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Brainstorming: Paperboy 2600


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Here's an old classic. You play from an isometric view as the Paperboy and you have to deliver the newspapers to your customers' houses while dodging weird obstacles on the street.







Thoughts? The whole game scrolls diagonally, but your paperboy could just sit in the (vertical) center while everything moves at a variable speed around him. No idea if convincing houses could be made from playfield pixels, though.


What if you had multiple kernels (one for each house) and only one would be on the screen at a time?

Edited by Hornpipe2
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  • 15 years later...

I fully admit this is thread necro but I've been thinking about Paperboy after a recent internet post I read elsewhere and realized that I hadn't seen a homebrew retro-port to the 2600 which was surprising to me.   I'm not a programmer myself (only one single hack under my belt so far!) but scrolling from what I've read takes some very dedicated coding if you don't want to make it very jumpy with regards to the playfield.   It's not impossible though!

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I was working on this the other day.  Right now, it's a still image displayed using my Congo Bongo display kernel.  I think of it as a first step in doing up a proof of concept for Paperboy.  I wanted to see how well the background would look using this display technique.  I've had other ideas in my mind of how to display the house, but this seems to be the most reasonable way to do it.


Scrolling would be the next thing I'd want to tackle.  It would be nice to do diagonal scrolling, but I'm not sure how feasible that is.  I'm thinking it would involve either (1) shifting around a lot of data, or (2) pre-rendering the data (all the shifted positions) and storing it in ROM.  There's probably some other tricks that could be done with the data.  There's a couple of fill patterns that make up the majority of the house and could potentially be leveraged to optimize things.


OR, could just make things easier and do it up as a mainly ARM-based project.

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I swear I'm not a plant/spendidnut booster account!  :)    I really did see a post about the arcade game a couple days ago and I was just surprised that, with all the homebrew on the 2600, I hadn't seen even an attempt to port it so figured I'd ask.


I can't comment about the coding complexity of scrolling as a n00b myself but I think the game itself is advanced enough (by 1976/2600 standards!) that it would be better as an ARM assisted project since it likely would have had in-cartridge chips anyways if released back in the day.   I suppose the answer in 2024 would also depend on how much you want people with the 2600+ to be able to play/buy it.   I was just brainstorming how to do it theoretically myself in some alternate future where I can code efficiently and probably would have instead done it as an endless runner style game or possibly a Keystone Kapers style game with a two lane neighborhood stacked vertically.


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An 2600 implementation of Paperboy has been on my mind for a long time... at least 8 or 9 years now.  I just happened to finally get a practical mock up for it.  I saw you bumped this post, and thought, might as well post the screenshot of what I had done.

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Paperboy appears to use the same principles as Zaxxon from Arcade, that of using an isometric field.
A few years ago, a kind of screensaver was released with Zaxxon Arcade for the Atari 2600, in which it was possible to control the ship and also shoot in space, in a very graphically faithful conversion.
My question is whether this would be the path that Paperboy for the Atari 2600 would have to follow in a conversion that would have its visual fidelity.


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