Tennis Tutorial: The Game

breaking it up to pieces

Atari’s original tennis game was a lot simpler than later versions. There are no foul balls, for instance, and boundaries are simplified in this game. This requires the code to have complete control over where the ball goes, and how high it goes, since there are no foul balls or net balls. The game is divided into six sets, with the players alternating their position in each set. Scoring is a bit complicated, in order to win a set a player requires a minimum of two point advantage over its opponent.

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The Hemingway: Deceptively Simple

the typewriter emulator

What started out as a simple joke, building a text editor that behaved just like an old typewriter, ended up as a cool application that covers pretty much everything in the Text api in Actionscript 3 (up to Flash CS4.) It also exposed all the nagging problems with that api, with methods returning different indexes for characters, positioning of individual characters being a lot more variant than expected, and font metrics being a lot less reliable than one wished. It was a great learning experience though, and I will soon post a tutorial for this application and hopefully something else using Text and CS5’s new methods and features.

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Pitfall: Death at Every Turn

no sprite ever worked this hard

No game is more representative of the golden age of Atari, in my opinion, as the original Pitfall. And no, I never cared for any of the other versions. This was it. A nightmare of a game, it usually ended with you praying for no more crocodiles. But in reality it was an incredibly simple game that used a platform engine in a very original way. It didn’t make much of its platforms, it didn’t make much of its enemies… It was all down to jumping the right way, at the right moment. And it was a hell of a game.

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River Raid: The Second Go

da plane, da plane, da plane!

A few years ago I built a Flash version of River Raid, using Actionscript 2. That game transformed the idea of a plane shooting helicopters and boats inside a river track, to that of a boat shooting helicopters and other boats inside a river track. The other major changes were to the size of the tiles forming the terrain, and the limited number of bullets.

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H.E.R.O: The Best Game Ever

dynamite to the rescue

I must confess, when I started with these Flash versions of classic Atari 2600 games, it was the version of Hero that I wanted to do the most. This was without a doubt one of the best games for the old console. Perhaps THE best. A very simple gameplay, almost ridiculously so, and yet with more than enough challenge and action to make it fun. The game of course now screams for an update, more enemies, more moves. But as it is, it’s still a great game.

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Star Wars: Giant Metal Camels

flying and shooting the rebel way

The engine for this old Atari 2600 game seemed to have been a favorite with developers back then. A number of classic games shared the same side scrolling shooting engine with the added radar view this one has. Of course one of the pluses of this game was the original soundtrack, a very simple 8 bit midi track version of the series’ theme song, and sadly that is not present in this recreation.

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