Alive and kicking

All discussions about the Atari 8bit range of machines.

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Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:05 pm

Quite funny

Atari 400 and 800 were released late 1979, 3 years before C64 and ZX Spectrum. Atari 800 sold quite well in America and became THE computer to own because of it's amazing graphic capabilities. Everything on Atari 800 was super smooth, from the scrolling to the colours.

There were lots of games and appz released for Atari's 8 bit computer back then.

Now to the funny part.

Both ST, ZX Spectrum and C64 sold more then Atari's 8bit computers. Yet Atari 800 seems to be more supported today 34 years after it's release then it ever was back then. New games, remakes, demos, appz and conversions is released all the time while emulation is improved. People even type in all the listenings from all the old computer magazines for anyone to download.

Atari 800 is much alive today too. I'm glad to see that as an old fan of Ataris amazing 8bit computer from 1979.

My first contact with Atari 800 was some screenshots on early games like Thorn Emi's Submarine Commander and Jumbo Jet flight simulator. I thought, wow, what a far out computer, unfortanly it's too expensive for me to buy and a year later i had a Commodore Vic-20 on my desk.

Well, Always check Atarimania, Fandal, Homesoft, Atari Online Polen etc for all the latests games, demos and appz.

Fandal
http://atari.fandal.cz/index.php
Homesoft
http://www.mushca.com/f/atari/
Atari Mania
http://www.atarimania.com
Atari Online Polen (use the sites translator for english)
http://atarionline.pl/v01/index.php?ct= ... 1374731402

Atari 800 Win
https://github.com/Jaskier/Atari800Win-PLus/downloads
Altirra
http://www.virtualdub.org/altirra.html

For a complete Tosec, check this link
http://archive.org/details/Atari_8_bit_TOSEC_2012_04_23

While you're here, download the Tosec for ST too
http://archive.org/details/Atari_ST_TOSEC_2012_04_23

(but beware, it's 13.9 Gb in size)

And...

Don't forget this excellent FTP ;)
ftp://ftp.pigwa.net/stuff/collections/h ... olmes%201/

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby AtariZoll » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:44 am

The problem with them in early 80-es was price. Atari 600 was over 2000 DEM in Germany in 1984. This is why Sinclair and C64 were sold much better.
I'm not against GMO, I'm against that children play with fire.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:41 pm

AtariZoll wrote:The problem with them in early 80-es was price. Atari 600 was over 2000 DEM in Germany in 1984. This is why Sinclair and C64 were sold much better.


In Sweden in the early 80's even the games was very expensive for Atari's computers. A game for ZX Spectrum costed about a third of the price of an Atari game.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby tjlazer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:50 am

Part of the problem was the 48k kludge. A lot of developers didn't want to support the newer XL's 64k so a lot of titles were inferior to the commodore 64. And since the c64 was so popular they developed for it more so than the Atari 800. I remember feeling so betrayed when Epyx didn't release Summer games II or Winter/World games :(. Even Summer Games was inferior to the C64 version.
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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:07 am

Technically Atari 800 could handle most games with ease. It was simply down to making as much money as possible and skillful marketing. When Atari later concentrated on the ST, Atari 8bit computers was doomed.

That's why i'm glad too see so many Atari 8bit fans writing new games, release conversions that never was released on Atari 800, such Knightlore, Alien 8, and many more. Atari 800 still lives on thanks to all people out there who still is writing new games and demos. ;)

Let's hope that we someday is playing Wintergames, Summergames II and California Games on good ol' Atari 800. ;)

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Shredder11 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:54 am

I wonder how it would handle a version of Out Run!

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:06 am

Probably quite well me think, if they make it for Atari 800 instead of mimicking the arcade machine straight of. That's the biggest problem in many conversions. It will not look 100% arcade but play a lot better when using what the computer is real good at.

Actually, i was surprised of how good the C64 version of Stunt Car Racer was. The graphics was simpler then in the 16 bit versions but they managed too keep the sense of speed and gameplay quite well.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby nativ » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:56 am

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:39 pm

Let's hope the game will be finished and released. :)

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:05 pm

One of the most importand sites for Atari 8bit has been off line for about a month.

That's because Fandal recived some nasty letters from Atari. Same thing happened when Christian Ghisler was forced to change name from Windows Commander to Total Commander because he recived some nasty letter from Microsoft.

Well, Fandal is back online....
http://a8.fandal.cz/

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:35 am

When the Atari 400 and Atari 800 were first on sale - and in their early years - say 1980 till around 1982? they were expensive machines - so their price was the only thing unattractive about them - also the Atari 400 keyboard...

