Much more could have been done on ST

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Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:12 pm

Just look at NES for exemple

"It's not about technical limitations, it's about game design"

Most games for NES was craftmanship by extremly skilled game designers from Konami, Nitendo, Capcom, Namco, Hudson and many more well known software companies. NES wasn't exactly the top spec games console in the late 80's, yet the games (in most cases) was superior to most similar games on both ST and Amiga. Why? Because the japanese game designers knew how to make truly awesome games.

Games for NES often contained cut scenes, close ups, a story, different views and great attention to detail that made the games so good. Even a simple game got that extra dimension using cut scenes, a story, different angles etc. Even if the graphics was quite simple it was very well drawn.

Different views, cut scenes, a story, and some moody music made the games more involving and alive, that's why NES was such great games console, no technical wonder but extremly well designed games. Some people still think today that NES was the king of video gaming. I'm the first one to agreed to that.

Sometimes we got either descent or half good conversions of the japanese wonders as Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands etc.

Perhaps NES was the most importand game console too when it was released Jul 15 1983 in Japan as Famicom.

When thinking of that, much more could have been done on ST. It's not always about hardware, it's about game design. ST was practically littered with so so shooters, so so platformers and sometimes real crappy action games thanks to bad and lazy game design. Same thing on Amiga, C64 and ZX Spectrum. Very few developers delivered top quality games.

On the other hand, some of the best games ever was released for ST, Mercenary, Damocles, Mercenary III, F16 Falcon and Carrier Command.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Dio » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:22 pm

It's a gross generalisation, but what does the NES have apart from crappy arcade ports?

The ST (and Spectrum) were creative machines. The NES wasn't.

It also certainly wasn't heavily imported to the UK. I worked at a shop selling mostly console imports for a while and the NES didn't figure on the radar. PC Engine was ten times bigger (and infinitely better) and Megadrive ten times bigger than that.

Dog of a system of the first magnitude, if you ask me.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Hippy Dave » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:16 pm

Note that the "Nintendo Entertainment System" was a concertedly industrial and commercial driven gaming platform; matured and focused on gaming hardware and software for years. The "Nintendo Entertainment System" would have had a design specification and commercial marketing direction before any hardware design would have come out of the engineers pencils. It is called an 'entertainment system', not a computer; you can see this by simply looking at it.

Whereas the Atari ST is Not a even a gaming computer; it is a General purpose computer.
Last edited by Hippy Dave on Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:22 pm

@DIO

You're not so familiar to Nintendo NES and games from Japan?

I admit that ZX Spectrum and the other computers were innovative, but many bad games was also released.

NES was an innovative game console that set many new standards. Like Nintendos joypads for exemple. Every new console followed the same concept. Nintendo was also first using battery backup in their game cartridges (Zelda was the first game using it).

Titles like Meteroid, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania Series, Zelda, Dragons Quest series, Faxanadu, Ninja Gaiden series, Shatterhand, (sunsofts) Batman series, Mega Man series, Kirby, Bomberman series, Battle of Olympus, Super Mario series, and many many more showed that NES was THE console to own in the 80's.

Games like the Double Dragon series or Bionic Commando for exemple was totally reworked for NES and much better then the arcade counterpart.

Japan became the world leader in making games after the debut of NES who sold more units then C64, Atari 800, Atari ST, Amiga, ZX Spectrum together.

I admit it's a huge difference between giants like Konami, Capcom, Namco and Nintendo compared to the many smaller game developers for ST, Amiga, ZX Spectrum etc at that time.

Besides that it was much higher standards for making games for Nintendos console. If a game wasn't up to par, Nintendo simply sad No. You can't make the game for our NES because your games are sub standard and we can't put the "Nintendo Seal of Quality" on the game package.

For ST anyone could release a game.

Well, it's a shame that so many titles was so so or sometimes even bad. Games like Dizzy Fantasy Worlds or Crystal Kingdom Dizzy proved that it was possible to make real good looking playable and fun platform games on the ST. Yet so many bad was released. Well, Core released some quite good platformers like Rick Dangerous for exemple.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Dio » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:32 pm

I'll concede that it's worst is better than the ST's worst. But it's a strength and a weakness; sacrificing individual innovation for corporate quality.

