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Author Topic: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?  (Read 1194 times)

PresidentLeever

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Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« on: February 19, 2018, 11:31:06 am »
Just wondering if people with some experience programming on these systems could weigh in on the racketboy articles listing impressive games for a few retro systems. Which games or points you agree with, which you don't and if there's anything not listed worth mentioning.

http://www.racketboy.com/guide/games-that-pushed-the-limits-of-retro-hardware

Edit:
I'll try to make use of the info in this thread for my own list/article on innovative and ahead of their time games, where I also mention some technical achievements. So keep 'em coming :)
http://minirevver.weebly.com/innovative-games.html
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 12:34:19 pm by PresidentLeever »
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Psyklax

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 05:46:02 pm »
The NES is the only system that I know well enough to comment on. I agree with most of the choices, though I would offer a caveat: most of the features mentioned are achieved through hardware rather than fancy programming, most notably the use of different mappers and/or sound chips.

Parallax scrolling, while looking cool, is actually done in a simple way: the same pattern is repeated throughout the ROM with one-pixel increments, and the ROM bank is shuffled when you move, meaning that it looks like the background is moving in different ways, while the NES doesn't actually have to do anything. Metal Storm is an example of that. And of course games like Castlevania III (Famicom) sound great because of an extra sound chip.

One could argue that putting extra chips in the cartridge is kind of cheating, since a stock NES with just the standard 32KB PRG ROM and 8KB CHR ROM can't do much fancy stuff. Still, it highlights why devs abandoned the Famicom Disk System in favour of fancier cartridges: can't put chips on a disk... ;D

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 06:37:44 pm »
Probably just one reason the FDS was abandoned. From what I read, piracy was an issue as well as Nintendo wanting shared copyright as well as pricing control (such as for the Disk Writers) which left many third-parties saying "no...".
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Jorpho

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 11:58:27 pm »
I scrolled through the Game Boy list and didn't much care for what I was reading.  Most games did not seem to be included for any particularly compelling reason.  In particular, I really don't think the Donkey Kong Land games did anything unusual on a technical level.  (You could easily say much the same for SNES Donkey Kong Country, no?)

If you want a game with big sprites and smooth animation (and a kicking soundtrack), I would point out TMNT2, which also looks a hell of a lot clearer than DKL ever did.

I'm glad Wario Land at least made the cut, but there's no mention that Wario Land 2 was the largest B&W cartridge produced.  (I'm not gravely misinformed, am I?)
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PresidentLeever

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 07:00:25 am »
Well I think DKC on SNES had pretty smooth animation and showed a lot of colors at once for the system, while also being quite a fast paced game. Don't know how impressive that is from this perspective though.

Back from the Sewers? It looks quite good, though I don't like the anatomy/posture of the player sprites and it is rather slow paced.

Sounds reasonable that WL2 would be one of the bigger ones at least, with all the different paths and endings.

The NES is the only system that I know well enough to comment on. I agree with most of the choices, though I would offer a caveat: most of the features mentioned are achieved through hardware rather than fancy programming, most notably the use of different mappers and/or sound chips.

Interesting, thanks for the insight. I don't know how hard it was to add things to the cart or use the features well so I can't really say (I mean I can compare different games and I guess there wasn't something as good as famitracker back then but still), but I guess you're right from this perspective.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 07:18:46 am by PresidentLeever »
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Jorpho

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2018, 02:00:39 am »
Well I think DKC on SNES had pretty smooth animation and showed a lot of colors at once for the system
See, "showing a lot of colors at once" by no means constitutes "pushing a limit".  In the case of the SNES, it means nothing more than selecting a graphics mode and having something aesthetically pleasing to display.  (It might be different on the GBC, since – as seen in Alone in the Dark – the hi-color modes are genuinely CPU-demanding and restrict what you can do in terms of gameplay.)
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Bregalad

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 04:54:50 am »
Quote
GRADIUS & GRADIUS II
[...]

Key Technical Features:

[...]
Minimal amount of slowdown and flicker

We shouldn't have played the same games...

Also most of the NES games mentionned are just random NES games which are good to play but don't especially push the hardware to its limit.

PresidentLeever

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 07:31:13 am »
See, "showing a lot of colors at once" by no means constitutes "pushing a limit".  In the case of the SNES, it means nothing more than selecting a graphics mode and having something aesthetically pleasing to display.  (It might be different on the GBC, since – as seen in Alone in the Dark – the hi-color modes are genuinely CPU-demanding and restrict what you can do in terms of gameplay.)

Ok and animation frames? That should at least take up space so I guess compression or making the right compromises is the impressive part, besides the animator's skill.

I do know that the high res mode is limiting on the color palette for SNES.
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SleepyFist

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 09:07:08 am »
Yeah, a lot of these are just games that the writer liked, not exactly technical marvels.

Also wtf is Super Metroid only an Honorable Mention.
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Nightcrawler

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 12:07:24 pm »
Donkey Kong Country on the SNES did quite a few tricks to achieve many of the effects done. RARE took full advantage of many hardware features in ways that few did. Much more than set a background mode and make some art. Remember, there was a lot more to it than just the pre-rendered graphics. They pretty much took all of their effects a step forward from the norm. They had the longest development cycle and largest group of programmers of any of their projects at the time and it shows. I'd hate to see their work swept under the carpet and labeled as unimpressive! Who was doing more with the hardware with no add-on chips at the time in 1994? :thumbsup: RARE!

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PresidentLeever

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2018, 12:33:58 pm »
Yeah I agree, DKC had some other nice touches here and there and that highlights them well.

I'll try to make use of the info in this thread for my own list/article on innovative and ahead of their time games, where I also mention some technical achievements. So keep 'em coming :)
http://minirevver.weebly.com/innovative-games.html
Mini-reviews, retro sound chip tribute, romhacks and general listage at my site: Mini-Revver.

PresidentLeever

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Re: Games that pushed the limits articles - Programmers' thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 12:44:07 pm »
I added a page for GB & GBC, and updated some of the others a bit.

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