Look at the price of the Vic-20 versus the Atari 400 - they were not in the same price range - I don't think, if my hazy memory is accurate?

Buying a Vic-20 would be to throw your money away - because you should have waited for the C-64.
William Shatner sold the Vic-20 - but it wasn't worth buying. Just one look at the terrible graphics would have told you that.

If you were buying a computer in 1979 till around 1982 - you had the choice of the Apple II, Atari 400/800, Vic-20, ZX-81.
I suspect those who bought a ZX-81 - was only because that was all they could afford.
Around 1983-1984 - there was a lot more choice.
Home Computing had reached the mass market - there was the arrival of the BBC, C-64, Amstrad CPC -
the Atari 800 finally came down in price - and the cheaper 800XL was available (forget the 600XL because it's video output was inferior to the 800XL).

When comparing games - you're really comparing the competency of the programmer involved.

Star Raiders sold the Atari 400/800 computers - here was a real time space fighter 3D simulation programmed in 8K!
It was obviously Star Wars inspired.
There was nothing on the other computer systems - that could match or even come close to Star Raiders. And it used low-res graphics.

Defender was pretty dismal -when it came out on Cartridge - it took an independent programmer - Archer McLean to deliver a decent version - he did actually write his own Defender game (But this was never shown publicly, I don't think, and no copies of this version has ever been seen...) before his excellent Dropzone game.

There were intially only a handful of games that showed what the Atari 400/800 could do....
Early games would be - Shamus, Sea Dragon, Stratos -
One exceptional coin-op conversion would have to be Frogger by John Harris - but then it was a simple game as such. You can't fault the detailed graphics in the Atari version.
by the time Blue Max showed up -it did show how independent programmers can take up the slack, when licensed games failed to deliver - like the dreadful Zaxxon - by Ron Fortier (who did Bruce Lee). But even talented programmers can fail - like Dimension X, Steve Hales previous game was Fort Apocalpyse - so there was high hopes for Dimension X. Blue Max 2001 was disappointing - failing to better Blue Max.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:43 am

I agree in most of what you say.

The only nice thing with Dimension X was the intro screen and the music. I remember the first time i played Dimension X, i was totally wowed by the cool intro screen.

Star Raiders even has it's fans today 2013 and some of them still claim it's the best game ever made.

Personally i think that Firebirds Warhawk was one of the most impressive games on Atari 800. The programmer managed to get just about everything right. Warhawk has awesome sound effects, packed with action and great graphics. When i played both the C64 and the Atari ST version of the same game, everything that was awesome in the Atari 800 version of the game was gone. Both versions felt lame and slow compared to the excellent Atari 800 version.

Then...the masterpiece. Boulder Dash. It was outstanding then and even today it's an awesome game that has been followed by countless of clones.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:38 am

Something I like to see done to Star Raiders - is to remove that green screen effect for shields - but have it green or some colour for the lower part of the screen - instrumentation area - because the blackness of space maintains the illusion that you are out there in deep space. I would leave Star Raiders running, with shields off, because I like the starfield effect - after you selected a suitable speed for your ship.
Someone did fix up - the explosion during Star Raiders - that there was a glitch present sometimes with it?

Warhawk never did it for me - as far as games programming goes. Dropzone is the best - and I'd rank few other games up to this kind of standard.
Thrust is another example of very fine programming - although the graphics are too plain, and I think could be done better...
One game I liked is Atom Smasher - although it gets too hard too fast - that I'd like to see it more drawn out in upping the difficulty - perhaps a deluxe version of this, with a much larger screen area will be done one day? Although various Asteroids clones and variants have appeared on other systems.

Paul Lay did a SNES game Rockfall - a boulderdash clone, using the SNES hardware to good effect.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:25 am

It's still some glitches left in several of the older games. Sometimes the get a fix or even an upgrade. I like all the conversions too mostly found on Fandals great site. Games like Alien 8, Knightlore, Jet Set Willy etc is nice to see. :)

Dropzone was programmed by a gaming legend who made stunning games for both Atari 800, Atari ST, SNES and Sega Genesis. Games like Jimmy White Whirlwind Snooker, Dropzone, Earthworm Jim and Aladdin was the work of Archer MacLean.

One of my favourite games on Atari 800 is Millipede. It's a simple game but very fun to play and has that importand "one more go" factor. I just love the Atari 800 version of this fun and old game, even better then the arcade orginal. Atari did most things right when converted that game for their home computers.

I would like to say that games like Robbo is up there too with the best games ever made for Atari 8bit. Robbo is not so much about great graphics and sound but sheer playability.

