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Classic Games (Games) Games

A Look Back At Star Raiders 104

blacklily8 writes "Gamasutra has just published our history of Doug Neubauer's Star Raiders, a 1979 game for the Atari 8-bit that offered 'high-speed first-person perspective through a fully navigable 3D-like environment in just 8K of RAM (memory) and 8K of ROM (storage).' Designed by the creator of the Atari's POKEY chip, Star Raiders was a hit on its home platform but now seems to have fallen into obscurity: 'Star Raiders is a shining example of what happens when a developer is told that something can't be done, does it anyway, and then is promptly forgotten for having done it.' In addition to describing the game itself, the article focuses on its impact on later games such as Wing Commander, X-Wing, and Elite."
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A Look Back At Star Raiders

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  • Re:Forgotten? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @05:33AM (#29363409)

    Who says it's forgotten? Nearly everyone I know who's my age remembers it quite fondly.


    I remember it quite well. What I find interesting is that many such games actually hold up well, despite graphics taht are best described as primitive; the gameplay was anything but and that's what made the games good. Simple concepts - fFooger, Space Invaders, even Pong still hold their own today.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @07:24AM (#29363847) Homepage
    I guess you missed the point of it. It wasn't an arcade game for trigger-twitchers. Maybe you should have tried reading the instructions.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @09:03AM (#29364515) Journal

    I jest , but anyone who had to code a serious app in available memory measured in kilobytes knows just how bloated todays development enviroments and even compiled output is.

    No, actually, we don't. Writing a program that fits into 8KB is a lot easier if you don't have to worry about anyone ever reading or modifying your code (games shipped once and were never patched / updated) or portability ('porting' back then meant 'writing the same game on a different architecture'). It's fun writing heavily-optimized code, and it's a great feeling of achievement when you make something work in tight resource constraints, but it's not a sensible way of doing development. A lot of us can still write code that fits into those constraints, but choose not to because we can be orders of magnitude more productive if we don't. Next time you're feeling nostalgic, remember the line from the Stantec Zebra manual, explaining that the 150 instruction limitation for Simple Code programs was not a problem, because no maintainable program could be longer than 150 instructions.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard