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Questions tagged [gaming]

For questions about retro games, both software and hardware-based.

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53
votes
6answers
15k views

Why do old games use flashing as means of showing damage?

When you play old games, especially platformers, a common "special effect" is rapid blinking of your character when they are hit. Also, enemies often blinked before dying. Not all games did this, but ...
2
votes
2answers
273 views

How can I extract game data from Nitemare 3D files?

I am trying to reverse engineer an old Wolf3D style Dos game named "Nitemare 3D". I can get a raycasting engine with directional sprites running pretty easily using SDL2, but I have no experience with ...
37
votes
3answers
5k views

How did C64 games handle music during gameplay?

On the C64 there was no threading, so how did games handle treating at the same time music and game code? Music requires exact timings, and the SID had to be instructed to change the note at the right ...
41
votes
8answers
9k views

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

While for other platforms of that era (primarily, Amiga), putting a game on a bootable disk was quite a normal practice, this approach never taken off on IBM PC. Why not? I do remember people having ...
8
votes
2answers
634 views

How did Satoru Iwata compress Pokemon GS to fit two regions on a single cartridge?

Satoru Iwata's story of saving the development of Pokemon Gold & Silver by compressing its assets to fit on the GameBoy Color cartridge is something of a legend. Iwata optimised the game so much ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Extracting files from a Windows 3.1 (16bit) install/archive (game)

I'm interested in doing some practice work around legacy systems out of pure recreation. I want to extract data or information related to a DOS game running on the 16bit arch of Windows 3.1 (1991 ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

PlayStation 2 Slim with analog A/V output having noise interference issues

I'm having an odd issue with the aforementioned system, the A/V receiver is a RCA STAV-4180 unit, and being from 1996, it's still a great unit. So far, while it's tape output for recording does have ...
51
votes
6answers
11k views

How did old MS-DOS games utilize various graphic cards?

Nowadays each graphic card has some driver in operating system that translates some (typically) standard API such as OpenGL, so that programmers use some standardized API code to tell graphics cards ...
2
votes
2answers
484 views

When did various PONG systems overflow/crash due to points?

Edit: Given the many different versions of the game Pong, which version allowed you to accumulate the highest score before the game would crash, reset, or otherwise not just give you one more point? ...
9
votes
1answer
566 views

Why wasn't the Z6 version of the Infocom Z-machine ported to the IIgs?

Infocom ported their Z-machine to nearly every viable platform in the 70s and 80s. Zork runs on around 18 different 8/16 bit platforms using earlier versions of the Z-machine. Why was Z6 the graphical ...
5
votes
1answer
295 views

Were there actually any games for the IMSAI 8080 computer, used in the movie WarGames?

David, the main character of the 1983 movie WarGames, uses an IMSAI 8080 computer. The plot of the movie is driven by David's desire to find games to play on his computer. He war-dials phone numbers ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

Identify Windows DirectX game about building a manufacturing business

I'm trying to find the name of a game that I played in the mid-to-late 1990's. Here's what I remember about it: What I played was a demo version, that came on a CD along a bunch of other demos. They ...
29
votes
2answers
5k views

How did Elite on the NES work?

Elite was one of the earliest 3D games, wireframe only of course but still a remarkable accomplishment on 8-bit computers. Originating on the BBC micro, it was ported to many home computers, as well ...
26
votes
6answers
5k views

Why weren't discrete x86 CPUs ever used in game hardware?

Please don't point out APUs with x86_64 cores used in current generation game consoles, these are not part of the question I cannot recall a single arcade system or game console that ever used x86 ...
3
votes
1answer
204 views

How much RAM did the first version of Oregon Trail on the Apple II require?

The later iterations of the series could have hundreds of kilobytes of RAM, but the original Apple II had 4K in the minimum configuration and 48K maximum (the latter using 16kbit chips which were ...
3
votes
0answers
271 views

Who developed the Super FX co-processor?

The Super FX co-processor was, according to Wikipedia and every other source I can find, a custom designed RISC chip made by Argonaut Games. Argonaut was a small British company and back in the late ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Which communication protocol is used in AdLib sound card?

