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8-bit game author reviving 1983 game "Dino Eggs"

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Hello. This is David Schroeder. In 1983, I wrote the computer game DINO EGGS (for Apple II, C64, IBM).


In DINO EGGS, you become Time Master Tim, traveling into the past to save the dinosaurs from extinction. As you search for eggs and rescue the hatching baby dinos, there are dangers all around, not the least of which is the heavy foot of Dino Mom (!)


I am pleased to announce that my game is coming back — expanded and re-imagined — as DINO EGGS: REBIRTH. I hope you wil enjoy

about the game.


If the early 1980's were a "golden age" for computer games, perhaps it was because a single artist could create a full-featured game by himself. Every pixel, every tick of the speaker, every byte of self-modifying code was born of the same vision.


In writing the original "Dino Eggs," I took pride in packing everything I could into those big floppy disks, that 48K of memory, and those six screen colors on the old Apple ][.


It is not simple to bring an 8-bit game "up to date." It is like adapting a story to an entirely new medium. I hope you'll enjoy the results.


We're aiming for a Windows PC release later this year.


Thanks for reading...




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I LOVE DINO EGGS! And I have recorded evidence!


Two years ago I released a booked called "Tron and Robotron", which is basically a (long) street level view of the history of video games, starting with the release of the Atari VCS. The book ends with a huge appendix describing every "highly recommended" game I have ever played, from VCS to PlayStation 3.


The longest entry in the appendix (more than a full page) is about the C64 version of Dino Eggs.


Here is the full entry:


Dino Eggs (Micro Fun 1983)


Time Master Tim, not to be confused with Jam Master Jay, needs to collect dinosaur eggs for some reason and escape through a warp area. This is simple enough, but snakes, spiders, and a giant dinosaur foot make things difficult for Tim. Luckily, Tim can start a fire which will keep the dinosaur mom away temporarily. The best parts of video games are the near misses, when you think you are surely going to die but escape by a margin of a pixel or two. Dino Eggs is full of near misses, and jumping out of the path of a dinosaur foot that takes up a third of the screen is among the best of them. If you stumble onto Dino Eggs without instructions you will be tempted to move along, because it is not immediately clear what you have to do and Tim moves slowly. Don’t. Dino Eggs is worthy of your playing time. I am so fond of this game, here’s a quick primer so you aren’t tempted to pass on it:


-below the ledges you will see dino eggs (white long things), egg sacs that hold dino eggs, and pieces of wood. You want to either grab the eggs, knock down the sacs to get the eggs within, or collect wood. All this is done by standing over the desired object, holding down, and pressing the button.


-it’s usually best to start a fire first, which is done by collecting two pieces of wood. The fire will last roughly thirty seconds and the dinosaur foot will not appear while it’s burning.


-the only way to die outright is to be crushed by the dinosaur foot. If you get bit by a snake or spider, move immediately to the warp zone. You don’t have to actually warp, you can just stand there.


-you cannot die by falling.


-you can warp any time you are standing in the warp zone by holding the joystick down and pressing the button. When you warp you will get credit for any dino eggs you are holding. If no dino eggs are left, you are given the choice to warp to the next level (but you have to warp a second time).


-if it sounds complicated, it’s not… if you can play Donkey Kong, you can play this. Just avoid the obvious bad things and hold down and press the button over the good things. I’m leaving a lot out, but part of the joy of Dino Eggs is the surprises.


Such a pleasure to have stumbled onto your post tonight Mr. Schroeder, and thank you for one of the finest platforming games of the early computer era. Can't wait to check out the new game!

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Yes, Dino Smurf was a hack -- but a pretty awesome one -- and, yes, I was honored.


I've been in touch with the original Smurf/Authors several times over the years. They have this webpage that chronicles their series of parodies -- Dino Eggs was just one of them.


I'm very tempted to put Dino Smurf into my Dino Eggs: Rebirth revival game, but -- like the original -- it would only invite the Hollywood lawyers to cause me trouble -- particularly with the new Smurf movies coming out. :-)

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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Count me in as another fan of Dino Eggs. I mainly played the C-64 version back in the day.


There's an old thread where there was a discussion of how Dino Eggs could be implemented on the Atari 2600, along with some mock screenshots. Sadly, those screenshots aren't visible anymore due to the thread being more than 10 years old (since it was started), but the thread itself is still there: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/45318-game-idea-dino-eggs-2600/


Oh, the mockups are still there at this page: http://www.haddewig.de/vcs/


Just wondering what happened to the Rebirth version... the homepage still says it's coming. Are you still looking for Alpha and Beta testers?

