Atari games ona Colecovision."
"Isn't that your version of Pac-Man?"
See, it can't fit in a Colecovision...
... or their little adapter.
"Wow, thanks for clearing that up, Atari."
I almost busted a gut when they showed the "Coleco" Pac-Man. Who are
they trying to fool, passing off their own crappy game as a Coleco game!
Plus they fought against Coleco's 2600 adapter by saying it won't play
5200 games. This didn't stop them from forming
the Atarisoft label and releasing versions of Centipede and Defender on
that very same system. I though they said it couldn't play Centipede.
Don't forget you have a chance to contribute to the Top 20 Commercials
of all time. Send me what you say your favorite commercials are. I will
accept ads from 1977 to 1990, which deal with Atari, Intellivision,
Colecovision, and the lesser game systems. If possible
I'll also accept early Nintendo and Sega ads. This will run to November
30th. Once December rolls around I'll post the results in Issue 64.
Let's hope your favorite makes the list.
The moral of this column: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't
force a 5200 cartridge into a Colecovision. Or
something like that.
When I started to
really get involved with the TI, I also became very interested in the TI
99/8 Home Computer-what made it tick, its specs, etc. While I was
working for Asgard Software, later Asgard Peripherals, I was given a set
of seven 360K floppies that contained the entire OS of the TI 99/8 in
Some of the
programmer’s comments are really funny, when looking through all of that
code! And, you have a feeling for what they were trying to accomplish
with the 99/8. Of note, then the list of bugs for the 99/8 shows some of
the problems they had in trying to make the 99/8 a viable product out
the doors of engineering and into the consumer world.
The way I got this
file onto the PC is rather interesting. First of all, I was able to get
a fully loaded Geneve system, with RS232, Rave Speech Card, PFM+, Myarc
Floppy Controller, which enabled me to read the disks I had. After
finding the correct cable at home, I originally had inserted a Sega
Genesis cable, which sort of kind of worked. I hooked up my Geneve to
the VideoTurtle and made sure the system worked fine, and it did on the
20” S-Video TV. I then had my Atari Falcon030 up and running, and after
tweaking the terminal software on it, was ready to receive the text.
Funny thing was, my
version of Port was a beta version, so I couldn’t upload a text file.
Yikes!!! A quick look through the Geneve manual showed me how to
redirect output. Think of the Geneve’s OS as like MSDOS with some TI
flavors. So I did the following steps:
TYPE BUG > RS232
Once done, the file
was sent to the RS232 card at 9600 baud to the Falcon030. Some of the
characters got dropped, but just a few and I was able to fix the text. I
used the Devpac editor on the Falcon030 to accomplish this. I formatted
a 1.44Mb floppy on my main PC and just copied the file from the
directory on my Falcon030, which I then copied and pasted onto this file
For you techies, the
cable I am using between the Geneve and the Falcon030 is an old
null-modem cable, with a modem cable(and 9-pin to 25-pin RS232 adaptor).
I probably could work this on the spare PC at home too.
Well, it’s a rather
long file. So I will not say much more. The musings on the Yahoo Group
have been about connecting their TI’s to their PC’s, via a Lantronix
UDS-10 and Windows Internet Connection Sharing. And so, without further
delay, the Bugs List of the 99/8!!!!!
Last update: 8/25/83
99/8 Bugs found after 7/23/83 release
variables TEMP2 and LNBUF+2 were in same location.Program lockup resulted during READ if (a) a user subprogramwas called or (b) GCHAR was called, due to the loss of thepointer to the next DATA statement.
fix: move LNBUF to
a new location, in PSCAN (grom1)
grom codes 4435B and 4436B were shipped
on 7/28/83. Production of 4435A and 4436A was stopped at that time.
(2) Errors in
(a) IF --- THEN
---- ! tail remark with no ELSE gives
(b) IF --- THEN line-number :: statement-2 does not execute statement-2 on false condition.
Both in PARSE in 32KB rom. found:
fix:revised IF-THEN-ELSE code on 7/29/83
A$=RPT$("A",4090) gives spurious warning.
fix: change JLT REPT2 to JLE REPT2 in line 706 of STRING in 32KB rom
(4) MB expander
In RXD routine,
the statement INV R8 was too early in code, and could be executed before valid data was accepted, causing a lockup on the final handshake.
fix: move the
statement down to after the second validity test.in ROM0.