Sure, I have a bias against it since I consider platform games extremely tedious, and it's a system that didn't do an awful lot else original. But I'd take the imagination enabled by the 80s home computers over the blandness of the 80s consoles any day.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:35 pm

Hippy Dave wrote:Note that the "Nintendo Entertainment System" was a concertedly industrial and commercial driven gaming platform; matured and focused on gaming hardware and software for years. The "Nintendo Entertainment System" would have had a design specification and commercial marketing direction before any hardware design would have come out of the engineers pencils. It is called an 'entertainment system', not a computer; you can see this by simply looking at it.

Whereas the Atari ST is Not a even a gaming computer; it is a General purpose computer.


Well, ZX Spectrum wasn't even thought of to be a a gaming computer from the beginning. Clive wanted a cheap computer for serious purposes. Yet ZX Spectrum became huge in Britain in the 80's because of games.

Gaming was a big part of Atari ST too even if ST was a way more "serious computer" then ZX Spectrum ever was. Money was the driving force behind Atari ST too. Software houses wanted to make a quick buck on (sometimes sub standard) games. The difference between NES and ST was (in most cases) the skill of the developers. Practically all the biggest software houses released games for NES. Most of them was used makers of arcade games. No wonder that NES got great games.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:40 pm

Dio wrote:I'll concede that it's worst is better than the ST's worst. But it's a strength and a weakness; sacrificing individual innovation for corporate quality.

Sure, I have a bias against it since I consider platform games extremely tedious, and it's a system that didn't do an awful lot else original. But I'd take the imagination enabled by the 80s home computers over the blandness of the 80s consoles any day.


The sad thing is that "corporate quality" is how the world works today, more then ever. Just look at the gaming industri today for exemple. A few huge giants produce almost all the games.

Never the less, NES was a console with a huge library of truly great games. ;)

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Zamuel_a » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:05 pm

One problem with the ST is the lack of hardware sprites and scrolling. That made it difficult for the programmers to do anything easy, and usually they wanted it to be easy :wink: It should also fit in a 0.5Mb machine to make sure you had the biggest market.
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:19 pm

Zamuel_a wrote:One problem with the ST is the lack of hardware sprites and scrolling. That made it difficult for the programmers to do anything easy, and usually they wanted it to be easy :wink: It should also fit in a 0.5Mb machine to make sure you had the biggest market.


Don't forget single sided drive in the beginning. ;) :D

I think that Atari should at least have used hardware scrolling in the orginal ST because it's so vital for many games. There's a handful of games that really shows what can be done on ST with some clever game design and technical tricks. Too many games feels like a rush to bring some more easy money.

Atari 800 was a high end computer for it's time full of custom chips.

Atari ST was actually the opposite. This time Atari wanted something else and ST became a bit of everything computer that lacked several importand hardware features to be THE gaming computer.

I used my ST like...

About 70% of the time i used serious appz
About 30% of the time for gaming

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Zamuel_a » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:26 pm

The ST was never meant to be a gaming computer. Originally it was supposed to have all the custom chips the Amiga had, but the people developing them dropped off and started the Amiga company instead. The soundchip wasn't supposed to be used for music either, but instead only keyclicks and such stuff. Music would be genereted with the MIDI ports connected to a synthesizer.
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Stefan jL » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:28 pm

Only 30% for gaming... you need to change your name to "Retroapps_ST" :lol:
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:34 pm

Stefan jL wrote:Only 30% for gaming... you need to change your name to "Retroapps_ST" :lol:


To tell you the truth.

For a period in the early 90's when i bought cheap pirated compilation diskettes (like automation) i got tired of gaming and used my ST for appz all the time.

Then i borrowed a NEO GEO and bought a SNES. Games was fun again and i started to play games on ST too. ;)

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby CiH » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:46 pm

Rambling crap alert! Warning, some of the text following this announcement may be on topic!

Perhaps the topic should be more correctly called "Maybe a bit less should have been done on the ST." :mrgreen:

Most games for NES was craftmanship by extremly skilled game designers from Konami, Nitendo, Capcom, Namco, Hudson and many more well known software companies. NES wasn't exactly the top spec games console in the late 80's, yet the games (in most cases) was superior to most similar games on both ST and Amiga. Why? Because the japanese game designers knew how to make truly awesome games.


