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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Arcade ROMs for Download, Legally 338

Posted by simoniker
from the could-be-a-constructive-step? dept.
jgoeres writes "StarROMs, Inc. has just launched a pay-per-download service for classic arcade ROM sets. These are what you need to make your emulator fun and legal. This aims to bring ROM collection & emulator use out of the semi-underground and turn it into profit, but will it fly? They currently have about 60 games, all from the various incarnations of Atari over the years, with more on the way. Prices range from about $2 to about $6 per game. And no, they don't have Marble Man."
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Arcade ROMs for Download, Legally

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  • $2-$6 a game!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:38PM (#7108694)
    I can go to the video game store and buy used games cheaper.
    • I can go to the video game store and buy used games cheaper.

      And you can spend all day blowing on your cartidges trying to get them to work in your aging console.

      Part of the beauty of ROM images is that they don't wear out like our favorite cartidges and consoles do.
      • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, but why do these cost MORE? They don't even have the physical costs associated with cartridges, etc. These things aren't huge downloads, so even bandwidth costs should be minimal.
        • because (Score:3, Insightful)

          Businesses like to make as much money as they can.

          Shocking, I know.
        • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JVert (578547) <corganbilly&hotmail,com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:58PM (#7108873) Journal
          gah...
          Ok, parent established the benefit that roms have over cartiges, yet you want it to be cheaper because... it doesn't cost them as much? Frankly you need to charge at least $2 a game so people take you seriously. Would I feel bad about pirating a $.50 game? at all?
          • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Bendebecker (633126)
            Considering most atari games average a size of 6k (this webpage alone is probably somewhere around 20-30k), I don't think $2 is a reasonable price at all. They must be charging a dollar a k! They should sell them for the old arcade prices - 25cents a rom.
            • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by macrom (537566) <macrom75@hotmail.com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:51PM (#7109657) Homepage
              I don't think $2 is a reasonable price at all. They must be charging a dollar a k! They should sell them for the old arcade prices - 25cents a rom.

              But the old arcade price wasa $.25 per PLAY. I think it's safe to say that many of us here spent WAAAY more than that on single games. Don't even TRY and tell me that you spent less than $6 in your entire life on Gauntlet or Gauntlet II (presuming you played it, of course).

              If you could travel back in time and tell a teenager that for $6 he/she could play a game as much as they like for all eternity, they'd pony it up in a heartbeat. I know I would have. Today, people gripe because everything isn't free and won't cough up a couple of bucks to revel in their youth.

              Maybe you would rather spend hundreds, nay thousands, of dollars buying these games individually from eBay, praying that they still worked so you didn't have to spend your weekends pouring over wiring diagrams that you printed from some JPEGs on a classic arcade site?
          • Steve Jobs would disagree regarding your price point. I believe that pay for download music sites and pay for download ROM sites have very similar markets and Mr. Jobs believes that $1 is okay. At least two dollars? I don't know - it seems like people are buying into the idea of iTunes.
        • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NanoGator (522640)
          "I can go to the video game store and buy used games cheaper."

          It's a combination of the cartridges being used and demand being nil. Frankly, the ROM is more useful than the cartridge anyway.

          $2 is quite reasonable.
      • And you can spend all day blowing on your cartidges trying to get them to work in your aging console.

        Yep. However, once you own a real genuine "Dig Dig II" cartridge, you have the right to "format shift" it to a ROM you can play in an emulator.

        So effectively, it doesn't ever need to actually work on a real machine. Buy the cartridge at a yard sale for a quarter, and get the ROM somewhere off the net.

        Although the last step there involves a questionably-legal activity (does the right to make a backup
      • Part of the beauty of ROM images is that they don't wear out like our favorite cartidges and consoles do.

        Parent hits the nail right on the head. I have several old systems, and when friends are around, and we're waiting to go and do something more interesting, we sometimes fire up one of them and play some games.

        It worries me that at some point, these great games we like to play might no longer be available because of hardware failure / cartridge or cd decay, etc. Some of them were a real troll to find

    • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Blondie-Wan (559212) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:00PM (#7108894) Homepage
      I can go to the video game store and buy used games cheaper.

      Used home console games, yes. Not used coin-op arcade games. Yeah, I know, these aren't full games, but just the ROM images - but then, you're not paying the $25 to $2000 or whatever you might pay for the actual physical machine, either.