Edited by Kurt_Woloch
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Those were excellent mock ups, it was so much fun to see them I think I would buy just about every game based on those mocks..



I emailed David around a year ago, he was super nice and I honestly think he wants to do the remake. I really love dino eggs and enjoyed it so much of it as a kid. I would really like to see a Coleco enhanced version with the super game adapter version personally. I however would love to play any version on any classic console.


I invite any member here to drop him a nice email from his webpage on the dino eggs remake and share your thoughts on your experiences in the past and ideas. I can imagine that might encourage him to continue working on it. In addition be loves to hear from his fans and is a real nice fellow.


I don't know if he comes on the board here much but if you do David keep up the great work and thanks for the great game from my past!

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Dino Eggs!

This is one of the very first five games I ever played on a computer or any kind of video game system, at least as far as this incarnation is concerned, as far as I can remember, if sleeptime and astral projection is not included (who knows what we do in our dreams, we only remember a fraction of them anyway - and we usually astral project a little when we sleep, so there might have been astral computer experience - and definitely was before incarnating).

I basically have three things to say.

First, I want to thank you, David H. Schroeder, for giving me an incredibly elevated childhood because of your fantastic and inspiring, imagination-poking game! It gave me plenty of excited moments where I felt truly alive.

The second thing is praise of the original, and explain how much that game meant to me back then, and its meaning for me in the current times.

The third thing is to advice against 'remakes', because as far as I have seen so far, no remake has ever been as good as the original, and almost every single one of them has been atrociously worse, even the ones that are 'pretty ok' otherwise.

So, moving on to the second thing.

I started playing computer and video games (they used to be separate categories, although logically thinking, whatever game that is displayed on a video screen, is a video game, even if a computer is running it. But I like the separation, because it has its own logic, and that way, you can know whether we talk about 'mere' consoles or 'actual' computers) in the early eighties, when I visited a friend that I didn't know all that well back then, to ask him out to play.

Kids used to do that back then, I don't know if they do it anymore, with the internet and cell phones and all.

I think his mother let me in, and I was surprised to see him tinker with his grayscale television and some odd device I had never seen before. I was instantly mesmerized, especially after he explained to me, that it is a COMPUTER.

Wow, a computer! I had seen "Whiz Kids", so I 'knew' what computers could do - I had always wondered about computers, and after seeing those VIC-20 and Atari video game commercials on TV, I was a bit confused as to what a 'video game' even is. After all, in Finland, they used to call "VCR" equipment just "videos" for some reason. Seems a bit silly now, but we didn't know better at the time.

This of course led me thinking that a VCR was needed for those games, and I didn't know how it worked - we didn't own a VCR or a computer.

We weren't exactly a poor family, but the head of the family was so stingy with money, and almost never home, it lead to a situation where we didn't really have opportunities to just buy stuff we wanted or even needed, although food and living was basically 'free' as far as the rest of the family was concerned.

The place I lived in was a small paradise, and I recognized that even as a child - I knew I was living in a special place that most people can only dream of, and I wanted to appreciate it as much as I could. It was a beautiful location that was surrounded by bodies of water - a gorgeous, huge 'pond' (it was big enough to be a lake, but for some reason, it was called a 'pond'), a large river (you couldn't cross it without a bridge or a boat, or a snow sled in the winter - the currents were powerful and dangerous), and a small lake.

The apartment building had only a few very large apartments, meant for richer people, obviously, but I didn't realize that at the time. It also had an inbuilt swimming pool, although the 'pond-lake' was also right there and we could go swim in it also. Even a celebrity that stayed at the building went swimming there.

There was lots of beautiful nature everywhere, and the place was sort of secluded from the city, so everything was peaceful and harmonious, and you could see soul-soothing and inspiring lake/river-scenery in any direction you looked at. What a place to spend a childhood!

It's also rumoured that Extra-Terrestrial being visited the building at one point.

Whatever the case, I was oblivious to it, and I just enjoyed the harmonious, but exciting atmosphere of the building, and made lots of friends there. Whenever I wanted to visit a friend, I could just open our door and ring the doorbell that was right next door. Or I could run upstairs to another neighbor. Or I could even use the elevator that I used to get stuck in many times (I could never understand why you couldn't play with the elevator, even just a little bit..). It's funny, how the building only had a few floors, and yet it had an elevator.

Those rich people sure don't like to exercize, I guess..

In addition to all this, I met friends all over the next street, and this one friend lived still next to the lake, but a bit of a walk or bike ride away, on the next street.

So that one, faithful day that changed my life permanently, he was showing me his computer - that happened to be a Commodore 64 - and I was expecting the same kind of stuff I had seen in "Whiz Kids", but of course the most he could do was change alphabet into 'secret code' and back, and change some colors (which wasn't that interesting on a grayscale TV..) and then of course..

