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What is the most technically impressive game?

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»Rescue on Fractalus«.


Maybe together with »Ballblazer«, »Koronis Rift« and »The Eidolon«.


I personally also still like »Necromancer« a lot for it's clever use of various techniques. And of course »Alternate Reality« for it's ability to play a music during disc load operations and it's fine scroling 3D dungeon. And there's also »Capture the Flag«. But the most »mouth opens wide«-effect had RoF on me. :)


Kind regards,

Henrik (Island2Live)

Edited by Island2Live
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* Seven Cities of Gold - the seamless disk-I/O integration

* Kennedy Approach - the clear voice output while the screen is on

* Space Harrier - astounding GFX output and SFX

* Yoomp - neat code unrolling and memory saving mechanisms

Edited by Irgendwer
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i wonder if some of the older games is advanced. Well one old game that impresses me is Robotron 2084. There is a large number of moving objects on screen at the same time together with nice sound fx. This is one of the old Arcade classics i love on the Atari 8-Bit. And also Defender is quite impressive.

Edited by BioFreeze
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For the Atari 5200 it would have to be many of the Arcade conversions which are done very well. The 5200 stick has crappy button contacts and non centering sticks. These can be fixed with a gold contact kit or replacing with a Wico Joystick. There are some games that actually play better without the centering stick.



All the great sounds and explosions are there. The complicated controls of the Arcade Panel (which I love) transposed very well to the 5200 controller. In this game, the floating non centering stick is an advantage due to constant change direction and movement.


Ball Blazer

Just like Defender, the non centering sticks perfect for this game.


Robotron and Space Dungeon

Near perfect emulation to the Arcade and with Twinstick control! No worries of non function fire buttons since only the sticks are used.


Tempest, Centipede and Missile Command

For the Trakball. Arcade regulation sized cue ball exclusive to only the 5200. Throw in the rest of the trakball compatible games too. Any 5200 owner must have the Trakball and Tempest!

Edited by CRTGAMER
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Wow - a really good question, personally I find lots of technical/artistic inspiration in Atari 8bit games - especially since to even do classic platformers or scrolling shooter games that were so common on systems that had lots of HW sprites is a lot of effort on the little Atari (although I would have liked to have seen some serious Uridium, Delta and Aramlyte action - still waiting too :-D )


But if I am honest there are a handful of truly inspirational 8bit games and the top of those would have to be the 4 Lucasarts games - Rescue on Fractals, Ballblazer, The Eidolon and Koronis Rift - not only are they each a tour-de-force of technical wonders, full of beautiful pixel art and delightful audio - they also show just how flexible, powerful and unique the A8 was compared to it's contemporaries.


In a world full of 2D scrolling platform games these unique adventures really stood out as amazing ideas, and the A8 versions of these titles are head and shoulders above the ports to other 8bit systems.


Sadly the next step of amazing (the point and click adventures) were best on those systems that supported the lot of sprites approach rather than the A8's strengths..



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How many modern videogames have Anti aliasing?


Well, Ballblazer had it. The horizontal edges of the grid move so smootly. It's not very difficult to do, but the fact they considered implementing it was truly amazing. I also love how they kinda interlaced the double width ball player by alternating two different shapes with one color clock offset to give the impression of a 16 pixel player. This ingeniuos sleight of hand still amazes me.

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RoF is impressive in it's programming technique though there's not really anything revolutionary in use of hardware features or exploits. About the only offbeat thing going on there is use of missiles for the window frames.


I could say that Project M is very technically impressive. 256 colour mode, and use of timers instead of DLI for mode change to save those few extra cycles. I know of nothing else that does that. Though more a demo/unfinished project so not really comparable directly.


Koronis Rift probably has more hardware trickery than the other Lucasfilm games. Heavy use of PMG in the display panels to add more colour. Use of GTIA modes which was very uncommon at the time.


Agreed about earlier comment on 7 Cities - it's the only game I can think of aside from some adventure games (which don't really count) that practically seamlessly integrates unbroken gameplay with background disk I/O.

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From Lucasfilm Games, only Koronis Rift is "technically impressive", because it uses the GTIA mode, Overlay with PM to enhance Details, depth layers get a virtual light source , and so on.

The Eidolon stands out due to the music playing during Disk I/O . Graphically it humbles over some mistake in the code, making the game partially slower than the C64 version.

Ballblazer was released in 1985 .

Dimension X was released in 1984 and offers even more gameplay and details.

Rescue on Fractalus is a straight use of the given Hardware. Impressive usage of fractal calculations, it would be technically impressive , if it runs faster, using technical optimisations.



You have to keep in mind that those "ego view" games is the strength of the A8. The weakness is in the "Sprite based" games. So in the early 80s, Drop Zone is to mention. Fluent gameplay, fluent animations of every moving object ... many colours... only "RGB" beats it.


