March 24, 2018 at 8:55 pm #111171
Looking for some entertainment? i will hand you a lot of work 😉
OK i posted already a lot of Info about the “Studio II” in “The Commodore Story”
To start off here again the link to the usder friendly “Emma02” emulator to run “Studio II”, “MPT-02”, Visicom 100, and other specialities of this generation of home computers and home entertainment systems.
I would say it’s the generation 0.5 because generation 1 is the Atari VCS or A2600.
The initial release date for the “RCA Studio II” is 1977, a tid bit earlier as the VCS.
But it failed mainly because it was only b&w and because of a lack of software (cartridges) to select from, also it’s described in a programming tutorial as “cheap graphics computer” which hits the spot.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) i can’t show some clips of a running “Studio II” game in Emma02 yet, but i can show off some emulated Studio II on a Intellivision.
Since we are on Space Sim Central i will focus on the Space Games, but also the rest of games or exotic things.
Exotic is already the idea to emulate an old console on an old console (old console emulating console?), yes the famous Inty is known for the “system changer” but this was an full A2600 in a expansion module and the Inty was bypassed only the STIC, the image processor was used.
all just so they could claim, “we have the console with the most games to select from” in times of the so called Videogame Wars.
Since there are obvious similarities between assembler coded games “decle” a hobby developer started to convert the Studio II games for the Intellivision by the use of a script which is quite clever, once elaborated he could port all the games to the Intellivision “by pressing of a button”, at least that’s the idea, it usually didn’t always works out as expected, it seems to be one thing decle has learned the hard way.
(for those who didn’t read my entry to “commodore story”, decle is a ten bit long word, it was common in these days and especially for the use of the General Instruments CPC1600, which would run on 16bits but its instructions are only of 10bit width).
However, this is neither what we understand today of emulation, it didn’t emulates a different hardware, this would let cook the poor CPC1600, it uses the hardware of the Intellivision console to run actual Studio II code.
Yep there are even still ppl who compete in the smallest chess program ever which fit into a bootblock of a floppy disk.
“nanochess” Oscar Toledo Guiterez holds the actual record, he even develops for the Intellivision and is responsible for the outburst of IntyBASIC games since the IntyBASIC developing environment is his work. of course he even creates fine games, “Space Raid” a Zaxxon clone – no the better Zaxxon and “Princess Quest” (sorta Ghouls ‘n Ghosts surplus Hounted House) are his famous examples, both was available as cartridges and the latter has even been published for ColecoVision as a physical cartridge. Meteor a blatant Asteroids copy – copy? the better Asteroids, he even made with his IntyBASIC. He’s huge and like all of them very sympathic. The bin’s of the released full Games are available on his site for a small fee of $10.-, which i think is a fair price for the effort he put in them.
U C, there are stll developers developing cool games for our old consoles and they have evolved quite much from a simple space invaders.
The hardware is the same as 1980 but of course these “young dudes” profit from all the progress which has been made since then.
Recently i didn’t know where to start, there would be many new space games for the Inty, but i started with “Studio II” and will hang on to it.
No clip of a StudioVision game at hand? not even StarWars? dammit i immediately have to make some of both “mma02 and StudiVision, emulated but who cares.
March 31, 2018 at 6:18 pm #111234
An overwhelming storm of enthusiasm 😉
In fact the “RCA Studio II” offers total 3 space related cartridges (4 games in total).
The first is “18V400 Space Wars” (which is the lowest cartridge number for this console) and on it are two (wow!) games.
Horizontal intercept for one player in which you have to launch and guide a missile to hit an UFO.
Vertical intercept where two players can challenge each other in blasting an UFO with a missile.
Personally i think Horizontal intercept is to easy, you can make it harder if you don’t guide your misseles int the target.
Vertical intercept can be fun for two, it’s not easy to hit the UFO.
The games are very cheap in graphics, nonetheless has this console (and it’s clones) some appeal.
March 31, 2018 at 6:29 pm #111235
Isn’t that a mind blowing game?
The third space related game “Moonship Battle” is bundled with the arcade classic “Gunfighter”.
“Moonship Battle” (Moonship 🙂 ) is a game for two players similar to Gunfighter (while Gunfighter you can play against the “machine”) in which you have to hit each other maneuvering a “Moonship”, shooting, maneuvering and being hit costs energy, last man stands wins.
Both games are classics imo, despite the cheap graphics Gunfighter is not easy to master!
The playing time of “Moonship Battle” at end of the clip is reasonably short because it’s a two players only game.
March 31, 2018 at 6:45 pm #111236
last but not at least the one and only (presumably) unlicensed MPT-02 game “MG203 Star Wars“.
It is the first of its kind for home entertainment.