    • I can go to the video game store and buy used games cheaper.

      Sure, for say the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge. But not for stuff that's less common that that (read: every other game ever made).
      • You obviously didn't spend your youth like I did running to flea markets and buying old atari carts. I can still find a good selection if I look hard enough. Been a long time since I've seen c64 carts and vectrex requires you to go to shows but you can still get most of em. Still looking for a virtual boy and a jaguar though...
    • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by istartedi (132515)

      $2-$6 a game? I pumped more than that into some of these machines in one afternoon when I was a kid. Especially Defender and Tempest. Grr... I just gave up on that on those a while. I someone had time-traveled back and told me that unlimited play would cost no more than $6, I wouldn't have believed them. If they had... well... I would have played anyway. I was adicted. Besides. Who wants to play games when their over 30 anyway. Oh. I forgot. This is Slashdot.

    • Re:$2-$6 a game!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by steveha (103154) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:48PM (#7109633) Homepage
      Back in the day, we would spend 25 cents to play video games once. For the cost of 8 to 24 plays, you can legally own the game, and play it as many times as you like -- hundreds of times, even.

      These will look and play exactly like the original games, because guess what -- they are the original games. The only difference will be that you will be using your own controller, instead of a possibly better (or possibly half-broken) controller at an arcade.

      Today, I can go down to the local movie theater (no arcades anywhere near my home) and I can play Hydro Thunder for $1 a game. Or I can buy the Playstation version of Hydro Thunder for $30, and it isn't even exactly the same game (the graphics were simplified a bit for the Playstation). So Hydro Thunder costs 30 plays to own, more than these ROM images.

      This is a perfectly fair price.

      steveha
  • by inteller (599544) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:38PM (#7108696)
    If only I didn't already have all the ROMs I might be inclined to buy some!
  • by chosen_my_foot (677867) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:39PM (#7108711)
    It'd be nice if this stayed legal and we could all get ROMs for unattainable games in a legal way. Somehow I feel that there's going to be one bad company that will ruin it for everyone.
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by SugoiMonkey (648879) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:40PM (#7108719) Homepage Journal
    This is like that iTunes store Apple is trying to pull on us, isn't it? HA, I'm not going to fall for that.
  • classic games? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by ctour (645366)
    What about Mame and http://www.classicgaming.com ? That's pretty free...
    • Re:classic games? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bill Quayle (712339)
      What about Mame and http://www.classicgaming.com ? That's pretty free...

      true, but I think that the sales pitch here is that it's legal to buy roms from StarRoms.

      Now personally, I think that it *should* be legal to get old roms from classicgaming.com, but unless they've signed some sort of royalty agreement with atari (or whoever) they probably won't be able to legally distribute that Asteroids rom for another 99 years (+ life of author) at least. But then again, I'm not a lawer...

      -Bill

    • Or even classic free pc games [the-underdogs.org]. And for modern free classics, give Soldat [soldat.prv.pl] a try, it's pretty damn good.
  • by The Human Cow (646609) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:40PM (#7108724) Homepage
    I like this idea, but until there's a reason (lawsuits or whatever) for people to be scared of illegally downloading ROMs, they're not going to want to pay for them. In the public's eyes there's nothing wrong with downloading a 15+ year old game because many of the companies are defunct now, and if they're not they probably won't care anyway.
    • I'll give you a good reason that at least some people will want to pay for them:

      The conditions of use for the site (http://www.starroms.com/about/condofuse.php [starroms.com]) make no indication of any limits on how you use the games. The Roms themselves may contain licenses, but I haven't bought one to find out.

      If you buy the rom, chances are you can legally set it up for for-profit play... IE, set up a MAME console in your place of business and charge people 25cents per credit.
    • Some people actually try to be ethical, and there are even those who do so when they can see how they would be benefitted by an unethical action and can't see who would be harmed by it. I know it boggles the average slashdotter's mind, but try to imagine it.
      • by L-Train8 (70991) * <Matthew_Hawk@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:09PM (#7108957) Homepage Journal
        It seems to me that sometimes there is a difference between being ethical and acting legally. Is it ethical for the law to limit my rights, if I am not harming anyone?

