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Birthday Mania - Unwrapped


Atari_Warlord

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Does the rom have a demo mode? Does it have a screensaver mode? Maybe that's why the color is different?

No demo mode, but there is a screensaver mode. But this is disabled immediately when you move or start shooting.

 

So this does not explain why the background color is blue in the old screenshots. Probably there was a different version or the color was part of the customizing.

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Yes, that is 100% correct.

Birthday Mania was indeed the last and only remaining *released* Atari 2600 game that had not yet been dumped.

 

Whereby *released* meaning:

"available for purchase at any retail store within the United States from 1977-1990" and/or "available through a mail order offer; as advertised in a magazine or television ad"

 

Birthday Mania, Red Sea Crossing, Gamma Attack, & Extra Terrestrials were all among the latter and the last men standing. All had been dumped except for Birthday Mania.

 

So, unless another as of yet unknown game which qualifies under the above criteria surfaces, which is of course remotely possible, we are done here, and 408 is the final number.

http://www.atarimania.com/pubs/hi_res/multivision_ad.jpg

 

Was finished and could be ordered.

 

8)

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No demo mode, but there is a screensaver mode. But this is disabled immediately when you move or start shooting.

 

So this does not explain why the background color is blue in the old screenshots. Probably there was a different version or the color was part of the customizing.

 

It could be that these old screenshot photo's (taken from a monitor) are just off colour and therefore misleading.

 

The redbrown border looks orange in these 'screenshots'.

 

8)

Edited by Rom Hunter
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Are there any artists that would like to contribute some artwork for this project? I'd love to see something in the same style as some of the Atari games like Haunted House, Missile Command, Defender, etc.

 

In my own mind I picture Mr. N. Ervous in the top left corner blowing towards candles that are flying at him from the bottom right corner. The bottom right being closest to the viewer and the top left being the furthermost. The scene could be filled out with some additional birthday items like presents and the balloons from the label/manual.

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http://www.atarimania.com/pubs/hi_res/multivision_ad.jpg

 

Was finished and could be ordered.

 

8)

 

Not to derail my own thread, but has anyone tried to contact Eugene Finkei? The Harem Rom was released by the programmer, so just the Battle of the Sexes is missing.

 

Also, Football Fynyte was advertised and finished, just no copies sold.

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Unlike Highlander, there can be more than one. Each rom had a custom name, so each is different.

 

 

His wishes were any proceeds from sales to go to charity. However, if at some point there is a rom release then I think the only way to have an 'original' is to pay homage with the original authors name on the screen. Oh, and that release should also occur on his birthday. ;)

 

Yes, I already mentioned to Thomas that I'd like the general release Rom to have Mr. Tokar's name. I looked up his birthday and it is October 14, so I guess we have a long wait again. :grin:

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Well, if you are 100% precise, Birthday Mania is still not dumped. :)

 

What we have is a ROM which was recreated based on a listing. Which also means, that the ROM might contain some errors, resulting from typing in the listing.

I understand. And it may not have been his final build either. It may have been slightly tweaked afterwards.

But a typing error can be found and corrected by someone willing to take the time to check it line by line.

And a minor difference like a background color change can be implemented by almost any programmer here.

 

So only the garbled title screen text remains a concern.

And surely, some other programmers here could go through the program line by line and try to figure this out.

 

http://www.atarimania.com/pubs/hi_res/multivision_ad.jpg

 

Was finished and could be ordered.

 

8)

Hey Rom, I admit that I forgot about those 2 games. And yes, the rom was found for one of them, and has been released. However, neither game was ever released, according to the programmer himself when he was interviewed. Furthermore, he makes mention of some pretty serious problems happening at the company. Granted, the argument could be made that we cannot prove or disprove the possibility that perhaps somebody mailed in a check or money order or called with a credit card to try to place an order, but even the presence of proof of this would still not prove that either game was in even the most basic "consumer ready state", let alone sent out.

 

One example of "advertised but never produced and/or never sent out to a mail order consumer" would be the Sega 32X version of Surgical Strike. So this does happen. (granted in later years we have found that some discs were indeed pressed and then re-purposed and localized for the South American market, but even so, this did not give the game official USA released game status)

 

Yes, I already mentioned to Thomas that I'd like the general release Rom to have Mr. Tokar's name. I looked up his birthday and it is October 14, so I guess we have a long wait again. :grin:

Has anyone considered the possibility that since Birthday Mania was a customized game, that perhaps that garbled text, more specifically the fact that we have two different areas for text on screen above & below the "title text" in the first place, was actually originally perhaps intended to be where the DATE OF BIRTH would be displayed?! Therefore it would have the date of birth, Happy Birthday To You, and the person's name. Seems very likely to me!

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Has anyone considered the possibility that since Birthday Mania was a customized game, that perhaps that garbled text, more specifically the fact that we have two different areas for text on screen above & below the "title text" in the first place, was actually originally perhaps intended to be where the DATE OF BIRTH would be displayed?! Therefore it would have the date of birth, Happy Birthday To You, and the person's name. Seems very likely to me!

Good one.

