Robotron: 2084 (1982) - Running Away While Defending Humanoids - Latest Free Vintage Games Bonus Chapter

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The eighth of nine free online bonus chapters that are in addition to the 25 chapters found in our book, Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, available at booksellers worldwide, including Amazon.com, is now available. Head on over to Gamasutra to read Robotron: 2084 (1982): Running Away While Defending Humanoids. The remaining online bonus chapter, released next month, will be Star Raiders, which will form the complete set of 34 chapters between the book and online. Don't forget there are well over 100 bonus images not found in the book or in the online bonus chapters, available here. Want to know what others' think of the book? Check it out here and don't forget to get yourself a copy!

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Matt Barton
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You know, I don't think we

You know, I don't think we mentioned the dual X-arcade in that article. Funny thing to omit, because I've enjoyed short bouts of Robotron with it on several occasions. It's a great game to use to test out the device and push it to its limits.

On a side note, Bill and I encountered a Robotron arcade machine on our trip to San Francisco. Except this one was somehow set to free play. Bill and I played maybe one or two games each and ended up getting bored or frustrated and quitting. As I recall, we joked about how even when it was free it was hard to imagine playing this game for hours on end, especially when there were so many other games in that truly "vintage" arcade! :)

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Bill Loguidice
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Specifics
Matt Barton wrote:

You know, I don't think we mentioned the dual X-arcade in that article. Funny thing to omit, because I've enjoyed short bouts of Robotron with it on several occasions. It's a great game to use to test out the device and push it to its limits.

Honestly, I think it's one of those implied things. Not much point in mentioning specific aftermarket/third party controllers. We don't mention home arcade cabinets either, but many, mine included, have the player one and player two 8-way joysticks close enough to purposely pull off Robotron-style play.

Matt Barton wrote:

On a side note, Bill and I encountered a Robotron arcade machine on our trip to San Francisco. Except this one was somehow set to free play. Bill and I played maybe one or two games each and ended up getting bored or frustrated and quitting. As I recall, we joked about how even when it was free it was hard to imagine playing this game for hours on end, especially when there were so many other games in that truly "vintage" arcade! :)

I also think it's the MAME effect. Anything free is not valued as much as something you have to pay for. It's a lot different experience when you're paying for something and have limited time, versus something more or less free and having unlimited time.

I'm headed to Funspot in New Hamsphire with the family in a few weeks, and it's supposed to be the world's largest arcade (it was featured in the recent documentaries). Should be some good times there.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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Mame Effect
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I also think it's the MAME effect. Anything free is not valued as much as something you have to pay for. It's a lot different experience when you're paying for something and have limited time, versus something more or less free and having unlimited time.

The Mame Effect! Great term!

I have definitely noticed a huge change in my gameplay habits once it became obvious that I could play pretty much any game I wanted at any time. Eventually you get to where you don't want to play anything, or you just dabble a bit here and there, without really settling in.

I have talked to my friends about the same thing with music. If you had to buy your own CDs and were limited to 1 or 2 a week (or month in some cases), you had to choose very carefully. If you ended up with a bad CD, you might listen to multiple times anyway in the hopes that it would somehow grow on you--and sometimes it worked! On the other hand, if you bought a CD because of that "one song" on the radio, you might listen to it a few dozen times and then get bored with it. My point is that the music that was an acquired taste turned out to be far superior, even if it didn't grab you at first listen. When I first heard them, I hated The Cure, The Smiths, Johnny Cash, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc. After "forcing myself" to listen to their albums, though, I began to like them and then even to love them. On the other hand, I bought Smashmouth and The Offspring after hearing their hits on the radio, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get into the rest of their stuff. Those CDs ended up lost somewhere.

But now, in the age of P2P and itunes, a lot of this is going away. Why listen to anything that doesn't catch you right away? There's also no need to listen to an entire album, since you can just pick and choose what songs you want. Now, you don't even have a whole song to catch you, since most sites like iTunes only let you hear 10-15 seconds of a song before making the all-important choice. So, a band has to make sure that their songs can grab you in that amount of time. No long build ups, etc. I think music will suffer for that.

And also -- if you have 3 days worth of music on your hard drive, what are you going to listen to? Time becomes the factor, not money. Now it's a matter of - well, I have an hour...And guess what gets played -- either stuff you are already familiar with, or some of those songs that "grab ya" right away and don't require the patient and sometimes tedious discovery process.

I'm sure you see the same thing happening with your game collections...! Sometimes it's better to have only a few games and lots of time rather than the other way around.