Very true, but in amongst all the Nintendo love, There's some neat stuff on the Sega, with a pretty decent Sonic the Hedgehog on the Master System springing to mind 8)

When thinking of that, much more could have been done on ST. It's not always about hardware, it's about game design. ST was practically littered with so so shooters, so so platformers and sometimes real crappy action games thanks to bad and lazy game design. Same thing on Amiga, C64 and ZX Spectrum. Very few developers delivered top quality games.

On the other hand, some of the best games ever was released for ST, Mercenary, Damocles, Mercenary III, F16 Falcon and Carrier Command.


You've nicely described what happened in the early days with the ST in the "Hey wow, we've gone 16-bit" phase, with the innovative titles (all your examples are 3D solid poly-based I noticed!) and the lazy software house bandwagon-jumping middle phase. In the middle years, you get the mediocre platform games you described, using a generic engine, the bulk of the development budget being spent on getting a picture of the current hit action movie on the box and the lazy ported down badly from the Amiga stuff. There was a little bit of a revival towards the end when a handful of developers realised that the 'E' in 'STE' stands for enhancements :mrgreen:

My memories of the SNES are interesting. Their games were top notch, also top dollar prices, which didn't bother (hem!) the people that I knew, who had *other* ways of obtaining them. Very often, it was the only way of seeing newly released titles, which would not be seen in Europe/UK until months later. Or sometimes not at all. Nintendo's regionalisation policy sucked, especially when you're the poor relation.

If we're talking about the comparative advantages of open and closed systems, I guess it goes something like this.

Nintendo:- Closed system = Quality assurance, close supervision of developers, controlled and moderate release rate of new games to ensure guaranteed sales, the user-culture ensuring you know your lowly place, the ability to put swear-words in high score tables disabled, so our children's morals are properly policed!

Atari (ST series):- Open system = Limited to no control over developers, tsunami of very variable quality software, BUT passionate and creative user culture some of which is local to you, real chance of someone going off in unexpected and thrilling directions, learning critical discernment to spot the gems amongst the dross and championing accordingly.

It's personal to me, but I only start to like consoles once they're officially 'retro' and start to attract a homebrew development scene. I hate being treated like a serf by my leisure pursuits!
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:48 am

I understand your point and agree.

Regarding open vs closed.

When talking Nintendo it was much more money and reputation to think of. A top seller on NES could sell up to 30.000.000 copies. Imagine that Nintendo suddenly started to release games that no one checked. It would be a horrible bad thing for their reputation as Nintendo should be about fun quality games.

My main point about this thread was more...

Many things that made the NES games soo good could easily be done on ST too because it's down to game design.

The japanese game giants was used too making fun games that cointained that extra polish to make them that good. In some cases they even made the games better then the arcade counterpart. Software houses like Enix, Square and Nintendo made some of the best rpg's ever made.

Sometimes open is a good thing, sometimes not, depending of what you want to achieve.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby nativ » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:49 pm

There weren't many european developers that 'got' the Eastern market though.

We did have a trickle of conversions, but never the full focus? why?
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:21 pm

nativ wrote:There weren't many european developers that 'got' the Eastern market though.

We did have a trickle of conversions, but never the full focus? why?


Only a handful of the european developers got some of their games released for NES. Hewson got both Cybernoid and Nebulus released on NES for exemple.

Many games lost the feeling when they got converted to other platforms, sometimes it was simply a bad conversion of a good game where the developers didn't bother to implement several things that made the game so great.

But you can see the opposite too.

Boulder Dash on NES wasn't even close the orginal 8bit computer versions of the game. Boulder Dash was both "NESified" and "Cutified" to fit the NES audience. They even forgot what Boulder Dash was about.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Stefan jL » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:02 pm

You dont like the NES version of Boulder Dash... i just checked an youtube video of it and it seem totally ok?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4dI-8QEn-w

Also in Japan nes was called Family Computer and it even had keyboard and cassettes like C-64 so you could program your own programs, and then there was an diskdrive update also. But Nintendo seems to have abondoned the idea when launching Famicom outside Japan... maybe it was too easy to make pirate copies.
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:22 pm

Stefan jL wrote:You dont like the NES version of Boulder Dash... i just checked an youtube video of it and it seem totally ok?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4dI-8QEn-w

Also in Japan nes was called Family Computer and it even had keyboard and cassettes like C-64 so you could program your own programs, and then there was an diskdrive update also. But Nintendo seems to have abondoned the idea when launching Famicom outside Japan... maybe it was too easy to make pirate copies.


