Thursday, October 22, 2015

Episode 10 PacMan Palooza!

On this episode the guys take a look at pac man on their beloved pre crash consoles!

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1 comment:

  1. Someone mentioned that Pac-Man "skated" in the 7800 version (based on a Youtube video). That's not the case. Youtube videos often show it that way because most of these were recorded before Youtube had the ability to do 60 fps video. I realize your resident Intellivision guy isn't used to his games running at more than 20 fps (I kid, I kid), so he didn't realize that since Pac-Man opens and closes his mouth at 60FPS, on a 30FPS video it will appear that his mouth is not moving. And the 2600 homebrew videos show flickering way worse than they will on real hardware for the same reason. Plus on a CRT the phosphor persistence will further reduce the perceptible flicker. The Stella emulator can simulate this effect and your games will look much better.
    On the subject of "Could Tod Frye Have Done Better in 4K?" The answer is unequivocally "Yes!". Remember he campaigned for the assignment and was given a guaranteed one million dollars for the port. Pac-Man 4K proves you can do a great port of Pac-Man in the same 4K that Frye had. Sure the homebrew guys had the benefit of no deadline, but they did it in their spare time while this was Frye's full time job (plus a million dollar paycheck!) so I would expect Atari's self-proclaimed best coder to do better. A very recent Youtube video showing Frye playing the Pac-Man homebrew is quite insightful. He said he STILL doesn't understand why people were so that he changed the maze orientation. To him, it's a detail that doesn't matter! It suggests that a lot of the things that were easy to do on the 2600 (like making the colors correct) and wouldn't have cost any more memory (like having the correct number of notes in the Pac-Man theme) simply didn't matter to Frye. Frye was known at Atari for getting lots of sprites onscreen, so it is puzzling that he didn't implement a system to make the monsters only flicker when necessary, and instead had them flicker all the time. This lead to marketing to start calling them "ghosts" to explain this annoying visual defect- one that wasn't necessary as evidenced by every Atari maze game since, starting with Ms. Pac-Man.