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atari2600land's Blog - Life Without Bankswitching


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I often imagine what Atari 2600 games would have been like had they not discovered bankswitching and they had to be 2k maximum. I guess they would be more like the early titles, like Combat. Primitive-looking. Part of the appeal to me is trying to cram ideas in to a 2k space. It's a challenge. Now, normally I hate challenges, which is why me programming seems so wrong. But if the computer decides to stop being a jerk and actually work, then it's fun. While I was working on I Hate Vegetables, I had a compiling weirdness. It went suddenly from having 128 or 118 bytes left to -6 or -16 left, often by adding one line of code. How in the heck does that happen? That's why I want I Hate Vegetables to be 2k, the interesting concept of limiting myself to 2k and see what I can do with 2,048 bytes. Even with bB. I wonder if it would make a difference and free up more bytes by "deleting" some stuff I don't use from the standard kernel, like missiles and the ball and vars 0-47, stuff like that. I was able to make a title screen for the game in 2k. But I had to take away Bob's direction facing. This meant redesigning the sprite so he can face both directions and still look good. This is all part of the 2k challenge. And it's also interesting that even though the idea came from one of the Virtual Boy minigames I had made, that I could still make it on the Atari 2600. This is also some of the reason why I can churn out games so fast: I only have 2k to work with! I only worked on I Hate Vegetables for 1 day.

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