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Bill Loguidice
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Too true
Matt Barton wrote:

I'm sure you see the same thing happening with your game collections...! Sometimes it's better to have only a few games and lots of time rather than the other way around.

That is certainly true. I mean, I'm doing good stuff with my time, like Wii Fitness for Dummies and the documentary, but it's certainly exasperating. If I only had a platform or two to focus on or obsess over, I'd be all right, but I have dozens that are all begging for attention. Sometimes when I do have time, I don't have the energy to bother setting something up. Definitely bad.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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Bright side
Bill Loguidice wrote:

That is certainly true. I mean, I'm doing good stuff with my time, like Wii Fitness for Dummies and the documentary, but it's certainly exasperating. If I only had a platform or two to focus on or obsess over, I'd be all right, but I have dozens that are all begging for attention. Sometimes when I do have time, I don't have the energy to bother setting something up. Definitely bad.

Well, on the bright side, I think our relative isolation has led us online in search of friends, and that in turn led to a very nice writing sideline. If we had lots of enthusiasts nearby who we could visit and play games with all the time, I doubt much of this stuff would have ever gotten done!

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Larry Laffer (not verified)
Article

Article pretty good except for obvious mistakes you really need to get a reviewer. wikipedia article actually goes into more indepth and has lots more sources 46 of them! you need to do your research it is pathetic by compare. still i know you are just hobbies so cant expect a proffessional job.

Writing was o.k. excpet in parts, honestly Bill I think Matt is holding you back, I read along and then a real crap. after reading the story i know how to recognize it for what it is you need to go solo my friend.

all in all not bad for hobbies, though no offense i have read much better.

Bill Loguidice
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OK, Larry, we're all ears.

OK, Larry, we're all ears. What are the obvious mistakes?

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Devide and conquer?!?
Larry Laffer wrote:

Article pretty good except for obvious mistakes you really need to get a reviewer. wikipedia article actually goes into more indepth and has lots more sources 46 of them! you need to do your research it is pathetic by compare. still i know you are just hobbies so cant expect a proffessional job.

Writing was o.k. excpet in parts, honestly Bill I think Matt is holding you back, I read along and then a real crap. after reading the story i know how to recognize it for what it is you need to go solo my friend.

all in all not bad for hobbies, though no offense i have read much better.

And so he tries another tactic, which is the " If you can't join them try to devide them and split them " - tactic
I wonder why Larry even bothers coming here and posting if he is so disappointed by the things we are doing.
So why bother Larry?

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Rowdy Rob
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I've been waiting for this chapter!

I've been looking forward to reading the "Robotron" bonus chapter for quite a while. I'm not sure why, but I guess I was just looking forward to the VG "take" on the game. While it wasn't in my top five favorite arcade games of all time, it was a great representative of the "twitch" era (I liked the line "all -you-can-kill buffet").

I recall reading on this site a long while ago that the Robotron chapter was going to focus on the innovations in game control, and it certainly did. But, the resulting chapter was still interesting without being too techno-geeky.

It was yet another quality chapter that I enjoyed. I'm not sure what else to say. I have no criticisms (except it seemed short, but that's probably my imagination).

Well, another month to go before we see the next chapter!

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Matt Barton
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Rowdy Rob wrote:

I've been looking forward to reading the "Robotron" bonus chapter for quite a while. I'm not sure why, but I guess I was just looking forward to the VG "take" on the game. While it wasn't in my top five favorite arcade games of all time, it was a great representative of the "twitch" era (I liked the line "all -you-can-kill buffet").

I recall reading on this site a long while ago that the Robotron chapter was going to focus on the innovations in game control, and it certainly did. But, the resulting chapter was still interesting without being too techno-geeky.

Control is an interesting issue, and I have to think arcade game makers had an edge there, since they didn't have to be standardized like controllers for consoles or computers. You still see a lot of innovation there, but sadly the emphasis seems to be on wacky and far-out controllers rather than doing anything truly innovative (no modern equivalents of the "dual joystick" that I know of). I wonder if anyone has tried to do a game with two joysticks and foot pedals? That could really get complex in a hurry. As far as I know, the only games that use pedals are racing games and the occasional light gun shooter. In any case, I've never seen more than three foot pedals on any machine. I guess some of the drumming simulation games might get close in this regard.

I played Robotron on my C-64, though I didn't get to experience what it was like with dual joysticks until much later (when I got my X-arcade). I just never encountered any Robotron arcade games growing up (before my time, I guess). It really just isn't the same game without the dual sticks, though.

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