        The issue of arcade ROMs illustrates perfectly the problem with our messed up copyright system. We can't legally play many old games because they are not for sale, nor will they ever be. The companies that made them are out of business, and their copyrights are either lost or packed away in some warehouse. They won't be dusted off and offered to the public, because it's not financially worth the trouble. This keeps ideas and information, in the form of old games, legally out of the public's hands. These ideas and information are roped off from the public not to benifit the creators of the games, the ostensible reason for copyright, but to protect the status quo of copyright in general, and keep "piracy" in all it's forms outside the law. This is not confined to old video games, but books, movies, recordings, and almost any form of expression.
        • I think this website is a pretty good example of why companies hold onto those old games, and don't just "release them". There's always the chance, however slight, that there might be some more money to be squeezed out of them. I wonder how many of those old games could be played on todays cell phones?

          What happens if I resurrect some old game whose copyright owners have long since gone out of business? I guess I'm breaking the law, but who would have the right to take me to court?

    • I can think of one good reason why I'd use this:

      Just finding a old game is friggin' hard.

      Even with Google, trying to find a ROM to an old game can take some time. But if I knew that I could go to a place where I could legally buy the ROM, know it was a good quality one and not full of a virus or weird messages or something, I'd have no problem plunking down $6 for a game.

      I've been wondering how long it would take for some publishers to realize the potential profits. Is $10 a good price to play "Super M
      • by xkenny13 (309849) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:20PM (#7109039) Homepage
        I'd have no problem plunking down $6 for a game.

        Actually, neither would I. My next question is ... is this "Play at your own risk?" Does this fall under the same rules as any other software (CD/DVD, etc) that once you bought it, it's yours? What if the ROM has defects? Do you get your money back?

        For instance, the copy of Galaga I have doesn't include the sound when your ship blows up. One could argue that it's a pretty minor point, but if I'm paying cold, hard cash, I'd want a *perfect* copy.

        Do I have a right to complain about the bug, and for a measly $6, will anyone listen?
        • For instance, the copy of Galaga I have doesn't include the sound when your ship blows up. One could argue that it's a pretty minor point, but if I'm paying cold, hard cash, I'd want a *perfect* copy.

          If you can prove the dump is bad, you're entitled to your money back. But if emulator authors simply haven't written their ship explosion sound code correctly (likely the case, in this instance), you'll have to complain to the authors or download the appropriate sound samples.

          • by xkenny13 (309849)
            if emulator authors simply haven't written their ship explosion sound code correctly (likely the case, in this instance), you'll have to complain to the authors or download the appropriate sound samples

            Okay ... if I download the appropriate sound samples, am I still legal? Or is my ROM legal, and my sound sample not?

            Anyone know where I can get the appropriate sound sample?
        • doesn't include the sound

          Im gonna assume you're talking about MAME here ... The Galaga hardware uses sampled sounds so there is infact no hardware to emulate making the sounds... You need to download the galaga samples from www.mame.net and drop them in your samples directory.

    • "I like this idea, but until there's a reason (lawsuits or whatever) for people to be scared of illegally downloading ROMs, they're not going to want to pay for them. "

      I don't think that's true. I think you're right that the existence of other sites will dampen this company's chances of success, but not for the same reason. I've run across a handful of ROM sites that were quite large, had a great selection of ROMS, and had fast downloads. If those didn't exist, then this site would have a damn good cha
  • by saskboy (600063) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:43PM (#7108739) Homepage Journal
    It seems almost wrong to play Jumpan on an AMD 1800+, but it is such a pain to plug in the 386, or Commodore 64.

    Good luck with the ROM plan. I hope it fares better than the "legal MP3" industry.
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@nospAm.zen.co.uk> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:43PM (#7108742)
    By making even more money out of old back catalogue technology that broke even a couple of decades ago.
  • ok... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:44PM (#7108744) Homepage Journal
    Okay, I DARE someone to come up with a "Well, I for one welcome our new ________ overloards" post for this story.

    Double-dare!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:45PM (#7108761)
    It's already moral, what with them being 20 years old and generating no revenue for the original coders, artists and musicians, which is all I care about. Whether the company which bought up the company which bought up the company which did the work makes any money from their sale is not interesting to me.
    • It's already moral, what with them being 20 years old and generating no revenue for the original coders, artists and musicians, which is all I care about. Whether the company which bought up the company which bought up the company which did the work makes any money from their sale is not interesting to me.