Looking forward to see the finished version of GTIA Blast. At last we are about to see what we always knew, Atari 800 is able to blow the socks of C64 and similar computers in terms of graphics. ;)

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:50 am

I didn't get into Star Raiders right away - as you need to spend some time to get use to the complexity of the game. When you get battle damage - you can find your battle computer isn't fully working - like trying to dock with a starbase for repairs. You can use your long range sensors and home in pretty good - and then use your visual to just sight the starbase when within viewing distance, against the background of stars.
The same with Thrust (and others) where it takes time to practice developing the skill required to do well in the game. You can't rush it, like in Bristles.

I always like to check out any kind of unique game for any system - that shows innovation at work. Call them sleeper games - games which tend not to be noticed - but should be - because they really stand out in game design and execution.
You don't see too many games on consoles that are worthy of this kind of label. But for the SNES - I highly recomend 'Snoopy's Concert' - there's an arcade adventure game in which Snoopy goes on a great adventure - in a puzzle solving game. Those who like Tetris, ought to check out Tetris Battle Gaiden - which stands out as a Tetris variant - showing you how to improve upon an existing game design.
One excellent game on the Saturn, is Super Tempo.

The best shooter platform game, would have to be Contra III for the SNES. It is a maniac action game. There was not a follow up on the SNES to this - but one appeared for the Megadrive/Genesis - I forget it's exact title name - and these are the only 2 Contra games that stand out.

Game design is an interest topic - and to know which games are worthwhile tracking down to play - no matter what system it is on.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:50 am

I didn't get into Star Raiders right away - as you need to spend some time to get use to the complexity of the game. When you get battle damage - you can find your battle computer isn't fully working - like trying to dock with a starbase for repairs. You can use your long range sensors and home in pretty good - and then use your visual to just sight the starbase when within viewing distance, against the background of stars.
The same with Thrust (and others) where it takes time to practice developing the skill required to do well in the game. You can't rush it, like in Bristles.

I always like to check out any kind of unique game for any system - that shows innovation at work. Call them sleeper games - games which tend not to be noticed - but should be - because they really stand out in game design and execution.
You don't see too many games on consoles that are worthy of this kind of label. But for the SNES - I highly recomend 'Snoopy's Concert' - there's an arcade adventure game in which Snoopy goes on a great adventure - in a puzzle solving game. Those who like Tetris, ought to check out Tetris Battle Gaiden - which stands out as a Tetris variant - showing you how to improve upon an existing game design.
One excellent game on the Saturn, is Super Tempo.

The best shooter platform game, would have to be Contra III for the SNES. It is a maniac action game. There was not a follow up on the SNES to this - but one appeared for the Megadrive/Genesis - I forget it's exact title name - and these are the only 2 Contra games that stand out.

Game design is an interest topic - and to know which games are worthwhile tracking down to play - no matter what system it is on.

Harvey

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:14 pm

Thanks for sharing that Harvey :)

To begin with Contra III.

Contra III (Super Probotector in Europe) was made by Konami. The ones who created Contra III left Konami short after to start their own gaming company called "Treasure". Treasure released several ace games on Sega Megadrive like, Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Heddy and Alien Soldier for exemple. Gunstar Heroes was like Contra III on turbo. Konami released Contra Hardcorps for the Sega Megadrive console and used the sheer speed of the 68000 processor to practically outclass the SNES version in terms of graphics.

I was also a big fan of Contra III when it was released in Europe 1992.

Else i just loved the Sonic series on the Megadrive and Streets of Rage. Sonic II is still one of the best games ever made if you ask me. Then i enjoyed Nights, Sonic Jam, Fighters Megamix, Baku Baku and Guardian Heroes (made by treasure), kind of RPG fighting sidescroller that was a joy to play.

If you like puzzle games, don't forget to try Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo by Capcom. Play it on MAME. Then "Bust a Move" series by Taito has always been awesome lots of fun to play.

One underrated good game on Sega Megadrive was Ristar made by Sonic Team.

One of the best games ever made is Mercenary. When i first got it for my Atari 800 i was totally absorbed by this unique game for months. Then i bought it on Atari ST and later the follow up Damocles.

What makes these games unique is the total freedom to travel around in a 3D vector world. You can't die, you can't get any game over, you don't have do to any mission in the game, unless you want. Mercenary was the first game to give the impression of a solid 3D world when you walked around in the underworld by taking an elevator to explore the corridors and rooms.

Imagine this for the game Damocles (on the ST), you have a whole solid universe to travel around in. You can enter ANY house and examine everything. Just the moon Midas has 16.000.000 of numbered pyramids that you can visit.

How do you fit such enormous game in just around 360 Kb? Impressive.

