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Author Topic: Videopac Beta Testing in the previous century...  (Read 5542 times)
Janzl
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« on: September 01, 2007, 04:40:06 PM »

Hi Everyone,

Since the forum might use some fillers I decided to place my Videopac story here. It might have some interesting facts, so read it if you like.

Back in about 1982 I was already captured by the videogame craze of those days. After endless nagging my parents decided to give me a VP G7000 + #14 Gunfighter for my birthday.

After ten minutes of gameplay the general electricity generator of my hometown died and I had to wait a couple of hours before I could continue. After months of nagging and waiting this was frustrating. This is an understatement but I want to keep this forum suitable for all ages.

Family started pooring in and an uncle of mine saw the VP and told me that he was working in the office next to the guys who were developing the games. This, off course, caught my attention and I decided to design a game and submit it to the game developing office. So I drew some kind of scenario for the game and designed all the sprite on paper, gave it to my uncle and he delivered it to the programmer's next door.

After a couple of days I received a letter from the game programming department telling me they were pleasantly surprised and they invited me to visit their department.

So my father took me there and we were given a tour by some Philips official showing off all the new technology concerning datastorage on cd's the size of an LP. Big computers were making lots of noise (the kinds with the big tape reels). At the end of the tour we reached the game programming division (I make this name up because I don't know what is was called anymore).

Inside the office there where a couple of guys walking around. Some kind of computer-terminals were used for the game-programming. One of the programmers was playing a Popeye game-cabinet. Another guy came to me with my gamedesign in his hand and tried to tell in the kindest possible way that the design was unsuitable for the Videopac due to the VP technical limitations. I don't remember the reasons anymore (but there where definately more then 4 sprites on screen at the same time  Grin ). One of the reasons I do remember is that the Philips official told me that there weren't enough pixels on a household TV. Yup he was a spokesman I guess, not a programmer.
I think I must have stayed there for an hour and the programmers gave me all kind of info. They showed me the work they were doing on Popeye and explained to me why It didn't look as cool as the arcade version. The programmer was a British guy who talked a little bit of  dutch. I don't know his name anymore but he was very tall. They also showed me a game in where one ball had to catch the other, no more then that.

After my visit they asked me if I was willing to test games for them at home. You can guess my answer.

Every once in a while my uncle brought the games with him with typed manuals (like the ones, I think, Rene has) and also some evaluation forms in where I had to answer all kinds of questions.
I got a little board with a green lever in which I could insert the eproms the gave to me. This was very feeble and one or two eproms didn't survive it.

I beta tested the following games:

  • Super Cobra
  • Popeye
  • The Black Hole (Neutron Star)
  • The catch the ball game (mentioned previously)
  • Q-Bert

They also lend me the Quest for the Rings game but I guess it was already released.

I remember that the eproms had these tiny windows on top where you could see the chip. They specificly told me not to expose it to sunlight.

Unfortunately I was not allowed to keep the games and sometimes when I see people showing pictures of these eproms in their collection I think they could be the ones I have tested.

Well that's my story. I sold my VP in the end to buy a C64.

The strange thing is off course that I later discovered that some of the games I tested for Philips were released by Parker.

And much much later, when I started collecting VP's, I searched and searched for the Black Hole (which I still consider a great game) only to find out after a while that it was released as Neutron Star.

That's my two cents, still some nice bits of info I think.

Janzl

« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 04:52:10 PM by Janzl » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2007, 05:10:54 PM »

Nice story! I have about 13 prototypes now and I'm always on the look out for more!
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2007, 03:17:51 AM »

Finally got around to reading this. Nice story - thanks for posting it!
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Rafael
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 12:30:52 AM »

 Grin You?re a good luck boy.
Very nice story. I also agree, Neutron Star is a very nice game. Other thing, you can tell us more about your game idea and who knows reconstitute your draw. Wink
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Janzl
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 11:40:54 PM »

Unfortunately I don't have the drawings anymore, I think they kept them.

The game was about a guy in a boat who was diving for treasures. While diving you had to avoid sharks and a large octopus. When you were above the watersurface you could be attacked by birds. (very large seagulls I guess  Grin ).
I remember drawing all the animations for the octopus out on paper. Swimming actions and grabbing to the left, right or up or down.

Years later I was pleasantly surprised by seeing the cover of Le Tresor englouti. But when I finally got the game I saw there was a big difference between that game and the game I designed. Pitty though, I would like to claim the credits  for that one  Wink
« Last Edit: September 12, 2007, 11:42:33 PM by Janzl » Logged

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Rafael
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2007, 03:09:36 AM »

It?s could be a nice game Wink
Make new draws. One of this days I was looking in the Atariage forum I found this draws:
http://allyoucanupload.webshots.com/v/2002640654812756918
So I think could be a cool thing make a project based on a draw (a game for Ody, of course)
I love projects.
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Sweersa
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2007, 07:00:12 PM »

Awesome story.  Thats pretty cool you got to see Phillips at work during the VideoPacs golden age. 
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