.. the games.

This was a guy that had some connections that I didn't care to know too much about (one of them was a scary guy who bullied us kids), but with those connections, he got new games. A lot of new games. Very often.

Basically every time I visited, he had a new cassette tape filled with games! It seemed almost magical - new games just arriving on a cassette tape, ready to be played.

I can't remember the exact order in which I saw those games, but Wizard of Wor was definitely amongst the very first games we played. Decathlon was another. I also remember playing Spy Hunter and The Movie Monster Game later on.

But there was one game that really made me immerse into another world that I had no idea even existed before.

That game was of course the beloved Dino Eggs.

When the giant dino foot suddenly appeared and crushed me under its enormous weight, I think I screamed out loud out of fear and also admiration. I didn't know the limitations of the computer, but that foot just seemed 'impossible' to me. I think it was the first time I had ever seen a computer do an 'impossible' thing.

It was certainly the first time I had seen something so big move on a computer screen.

I loved pretty much everything about the game - the quirky and juicy sound effects, (complete with the interesting 'smack' sounds when walking the ladders, and the crushing noise when awful things happened - whether the dino stomped on you or the transmogrifation to a spider happened. Effective and scary, but also exciting and immersive. It was really something else.), the beautifully animated graphics, the atmospheric small 'upper scenery' bit that changed for every level, the playability, the surreal nature of it all, the different things you could do (like dropping the cocoons/shells on snakes and spiders, cutting the spider's web, etc. etc.), the time-traveling effects in the beginning that set the mood perfectly.. it was just a glorious world to be able to visit.

The very first things I attempted, when I later on got an Amiga and MagiC64 emulator, was to get Dino Eggs to run on it. It didn't look or sound exactly as I remembered, but it was still good to play.

It was only when I got a real C64 again that I realized how different the emulated version was. Only on a real C64, you get the full effect, even if you have a HardSID Quattro.

I have had fun with that game ever since. Of course there were always other games as well, like Impossible Mission that really made a huge impact on us because of its crystal-clear human voices and screaming sound that we didn't expect - we laughed for ten minutes straight, I am sure, when we first heard it.

But Dino Eggs was really something special - and among other things, it was about time travel - one of my favorite topics and dreams - and also, the time-travel-effect seemed really neat back in the time, and made an impact on me.


Most importantly, it acted as a gateway to an alternate world, it created an immersion that other games so far hadn't been able to quite reach - it took me away from this earthly dullness into a fantastic, bright, electrifying and exciting flight and other-worldly atmosphere in such a powerful way that I was never quite content in living 'outside computer games' anymore afterwards.

Now on to the remake-topic.

Back when the VGA was starting to make way for SVGA, I thought that the SVGA high-resolution games were going to look absolutely gorgeous. In my mind, I took the most beautiful Westwood VGA games, and simply thought they would still do the same, exact, hand-pixelling beautiful thing, but just in a higher resolution.

The end result should've been something completely euphoric and saliva-inducing.

So when I heard they were going to make a sequel to "Worms", I was excited - oh boy, this is going to look so great! More detail on the worms' expressions, and even more beautiful graphics.

But what did we get? Did they do the same 'realistic'-looking hand-pixelled VGA-beauty, but just in a higher resolution?


They did.. CARTOONISH graphics.


This is a cop-out! It's the easiest way to "utilize" the higher resolution, without actually elevating the quality of the graphics at all! It's a short-cut! It's a "we are using a high resolution, but we are not doing half the work we used to" kind of modern solution to the highres problem.

Oh no.. don't tell me THAT'S how they are always going to do it! PLEASE don't tell me that's it! Please tell me "Worms" sequel was just an isolated example of a lazy and careless graphics design, and that OTHER game houses are going to still hand-pixel the higher resolution graphics and still keep the VGA beauty and glory ... there are not going to be more 'cartoons', right?



Why must this world always prove to me that it's better to be pessimist than an optimist? Why can't it ever positively surprise me?

So, from there on, everyone did either:

- Ugly, 3D-rendered crappy graphics that didn't require much work (and didn't have the same 'soul' as the hand-pixelled graphics had)

- Cartoon graphics with cartoon-shading and ugly outlines and computer-rendered effects - nothing hand-pixelled whatsoever

- Photo-based or video-based graphics

And then we started hitting the FMV/3D Engine-era, which worsened things to no end. And I mean literally, there's NO END to that madness.

Now even the 'retro game makers', whatever that means, don't even know how to hand-pixel anything beautiful. Demos and graphics compos feature only crappy hack-graphics, and nothing that has been lovingly and painstakingly hand-pixelled, channeling your finest self into it.