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:42 pm

I did play most of those games by Treasure - but Contra III is still the stand out, though Contra Spirits is a good return to that style.

I did meet Paul Woakes briefly, while I happen to be in the Atari computer store in Birmingham, during a Sol III Star Trek convention, back in the day, when he just finished his Encounter game. While I did play Mercenary - and was suitably impressed - I did not rate it's gameplay all that much. The problem with any such big world, is to make it interesting enough, without having long boring bits in it.

I have played many different consoles and videogames - due to being able to borrow a friend's console or two, etc etc - so I've played a lot of the consoles and games - missing out on only a few, like the PC-Engine (and it's variants) and a few odd consoles - Sega Master System, Colecovision, Atari 7800, Vectrex...
Jaguar showed a lot of promise with it's Alien vs Predator game - it's frame rate was just bearable. Probably the best film adaption for that film series in those early days.

I think any videogame that shows true interaction - no matter it's genre, is what endears it to it's player. That you become part of that game.
With an action game - it has to be responsive (ie. no sluggishness present) and fair. Games which are unfair - put you in an unfair position - get to be boring very fast. eg. The 1 player mode in Archon - they should have programmed some stupidity/sluggishness into the computer player - which should have been easy enough to do - give it an Intelligence rating of 1 to 5, 5 being how it plays normally now.

I don't really play that much games these days - the last I enjoyed have been the Shanghai games on Mame - that first one actually is the longest playing version - there are so many different patterns in it that it doesn't become boring for a very long time.

I did suck at Super Puzzle Fighter II - I could not pull off the winning combos like my young nephew (at that time) did. He could actually pull off those winning combos - and I don't know how he did it.

One early game I liked a lot - was Lords of Karma. Most people who try to play it - don't know it takes so long to initialise. When it shows .... working .... you have to wait until it's ready. I like the idea of karma points and being reincarnated/restarting again on a mountain top in this text only adventure game.

What I like to become involved in - are the moral issues present in all media and entertainment, etc etc.
If we can all agree that we want to move towards a more peaceful and harmonious world, etc etc that actually our entertainment plays a very important role for us all.
That it should reflect - and even predict where the world is going - or wants to go towards.
It all comes down to agreeing on common sense values and seeing this lesson being acted out / shown to be true in all the various stories, etc etc everywhere.

Currently this world is on a doomed path towards our own annihiliation and self destruction - in many different ways. Anyone with any sensitivity and intelligence can see the signs all around us, this is so. We are not learning from the lessons of history - and are apparently unaware of our own true history, and of earth's history, and this solar system's history. That we are far older than we think we are.
We have to get away from an ego based society towards the greater good.
Violence in any way, is always bad. McGyver is perhaps a tired - and too sweet an archetype - but he is the best model, that has ever turned up on television, so far.

I have watched a lot of martial arts movies, etc - and have enjoyed playing the Tekken styled games, etc - but you can eventually outgrow those kind of games - when you have played so many of them - I never really got into the PS2 games onwards - lack of money is probably the reason, more so than any other.
But I'm not drawn into FPS games in which you hunt people down and shoot them, etc. Doom was OK in it's day - but to constantly do that ever since - must be tireling...?

All the crime and suspense movies, etc etc do have a negative effect. It makes violence seem to be perfectly OK - and it allows negative characters to have their own on screen time, in which such people in our society can identify with them, and see their own fantasies being played out in prime time.

The moral issues are never fully discussed or explored - and they should be. It will be through education and understanding - that things should be seen for what they are. ie. That truth should prevail - but in our world, it clearly doesn't. ie. our political and religious leaders are charlatans of their own making - who are not true leaders in any way, but merely dictators.

Harvey

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:58 pm

I should mention that the Legend of Zelda games - SNES onwards are rightfully leaders in this field.

But I like to point out the flaw with the hero/heroine archetype that we always see in all our entertainments, etc...
It is goodies versus baddies - but in the real world this distinction does not exist.
eg. In wars - no one is right in using force (ie. violence, ie. killing, ie. murder) to achieve their goal.

Something this world does not acknowledge is the universal understanding of the universe, in which we all live.
Which is what basic common sense tells you - all the time -if you listen to it.

We are all equal in this world. Every human being - no matter what - is equal with one another. There is truly no distinction.
This is universal law. Someone born into nobility, upper class - or even the reverse - is not any higher (or lesser) than anyone else.
We are all the same - a human spirit born into a human body with the same potential as any other.
Except that - being born into nobility/upper class or the reverse - sets the mould for you.

But we know that it is always up to the individual themselves what they'll do with their own life, and position etc etc.

