cinematronics

Bill Loguidice's picture

New Kickstarter for Atari 2600 Star Castle - But should you support it?

I posted about this as a comment in another thread, but since this is such a big deal I thought I would whip up a quick front page blog post to give it its due. There's a new Kickstarter for an Atari 2600 version of Star Castle, a 1980 vector-based arcade game from Cinematronics that received an excellent port to the Vectrex home console in 1982. While the Atari 2600 can only produce raster, not vector graphics like the Vectrex, a recent port of the game was created by D. Scott Williamson, an original Atari programmer, albeit one who started working there six years after the 1982-release of Howard Scott Warshaw's Star Castle-inspired Yars' Revenge. Williamson was similarly inspired to create his Star Castle homebrew by Warshaw's creation, so he purposely limited himself to 8K of ROM for authenticity's sake, even though the cartridge hardware that he made could handle up to 64K.

Long story short, Williamson ended up wanting tens of thousands of dollars for his programming effort--a reasonable request if this were the platform's early 80's heydey. Unfortunately for Williamson, most homebrewers these days do it for the proverbial love of the game, so no one was willing to pay anywhere near that. In fact, in a convoluted AtariAge thread, his actions and subsequent reactions, not to mention that of the community's, eventually led to another homebrew programmer being himself inspired to create a version, which he released for free, here, and by all accounts is superb.

Undeterred, Williamson decided to take his case to Kickstarter, which you can see here. It's a genuine soap opera (one that I'm not even sure I have sorted correctly), albeit one within a niche of a niche within our industry. It will be interesting to see how this Kickstarter works out for Williamson. I'm certainly intrigued by the cartridge with flashing lights timed to the gameplay and admire his engineering effort, but $100 for a complete, boxed copy is a bit tough to swallow. Maybe with a bit of time I'll reconsider...

What are your thoughts on this mess? Obviously Williamson can charge what he wants for his work - and it's up to the market to decide what they'll pay (and they didn't pay the first time around; maybe this Kickstarter will be different) - but is he out of touch with the realities of the homebrew market? After all, even the best homebrews can struggle to sell 250 boxed copies at well below his $100 boxed copy asking price...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Fury Unlimited Releasing Cinematronics' Warrior for the Vectrex!

Warrior (Vectrex)Warrior (Vectrex)Inarguably among the top and most prolific homebrew authors for the Vectrex, Fury Unlimited, is now taking pre-orders for an enhanced remake of Cinematronics legendary one-on-one vector fighting game, Warrior. This release includes many new modes, as well as a box and overlay. Check out the original arcade game here on KLOV to see just how impressive this new version is. Among the earliest fighting games, the influential Warrior arcade game is also discussed in Chapter 17 - Street Fighter II (1991), in our book, Vintage Games.

Chip Hageman's picture

Three for the Road: January 9th, 2011.

Three for the Road[ JAN . 09 . 2011 ]
 
 01.09.2011Welcome back! This week I'm trying out something a bit different.. at least as far as presentation goes. I've decided to replace the game thumbnail screenshots with youtube videos (at least, whenever possible). This way, you will be able to get more of an idea of how a game plays before you actually go to the trouble of downloading it.

And before the rash of "the video is too small!" comments hit.. remember you can tap the lower right corner of the video bar (box with four arrows) to zoom the video fullscreen.. then just hit [ESCAPE] once the video is done to return to the webpage.

Anyway, I'm interested to hear how you guys (and gals) feel about this format.. so leave a comment!

Syndicate content