      Actually, you can BUY these as games still now, true to the original. Yes, Microsoft sells "Arcade Classics" with several. I got mine free with a new computer. But yea, someone is still paying for it.
    • Unfortunately that's a flawed argument. Most of these old Atari games were considered work for hire - the programmers got paid a flat fee, and *never* saw a percentage of the profits. There's little point in trying to take a moral stand on it NOW.

      Now, I notice that Tetris is on that list. Anyone know if Pazitnov gets a cut from this?

      • Pajitnov never made a dime on Tetris. He wrote the game while working for the Computer Center of the Academy of Science, a Soviet government R&D lab. The Soviet government owned all copyrights to the game.

        Pajitnov's notariety from making Tetris allowed him to emigrate to the US and make a lot of money working at several game companies, but this was years after the Tetris craze had hit it's peak.
    • by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:27PM (#7109099)
      Whether the company which bought up the company which bought up the company which did the work makes any money from their sale is not interesting to me.

      Who cares if the original programmer is making money or not? If the company was still in business and the original programmer quit his job does that make it OK to steal the ROMs? Of course not.

      Sorry, but your argument has some pretty shaky logic. If somebody owns some desert land that they never use is it ok to go start a brush fire? Of course not, but maybe that's too destructive of an example. Is it ok to do some gold mining on their land? Rock collecting? How about 4 wheel drive offroading?

      It's not YOUR land and it's not YOUR property so YOU don't get to choose whether or not YOU want to pay to use it or not.

      It's the same way with these ROMS. So what if the original developing company isn't selling the game currently. I'm betting that the StartROMs is paying the current owners something. So yes, the owner of the copyright IS making some money.

      I think $2 to $6 per game is perfectly reasonable price to pay for a legal copy. It's totally irresponsible to say that because the original programmer or original company isn't making any money off of these licenses that it's OK to just steal their software.

      • Sorry, but your argument has some pretty shaky logic. If somebody owns some desert land that they never use is it ok to go start a brush fire?

        You've just made me wonder something, though I really doubt you meant to...

        Relating to land rights, specifically "adverse posession"... If I walk across your property uncontested every day for X years (7? 11? Varies by state), I have a legally valid "right of way", and after that time you cannot stop me from making the same walk whenever I want to.

        Would this s
      • If the company was still in business and the original programmer quit his job does that make it OK to steal the ROMs?

        Watch your terminology. You've been listening to the RIAA and MPAA too long. It isn't theft. Theft is a legal term that they are misuing. It is a violation of Copyright. Nothing was stolen (legally speaking). The person downloading a ROM didn't take it away from anyone else.

        There is a qualitative and even quantitative different between the legal term theft and what people do when the
    • It's already moral, what with them being 20 years old and generating no revenue for the original coders

      King of Fighters 2002 is already dumped and emulated.

      How much time after a game's launch does it become moral to play an unlicensed copy?
  • by extrarice (212683) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:46PM (#7108774) Homepage Journal
    Console Classix (www.consoleclassix.com) has a legal console emulation service, offering titles for the NES, SNES, Genesis and Atari 2600.
    • by JayBlalock (635935) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:03PM (#7108919)
      That's actually a very interesting test of legal theory. Go read their FAQ [consoleclassix.com] on how their setup works. Apparently Nintendo considered their claim, while a bit shaky, stable enough to not be worth going after.

      On the other hand, it seems like, if they get too many users, the service would become useless.

      • What kind of damages could one ever hope to get from a pirating suit. Considering most of those games are no valued in the pennies range if at all I don't they woudl stand to win much. I can see it now: Nintendo won a suit against Johnny for pirating 'ice climber'. The were awarded 2-3 dollars in damages.
  • This is a great smart move and I really wish more companies would understand that there a lot of nostalgic gamers out here who recall the heyday of the arcades.

    We need Sega, Midway, Nintendo, Namco, et al to get on this. I would love to have a 100% true version of the old Space Harrier, After Burner 2 and OutRun.

    I remember back in the day getting After Burner and OutRun for my Sega Master System.. I could've cried. Definitely NOT up to par with the arcades, but then again the old SMS was a pretty li
  • Supporting MAME? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pavon (30274) * on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:47PM (#7108779)
    The site mentions that a portion of their profits goes towards supporting unnamed emulators. On a different page explaining how to play the game, the only emulator they link to is MAME. Does this mean that they are supporting MAME?

    (sorry I don't have url's to the specific pages - the site is slashdoted)
  • Don't sell people digital content! It'll turn everybody into a pirate and put you out of business! You must DRM it to the point that nobody can use it.