All world religions do not teach us any good thing at all - except what not to do. Even Buddhism, which is probably seen as the
most peace and sensible of all the world's religions do suffer from telling us erroneous information and concepts etc.
eg. Karma does not exist - while reincarnation is a very real possibility - the idea of karma is more remote.
Also escaping the reincarnation cycle is another remote impossiblity - when we are so bound by this process.

The idea of God as present by all world's religions - is of course a false concept.

Though the idea of an everpresent force or process by which life and non-life etc etc the Universe is run by - is of course
very real. Not by a designer/entity of the Creator as such - but by an opposite - called ' the creation' which we are all
part of, and so is everything else.

Science fiction can predict the future and it's possibilities, as too of life, etc etc elsewhere. Any intelligent person can conclude that life exists elsewhere and is very likely to be more intelligent than us (and also others - as stupid as us, and some even more stupid).

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:19 am

Zelda III for SNES was great. I personally think that Nintendos first Zelda for Nintendo 64 (ocarina of time) was awesome too. Perhaps the best scoring game in history that also won several awards for innovation.

Nintendo has always been about great game design.

About the other we would have been forced to discuss the way that we work like that our own senses build everything that isn't out there in the objective world outside our bodies. The objective world outside our bodies has none of the attibutes that we experience inside us only, like audible sounds, colours, taste, smell, sense. Not even anything that can be seen. Turn off all your senses, that's the world outside your body. That's why life is the cause of the universe and not the opposite, because life creates it, without life, nothing left to experience. I'm not sure that my english is enough to go into detail. Let's discuss that another time. ;)

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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby kiwilove007 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:10 am

What I take a great deal of interest in - deals with valid ideas and concepts - answering the why's people have - fairly and reasonably.
Basic storytelling - say of the hero/heroine in any kind of story - is very faulty in all the various media, etc etc.

I'll say why it is - if we can agree that we all want to live in world that is at peace and in harmony with itself - how do we get from here (present) to there (the future) - in which violence (ie. killing) is almost eradicated - and seen as totally unnecessary?

You can never use violence to end violence. It is a mixed message, when the hero/heroine uses violence to defeat evil - the bad with. The cycle of violence will forever continue with such an example. We know that in wars for example - the other side is always seen to be 'the evil' - but in reality, they are just people - that it is merely people against people.

If we don't recognise the problem - then there will be no fix for it. And so awareness and understanding (ie. education) is the tool with which to end violence. That the truth shall prevail. People today are generally aware of whatever the truth is - because we get told all kinds of stories - many of which are untrue - even if they are presented to be so.
We don't learn from our own history - and if we don't, we are doomed to forever repeat it.
Take for example the last World War. There are secrets kept, still from it - and we need to know all the details about it, and about what happened at the end - and we should all vow never to enter any world war - which will be more serious than the last one. Millions will due needlessly. We have to be anti-war, if we want peace - and to be anti-military and anti-weapons too. The whole nuclear weapons development since WW2 was a complete waste - it only brings the world to the brink of world war, so much faster than before. All those trillions of dollars etc would have been spent on solving the worlds' problems instead - such as cures in medicine, free energy sources, deep sea and outer space exploration and colonisation, etc etc.

A good source of information along these lines would be that concerning Billy Meier. He is probably the best example of what contact with ETs as such would be like... That if you read what he writes about - and that which he helps release to the world - it is insightful and is very plain speaking. The truth is short, sharp and to the point. We are our own worst enemy - and we need to get along with one another - even if they be of a different culture, thinking, etc etc.
Acknowledging basic universal law - as mentioned in my previous post - would be a good start.

Our entertainment can actually be used for a good purpose - to foretell of things to come - in our near future.

The themes I have mentioned should be used as a backdrop to the latest videogames - and violence to be seen for what it is - serious, life threatening, destructive - and always negative. I think anti-heroes should be used more and more - who don't resort to violence.

In our real world - a move from full contact sports would be desirable and a move to more participation in non-contact sports. I enjoy playing volleyball and table tennis - and these sports can embody the martial arts philosophy. I think Volleyball probably comes closest to a martial art in a sport?

Everything does connect - and if you understand this - you can see connections everywhere.

Harvey

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Retrogamer_ST
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Re: Alive and kicking

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:15 am

New Years Disk 2015 (one complete game + 3 diskettes filled with demos and games)
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=64783

Lots of new releases to download from Fandal
http://a8.fandal.cz/

Homesoft has released several new compilation diskettes as well
http://www.mushca.com/f/atari/index.php?idx=9

Before doing anything, switch to english translation of the page (upper left). There's still new commercial releases of games for the Atari 8bit computers.
http://atarionline.pl/v01/index.php?sub ... 5624834030


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