“Talent borrows, genius steals.” -Oscar Wilde
My first game for Atari ultimately became what is now known as Yars’ Revenge. This is not how it started. Originally it was assigned as a coin-op conversion of a
Cinematronics arcade game called Star Castle.
The key to design is knowing what you’re trying to do. Logically, you might assume my design goal here was to bring Star Castle to the 2600, but you’d be mistaken. This was my first video game, consequently my design goals were:
1) To Make a Splash – I want my debut to be a contribu- tion, establishing my reputation as a game maker.
2) To Create a Sensory Experience – I want it to be a distinctive, eye/ear catching extravaganza that cannot be ignored.
3) To Break New Ground – I don’t want to iterate on existing material, I want to create something fresh and innovative.
Was I asking a lot? Sure, but why aim low? This is what I’ll strive for and the results will fall where they may. Now, let’s look at Star Castle as a candidate and see how it fares with these three goals.
1) Splash? Star Castle is a decent game with some inter- esting mechanics. Vector graphics are easy in coin-op but miserable to recreate on the 2600, and I could see the par- ticulars of this game would be a nightmare. It was clear to me from the outset…this game will suck on the 2600. Would it be a contribution? More likely a charity case.
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