8)

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So only the garbled title screen text remains a concern.

And surely, some other programmers here could go through the program line by line and try to figure this out.

You can stop wondering.

 

The garbage is really just garbage. The pattern is partially formed by the bytes of a label (D1MORC) which is used in the game listing and other source code artifacts. So the random data which is displayed on screen is most likely the remains of the assembler or editor used.

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Wow... Waggie... This is awesome news... This is going to be released one way or another.... Thanks for your hard work on this. Please count me in for a copy.

 

Now, if I can get original, that would be even better. Just need this and the monogrammed Space chase cart to complete the collection.

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Wow... Waggie... This is awesome news... This is going to be released one way or another.... Thanks for your hard work on this. Please count me in for a copy.

 

Now, if I can get original, that would be even better. Just need this and the monogrammed Space chase cart to complete the collection.

A bit off topic, but has a ROM for a momogrammed Space Chase been made available for download? If not, has one of them been found?

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Yes? So there is proof that one actually exists???? Do we know who the initials were and is there a screen shot? ;)

 

There actually exists video footage of a special, monogrammed edition being produced "live" on camera for a TV personality/interviewer. I believe it was from the show Entertainment Tonight. As to what happened to the cartridge, that is anybody's guess.

 

As for Birthday Mania, is anyone else concerned that the value of the original will be seriously depreciated by the existence of these modern reproductions? (The current owner may not wish to sell it, but he will eventually die...)

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There actually exists video footage of a special, monogrammed edition being produced "live" on camera for a TV personality/interviewer. I believe it was from the show Entertainment Tonight. As to what happened to the cartridge, that is anybody's guess.

 

As for Birthday Mania, is anyone else concerned that the value of the original will be seriously depreciated by the existence of these modern reproductions? (The current owner may not wish to sell it, but he will eventually die...)

It's still a one of a kind item at this point. So I would think its value would remain quite high.

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Birthday Mania was the holy grail of all the released Atari 2600 games. It was the last remaining released game, for which the rom was not available. That all changed on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Granted, the rom is not yet public, and may not be for some time, but that does not matter. A week, a month, a year, or a decade; makes no difference anymore. In fact, even if the rom were to never be made available, the damage is done.

 

The nano-second that an emulated screen shot surfaces for a previously unavailable/unreleased/unemulated game, it drops in actual value, and completely collapses in perceived value. Granted, the original cartridge will always have an extremely high value & rarity, especially to the super collectors, but among the vast majority of collectors here, it no longer interests them.

 

Gamma Attack, Extra Terrestrials, Red Sea Crossing, & now Birthday Mania. These were the big 4. The most obscure of the mail order exclusives. The rarest of the rare. And they all fell like dominoes. Once the data became shareware, they went from priceless to worthless. That's the tightrope these games and their owners walk. It's the exact same story in the world of unreleased protos. Something I'm very familiar with.

 

So yes, it's a sad day for the only known owner of Birthday Mania, but with all due respect he had plenty of warning. Waggie began this back door pursuit for the games rom data like two years ago! At any point during that time, he could have cashed in big time; and he was given that option to do so! But he didn't. So, we have to assume he made the decision to just keep it. All he traded for it was $20 and 2 Pitfall cartridges, so he was probably ok with it. So that's that.

 

At the end of the day, or better yet years from now when we all look back at these things, it will be hard to imagine a time when any video game wasn't publicly available.

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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but do you really think that's the only reason, Supergun?

 

Did the value of these games drop so drastically only because of a ROM dump?

 

Or also because more carts were found?

 

 

Anyway, I'm truly glad these rare games are .binned, because it would be very sad if their contents would get lost in time (due to damage, bit rot, lack of knowledge, etc.)

 

8)

Edited by Rom Hunter
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Yes, there is a difference between the bin of an extremely rare game first becoming shareware, and the bin of an unreleased Proto becoming shareware.

 

In the case of the rare game, it will always be desirable & command a high price tag among collectors; even moreso when you throw in variables like condition & completeness. (boxes, manuals, etc.) so it does not affect value as much. While in the case of the Proto, it does absolutely indeed kill the value.

 

However, what is (was) unique about Atari, (and older consoles in general) is that the holy grails were FAR more rare then on most other newer consoles:

 

There are 4 known Extra Terrestrials.

There are 2 known Red Sea Crossings.

There is only 1 known Birthday Mania.

 

While there are 30+ known NES Stadium Events. 20+ known T16 Magical Chase, 30+ known SMS Buster Douglas Boxing, etc.

 

So Birthday Mania did not lose its value among the tiny upper echelon of super collectors, but requiring it in order to classify ones collection as complete, and obtaining it being impossible for 99% of the collectors, the community as a whole will shift towards simply rejecting it as an official release or accepting a reproduction cartridge as an adequate & sufficient substitute.

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Well said! I can't know if I'm speaking for the majority here, but I'm just fine with reproductions because, while they may not be "real", they represent something that IS, and had it not been for The Crash, may have been available to all of us back in the day.

 

So, PLEASE keep the repros coming. Gives us all a taste of history.

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