Matt Chat 13: Adventure for the Atari 2600

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You asked for it, you got it! Matt Chat #13 is Adventure for the Atari 2600, programmed by Warren Robinette. Enjoy!

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Bill Loguidice
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I really loved it, though I

I really loved it, though I was disappointed you didn't take the opportunity to state that it wasn't the first game with an Easter Egg. To me, that would have pushed it over the top and really got people talking about it. Oh well, I enjoyed it anyway

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Gashead
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I loved it too!

Adventure was the first game that I bought for my Atari 2600 when I was a nipper. It started a long love affair with adventure games and CRPGs so it has a special in my heart.

I really liked the scans of the manual as for some reason this brought back more memories that the videos. I still remember the excitement of finding the Easter Egg.

On a side issue am I right in thinking that you haven't published the Star Raiders chapter of Vintage Games yet? If so whats the ETA for this as this is also one of my favourite games.

Mark Vergeer
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Cool!

Matt covering a console that came out when he was a wee boy. You did it! Your crossed the barrier. Great video as always. Loved to see 'the collection' in the background. Keep it up.

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Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Matt Barton
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Thanks for the comments! I

Thanks for the comments! I had the part about the Easter Egg not being the first in there, but I guess I accidentally edited it out somehow. Sigh. It's amazing how complicated this process can get when you're trying to get everything crammed into 10 minutes.

I tried to add it to the annotations (along with a correction for saying "William" instead of "Warren" at the beginning), but the stupid things aren't showing up. Not sure what gives...Anyway, stress levels are over the top, so I have to come away from this for awhile.

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Rowdy Rob
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I didn't think you could do the Atari 2600 justice, Matt.

Yes, I thought you were the wrong guy to do commentary on Atari games, Matt. Well, egg on my face! I didn't think you would enjoy covering the Atari 2600, and that lack of enthusiasm would translate on-screen as a boring, half-hearted video. Well, if you didn't enjoy doing this video, you fooled me!

I don't want to say this was your best yet, although it may have been; it's hard to say after many excellent videos.

It was interesting to see you bring your Matt-isms to what I considered to be a very simplistic platform that you wouldn't get. I guess that's why you do videogame commentary videos and I don't; you are able to bring your scholarly yet entertaining approach to nearly any subject matter, it seems.

It was also interesting to see you "up your game" in this video. The change in background scenery was nice, and perhaps a little better than your normal "in front of the computer" setting, because it seemed that the lighting was better. Maybe you should continue this "change of scenery" approach to keep things fresh. Maybe not, though; it's your call.

The cutaway sequence to the old mainframe computer scenes was well done, surprising, and appropriate. It really grounded the viewer into the reality of the 1970's, and how comparatively primitive that era was, and thus how groundbreaking games such as "Adventure" was!

And I'm not a fan of continual soundtrack music playing during videogame review/commentary videos, because I feel it usually takes away from the legitimate gameplay experience. Yet, the soundtrack worked well in this video, because it wasn't distracting.

If there's any direction I see you going, it's the "more cutaways and continual soundtrack" approach. I think the more-cutaways approach is actually a good one. Seeing you sit there for the first few minutes commenting on the game is interesting to me, but more cutaways (such as your mainframe sequence), as well as the continual soundtrack, might do more to placate the ADHD crowd (and I think you know who/what I mean here) without sacrificing your commentary or changing your true style.

Watching your videos is somewhat akin to sitting in a college course on videogame history, with Professor Barton as the entertaining instructor. No "this M.F.'ing game sux" or other ADD nonsense, but a mature, intellectual, and respectful yet entertaining approach that truly glorifies the gaming industry and the people who brought us where we are today. TRUE videogame enthusiasts appreciate this approach, and I suspect your videos will hold up well in the future.

And this "once a week" new video release schedule has got to go. More videos, more often. Don't give me this "I have a life" nonsense. More videos, more often. Twice a day, in fact. And daggone it, Bill was right, and I was wrong. You CAN comment on Atari games entertainingly and convincingly. You don't need to resign. :-(

P.S. I loved the mention of "Pharaoh's Curse," one of my favorite games way back when.

