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Best Friends


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Dear all,


A few weeks ago I started to write my first Atari 2600 game using batari Basic. 





"Best Friends" is a two player game that my wife and I enjoy a lot. 


We test and play it on a 2600 junior with a PlusCart(+) and an old TV that I rescued from the basement. I run it on a PAL TV, but using SELECT provides some color combinations that will work fine for NTSC, too.


I am wondering how a one-player version of Best Friends would be possible - that might be a challenge for later.


Best Friends


When the new next door neighbors moved in next a few weeks ago, it looked like a pretty normal family. The young daughter and the two adorable dogs seemed like great playmates for your kids.

But somehow things are a bit different at your neighbors‘… You couldn’t quite believe your eyes when you noticed that the cute poodles sometimes looked like ghosts wandering around the yard. They were also constantly digging for giant, strange dinosaur bones in the backyard.

But what bothers you the most is:

The little girl next door CONSTANTLY plays on her recorder. Day in, day out she plays the SAME song and it is driving you crazy!

The music only stops when you start playing with the dogs. Then the little musician watches her two BEST FRIENDS play and forgets about her music for a moment.

There is hope! However, you have to find a second player for this game. At the moment Best Friends is a two-player game only.






Game Play


Goal of the game:

The winner is the player who is the first to:

  • Score 21 points and
  • has pushed the dinosaur bone in the color of their character completely out of the yard.


Game Begin/ Start of Game

By pressing FIRE you exit the first screen and the music stops!

You and your opponent can each choose a character (dog, ghost or smiley) by pressing FIRE.

As soon as you have both chosen a character, the game can begin! Count to three and then start.


Scoring points

The player who reaches the ball first is awarded a point. Following this, the ball is immediately and randomly placed on the field and the chase for the ball continues.

On the way to the ball, the player can cross their own bone; they can only shove the opponent’s bone to the side (sideways). If the ball is behind the opponent’s bone, it will be hard to be the first one to reach it.


Moving the ball

Once per turn it is possible for the players to move the ball by pushing the FIRE button. If a player sees that the ball is in a difficult spot, they can push FIRE and hope that the ball is randomly placed somewhere better. This can only be done once per ball. Decide quickly if you want to move the ball!

When the score is 0:0 at the beginning of the game, it is not yet possible to move the ball.

If a player is more than two points ahead, it is also not possible for them to move the ball to a different spot.



Pushing the bone out of the yard

In order to push your bone out of the yard, you have to repeatedly move your character over the bone. Piece by piece, the bone gets pushed out of the yard.

But watch out: if you don’t move your bone for a certain amount of time, it slides back into the yard.

The bone needs to be completely pushed out of the yard. Only then does it not slide back.

To win the game, you need 21 points and have the bone completely removed from the yard.


Pushing the opponent’s bone back into the yard

By touching your opponent’s bone you can push it back into the yard. Make sure you attack your opponent’s bone before they have pushed it out of the yard.

By pushing the opponent’s bone to the side, it makes the open playing field larger and makes it easier to get to the ball.


Levels of difficulty

At the beginning of the game (score 0:0), you can choose a character by pressing FIRE. The characters have different sizes. This can balance out the game if there are differences in skill.

In addition, you can adjust the ability level on the back of the console. For each player, you can choose „Beginner“ and „Advanced“. In Advanced-Mode it is more difficult to push the bone out of the yard (one has to touch it more often and it comes back faster)



The Select-Button switches between various color combinations. You should be able to find an ideal color combination for both NTSC and PAL.









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ZeroPage Homebrew is playing Best Friends on tomorrow's (Tue May 4, 2021) stream LIVE on Twitch at 6PM PT | 9PM ET | 1AM GMT! Hope everyone can watch!




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16 hours ago, ZeroPage Homebrew said:

ZeroPage Homebrew is playing Best Friends on tomorrow's (Tue May 4, 2021) stream LIVE on Twitch at 6PM PT | 9PM ET | 1AM GMT! Hope everyone can watch!




Wow, that`s great! Munich time that will be 3 am, still hope to be online for this event!

I certainly hope that you both will sing along to B-I-N-G-O!


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  • 2 years later...

This is an amazing multi-player game. Would love to see more gametypes for example this mode in in Indy 500 but indy 500 also has tag. There is another game similar to this that I own a cartridge of but can not seem to find it and I forget it's name I think it might be called space something like space war but that turns out to be the wrong g game, anyway it is a real time turned based 2 player game very similar to this game and has all sorts of varations.

One small flaw in this game that most people are not even effected by. I own the Le Stick (Motion controls with mercury inside) the ghosts graphs with it eye movements prevent the ghost from moving unless you get a precision movement as where the dog moves freely ( I have not tried the face yet) the eyes move before the ghost does and so the eyes of the ghost keeps moving while the ghost stops moving or shudders. When I played the dog and ghost prior to using the Le Stick I noticed the dog was better then the ghost and did a test side by side across the screen realizing there the exact same speed and I though I imagined it being different only to discover I was correct it is infact different once I used the Le Stick. It is so negligible with a joystick that is not actually a problem and if you have the Le Stick as I do just use the dog. Side note this is by far the best game to use the Le Stick on and is properly responsive as the controls are fluid as where most Atari games have rigged movements.  If you have a Pair of Le Stick controls this game gets even better use the dog.


Edit: I wanted to ask if this will ever make it to the Atariage store?

Edited by overgrouth
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