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View Full Version : A quick first impression of the Taci Bell Atari games.



Dhalamar
15-03-10, 09:17
Just got them in the mail earlier today (mail doesn't run until after TWO in the AFTERNOON for me ... grrr) thanks to SoCal.

So I immediately opened them up and installed them. Now, my first impression for these are rather unique ... because the systems that have access to on a regular basis are highly underpowered. These are basically internet machines that happen to run a few games.

The one I'm typing on right now is an Athlon XP 2600+ with 1GB of RAM and onboard Geforce 4 MX video sucking 64MB of RAM out of the system memory. This thing was mediocre in 2003 or 2004 when it came out.

The other system that I ran this on is an Acer Aspire netbook which has a 1.6ghz Intel Atom processor, a gig of ram and a 256MB Intel GMA 950 powering the video, which is only slightly better than the Geforce 4.

This is important. :) Because a lot of the time, we dump systems like this off on our kids. My 8 year old daughter has a system similar to the one I'm typing on now because she's 8 and doesn't need all THAT much for a computer. It's not even connected to the internet.

The system requirements for these Taco Bell arcade games LOOK reasonable given what they are. 800mhz P3, 256MB of RAM and a 3D video card. That's it.

And anyone who's dabbled in emulation knows full and well, these 4 games run on just about ANYTHING.

Check out SoCal's video about them here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VakUI-WwqEE) for a point of reference.

So here we go.

Asteroids - Runs like complete ass. UNBEARABLY slow. When the ship turns, you can see it just jerk along frame by frame, and for some reason the shots don't go out quite as far as they do in either the arcade version OR SoCal's video. But everything else is moving at the rate they're supposed to. This goes for both the classic mode and the evolved mode. And I've noticed a weird bug that I can't confirm compared to the arcade that, when you inevitably blow up, as your ship is exploding, you can still fire. And the explosion lasts a good 4 or 5 seconds.

Lunar Lander - The same thing as Asteroids. It runs like complete ass. And I've never had the patience to really play this anyway. The fact that it runs at 1/10th the speed it's supposed to with a HUGE lag in the key you press and what happens with the ship doesn't help matters any.

Centipede - Yet again, unbearably slow, but playable. But these some acceleration problems with your little dude you hold down the direction and he'll move a few pixels, then "shoot" (in quotes because it's so slow) across the screen.

Breakout - This still runs slow, but THIS particular game is still playable and I spent a good half an hour earlier playing it. :) Of course, to most people, this game even at regular speed is boring enough, even slower would be painful. But I happen to LOVE this game. And the evolved mode is pretty damn cool too.

Yeah, this isn't so much a first impression of the games themselves because the people who frequent this site know how they all play. It'd just be annoying my typing out "you smack a ball with a paddle and break blocks" or something like that. I'm just saying, even though the system I'm on right now is WELL above the requirements, they run HORRIBLY. Probably because they're Adobe Air or Flash remakes and not actual emulation. Probably to make it run on both the PC and the Mac.

And the results were only SLIGHTLY better on my netbook, which is a big disappointment because stuff like this would be perfect on a netbook. Looks like I'll be sticking with emulation there as well.

On the computer upstairs however, these run totally flawlessly. It's sitting on a 2.1ghz dual core with 4GB of RAM and a 256MB Geforce 8600GT with a factory overclock that I overclocked even further. :)

But yeah, if you have kids and they have similar systems ... probably not a good way to introduce them to these games. heh

I'd hate to see how these run on the posted system requirements though.

I don't see what the big deal would have been just sticking an emulator on the discs with the original ROMs ... then just about ANYONE would be able to run them. Hell, the first time I played Asteroids on an emulator was on a 486DX2/66 with 24MB of RAM and it still ran flawlessly.