By "AdLib sound card" I mean AdLib Music Synthesizer Card released in 1987. Wikipedia says that AdLib uses frequency modulation synthesis to produce sound, but does it use MIDI communication protocol ...
3
votes
2answers
483 views

EGA style 16 color dithering

I am trying to write a program in C# that will re-create the type of dithering used in many of the old sierra and Lucas arts games. I have looked up many different dithering algorithms and none seem ...
7
votes
2answers
513 views

Did any Apple II games use a “timing resistor”?

A science-lab program for the Apple II (I forget the name) had a board that plugged into the joystick port and included a "timing resistor". While I don't know what the program actually did with the ...
11
votes
3answers
597 views

Why have “room of dead” in Ultima VII?

http://wiki.ultimacodex.com/wiki/Quirks_of_the_Ultima_VII_Engine vaguely talks about this room being "necessary" to place seemingly "dead" NPCs and it was result of some challenge that programmers had ...
60
votes
8answers
19k views

How was copying prevented when the first CD-ROM games were introduced?

Several ways exist to protect against the copying of games but, when CD-ROM games were first introduced, were there any measures taken by video game developers to prevent the copying of games?
47
votes
17answers
8k views

Simplest system to create an emulator for

Next year I'm going to teach a 2-semester microprocessors class to third-year undergraduate EE students. In order to sign up for the class, students need to have completed programming and digital ...
2
votes
1answer
276 views

Seeking source code for Balls (Atari ST/STOS game)

I'm seeking the source code for an old Atari ST game STFBalls1 a.k.a STBalls a.k.a. Balls which was released as shareware back in the early '90s. According to the author, anyone making a shareware ...
6
votes
4answers
744 views

Name of Atari ST 3D game?

I've been trying to track down a 3D game from the late '80s/early '90s. It was on the Atari ST and featured simple polygonal (space)ships1 floating over flattish polygonal ground with the occasional ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Was 1991's Hellcats the first instance of incremental screen updates?

In case you have never seen it, 1991's Hellcats was a seminal release on the Mac. It ran at full 8-bit color and could, on a newish machine, drive three 1024x768 screens at the same time. Nothing on ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Was cost the only reason why demo cartridge games weren't produced?

I was reading on this page about the Final Fantasy demo cartridge, and I wondered why more cartridge games didn't have demos. From this wiki page: The availability of demos varies between formats....
6
votes
2answers
713 views

Was there any indication that video game companies tried to circumvent Game Shark?

Have video game developers blocked the ability of GameShark to find unused content in games (that they either didn't have time to remove unused, or plan to use in an updated version or sequel) I ...
12
votes
1answer
652 views

When was Breakout developed by Steve Wozniak?

The classic game Breakout was developed in 1975-76; famously, the first version of the circuit board was designed by Wozniak over the course of four nights, though Atari subsequently redesigned it for ...
3
votes
1answer
660 views

How did PC boot games handle saving?

I was reading on this RCSE page about old PC games that you had to boot into to play. Obviously the machine that the game would run on would at least have enough RAM and necessary graphics ...
6
votes
1answer
495 views

“Your program is testing for optimal display performance” for older Windows/DOS games

I remember seeing the following a lot when I was younger, and recently saw it again in a DOSbox setting: For those that haven't seen it, the squiggly red lines shift and undulate quite a bit, and ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the (usually lower quality) “software rendering” mode visible in so many “second-generation” FPS games?

During a conversation, a friend of mine sent me this picture: It's the first Thief (I guess), with so-called software rendering. I already experienced this effect in Quake 1-2 and to an extent, in ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

First commercial DOS game?

What was the first commercial game sold for use on IBM/MS/PC DOS after the IBM August 12, 1981 release.
4
votes
1answer
198 views

Is there a way to get code off an old Sharp Wizard?

I have one of these lying around somewhere... There was a really cool game on it called Dungeon which I'd love to get the code for. Is that possible? What would be the steps to try? I do have the ...
4
votes
1answer
335 views

CPU speedup breaking sound compatibility

In the old days, it sometimes happened that a computer with a compatible but faster CPU, had problems running old games. For example, Sopwith was written for an 8088 PC; it was amusingly challenging ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What is going on in the overscan area of Sega Genesis games?