OK. A special mention to "Moon Patrol" .... Even if the game looks blocky, they managed to have it technically playable similar to the Arcade.

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good question... now from a coder who had looked into some game code:


- Rescue on Fratalus (Disk IO system (yes... have a look), maths & sound & rendering technique. May I point out that it does NOT use EOR filler which was developed after Amiga was released (Blitter filling).

- Koronis Rift (Robot, ingame) but the system font... baeh ;)

- Eidolon is basicly Rof enhanced but uses custom sio loder as mentioned.

- Ballblazer... only find the music system advanced as it is based on "procedual creation".

- Good that 7 cities of Gold was mentioned... THAT is a masterpiece in technique... procedual map creation, streaming IO system, parallax scrolling (even only on chars)


now... let us see further:


- Alternate Reality: The City of course... (game logic, sound, screen rendering, colors)

- Alternate Reality: the Dungeon (texture mapped smooth 3d scrolling)


- As MK mentioned... Dimension X... fast paced DLI based 3d action

- Centipede 5200 (soft sprite routine and arcade action)

- Joust (sprite multiplexor)

- International Karate (speech, sprites, backgrounds) compare with Chop Suey ;)

- Spelunker (large caves)

- Pole Position (road movement)

- Henry's House (sprite multiplexor, details and the GTIA mode panel ;=))

- Axis Slotmachine (GTIA usage and animations)

- Zone Ranger (soft sprite routine based on "collum filler unrolled code")

- Rainbow Walker (DLI and sprite scaling)

- Star Raiders 2 (many gfx modes mixed, several different screens, special fx)

- Blue Max (iso scrolling, tiny animations)


need to check more games :D


- Capture the Flag (fast filled 3d vector maze plus "activison" background)

- Alley Cat (multiscreen using A8 features, "digi sound fx" created by code alone

- Schloss Schreckenstein (2 player split screen action in highspeed soft scrolling)

- Crystal Castle (3d iso rendering plus sprite masking)

- Draconus

- Zybex


new games I am aware of


- IK+

- Crownland

- His Dark Majesty


Edited by Heaven/TQA
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I have to agree with a number of people here and say that RoF was probably the game that impressed me the most, technically, back in the day.


Out of the modern games, of not seen too many, but Yoomp! astounded me the first time I saw it.

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What about keeping the Thread title and to keep the Topic?


ONE game, nothing else


That's why I mentioned "RGB" . The high technical degree of "Sprite games" isn't very thankfull, as you don't realize the know how behind the "Sprite & Scrolling" there. The weakest spot of the A8 takes the most attention to a coder, the results will always get very small steps ahead... that's why most coders don't care to create such cool stuff.

Really, comparing "Rescue on Fractalus" with "RGB" , you could expect a "Comanche" game on the A8 in the EGO view, with the same amount of achievement.

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EmkaY well said. I guess lucasfilm was lucky at those days...


They got top technology in the ILM department combined with the narrative and cinematic experience at Lucasfilm plus talent. They got main frames to develope in "modern" way?


Would there be these 4 games without Carpenter being there? I mean the man behind the Genesis fx of Star Trek 2 and expert on Fractals in CGI?


They got musicians and animation people. I guess similar situation to ID software and Carmack/Romero.


Or Thalion on ST or factor 5 on Amiga.

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Star Raiders - popped into my mind right away - now if a proper Star Raiders II was developed - continuing on from where Star Raiders left off... maybe it will be as impressive again? I can't really say though as I have no grasp of that area which is more pseudo 3D - and not anything close to proper? 3D. I'll take a wild guess that pseudo 3D effects can be done, like in Blaster.


Another nomination would be AtariBLAST! - but you would have to see it's current development to agree with me? While it doesn't really break new ground at all - it is trying to use the hardware that is there, to it's utmost - and trying to use GTIA modes within a game - has so many limitations attached.



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I'll pick Ballblazer then because:


The music - as others have said many times, a genuinely procedural jazz tune, that makes you tap your toe, unbeatable!

The sprites - perfectly smooth scaling of two rotofoils, the ball and goal posts all within the EXTREMELY limited A8 sprite hardware.

The grid - a full antialiased, CURVED, grid with borders and horizon that map to the curved play field (along with the sprites too) - silky smooth and superfast!

The gameplay - just brilliant, a proper head to head action sport, a dazzling achievement for the time.


A superb game, subtle yet very clever use of the hardware, a tour-de-force!



Edited by Jetboot Jack
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I'm torn between Star Raiders and Eliza. :D

Yeah, other games may have pushed the hardware further or used new techniques that hadn't been thought of before but lets face it, the out the cockpit view of Star Raiders probably sold more Atari computers than any other game.
It's sort of THE landmark Atari game and it wasn't on any other computer. Knock offs showed up shortly after but they just weren't as good.

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