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Space Game 2K

Karl G


I am working on a small subset of Space Game in assembly that will be 2K in size.

Why? I figure it will be good optimization practise for me as well as a way to strengthen my assembly language development skills. Also, I'm fascinated by the idea of an Atari game small enough to be loaded from a QR code, so I thought I'd try my hand at making one myself.

The released version of Space Game is 32K, and almost every byte of that is used. Is it realistic to make something 1/16th that size, and still have it be fun and recognizable as the same game? I don't know...but it should be fun to find out! Off the top of my head, here are some things that are in the released version that wouldn't be in the 2K version:

  • AtariAge logo splash screen, Title Screen, New Wave screens, Game Over screen, and You Win screens.
  • All of Maggie's awesome music
  • Boss fights and the bosses themselves
  • AtariVOX high score saving
  • Game variations (it would resemble the Infinite Play mode)

Here's what I am hoping to be able to fit:

  • All of the non-boss enemies (14 of them) along with their individual special abilities
  • All of the powerups (good and bad) with the accompanying icons
  • All relevant sound effects

One advantage to working in assembly is that I'll have more variable to work with (44 from the playfield variables alone) which should allow me to simplify some of the game logic as well.

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I suppose 2K on the Atari 2600 is less than 2K on most other systems which have various ROM routines, basic graphic symbols, plenty of RAM etc to utilize beyond the game code. When the good old Minigame Compo ran 2001-201x, the first year the size categories were 512 bytes and 2K. In later editions the sizes were revised as 1K and 4K for those really big games. One year there even was an experimental 8K category but barely anyone came up with a game large enough to fill so much space.

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