I posted about this as a comment in another thread, but since this is such a big deal I thought I would whip up a quick front page blog post to give it its due. There's a new Kickstarter for an Atari 2600 version of Star Castle, a 1980 vector-based arcade game from Cinematronics that received an excellent port to the Vectrex home console in 1982. While the Atari 2600 can only produce raster, not vector graphics like the Vectrex, a recent port of the game was created by D. Scott Williamson, an original Atari programmer, albeit one who started working there six years after the 1982-release of Howard Scott Warshaw's Star Castle-inspired Yars' Revenge. Williamson was similarly inspired to create his Star Castle homebrew by Warshaw's creation, so he purposely limited himself to 8K of ROM for authenticity's sake, even though the cartridge hardware that he made could handle up to 64K.
Long story short, Williamson ended up wanting tens of thousands of dollars for his programming effort--a reasonable request if this were the platform's early 80's heydey. Unfortunately for Williamson, most homebrewers these days do it for the proverbial love of the game, so no one was willing to pay anywhere near that. In fact, in a convoluted AtariAge thread, his actions and subsequent reactions, not to mention that of the community's, eventually led to another homebrew programmer being himself inspired to create a version, which he released for free, here, and by all accounts is superb.
Undeterred, Williamson decided to take his case to Kickstarter, which you can see here. It's a genuine soap opera (one that I'm not even sure I have sorted correctly), albeit one within a niche of a niche within our industry. It will be interesting to see how this Kickstarter works out for Williamson. I'm certainly intrigued by the cartridge with flashing lights timed to the gameplay and admire his engineering effort, but $100 for a complete, boxed copy is a bit tough to swallow. Maybe with a bit of time I'll reconsider...
What are your thoughts on this mess? Obviously Williamson can charge what he wants for his work - and it's up to the market to decide what they'll pay (and they didn't pay the first time around; maybe this Kickstarter will be different) - but is he out of touch with the realities of the homebrew market? After all, even the best homebrews can struggle to sell 250 boxed copies at well below his $100 boxed copy asking price...
- Significant redesign of hardware carried out to resolve availability problems with the main processor as well as add a few features/enhancements.
- Shipping of beta boards to hardware testers at the beginning of 2012. Firmware debugging now largely complete.
- ISA-bus expansion option for flea86 - design finalized and ready for final testing.
Woot! recently had a deal on an 8GB Eye-Fi memory card that I took advantage of for the express purpose of no-brainer automatic photo uploads from my digital camera directly to my Flickr account, which I thought would provide a smoother and higher quality workflow than using my iPhone 4. As such, I set the Eye-Fi up last night and took some very casual photos. While the transfer process really didn't go well (I'll need to experiment a bit more), transferring only two photos correctly and requiring me to manually transfer the rest, the end result was still some photos of recent items in my collection that also happened to be in my staging area, which I decided to share below with some minor commentary so the initial work wouldn't be totally wasted. Enjoy:
Pre-orders for GunLord, a Eurostyle Platformer with emphasis on exploring huge worlds and blasting enemies, are now available for the Sega Dreamcast, SNK Neo Geo MVS, and SNK Neo Geo AES. The game features 8 stages of exciting 2D game play with over 45 unique enemy types: Blast yourself through giant landscapes, explore caverns and reveal all secrets!
Fans of classic games like Turrican will feel right at home here. GunLord looks and plays like an original full commercial release--on the Neo Geo platforms it even has the price to match!
A stunning conversion of the Apple II original, Prince of Persia, has been released for the Commodore 64. As original Prince of Persia author Jordan Mechner himself states on the site, back in 1989, he could never get anyone interested in doing a C-64 conversion because the 8-bit computer market was considered moribund at that time (it was certainly an accomplishment just getting Broderbund to put out the Apple II original at that time, despite the game's quality). Since the Apple II source code was lost, conversion author "mrsid", actually pain stakingly did a memory capture of the Apple II version and then reverse-engineered everything (and then clearly enhanced the game for the C-64's audio-visual abilities). Extraordinary! Check out the videos below and be sure to go to the site to download the cartridge image!
After a few distractions (including a bout of flu), I managed to get back to seeing to what extent I can transform this minimal hardware into a real PC...
Inarguably among the top and most prolific homebrew authors for the Vectrex, Fury Unlimited, is now taking pre-orders for an enhanced remake of Cinematronics legendary one-on-one vector fighting game, Warrior. This release includes many new modes, as well as a box and overlay. Check out the original arcade game here on KLOV to see just how impressive this new version is. Among the earliest fighting games, the influential Warrior arcade game is also discussed in Chapter 17 - Street Fighter II (1991), in our book, Vintage Games.
Well, a few things have happened since my Flea86 project introduction from the previous month. This month's latest update will cover the following :
1) Completion of Flea86 case design transfer to CAD.
2) Inclusion of EGA (planar) video support for Flea86.
RiffRaff, aka Mike G., sent word via the ballyalley Yahoo! Groups group that his second Bally Astrocade homebrew, Crazy Climber, is nearing completion. Mike is the author behind the limited edition, War, which turned out to be a superb Warlords clone (I still need to do a full review at some point). As you can see in Mike's video, it uses a refreshing color palette for an Astrocade game and excellent sprite detail.