We never got to see what those beautiful VGA-graphics might have looked like in higher resolution. There were probably some slight attempts here and there, but not really enough to notice. Sure, some demoscene pictures did give us hires AGA pictures, but those were modelled from photographics - it wasn't original work (Louie, for example, probably couldn't imagine a dot, his skill was purely in 'photocopying by hand').

Of course, by the year 1994, the whole "3D boom" had exploded, and there was no going back.

When people finally started saying: "Hey, how about going back, and doing what people used to do - simple games with good playability?", the art of creating beautiful VGA lores graphics was completely lost.

Which brings me to Dino Eggs remake graphics.

The black in the background of the original was inspiring - it could be filled by your imagination. It could be the darkness of the night, it could be the space in 'space-time-continuum', it could be all kinds of things simultaneously or separately, and it brought the perfect contrast to your little sprite-self as you tried to solve the Dinosaur problem.

Now that's changed to this monotonous, imagination-killing pattern that only serves to depress the player. Suddenly we are not in "timeless eternity of the black", but we now have a "WALL" right there, destroying all interest.

Suddenly, there is an ugly wall, making everything look very two-dimensional and flat. The black could stretch to infinity - but this atrociously ugly pattern just blocks any stretching of the imagination, and kills the visual glory immediately.

And did I mention the cartoon graphics? Those graphics look like bad corporate clip-art rejects that even Dilbert's boss wouldn't find acceptable. What happened, here?

How can you turn something so atmospheric and beautiful to something so ugly and generic?

Look at those flames and rocks/cocoons/whatever they are supposed to be - do you see any expressions of anyone's finest selves? Or do you see rather computer-generated effect pattern done complete with an ugly cartoonish outline?

The contrast between these graphics and the original's, are a perfect metaphor for the contrast between remakes and originals.

Remakes are not good. Why not do something NEW for an old computer?

Just look at the 'Bruce Lee II' remake-game. Technically, it's not completely a 'remake', but it fails in all respects.

Ok, it's pretty faithful as far as the crappy Amstrad-version of Bruce Lee goes, but if you compare it to the C64 version, you are bound to see multiple problems (I reviewed this game elsewhere, I think in lemon64, so you are welcome to see it there


I think that's the link).

They actually converted the atrocious piece of annoyance and frustration to the C64 - and of course it doesn't even begin to compare to the glorious C64 version of Bruce Lee. I actually had to complete it on a real machine just to get rid of the feeling I got from playing the darn thing. The C64 version of that 'remake' is slighty better (mainly due to the kick and the impact sound), but it's not enough. It's still confusing, illogical, repetitive and annoying - things the original never was).

So, instead of just 'upping the resolution' and making lazy half-assed cartoon graphics and killing all that was good about the original, just so you can say you created a Windows version of it, why not just do something in lores, that allows you to express your finest self into a new project?

I mean, what are remakes, other than attempts to ride on the waves created a long time ago - to exploit people's interest in something good by creating something mediocre? What are remakes but ego boosts or cashcows?

Don't make remakes, make something new in lores.

I am actually in the process of creating a fighting game, in the vein of 'International Karate', but I am making it lores, and I am trying to express my finest self in everything - although at the same time, I want to give a nod to the classics (my backgrounds are purposely similar to the ones in classic fighting games, but not identical - you can see what I mean by looking at the WIP-picture in


(look for "The Smaller Fighting Game")


Just to notify, that picture is just a VERY ROUGH SKETCH only to give the viewer a GLIMPSE or an IDEA of what I am trying to do. The actual backgrounds are much better nowadays, though still not finished - and the game already features a guy that you can move and do some fight moves with, but it's still in early, rough stages of development.


The main point about that is to compare the C64 game pictures on the left to the 'TheSmallerFightingGame' pictures on the right to see the idea that I am sort of 'copying', but at the same time, 'doing my own thing' as well. I am fully aware that the graphics quality looks awful right now in those pictures, but that's because they are unfinished, rough sketches.)

My idea is to create something of my own, but only borrowing the good bits from the classics, like the fantastic playability of "International Karate", and the atmospheric sceneries of Way of the Exploding Fist and Fist II (though I probably can't create as much or as great atmosphere).

But making just-another-cartoony-ugly-hires-remake of an old lores classic.. I would definitely advice against that, because in the end, no one benefits (although people are such sheeple that they will praise these projects, not because the projects are good, but because of who you are and because "it's the right thing to do").

Sometimes I think I am the only one in the world that dares to show that the emperor is actually naked, and that people are praising clothes that don't exist, or who actually dares to give negative criticism when it's needed (I still try to keep it constructive and explain).