It was in color!
The MPT-02 consoles (Victory, Sheen, Visicom, etc) are clones of the “RCA Studio II”, run the same processor and the games was exchangeable.
But the MPT-02 could display colors, 2 in a given screen area out of 8 for the foreground and 8 for the background.
But it didn’t made the console successful, i guess they won’t need colors it didn’t makes them better.
Strangewisely is “Star Wars” when played emulated (MAME is to prefere for speed) on the “Studio II” faster and harder to play as on the “MPT-02”.
“Star Wars” can be a challenging game especially when played in hard mode, each time the pursued TIE runs out of the screen you lose one life.
March 31, 2018 at 7:06 pm #111237
You can control your X-Wing (it’s obviousely one) only in four directions which makes it quite difficult to follow the target.
To use a joystick or a pad didn’t makes it easier as to use the keyboard, the games are typically made for two telephone keying numbered keypads.
Which was mounted on the console for the “Studio II” of what i think was a bad decision and has been changed to wired controllers for the following MPT-02 models, even a sort of joystick was avaiable for one of them.
The controls are very similar to the controllers of an Intellivision, but that was not the main reason why “decle” a homebrew developer for the Intellivision console started two develop an “emulator” to emulate the “Studio II” on an Intellivision.
The similarities of the machine code and the fact that the “Studio II” got 40 years old last year was the main reasons.
StudioVision “Star Wars”
It’s much slower on the Intellivion especially on my PAL Intellivision because it reaches only 83% of a NTSC console (grid freq. 50/60Hz).
Unfortunately the quartz to drive the processor is grid frequency relevant, which wasn’t unusual in those days.
March 31, 2018 at 7:16 pm #111238
What a cool soundtrack!
To make things clear, this is quasi an emulation of “RCA Studio II” games on an Intellivision.
The captures was made using a tv card (tvanywhere) and the possibility of the “LTO Flash!” to run binary rom images on a real Intellivision console as they would be cartridges.
The special thing apart from the already fascinating idea to emulate an old console on another old console is certainly the music which he added to the games.
March 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm #111239
There exist even a couple of homebrews for the infamous “RCA Studio II Home TV Programmer”.
They are not really worth to play imo, they leak somewhat of the special appeal the originals have.
Also the games are standards which certainly was better to play on an Atari2600.
But remarkable that for this console existed homebrews and this not only since we have possibility to play them emulated.
March 31, 2018 at 7:27 pm #111240
March 31, 2018 at 7:29 pm #111241
March 31, 2018 at 7:33 pm #111242
March 31, 2018 at 7:38 pm #111243
In the those days you didn’t bought a console without that you got something to play, it was common to have built in games, though you ahd something to play when you found the “Studio II” under the X-mas tree.
Here they are the “Studio II built in’s”!
March 31, 2018 at 7:47 pm #111244
Wow Gernot, this stuff goes way back, to the very beginning no less. It’s interesting to think that many of these games and the systems they ran on are real museum pieces now. The dawn of computer entertainment. I do oftentimes wonder what the creators of those 8 gems like Scramble, Asteroids and, my favorite, Defender think about today’s games. I wonder if any foresaw that one day games would look so life like and have really complex game mechanics? From small 8 bit acorns grow massive AAA games of today. 🙂
March 31, 2018 at 7:50 pm #111245
Addition is easy misjudged (it’s the last game in the previous clip), the game is quite addictive even for a single player, you just have to add three numbers from 0 to 9, i.e. 134 = 8 and to enter the answer as fast as you can using the keypad. You could rech theoretically 11 points per correct answer but you will never else you would have to answer as soon as the addition is displayed, 10 is already good and if you like to reach 10 you have to answer that quick that you mishit in keying in the number.
Another infamous (or famous?) game from the “Studio II” clone “MPT-02” is “Pinball”.
The instructions to this game promise real Pinball experience – we will see
I guess that’s not quite enough to stand the test.
To be honest it’s shit and the ball doesn’t acts like a pinball at all, but it’s tricky to keep the ball in play.
March 31, 2018 at 8:16 pm #111246
“crap from the past”, yes.
Some i really like, especially the “Star Wars” game it’s an exclusion and this dogfight isn’t bad at all.
Certainly no games which will tie you for hours on the screen, something you can play for 10 or 20 minutes.
Is it possible to get worse as this?
There is the Unisonic Champion 2711, the console to forget, “the little brother of the Intellivision”, with the immense count of 5 cartridges to play.
Born 1977 like the “RCA Studio II” but a total fail even when “Jimmy the Greek” claimed that this “poker game” is a challenge even for experienced players (caugh, who is Jimmy the Greek ?).
i haven’t made no clip’s of a running Champion 2711 (what a sounding name), but decles project to emulate the Champion2711 on an Intellivision, “Li’l Bro ii” runs “Champion 2711” with background music which certainly was available for the “2711”.