What is going on in the overscan area of Sega Genesis games? I noticed that different games display different things in the overscan area. I understand this was never intended to be seen. However,...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

How to check the C64 graphics mode used by Maniac Mansion

I have been investigating the MS-DOS port of the C64's Maniac Mansion game. The original MS-DOS port used the C64-specific character map to draw the various backgrounds in the game. I noticed that ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Was Family BASIC for the NES/Famicom powerful enough to create full games and applications?

"Family BASIC or Famicom BASIC is the consumer product for programming Nintendo's Family Computer video game console of Japan." wikipedia I can't seem to find much info about Family BASIC ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Game from the mid-nineties with hovering vehicles

Not that retro, but still over 20 years ago: I'm looking for the name of a game that was around in 1995, 1996 (Windows 95 era, although I think it was a DOS game) which I played on my 120MHz Pentium (...
62
votes
7answers
17k views

How were the first ZX Spectrum games written?

Being a child of the 80s I loved my ZX Spectrum, did my best to learn BASIC but I felt like the games I was playing (Jetpac, Dizzy, Renegade etc) were perhaps not written using BASIC. I wondered: how ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What “Write your own RPG/Adventure game” books were available for 8-bit computers? [closed]

During the 70s and 80s there were a number of books about how to write your own games for 8-bit computers, usually in BASIC. Three examples of these books are How to Create Adventure Games by ...
8
votes
1answer
641 views

Can anyone help name this game?

This is certainly a long shot... this game has evaded my searching for years and I would love to have this mysterious game named once and for all. It came out prior to 1997 (possibly earlier this is ...
14
votes
7answers
957 views

Did any system natively use 3-bitplane graphics?

Computer and game consoles switched gradually from single-bitplane graphics (2 colours per character) to 2-bitplane graphics (4 colours per character), to eventually 4-bitplane graphics (16 colours ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

Did C128 native games have any technical advantages over C64 ones?

Over the years I rarely saw anything specifically for the C128 besides CP/M and C-Net 128. I searched at one point for any C128 specific games but only found a version of "The Last V8" which didn't ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Which C64 games support two buttons?

CIA 6526 chip used in Commodore 64 is capable of controlling two separate joystick buttons. But the second button should be connected through paddle pot input. This option was not popular till the ...
31
votes
2answers
3k views

How did “Ballblazer” pull off fast, smooth, first-person, solid-model 3D on Atari 8-bits?

I remember the first time I saw Ballblazer, the 1984 game, running on a friend's Atari 800. The split-screen 3d graphics and fast action blew my socks off. Looking back, I get the impression there ...
11
votes
2answers
871 views

How was Prince of Persia “better/faster” with RWTS18?

I was reading about Prince of Persia over at POP Code Review. In that article, the writer printed an interview with Roland Gustafsson, the inventor of RWTS18 copy protection for the Apple II series. ...
5
votes
1answer
379 views

Other than Ocean, what other famous loaders were there? [closed]

Many people are familiar with the awesome Ocean loaders from the 8-bit days. For those that are not, "loaders" are small programs that were usually artwork and music (sometimes games) that were ...
7
votes
1answer
254 views

6 Player X-Men Arcade Cabinet Compatibility

I've got a 6-player X-Men Arcade cabinet and I was wondering what other boards might be compatible with it. Can I use any Jamma compatible board? Will the dual monitors just mirror? Here's a link to ...
8
votes
3answers
890 views

Anybody restoring Adventure, an early interactive fiction game?

Advent made the rounds of PDP-10 computers in about 1975. I once got ahold of the source code in FORTRAN and recoded it in, of all things, Turbo Pascal, but I never got around to thoroughly debugging ...
49
votes
1answer
22k views

How exactly does Sonic & Knuckles' 'Lock-On Technology' work?

The cartridge of Sonic & Knuckles is a little special: It flips open to allow you to connect another Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in US) cartridge to the top of it like so: I know why the Sega ...