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I have been thinking about this for a few years now. Should probably put this in a book and make some money from it but maybe it would be better for all to know. The basic formulas that have made great games for home consoles has not changed in the last 20 years. It has shifted from one end to the other. But still the same. Back in the Atari heyday the number one games took one of three paths.

  1. Innovative or new use of hardware.
  2. New game concept or radical expansion of existing one.
  3. Excellent arcade translation.

I'll cover this more with the Atari VCS because it covers more of a wider range. With the Atari 2600 the hardware was not fully understood until people started programming it. And the cartridges were tied to a certain memory size originally. Once chip prices dropped and the chips used for roms were expanded you were able to go from 2k to 4k and double the size you had for the game. Once the carts were able to hold more program you were ably to utilize a feature where the display was able to change for every scan line. Technically I think this was called a display list interrupt. You wrote code to do stuff to change what was happening on the horizontal lines. So you could have a number of things going on at one time on a vertical plane. But only one thing going on at a time on a horizontal plane. So pure raster games like combat were replaced by scrolling games. Some of this hardware exploitation was over done. Soon there were too many colors flashing at one time :)

New game concept. Try something different. Adventure for example. Simple maze game with some large characters. Pick up item A move to point B if holding item C you can defeat Character D while trying to collect item E, F, and G. Originally all games had a goal to score so many points first or so many points in n number of minutes or using x number of lives. Here was a game with a finite goal! An end. Who would ever play an arcade game if you thought you could only go so far.


Hit Counter Homies looking to swipe some good ideas.


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