(5) CALL LOAD does
not report i/o errors properly. The op code
is correct but the result code is always zero.
fix: in DSRLNK
change SRL R1,4 to SRL R1,5 to truly right
justify the error code. In LOADER add SLA R0,4 to put code in most significant nibble for error handler. Both in32KB rom.action:
(6) The ON WARNING
flag is not reset by a RUN.
fix: clear the bit in KILSYM in the 32KB rom
(7) In an
error routine, CALL ERR makes RETURN NEXT fail. (Seems to replace pointer to error line with pointer to CALL ERR line.
fix: (problem had
nothing to do with ERR. RETURN NEXT did
not map in new line.) Add code to map in line on 8/1/83. 32KB rom
passing through multiple levels of subprograms
did not work in some array cases.
fix: in SUBPRGX
in 32KB rom, on 8/02/03
(9) CALL INIT
will lose open files.
fix: the 'fix
string pointers' routine stopped too soon.
Just extend to
run through I/O table.
At the same time,
a garbage collection vulnerability was
(10) VAL can give
errors on correct input
errors in algorithm corrected.
all on 9/19.
Due to space limitations, we are only listing the first 10 errors. If
you want a complete list of all 40 errors, email Jim Krych at the
“Hi, my name is Jim
W. Krych. I am a 33 year-old electronics technician. I am also a 14-
year veteran of both the USCG, active, and the Ohio Army National Guard,
reserve with B Co. 112th engineers. I can be reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org I have a three year-old son, Treyton, and he is
the CEO of Treyonics! I have also been blessed with a beautiful fiancé her name is Lori!!! I have founded my own business and, of course, I
named the company after my son Treyton! Our flagship product is the
Treyonics Home Controller System Model 9908. Better known as the…
For anyone who is a fan of the Video Game Critic (or as he is known to
his family, Dave Mrozek) and his excellent site, may have noticed that
it disappeared. What once was a site full of reviews of video games of
all eras, now was a link to a sleazy gambling site. So you may ask
happened to the old site? Well, after much work and effort, it has been
moved to its new location! The new home of the Video Game Critic is:
Please change your bookmarks as this is one site you want to visit on a
regular basis. So give a big welcome back to the Video Game Critic and
let's get him to send some more reviews to RT. We miss him!
It was Twenty Years
ago today . . . 1982 was a fantastic year for new arcade games and not
too bad for original games on home systems
either. Listed below are 40 of the best video games released thatyear. I'd like to get your vote for which 10 are your favorites
then we'll compile the Retrogaming Times top 10 list. I can't just let
Tom andAdam do all the cool surveys around
here. Don't worry about ranking them,just cut
and paste the text, then delete about 30 of them until you have 10or fewer left and send it back to me.
They're mostly arcade games, but also some of the more popular home
games made on multiple systems. I had to draw the line somewhere, so if
you likesome other 1982 classic video games,
not on my list, feel free to includethem as
well. I'll collect your email votes through mid December 2002 andpost them that month.
Here they are:
Amidar, Bagman, Blue Print, Buck Rogers Planet of Zoom, Bump 'n
Jump, Burgertime, Choplifter, Demon Attack, Dig Dug, Donkey
KongJr., Dragonfire, Frenzy,
Gravitar, Joust, Jungle Hunt, Kangaroo, KnockOut!, Millipede, Miner 2049er, Moon Patrol, Mountain
King, Mr.Do!, Pengo, Pitfall!, Pole
Position, Pooyan, Popeye, Q*bert, River Raid, Robotron 2084, Satan's Hollow, Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator,
Super Pac-Man, Super Zaxxon, TimePilot,
Tron, Tutankham, Xevious, Victory, Zaxxon.
October is always
and interesting time for the sports world. Football is getting underway,
while Baseball is wrapping up with the World Series. It seems to survive
every game system must have at least two types of games: arcade games
and sports games. In the spirit of this month I have three game reviews
(two baseball titles and one football cart) for the ProSystem. The
aren't many sports titles on the 7800, but is what's there good enough?
Are these games championship material, or should they be sent back to
the minors? Let's tune in and see.