    Hey.. that was pretty good. I'm gunnin for Jack Valenti's job now.
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:49PM (#7108806)
    Though some of these are just simply fantastic games. 720 Degrees - I dunno WHAT kind of controller you'd be able to find to play it like the original. And who has a dual joystick setup to play Battlezone with? :) The Griffin PowerMate is just _made_ for games like Tempest, though. I'll take one in black, thanks.
    • "And who has a dual joystick setup to play Battlezone with? "

      $15 for PSX to USB convertor and your all set.

      Robotron, Smash TV etc play perfectly. In fact beyond building your own from real arcade controls the DualShock is the best Mame gaming control going IMO.

      If you have more money you can easily buy something like the X-Arcade stick.
      http://www.x-arcade.com/pc.shtml

      That or just build your own with some happ controls like many people have.
    • Have you tried the PowerMate with a game like Tempest?

      I e-mailed them (a while ago) to ask if their software supported mouse emulation, as in twisting left would scroll the mouse left and vice versa, and they said the PowerMate does not do that and they don't plan to ever add that feature. I even mentioned how much people spend [oscarcontrols.com] on creating their own knob controllers and how this could be a new market for them if the added that one feature (which I can't see being very complicated, really) but they weren'

      • No, I hadn't gotten around to getting a PowerMate, yet, but that's the kind of thing I had in mind for it.

        Now I'm upset. :(

        What a bunch of morons. That's like the #1 use for such a product! Geez.

        Okay, people, pay attention - this is a Market Opportunity(tm). See how easy it is?
  • Good Stuff! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by -Grover (105474)
    Kind of a cool idea to legalize the ROM's of your favorite derelict console. My biggest problem with it is that they don't supply or support an emulator. It's basically all at your own risk, and if it doesn't work, too bad.

    On the flip side I'd love to actually see this sort of thing take off and, get licenses out for games and emulators for other systems. Not to mention it's nice to have a piece of history without the ritual blowing, rubbing alcohol, smashing and praying for hours, for one round of
  • It seems to me that many of these games do not use the standard joystick configuration. I don't have a spinner or a track ball, let alone something weird like Warlords 4 spinners, set up on my MAME machine. Games like Battlezone, Marble Madness, Missle Command, Millipede (hmm, lots of the 'M' games) Super Breakout, some of the driving games, etc., all require different controller layouts. Someday I hope to have a trackball control shelf for my game, and a spinner one, too. I'd like to see more available gam
    • Welcome to the world of the emulator - where controller issues are thought of FOR you. :)

      Get yourself a trackball, dude. And a Griffin PowerMate for the Tempest-like games, and you should be All Set(tm).
  • hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @06:57PM (#7108868) Journal
    Would the extreme gamer rather sign up, hand out their credit card number, and buy 60 Atari 2600 games for a sum price of about $320, or illegally download a small zip file containing 500 of them in about 30 seconds after 2 minutes of searching on Google?

    I don't condone piracy but that's the reality of the situation. Same with music & such. The problem with media sales nowadays is that there are no bulk discounts, in a time where reproduction costs nothing and the aim should be to get the max of price time quantity from each consumer. Someone who wants 60 games rather than 6 is willing to pay more than the person who wants 6, but not 10 times more, because the average enjoyment they'll get out of each is less. So that kind of person, though willing to spend more than the average consumer, is completely cut out of the market and has to resort to more extreme measures like piracy to get what they want.
    • Not only that, most of these games have been released in legitimate format at some point in the past. (sort of like those "2600 Action Packs" with 20 games each) With a little hunting and gathering you could probably legally get their collection at a fraction of the asking price.
  • You just have to own the original boardset, and it doesn't have to work, either. You can get a busted Asteroids board on ebay for $10, and a broken Street Fighter will run you $5. So really, for a small sum, you can download *any* game legally, already.
    • Strictly speaking, that's not legal. You're only allowed to make your own copy of the work, not download someone else's. That one court decision against MP3.com, although silly, sort of cemented that one until a better challenge comes along.
      • > Strictly speaking, that's not legal.

        While you are correct, imagine you told whomever is asking that the image file was copied before the real cart/board/rom was damaged. And stress how it was a really good thing that you made a backup so you can continue to enjoy it!