In general are all games card games or arithmetic equations, nothing special, except that like i wrote in my opening the games was all controlled only with a “yes” (mostly) and “no” button. The program suggests an input and you press “yes” in the proper moment.
March 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm #111247
wasn’t available 😉
April 1, 2018 at 6:10 am #111248
Still, from a historical point of view, it’s important to see where we were to understand better where we are going. 😉
April 1, 2018 at 8:26 am #111252
to “high level” os’s where you only have to decide between “yes” or “no”? 🙂
“do you like to write a letter?”
“do you like to paint a picture?”
“do you like to play a game?”
“do you like to play poker?”
“do you like…”
That won’t end up well.
But to be honest i guess for certain behaves we aren’t far from such, i played a space themed browser strategy game, just because i was curious.
It was a lame shit to play, each and every action was pre- and descripted, “now click here to activate this, then click here to activate that”, it was boring and shows where a “high level” UI leads to. I guess a player shoud be challenged by something and a game should be no walk throgh where you can occasionally buy progress. “point and click” is already like a walkthrough and to show what you have to click kills the last bit of fun.
If i have to explain a player where a player has to click with the mouse something is wrong, either the player is an idiot or the game is shit.
The topic here is a different one, the idea was to show off some really bare boned games from the aera of the Atari2600 respectively a year before its release. Maybe it shows why the VCS was so successful if we look at the early competitors.
But the early ’80s was a fast progressing time, i guess faster as it’s today for the changes in available and affordable chips to design your hardware.
Unlike today in a frequency of months new processors was developed, the computer wars had only started and the field for new developments was open (even when it was later for good or not swallowed all by one).
Atari proftited from the year difference to the “Studio II” as well as “Intellivision” profited from another year and the latest competitor of the first generation “Coleco” left all far behind in power it would have offered (but it was left often unused).
To show off a brillant game which didn’t made it unfortunatly past the “video game wars” i like to post a clip of
“ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: TOWER OF MYSTERY”
It was ment as third licensed to the “AD&D” brand of role playing games for the Intellivision but left “incomplete” and unpublished.
It was released 1986 by the INTV corp. (who bought the rights on Intellivision from Mattel) as “Tower of Doom” (without the trademarked prefix AD&D).
They fuinished or polished the game somewhat but in general it’s the same procedural generated role playing game.
And that’s what makes the game so special it’s through and through procedural generated, the idea wasn’t new neither when it was made, there existed already procedural generated text based role playing games, but i guess it was the first time to do this for a graphical role playing on a game console.
just as example that not all games from this genearation was as simple and as stupid as the above examples, while we have to take in account that between “Star Wars” and “Tower of Mystery” was at least four years of noteable progress.
“technically we could have made pitfall even in 1978, but not only the hardware evolved even we developers evolved with every game”.
Here’s a short clip of “Tower of Mystery” which i intentionally made to show that this game isn’t as “unfinished” as it’s descripted.
It isn’t pre-atari neither it’s space related but it’s a wonderful and challenging role playing game.
April 1, 2018 at 8:42 am #111253
In this game nothing is prescripted and not much described, you have to find out yourself what the purpose of treasures, magical items and potions is, also this will change from game to game. A flask of a certain color can heal you one time the next time it will kill you. And certainly no “now click here” but ticker messages like “hey, they’re looking good” which meanings you have to discover yourself.
April 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm #111257
I have to admit Gernot, for it’s time, that’s damned impressive. In fact the only other game I can think of, of that period, to better it was the mighty Dungeon Master and that only ran on 16 bit computers, very expensive back then in comparison to the likes of the Intellivision. That it also had procedural generated dungeons also, perhaps brings it even with Dungeon Master when I think about it! Yes very impressed with that Gernot, a real gem you found there. 🙂
April 1, 2018 at 8:23 pm #111258
Truely it is Geraldine, because i guess i was the first who spendet enough attention to it.
Since “Tower of Doom” exists as published game players didn’t put much attention to its predecessor, especially not collectors because there is nothing to collect except the binary image.
“IntelligentVision” who provides the image didn’t offers no description to it and what the community knows about this game is based on the few informations on “Intellivision Lives!” resp. on the website of the blue sky rangers as well as on an interview with the developer Daniel Bass.
Especially in this interview (it was made decades after) he figured out that the game was only to 80% complete and won’t be to finish, that INTV picked up the lose ends and completet it (he claimed, maybe he didn’t liked to belittle the devs of INTV).