Just remember that the 7800 was released around the time of the NES and
Sega Master System, so expectations will be high if Atari wants to
Pete Rose Baseball (Absolute, 1989) Whether you like or hate legendary hall of famer Pete Rose is
irrelevant when it comes to this game. In my opinion this is actually
the better of the two baseball titles on the ProSystem. The game
features two views, which are very much like the NES series Bases
Loaded. First you have the pitcher-batter view seen behind the pitcher,
and after the ball is hit it switches to an
overhead view of the field. You also get different shots of each
outfielder as they try to catch fly balls. The graphics are decent, but
during the batting view, all the players have white skin, and with the
field view, the skin is orange. Plus this game doesn't look much
different from the 2600 version. The sounds aren't as great. There's
this rumbling throughout the game that's supposed to be the crowd
cheering. I would have gotten along without
it. When you first begin the last few bars of "The Star Spangle Banner"
play, and when the teams change you hear a short organ riff. The
controls are a mixed bag. The pitching and batting handle
well; it's fielding that's a problem. After
the ball is hit you have to manually pick the
player you ain't to
control, instead of switching to the one closest to the ball. Also each
player is confined in a little zone, and if the ball is outside his
zone, you have to choose another player, and choosing the one you want
is hard at times, resulting in some unfair scores. Playing the outfield
is easier, and it's easy throwing to one of the bases. If the infield
play wasn't so mucked up, then Pete Rose Baseball would be a more
enjoyable experience. Still it is playable so I rank this one above the
other baseball title.
RealSports Baseball (Atari, 1988)
The RealSports line of games revitalized Atari's sports line-up on the
2600 and 5200, so a 7800 port should be a grand slam, right? Sadly
this fly ball goes foul. Here you have a match up of two generic teams,
the red team and the blue team. The graphics are decent, improved
over the 2600 version and they move smoothly. Most of the sounds are
good, with nice tunes that play when runners are in scoring position and
good sound effects. That sound you hear when the teams change positions
is supposed to be crowd noise, not wind. Remember that. The gameplay is
the low point. The controls are easy to learn but their plagued with
problems. Pitching is nice since you can throw eight different kinds of
pitches. However batting and fielding are another story. As the pitch is
coming, when you push the button there's a slight delay before your
player will actually swing. This can cause a lot of unfair strikes and
outs. Pop flies also travel very quickly, leaving you with very little
time to react, while the computer is on top of it fast. Also the
computer often gives you control of the wrong guy. This game should be
sent back to the dugout.
Touchdown Football (Atari, 1988) Baseball didn't make the 7800 World Series, so let's take a
look at the 7800's sole pigskin title. In this port of the computer
series, you have two teams going at it, one wearing blue and yellow, and
the other silver and black. You don't get much in the way of options,
just number of players, length of quarters, and
whether or not there's a Game Delay Penalty. Once you start playing,
it's 6-on-6 football. During each play you put together your own play by
choosing different formations. However there's no running plays. You
either have to pass or hope your quarterback can get through the line of
scrimmage. You do get most of the football action here, including punts,
kicks, and interceptions. The graphics are decent but the movements are
choppy. As for the sounds, the 7800 again has issues with crowd noise;
however you do get a generic football ditty during each kickoff. The
gameplay is very slow and boring, even with another player. Speaking of
which, the computer doesn't provide much of a challenge. It's pretty
easy to sack him and cause huge losses for the other side. The fact that
you can make your plays is a positive, but it's not enough. This is
another title brought down by horrid gameplay. This game doesn't make
even make the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. You're better off
using your 7800 to play 2600 Super Football.
ask for a survey of who reads Retrogaming Times and I end up with a
geography and history lesson. For the people who wondered what arcade
game it was mentioned in last issue of Retrogaming Times in the Letters
to the Editor, it was Star Rider. Thanks to everyone who emailed to let
me know and I did pass the information along to the person. Now join me
as I take my lumps.
"I just wanted to let you
know that the Netherlands and Holland are two different names for one
"Guam is not a country. We
are a territory of the United States...."
"We (Guam) are just as much
a part of the United States as any of the 50 states. We have the same
Those were some of the people who were a bit offended by my lack of
geography skills and wanted to point them out. I apologize and did not
mean to offend anyone. Guess my chances on Jeopardy are pretty bad.