        Granted that is a lie, but unless they can prove otherwise, its a legal description of your actions. Just have to hope they can't prove you bought it damaged.
  • As long as they eventually get Zero Wing, I will be happy and all your base are belong to us.
  • by CoughDropAddict (40792) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:12PM (#7108984) Homepage
    Imagine how useful services like this or the iTunes store could be if they were more comprehensive in the titles they carry.

    Imagine how easy it would be to make them comprehensive if the copyright holders were forced to offer you a license at a predetermined rate, instead of having to negotiate deals with everyone separately.

    Imagine how much revenue filesharing could generate for copyright holders if it was easy to purchase legal licenses for the files being shared at a reasonable rate. On our own terms (for example; MP3 and AAC are not a formats I wish to purchase music in).

    I haven't thought about this terribly much, but compulsory licensing seems like it could be a solution to the standoff that currently exists between filesharers who won't give up filesharing and the industry that refuses to make it easy to legally purchase digital content.
  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:13PM (#7108989) Homepage
    From the summary: And no, they don't have Marble Man.

    Wow. That was definitely an out-of-the-blue observation.

    As far as I'm concerned, Marble Madness was the supreme mid-1980s arcade game. I played that game hundreds of times in high school, and won it at least a dozen times. A couple things set it apart. It had a cool 3D-style isometric viewpoint, which was done infinitely more convincingly than similar presentations like Zaxxon. Plus, given how hard you had to throw that trackball around, you could get a legitimate workout playing Marble Madness.

    I think Marble Madness was sort of a smart person's Donkey Kong. It had a great subtle sense of humor, and a Steve Jobsian attention to detail. Like, fr'instance, the marble you controlled had glitter in it that would roll around as the ball rolled. And it could die in several twisted ways, from shattering to getting eaten by acid. The graphics were some of the best yet for 1980s videogames, and the music was likewise sensational.

    After Marble Madness' success, a sequel was inevitable. The trouble was, some genius in marketing thought that for people to identify with our beloved marble, it had to assume human qualities. Thus, Marble Man was born.

    Unfortunately, Marble Man never quite got out of testing before the crashing arcade scene made Atari withdraw it from market. I'm not sure if anyone knows where the few original ROM's are anymore. But one thing's for sure...there are thousands of Marble Maniacs out there who would buy it in a heartbeat, just to see if the original was surpassed.

    One last note. The creator of Marble Madness programmed the game at the tender age of about twenty. He's since gone on to do a number of successful games, including Ratchet & Clank [ign.com] on the Playstation 2.

    • by matthewn (91381)
      I agree with everything you said about the original Marble Madness. It is a watershed game.

      After years of torment [slashdot.org], I finally got a chance to play Marble Man at the recent California Extreme [caextreme.org] show. It was interesting to experience, but to say that it paled in comparison to the original is a terrible understatement. It just felt flat-out *wrong* to be controlling the marble with a joystick (and "speed" button), and the cartoonish nature of much of the graphics created the wrong feel. And don't even get me star

  • Like a lot of .com startups, it's too little, TOO SOON. I look over that list of games, and there are only a few I might possibly want, and they're the "expensive" ones. (considering the cost of "production" and "distribution" is nonexistant, it strikes me as slightly cynical that they priced the games solely according to which ones history has judged "best") They should have waited, and built up more contacts than JUST Atari. Maybe branched out a bit, roped in, say, whoever currently owns the Infocom a
  • by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) * on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:20PM (#7109037) Homepage Journal
    From the EULA:

    You acknowledge that the Software in source
    code form remains a confidential trade
    secret of Atari and/or its suppliers and
    therefore you agree not to attempt to
    decipher, decompile, disassemble or
    reverse engineer the Software or allow
    others to do so, except to the extent
    applicable laws specifically prohibit
    such restriction. You further agree not
    to modify or create derivative works of
    the Software.


    Me no like. But for two bucks, who's going to care?
  • gimme Gyruss.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:20PM (#7109042)
    ...and a 360 degree joystick....that was quite a game...one of the best non-Atari arcade games from the early 80s...