It's funny - sometimes people simply bark at things that are good for no reason (and no explanations), and sometimes they praise things that don't really deserve that kind of praise - just because everyone else praises them? I don't know, I have never understood the denizens of this planet.

So, let me be something other than the usual yes-men that surround this kind of projects and your kind of celebrity-status men - let me tell you the truth, and give you proper advice.

If you want to create high-res graphics, then hand-pixel them. Don't use photoshop. Use Brilliance on a real Amiga, or Deluxe Paint II on a PC, or whatever pixel-tool you think appropriate (I am using a real Amiga and Brilliance to create my lores graphics). Don't use a rendering program, as tempting as that may be.

Create the graphics at night or early morning, when everyone else is asleep or away. Put some energetic, inspiring music on the background. Elevate your atmosphere in any way necessary (candles work, for example, and incense is good). Create a sort of 'solemn atmosphere' and be excited about your project - LOVE your project so much that you can't wait to just express that love in graphics, programming, musics and sound. Then let it flow.. let the Universe flow the inspiration and wonder through you. You may even pray for inspiration if need be, or ask the Universe to grant you inspiration and creative energy, to let you create something magnificent.

Don't just make some cartoon clip-art with photoshop or 3D Studio during your lunch hour at corporate environment at work and slap something together in a higher resolution and then ride on the success of your previous work, and then boost your ego by getting praises from the yes-men in a retrogame forum, and think you are really great. (I mean, obviously, you have been great, being able to create Dino Eggs, but that's no reason to get sloppy)

If you don't make it into something your soul cares about, if you don't pour your very finest self into it, it will show, and although you will get praises, real human beings will never appreciate your creation as much as your older one(s), and frankly, in such a case, your creation does not deserve even the easy yes-man-praise it will still be likely to get.

You CAN make something great (as indeed, you already once did). But it has to be important to you, it can't be a 'fun side-project at work, when you have nothing better to do'.

You can't just slap any old ugly pattern as the background and think that's going to be ok (even if it's animated). It has to come from inspiration, not from some kind of 'visual need to have something there'.

If you follow my advice, your creations will be great, and absolute masterpieces (at least potentially - there has to be a real possibility of failure for it to be able to mean anything). If not, they will be the 'just another cartoony remake' type, and once the yes-men become tired and silent, there's no one to defend or praise your work, and it will be forgotten.

I hate playing things that only create the urge to play the original instead. It's like playing an ST version of a superior Amiga game - you wish you were playing the Amiga version, instead.

Well, that's all I have to say about Dino Eggs and its remake right now.

Thanks again for creating the original, and sorry if I sounded harsh, but I want to tell the truth rather than be a yes-man.

Edited by Monk
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  • 1 month later...

Hi all! This is the author of DINO EGGS.


I appreciate so many people sharing their great game-playing memories with me over the years.

I'm delighted to announce that DINO EGGS is -- finally! -- coming back in a lovingly-crafted revival called DINO EGGS: REBIRTH. It will be released for Windows PC this summer, with other platforms to follow. Steam Greenlight campaign is likely very soon.

I've worked diligently over several years with a programmer in Luxembourg (who himself was a 10-year-old fan of the original DE when it first came out) to craft this enhanced and expanded version of the game. Did you know that Time Master Tim now has a daughter?! :-)

I hope you'll visit the brand new website http://www.dinoeggsrebirth.com and check out our videos, blog, and other features. Please get on the email list so that you can help us get the game on Steam!

If you like what you see -- please share the website, like our Facebook page, and tell your friends!

Thanks for your interest in DINO EGGS.

(And -- If anyone has any further ideas on how I can spread the word about DINO EGGS: REBIRTH, please let me know. Can you help?)

Best Wishes,

David H Schroeder
"Dino Eggs" "Crisis Mountain" "Short Circuit" "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

"Saving the dinosaurs from extinction -- one egg at a time -- since 1983"

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  • 4 weeks later...

I got a PM from David saying that Dino Eggs Rebirth is coming along nicely. I don't know about you all but I am super excited to hear this great news. I hope he includes the original game as an Easter egg or something as well.


He also informed me that a Colecovision was planned back in 1983 but never made it to the light of day unfortunately. Maybe this is a great idea for some of the talented programmers here to consider?


In any case this is looking to be a pretty great game. I am not really a PC person so I am hoping for a WiiU marketplace or Playstation marketplace release of the game too as that would be my platform of modern choice.


I will continue to post any info I find along with David here too, but if you have any interest in Dino Eggs I recommend spreading the word if possible.

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