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Matt Barton
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Thanks, Rob!
Rowdy Rob wrote:

Yes, I thought you were the wrong guy to do commentary on Atari games, Matt. Well, egg on my face! I didn't think you would enjoy covering the Atari 2600, and that lack of enthusiasm would translate on-screen as a boring, half-hearted video. Well, if you didn't enjoy doing this video, you fooled me!

I'd like to think that even if I don't necessarily want to play a game all the time, I can still appreciate it for what it is. Bill and I found a Robotron arcade game in SF that was giving away free credits. Even with the free credits, neither of us could bring ourselves to play it more than 3-4 times. On the other hand, I can stay glued to Civ IV for days on end.

Quote:

It was also interesting to see you "up your game" in this video. The change in background scenery was nice, and perhaps a little better than your normal "in front of the computer" setting, because it seemed that the lighting was better. Maybe you should continue this "change of scenery" approach to keep things fresh. Maybe not, though; it's your call.

I think it's a nice change as well. I might have to work on what I put on the shelves, though, perhaps arranging the games so that there's a better mix. I can also try to bring out some of my older games that are in boxes. My only fear is that too much eye candy might distract.

Quote:

The cutaway sequence to the old mainframe computer scenes was well done, surprising, and appropriate. It really grounded the viewer into the reality of the 1970's, and how comparatively primitive that era was, and thus how groundbreaking games such as "Adventure" was!

Ha, I wondered if anyone was going to comment on that. I found a site called archive.org that has a bunch of public domain movies that you can use for your own purposes. That was from a movie about SAGE. :) I would love to do more of that kind of thing, but unfortunately the options seem to be very limited unless you're willing to pay for access, which I'm not.

Quote:

And I'm not a fan of continual soundtrack music playing during videogame review/commentary videos, because I feel it usually takes away from the legitimate gameplay experience. Yet, the soundtrack worked well in this video, because it wasn't distracting.

I'm using a program that came with my Vegas bundle. I think it's called something like "cinestudio" soundtrack creator. Again, they give you some nice options, but of course the best ones cost money. :)

Quote:

If there's any direction I see you going, it's the "more cutaways and continual soundtrack" approach. I think the more-cutaways approach is actually a good one. Seeing you sit there for the first few minutes commenting on the game is interesting to me, but more cutaways (such as your mainframe sequence), as well as the continual soundtrack, might do more to placate the ADHD crowd (and I think you know who/what I mean here) without sacrificing your commentary or changing your true style.

Well, I don't think it's just for the ADHD crowd. I mean, anyone likes seeing footage that's appropriate for the context. I watch a lot of History Channel documentaries, and I don't think they ever show a talking head for more than 30 seconds. Of course, they have access to a huge library of stock footage that can draw from. One small advantage I have is that I can get footage from almost any game from any era and stick it in. The real challenge is finding something like vintage footage of an old arcade machine or what have you. If anyone knows any more sites besides archive.org where I can find some free footage, let me know.

Quote:

P.S. I loved the mention of "Pharaoh's Curse," one of my favorite games way back when.

Mine, too! I even wrote a review of it back in the day: Early Commodore 64 Platformers: Jumpman, Spelunker, Ultimate Wizard, and Pharaoh’s Curse

Stupid me, I didn't realize back then that most of those games weren't original to the 64. :)

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B0ngW@ter_2600_4Life (not verified)
Adventure or "that dragon

Adventure or "that dragon game" as I called it was one of the first games that scared me. What really did it was it was like nightmares. The dragons move through walls but you are trapped in the maze. Its like nightmares when you cant make your legs work.

One thing you must do is playing the games on the real hardware. That would be more authentic than a emulation. The games are actualy more fun when you play them on the original hardware, no emulation is 100% accurate no matter what it says.

Catatonic
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Good video. It's your first

Good video. It's your first video about a game I haven't played, which is so much more interesting!

Matt Barton
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Someone just posted a

Someone just posted a complaint about the music. What's the general consensus? Should I keep trying to work in background music or just keep it silent? Is it distracting too much from the speaking?

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Bill Loguidice
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Music is fine, but quieter is better
Matt Barton wrote:

Someone just posted a complaint about the music. What's the general consensus? Should I keep trying to work in background music or just keep it silent? Is it distracting too much from the speaking?

You just need to drop the levels. Also, you may want to consider dropping it even further or muting it when you're speaking. You can fade in and out on the timeline right before and right after you speak.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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