Now here are some of the countries and places that sent in votes, but I
did not count. While I am pretty sure that none of these actually
exist, I am willing to give you a vote if you can prove it to me.
"I want to send a vote from
the Dark Side of the Moon! We are all crazy up here for Retrogaming
"We may be a forgotten race,
but Retrogaming Times is read and enjoyed in Atlantis!"
"We are some of your
smallest fans! We are the lolly pop kids, the lolly pop kids!"
"I would tell you where I
live, but then I would have to kill you."
"I am from Liberty City and
when I am not carjacking or <censored>, I stop to enjoy an issue of
As you can see, we did get our share of strange emails as well. Hope
you enjoyed this little look into the many places, real and imagined
that Retrogaming Times reaches.
Time to give a little attention to a few sites on the net. We have had
some great ones in the past and we hope you think these are just as
MAME Rocks From the maker of the MAME Dance comes another fun little
movie. This time you have a more kicking song to go with all your fun
MAME characters dancing around. Enjoy this fun little cartoon here:
The Computer Closet What a great site! These guys rescue classic computers and
video game systems, fix them up and get them to good homes. Brings a
tear to my eye. Besides their goodwill, they also have a ton of great
information and pictures of all kinds of classic games and computer on
their site. Check them out as they offer alot on their site!
Classic Computers and Video Games This site offers a fair amount of information and pictures,
including a stack of pictures of Atari 2600 pirate carts! Probably the
biggest selection of photos of pirate carts. There is also information
on the Konix Multi System as well as the Vectrex and others. A good
site to check out.
Today we join renowned psychiatric to the video game world, Dr. I.N.
Sane as he speaks to the crocodiles from Pitfall.
Dr Sane - So what brings you to see
Crocodiles (in unison) - We come to
speak about our low self esteem.
Dr. Sane - Before we get into that,
do you three always speak together like that?
Crocodiles - We were programmed this
way. We are cursed to be three beings but one mind
Dr. Sane - I see. When did you
first realize this union of the mind, so to speak?
Crocodiles - From the very
beginning, we did everything at the same time. Our mouths opened as
one, we sat in the same pool of water as one, always facing the same
way. We were the borg before the borg.
Dr. Sane - Very interesting. Let us
get to your problem. Why do you have such low self esteem?
Crocodiles - It began with Pitfall
Harry. Before him, we were happy. We sat and ate fish together. Then
one day he began to run through our jungle. At first we were excited
about the chance to eat something different. But instead of a steady
diet of jungle explorer, we ended up being stepping stones for him. How
Dr. Sane - Why did you not do
something to stop this degrading behavior?
Crocodiles - We tried, oh how we
tried. But David Crane, that cruel, cruel man, made us immobile. We
were forced to sit in this pond and open and close our mouths in sync,
while Pitfall Harry ran across our heads. We could not even eat him, if
he stood on our eyes. You know how painful it is to have a grown man
stand on your eyeballs?
Dr. Sane - If you are immobile, how
did you get to my office?
Crocodiles - Hey, we can move! We
really can move, the curse is lifted! Let us head back to the jungle
and this time we will get Pitfall Harry. Vengeance will be ours!
Just recently announced (officially as it has been discussed for close
to a year on the Atari Age bulletin boards), this incredible collection
looks to give Playstation 2 owners a huge shot of classic gaming
goodness! Check out these stats!
-Over 40 classic Atari 2600 Activision games, including prototypes!
-Both classic mode and new enhanced mode!
-Ability to go online and download more games!
For more information, including a partial list of games, check out the
EB website. Here is a link right to the game.
don't know about you, but I am preordering mine today! Considering it
will probably be made in low quantities (due to the limited audience for
the game), you may not find it at the major retailers. Here is hoping
that it does really well and encourages Infogrames to make a huge Atari
one. Imagine one with Adventure, Haunted House, Asteroids, Yar's
Revenge, Missile Command and many others together.
Time to put another issue to rest. The cold winter months are coming
and with it comes football, raking leaves and more video game playing.
This is a great time to check out the growing stack of carts that you
have acquired over the summer and have yet to play. Go ahead and try
them, they don't bite. Until next month, enjoy your video games as they
are your friends.