  • by El_Smack (267329) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @07:23PM (#7109058)
    Vector games are the least satisfing games to play on MAME. Raster games look great on a 19" Wells Gardner 4900 or Electrohome G07 and crappy on your PC monitor, but MAME can fake the scanlines and pixelization to a point where it's OK. But vector games look *TERRIBLE* compared to a real G05 (for Asteroids) or G08 (For Tempest). And to play Star Wars on a med res, 25" Amplifone in the cockpit version is to see the face of God, whilst playing it on MAME with the mouse is to follow Lucifer down to Hell.
    MAME is a good "gateway" drug though. I started with it, and now I own 7 dedicated full size classic video games.
  • I haven't used MAME in a while, but one of the more annoying issues I had with it is the changes in ROMs from version to version. The ROMs that work with a current version may change with the new version (or maybe they've fixed this since I last used it.) I realize the MAME team is always changing things to get emulation as close to the original as possible, but I'd hate to pay for a ROM pack that wouldn't work with the next version.
  • But do they have the elusive Lucky Wander Boy [luckywanderboy.com]?
  • And no, they don't have Marble Man.

    Is that like Pocket Pool?
    You don't need a ROM for that.

  • by Psykechan (255694) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @12:27AM (#7110949)
    you agree not to attempt to
    decipher, decompile, disassemble or
    reverse engineer the Software or allow
    others to do so

    It also goes on to disallow derivative works.

    So, I can use these ROMs in an emulator (MAME) but if I have received said ROMs through your service, I cannot participate in development of any emulator. I'm sure that this was written for Atari's benefit but it's rather limiting.

    I think they definately have a good idea, they just need to smooth out the implementation.
  • Bad thing for Mame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @03:50AM (#7111670)
    Here is the content of a very interesing message posted to the alt.games.mame newsgroup by "NoRomsMoron":

    QUOTE:
    THIS IS VERY BAD!

    It's bad for the community. Why? Because these guys can now go around
    and sue anyone who posts roms they have license to. Even if you
    'already had them'. Burners are screwed.

    It's bad for mamedev... How much fun is it to spend hours and hours
    coding a game only to know some dipshit and 'his buddy' are getting
    paid to sell roms that they didn't creat that you make work with your
    free code!?

    It's bad for the industry... The copyright holders will inevitably
    feel compelled to 'defend' their copyrights which NO ONE disputes and
    try to make a case that ancient rom sales are a viable business. I
    think the MAME market as a true 'market' is VASTLY over-rated. It's a
    closed community for the most part of Gen-X'ers and a few late-comers.
    We already have most of the mame roms we want anyway. Then, all they
    do is close down the distribution systems that exist, scare away
    mamedevs and lose a bunch of money. Whoever did that deal at Atari is
    a knucklehead.

    It's just a bad 'taint' on the hobby which we all have tacitly agreed
    to keep above board and defended from scammers/spammers and Ebayers
    who try to sell roms over the last few years. If this proceeds.. do
    you think any of us will go out of our way to pull Ebay ads down or
    flame scammers? Why should we care anymore? Let the guys making the
    money do all the work.

    Mame is already a 'legitimate' project. No one is getting their front
    doors kicked in for having roms or even trading them for free between
    friends. MOST of the commercial value of the old games is gone.
    Selling them online now only kills the future of the scene and pisses
    of those in it... who by the way probably spend a HUGE amount on new
    PCs, Video Game consoles and games than the average consumer.

    That these Jackasses took it on themselves to 'help out the scene' is
    a crock of SHIT. I would like to propose that mamedev code mame so
    that whatever roms they're selling WON'T work on mame. If they want
    to make money from Mame.. then they better get coding.... from
    SCRATCH. Let's see how long they feel it's important to distribute
    roms 'to preserve them'.

    I would have respected them more (only a little) if they'd just come
    out and said "Hey, we're poor, stupid s.o.b.s and we're going to try
    to cash in on Mame under the guise of legality and damn the
    consequences!"

    They are raping the golden goose, killing it, and mounting it on their
    wall.... and soon they will wonder where all their precious golden
    eggs went and we'll all have moved on to other things because the
    scene will have DIED.

    Think I'm over reacting? Mark this message friends... it will be cold
    comfort I'm afraid when you wonder how come Mame releases stopped
    coming out except to remove games from the source code.

    By all means... Boycott Starroms and try to persuade the boys there to
    perhaps try to make money honestly by CREATING something rather than
    stick their leaching little lips to the hindside of Mame Developers
    and the community.

    Man.. I'm pissed! I can't believe Atari did anything like this!!!

    Someone talk me down... I'm gonna jump!

    NoRomSmoRoN
    END OF QUOTE

    I think I agree with his take on this. What about you?

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai

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