To be honest i never played “Tower of Doom” its very long instructions kept me from exploring this as well brillant game, which differs only in a few things from “tower of Mystery”, it has different missions, different tower depths, fixed or random level layout, fixed or random item colors, it also offers different characters to choose from an unarmed waif to a fully armed warlord. this offers a wider range in skill from easy to very hard and adds “bosses” like to find a grail or to beat a magician. but it’s also more prescripted and leaks completely of the possibility to enter a seed to regenerate a certain build (while i still have no idea how the “magic number” works for this game, i’m sure Daniel Bass intented it to be a part of the game to find a way to decipher it, this is the final mystery of the tower).
However it was unattendet being a “unfinished” prototype to “Tower of Doom”, everybody assumed it is truely “unfinished” and who would like to play such a long timer just to discover that it will possibly end with a crash.
Gernot of course, i picked up the unreleased games and took a closer look at them, and as for “SPACE SHUTTLE ?” which is far less complete but also not as incomplete as described.
It costed me a little to convince them of certain behaves of the games because it isn’t noted in any instruction or wherever.
As for “Air Strike” for which is stated that this unfinished game has no enemy planes, yes no enemy PLANES, but enemy helicopters which you have to call by pressing of a key, this isn’t officially noted somewhere (additionally there exists a hack with smaller helicopters which attack you steady and i assume most thought i mean this hack).
Same for “Space Shuttle” which is broken but far more playable as stated.
“Number Jumble”, was unreleased but has been released by IntellivisionRevolution as a cartridge, this game runs fine and i like it to, it’s a not to underestimate educational game, from easy equations like 0+1 to more advanced like (53×21)-15, it’s basically a shoot ’em up (the developer liked to create a shoot em up but was hired by the educational division, so he made the best out of it) which isn’t easy to play at maximum skill level.
“Tower of Mystery” was the next i discovered and it’s truely a discovery even if the enthusiasm is in limits except for me.
Personally i nearly think it’s sad that i broke the spell. It was a sleeping beauty who slept a 100 years to wait for the valiant hero to free her from the spell. Unfortunately i broke that spell and now it’s obvious that it’s playable.
But like i said to me the real quest has only begun, i have to decrypt the way to get to the “magical number” which will give me the key over the game and which is certainly ment as the final reward and the evidence that you mastered the “Tower of Mystery”.
“Quest” would be another “D&D” game, it’s basically “AD&D Treasure of Tarmin” (or Minotaur), but with changed gameplay, like “Minotaur” the playfield is quasi 3D (rooms, corridors, doors) but the batteling has changed from round based to action which i think was a good decision because still many find it sad that “Minotaur” has round based battles. Additionally it has limited voice support, which made the game first interesting to me because i inherited a Intellivoice. But “Tower of Mystery” had a more powerful magic and i’m a victim to its secret now.
It was planned to have voice support for “Tower of Mystery” as well but it seems it didn’t turned out as planned by the devs, what i can read always is that the last two years was a haste to complete games for which the merchandising had bought licenses, they had licenses but no games to offer, for a couple they just changed some graphics (i.e. Scooby Doo’s Maze Chase, the game wasn’t intented to use a dog, but they quickly changed it to say “look we have finished it and it’s even an educational game as promised”) to get away from fines.
Besides all AD&D are more or less procedural generated but none as consequently as “Tower of Mystery”, even “Cloudy Mountain” (simply AD&D) had already a random scattered map and generated caves. For “Minotaur” they used it to position the items and their varying colors/functions.
I can only assume, i’m not afiliated to TSR Hobbies, that the “Advanced” prefix was ment exactly for such procedural generated role playing games,
“Dungeons & Dragons” (which is a trademark of TSR as well) we have many, but only little “Advanced”.
Certainly all three “AD&D” games are oustanding (if we count “Tower of Doom” as AD&D, which it was but INTV spent no money for licensing), still often played and suggested to be played.
April 2, 2018 at 5:51 pm #111264
For sure Gernot, there was a lot of dodgy dealings going on back then between game devs and publishers. Of course this ended somewhat in the great video game crash of the early 80s in America. Many Atari games for example ended up going to landfill sites.
Of course things were not so bad in Europe, especially in the UK & Germany. It seemed like it was us who kept the video games industry going through this difficult period. I recall well from back then a great many, now vanished, machines in the shops and games to go with them. But then that’s another story. 😉
April 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm #111306
April 22, 2018 at 3:58 am #111308
That’s an amazing achievement Gernot! 😮 It just goes to show what the Intellivision could have done had it advanced a bit. This might not be the most stunning looking demo I’ve ever seen, well….actually it still is, but, far more importantly, for the sheer technical prowess of getting it to run at all with so little resources leaves me speechless!
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