Troglodyte
17-03-10, 08:14
I almost guarantee that these performance problems are caused by the fact that these games were recreated using Adobe Flash.
(At least I am 99% sure they are just by looking at them; I haven't had time to open up and play my copies yet).
As soon as I saw SoCal's video; I thought to myself; "crude it's freaken Flash" :POKE:

Flash has always been needlessly CPU intensive, and ever since Adobe acquired Macromedia; this has been even more true. The only advantage I can see to using Flash for these games is that it is natively vector based; which of course makes perfect sense for Asteroids. Technically speaking though, their is no excuse for Flash's poor performance; Adobe just sucks at programming and development. Even Microsoft's Silverlight performs tens of times better. One of the only really good pieces of software they continue to pump out is ColdFusion; and it's really only good for developers / programmers like myself. There are other ways to make cross platform games / binaries; these "developers" where just too lazy to choose Flash. Good or bad; It doesn't take much technical knowledge or experience to make a Flash based game. This is because, at the most; it is script based. "Graphic Designers", and "Web Designers"; alike, can produce projects using it without much trouble; it doesn't take any real programming knowledge.

I can't wait until HTML5 becomes developed and prevalent enough to replace Flash :ROB
That's one indirect benefit of the Apple iPhone / IPod Touch / iPad not supporting Flash;
hopefully it will aid in Adobe Flash's death.

Dhalamar
17-03-10, 02:24
Well, in the games' defense they are (for the most part) well made remakes with cool artwork, dirt cheap and the evolved versions of them look particularly cool (if a little generic). And they play great, right down to the getting raped for using the Hyperspace. :P And having the bezels going around the screen only adds icing to the cake.

If I had reviewed the games THEMSELVES instead of them just picking a system requirement that's utter bullshit, yeah I would've knocked them for being little remakes ... but the games themselves play KABOOM!KABOOM!KABOOM!KABOOM!ing great for what they are. Except for Asteroids ... when I played it on my Athlon system the bullets don't travel across the screen and come out the other side ... they go less than HALF that distance. I can't even pop off the first level of the game just by sitting in the middle of the screen. It's weird. I don't know if it's this system or what because I haven't played it on the faster computer upstairs, but it's still weird. And infuriating. heh

And emulation seems to miss that vector "glow" that, at least Asteroids because I KABOOM!KABOOM!KABOOM!KABOOM!ing hate Lunar Lander to begin with so I don't know, these have. And that's a really cool look. And about me and Lunar Lander ... I've ALWAYS hated that game and all the games like it. lol I can see that it plays well, and I can see why people would like it. I also see why I DON'T like it. But it's still one of those games I still snag when I see it just because it's one of those games you've gotta have.

But for the most part, I can see WHY they did it in Flash ... if nothing else to make it more widely available. But I'm wondering how much more effort it would have taken for them to just make Windows/Macintosh native versions of them.

Or, shit, even just a Windows native version of it since the Macintosh can run Windows, in some cases, BETTER than an equivalent PC. Remember the old Microsoft Arcade pack for Windows 3.1? Battlezone ROCKS on that thing. Along with the other games that came with it.

I've gotta find that ... :)

Yeah, I get sidetracked a lot ... that's just how I work. heh

Dhalamar
21-03-10, 01:18
Just got done playing them on a computer that SHOULD be WAAAAY overkill for these types of games. And yeah, they're basically flash remakes (or Adobe Air or whatever) but that doesn't make them any less fun. :)

But something that weirds me out, is that the package for Breakout says "Super Breakout" but once you get into the game, it's just Breakout.

Yes, God dammit, there IS a difference. Although I've never played the arcade version of Super Breakout, only the Atari 2600 version.

But still. I want my two paddles. :P

Dhalamar
24-03-10, 04:58
Just thought I'd be annoying since I'm half awake and getting ready to sleep for a few hours before work that dammit I was RIGHT. lol

Just got done playing some Super Breakout on the PS2 Atari Anthology, and by God what comes in those Taco Bell things is NOT Super Breakout. Despite the fact that the packaging says that it is.

I KNEW I was right. :P