Questions tagged [gaming]

Retro games, both hardware and software-based. NOT EVERY GAMING QUESTION IS ON-TOPIC. See tag wiki for guidance.

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73
votes
9answers
23k 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 ...
64
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5answers
9k views

Back in 1984 I wrote some games for Spectrum - Will they still be playable?

Back in 1984, I was commissioned to write some games for ZX-Spectrum. They were sold together. To my amazement I found that someone is selling a copy online. I thought of buying it but it is in the ...
62
votes
8answers
20k 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?
62
votes
1answer
29k 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 ...
55
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
54
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6answers
16k 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 ...
50
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17answers
14k 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 ...
46
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8answers
11k 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 ...
44
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2answers
5k views

Why are paddles called paddles?

A paddle is a sort of input device, common on early video game consoles and home computers, consisting of a handheld wheel with one or more fire buttons. Unlike dial boxes, which spin freely, paddles ...
44
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3answers
6k 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 ...
37
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5answers
10k views

Why did early game consoles need the TV to be tuned to channel 3 or 4?

It just dawned on me that, when I was young, game consoles like the NES and SNES, and possibly other devices like VCR's, required the TV to be tuned to channel 4. I asked around, and some remembered ...
36
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4answers
4k 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 ...
32
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2answers
6k 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 ...
30
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3answers
2k views

How can I play QBasic Nibbles on a modern machine?

MS-DOS versions 5 and 6 come bundled with the QBasic interpreter and a handful of example programs written in that BASIC dialect. One of the programs is Nibbles, a variant of the well-known Snake game....
29
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2answers
6k views

Is this a real system? Which one?

I was playing Remedy Entertainment's video game Control the other day. Inside the game world, I've come across several computers. (They all look extremely similar.) To me, it looks like some kind of ...
26
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6answers
6k 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 ...
24
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3answers
5k 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 ...
22
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4answers
4k views

Why was NEC able to wrestle PC graphics standards away from IBM?

The dominant standards for PC graphics in the 1980s were the ones introduced by IBM. This included MDA and CGA with the original IBM PC, followed by EGA shortly after the PC/AT, and then VGA with the ...
20
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6answers
5k views

How can I emulate MS-DOS on OS X?

I am looking for a emulator for MS-DOS for OS X to run old games on. Are there any free emulators for MS-DOS that run on an Apple machine with OS X?
20
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2answers
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 ...
18
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2answers
5k 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.
17
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3answers
7k views

Why were early 3D games so full of muted colours?

A lot of games from the PS1 and especially PS2 era are full of low contrast greys and browns and not much else. Some examples: Why is this? Was it just a design decision, or was there a technical ...
17
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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 ...
17
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3answers
963 views

What is the relationship between solid-state ROM and inaccessible content in arcade games?

I was browsing through tcrf.net, which specializes in displaying unused programming and content left in games by developers, and came across this page: https://tcrf.net/Tank Specifically, the ...
15
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7answers
1k 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 ...
15
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2answers
2k 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 ...
14
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5answers
3k views

Can I run Windows 98 and games from the same era on an AMD Duron CPU?

I have acquired an old motherboard with a socket 462 and a AMD Duron (I think its a "Spitfire" model 3). The copyright on the CPU is from 1999 and it apparently doesn't require a dedicated CPU fan as ...
14
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5answers
4k 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 ...
14
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1answer
1k views

“Your program is testing for optimal display performance” in older Windows 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 it ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are the out-of-bounds areas of Doom distorted on MS-DOS?

Why do the OOB (out-of-bounds) areas of Doom look so unusual? As seen in the image above, the Doom engine not only incorrectly renders the scene, but also renders slices of other scenes that aren't ...
13
votes
3answers
2k 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, I ...
12
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2answers
999 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. ...
12
votes
1answer
848 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 ...
12
votes
0answers
830 views

In search of… SeaWar — NOT Battleship!

Hopefully, sufficient background Many years ago (40-45), I used to play "Sea War" on a good sized time-share system. It was a text/adventure war game between a couple remote players, played over a ...
11
votes
3answers
728 views

First computer/video game in history

I would like to learn a bit about the first games that were ever played on a computer-like device. It may be a digital computer, a console, an embedded chip or micro-controller or even something ...
11
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
765 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 ...
10
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
680 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
939 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
658 views

How do you play “The Sentinel”?

Many, many years ago, we had a game for the Commodore 64 called "The Sentinel". I remember reading the instructions and being utterly baffled as to how you actually play the damned thing! Hopefully ...
8
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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....
8
votes
1answer
761 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
636 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
904 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
476 views

What was the world's first computer role-playing game?

Role-playing games are distributed in various digital & non-digital formats AFAIK. What was the world's first computer RPG? It was written from scratch or was an adaption of a pen-and-paper RPG?
7
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2answers
1k views

Were any DOS games (or software) known to use VBE/AF?

Were there any MS-DOS games or graphics software that were known to take advantage of VESA BIOS Extensions/Accelerator Functions (VBE/AF)? some of the functions defined in the standard are ... Bit ...
7
votes
2answers
762 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? ...