That's why Nintendo choosed cartridge format for their N64. ;)

Even if they claimed it was for other purposes.

About Boulder Dash

I was a Boulder Dash maniac back then. Me and my friends could play Boulder Dash every day for months, and when we got Boulder Dash Construction Kit we was hooked to Boulder Dash even more.

The physics from the orginal games is totally wrong in the NES version. The awesome atmosphere of the orginal games is lost too.

On Nintendo's Gameboy they made a much better version of Boulder Dash that wasn't far from the orginal games.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:17 pm

btw

Speaking of Boulder Dash, THAT'S what i call game design and one of the most impressive games ever. Just to think of that Boulder Dash was released in 1984 makes it even more impressive. Brilliant game idea, brilliant performed and when the Construction Kit was released Boulder Dash became immortal.

It took several years on NES for the biggest gaming companies in the world to produce games with that quality.

Nothing beats good game design. And that's why i started this thread.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Zamuel_a » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:19 pm

Well it's never to late to do good games on the ST so why not create a good game on it that is the way you want it to be! :wink:
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Shredder11 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:43 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:
Boulder Dash on NES wasn't even close the orginal 8bit computer versions of the game. Boulder Dash was both "NESified" and "Cutified" to fit the NES audience. They even forgot what Boulder Dash was about.



Totally agree and the nervy unique atmosphere and character of the original, has been destroyed in the NES version. Just my opinion but hey.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:15 am

Zamuel_a wrote:Well it's never to late to do good games on the ST so why not create a good game on it that is the way you want it to be! :wink:


You're right, it's never too late to write an awesome game for Atari ST. And belive me, if i had the skill to do it, i would.

Tetris was another exemple of great game design.

A simple game that could run on all platforms, yet extremly addictive.

The problem is that it's rock hard to create fun and absorbing well designed games that stands out from the crowd. That's why NES got so many great games, all the pros from the worlds leading software houses released games for NES while most developers for ST was quite small in comparison. The money was with NES and every developer could earn big money by releasing games for Nintendo's console.

When small developers or even single persons release free games it's often about clones. Another version of Tetris, a new variant of Galaxian or a new Pac-Man. It's not easy to come up with a complete new idea. Well, i'm the first one to play a good variant of Galaxians or perhaps a good clone of an older Nintendo hit on ST. ;)

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:22 am

Shredder11 wrote:
Retrogamer_ST wrote:
Boulder Dash on NES wasn't even close the orginal 8bit computer versions of the game. Boulder Dash was both "NESified" and "Cutified" to fit the NES audience. They even forgot what Boulder Dash was about.



Totally agree and the nervy unique atmosphere and character of the original, has been destroyed in the NES version. Just my opinion but hey.


They changed the game to suit the NES audience. Add some Nintendo cuteness, put in some extra intermissions and screens to make it more fairytale like and more "japanese". That very much destroyed what was Boulder Dash. On Gameboy they made a straight conversion of the orginal instead.

Boulder Dash got countless of clones for just about every platform, yet the orginal games is still a milestone in computer gaming. I'm still looking forward to when a new (construction kit made) game is released on Fandal's site, Atarimania or Homesoft. ;)

The latest favourite is Exploding Boulder Dash II, highly enjoyable.

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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Zamuel_a » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:37 am

You're right, it's never too late to write an awesome game for Atari ST. And belive me, if i had the skill to do it, i would.


You don't have to design an entirely new game so you must figure out something noone else did before. Just take a game you like on NES for example and convert it for the ST. "Everyone" likes to write threads here about what they think should be done, but not to many do anything. It's better to start make a good game instead of complaining that noone else did it. :wink:
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Re: Much more could have been done on ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:55 am

@Zamuel_a

It's not so much complain as it is sad facts when looking back in time. A flooded market of "so so" and bad games caused the videogame crash in 1984. People got tired of all bad game releases.

Then Nintendo released NES and put a quality insurance on their games. Nintendo should be about quality and fun. The videogame market was back in business.

The problem is that it demands so much to write real good games that only a few people can manage it. I'm unfortanly not one of them.

But it's not hard to imagine what the ST game market could have looked like with more quality releases back then.


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