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Donkey Kong [Coleco] - "What If Series" Concept


rsiddall

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Possibly a better look for the 4K Atari 2600 game. Had to switch to DPC+ to get the 1 scanline required for the playfield.

 

This would have some flickering whereas Garry Kitchen was able to circumvent it altogether.

I'm guessing he put DK with Pauline to avoid some of that...I've put Kong back on the girder where he belongs.

 

Obviously there's a better version that already exists, so this is more "what could be done" in batari.

 

EDIT: Renaming to "What If" to explore alternate versions of existing games.

 

DK.png

DK.bin

Edited by rsiddall
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Just now, SoundGammon said:

Ray Kasser, CEO of Atari, didn't want to give Nintendo $2.00 royalty for each cart sold, so Coleco got the rights!

 

Anyway, makes me wonder how the game would have turned out if Atari made it!

Or the theory that Coleco "made them bad intentionally" so it would help sell Colecovision consoles.

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9 hours ago, rsiddall said:

Or the theory that Coleco "made them bad intentionally" so it would help sell Colecovision consoles.

I think the intellivision version definitely seems to have been a bit crippled based on what i've seen done with homebrews over there..  i'm not sure how much better the Atari could have been pushed to really pass for arcade, better yes, but not as radically better as the intellivision homebrew sized up against the original port.  The coleco was regardless of port quality, better / newer hardware than either of the prior systems both coming 70s era hardware.  

 

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10 hours ago, Caleb Garner said:

I think the intellivision version definitely seems to have been a bit crippled based on what i've seen done with homebrews over there..  i'm not sure how much better the Atari could have been pushed to really pass for arcade, better yes, but not as radically better as the intellivision homebrew sized up against the original port.  The coleco was regardless of port quality, better / newer hardware than either of the prior systems both coming 70s era hardware.  

We have homebrew Pac-man games that prove Atari could have done better with that game.

 

But for Donkey Kong...   Even the best homebrew 2600 attempts at that game have issues that wouldn't have worked-  like too much flicker, 32K ROM size, taking liberties with the level design.   I have yet to see one that proves the Coleco attempt was made bad on purpose.

 

That said, I could suggest some minor tweaks to make it feel a little more arcade like-  choose a color for the platforms that is closer to the arcade,  add the "music" in the background if it isn't too much trouble (it's only 5 or 6 notes that repeat I think)

 

Ultimately, I think it's just one of those games that's a little beyond the 2600's capabilities to do right.

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On 6/28/2023 at 12:07 PM, rsiddall said:

Or the theory that Coleco "made them bad intentionally" so it would help sell Colecovision consoles.

Garry Kitchen put a lot of effort into making Donkey Kong as good as he could for the 2600 considering the time and ROM size restrictions he was working with. I doubt Atari would've done much better, given that time and ROM size restrictions were 2 factors in Pac-Man and ET turning out the way they did (Pac-Man and ET apologists notwithstanding). Most of Coleco's 2600 arcade ports aren't awful for the time.

 

On 6/29/2023 at 8:19 AM, zzip said:

We have homebrew Pac-man games that prove Atari could have done better with that game.

Those homebrews benefit from 20+ years of learning how to eke more out of the 2600 hardware. The best we could've hoped for at the time is probably something closer to Pac-Man Arcade, which is a hack of Ms. Pac-Man and  a closer approximation to what a good Pac-Man port in 1981 would have looked like than any of the made from scratch homebrew ports.

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8 hours ago, KaeruYojimbo said:

Garry Kitchen put a lot of effort into making Donkey Kong as good as he could for the 2600 considering the time and ROM size restrictions he was working with. I doubt Atari would've done much better, given that time and ROM size restrictions were 2 factors in Pac-Man and ET turning out the way they did (Pac-Man and ET apologists notwithstanding). Most of Coleco's 2600 arcade ports aren't awful for the time.

 

Those homebrews benefit from 20+ years of learning how to eke more out of the 2600 hardware. The best we could've hoped for at the time is probably something closer to Pac-Man Arcade, which is a hack of Ms. Pac-Man and  a closer approximation to what a good Pac-Man port in 1981 would have looked like than any of the made from scratch homebrew ports.

No doubt...I read that article recently and agree his version is exceptional for the time. And it's definitely easier to look back through the lens of experience and build upon the foundation laid previously.

 

Tod Frye mentioned in an interview the look of his Pac-Man was done by someone other than him (can't remember the name)...but the idea that person, at the time, could have made a better looking Pac-Man/animation and chose not too - that's what I'm looking at.

Edited by rsiddall
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55 minutes ago, rsiddall said:

could have made a better looking Pac-Man/animation and chose not too

right.. i honestly thing the 2600 port was pretty respectable..  i really can't see the 2600 doing MUCH better.. sure little better with enough time / passion / hindsight..   where I would question things is the intellivision version..  looking at the actual ports made in recent years (yes i know it still has the hindsight benefit) i think the intellivision version could have been better even back then, but obviously if devs at the time were given unrealistic time frames to get the job done, i sympathize, but when i look back at games like E.T. and the six weeks he had to make it.. it's like.. come on execs..  you KNOW this game would sell bigly.. you know it's going to be huge..  so why not give a hit game the time it takes to make it a great title, not just a rush job..   unless this was literally someone wanting to run the market off the rails with no concern about quality..  like if you know it's your last game with one of the biggest IPs of the time..  then yea maximize profits with no concern beyond that..   but i've never heard anyone say anything like that about that era..  

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11 minutes ago, alfredtdk said:

I loved these graphics. Pauline's movement is very good. I would love to see your finished version. I made a test hack, a graphic copy of your sprites over the original game and the result seems to have been quite satisfactory.

20230704_013851.jpg

Cool! Donkey Kong looks more like a monkey (versus the gingerbread man) now. 

 

Actually, everything looks "improved". 👍

Edited by rsiddall
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4 hours ago, alfredtdk said:

I loved these graphics. Pauline's movement is very good. I would love to see your finished version. I made a test hack, a graphic copy of your sprites over the original game and the result seems to have been quite satisfactory.

20230704_013851.jpg

You should post that under the "hacks". I'd love a .bin file. 🙂

 

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On 7/3/2023 at 10:18 AM, KaeruYojimbo said:

Those homebrews benefit from 20+ years of learning how to eke more out of the 2600 hardware. The best we could've hoped for at the time is probably something closer to Pac-Man Arcade, which is a hack of Ms. Pac-Man and  a closer approximation to what a good Pac-Man port in 1981 would have looked like than any of the made from scratch homebrew ports.

 I don't think we needed 20+ years to get it right.   2600 Ms. Pac-man in 1983 was considered good enough by most people who hated 2600 Pac-Man.   Even though Ms. Pac-Man had to cut corners, it showed enough respect for the source material.   Main problem with Pac-man is it didn't respect the source material.  Relatively small changes could have made it much better

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