Robotron out (Live Arcade)

Because I know we don’t have enough 360 threads…

(actually, just because I know a bunch of you have been salivating over Robotron coming out on Live Arcade)

Just makes me wanna play Minter’s brilliant Llamatron. If my ST floppy drive still worked I’d be playing right now.

Please don’t stone me or anything, but I never really played Robotron when I was younger. I downloaded the trial from Live Arcade and the two levels it lets you play are fun enough, but I couldn’t get a sense for the full game. Given that I already own Geometry Wars and Mutant Storm Reloaded and am unencumbered by nostalgia, is this a worthy purchase?

I say no. I don’t have MS, but I do have GW and it is more than enough for me in the genre. I loved Robotron when it came out, and I may break down and buy it, but there are better games out there (did I mention I’m now ranked number 3 in backgammon, woot).

Locke and Walt both still beating you?

A now a message from your resident Robotron snob.

Robotron 2084 is one of the few near-perfect games I can think of. It is the twitch game distilled to its essence, without patterns and power-ups.

But the version on Live is not only not a port, it’s not even a respectable emulation. The graphics are simply wrong in some places, the backgrounds are irritiating, the reds are beyond unsafe on my television, and the co-op mode is completely baffling to me (one shoots while the other moves, and then switches responsibility after each extremely frequent death).

Then there’s the fact that you’re playing with analog game sticks. The original Robotron used Wilco leaf-switch joysticks, which not only let you hit diagonals better, but the joystick had very little travel, letting you change directions instantly. Most arcade cabinets then, and MAME-compatible sticks today, use Happ microswitch joysticks, which are perfect for most games and far more durable, but less than ideal for Robotron. Finally, the analog sticks on the Xbox controller are fine for most games, but the sheer amount of travel on the stick makes it near-impossible to use for Robotron, not to mention that the software seems to have an extremely small window as what counts as true diagonal from the analog stick. Not being able to hit your angles in Robotron is death.

For casual fans who just want an 8-way shooter, you can’t do much better than Geometry Wars. For retro gamers who are looking for a return to greatness, you can skip Digital Eclipse’s mangling and continue playing on MAME.

Yes, I know it’s just an arcade game, and yes I’ll shut up now.

What Jim Preston said.

But allow me to see your snobbery and raise you one.

Fuck emulation.

Jarvis likes to talk about how Robotron updates its game logic in two sections. When the raster is on the top half of the screen, the game updates the bottom half. And vice versa.
End to end latency of < ~8ms.

I laugh at sloppy controllers connected over a wireless link to code rendering on a GPU (ok guessing here) via a command queue to double-buffered frame buffers being displayed on an LCD.

Don’t worry, I’m gonna go shut up now too.

What, they screwed up my favorite game ever!? Okay, that’s it, now I won’t be getting a three-sixty! That’ll show them…

Yeah, I never played Robotron much when it was new, and playing later via MAME I was acutely aware that the keyboard interface I used was woefully inadequate. From my limited experience it does seem like it may have legitimately earned the title of Ultimate Twitch Game ™.

To Atmin Binstock: amen, brother.

Robotron X* on the PS was, I believe, made before the dual shock. Therefore motion was with the 4-way pad (less than ideal) with firing being controlled by using the buttons in combination as another 4-way (worked quite well). There’s not an option from firing from the button array on the 360? (Or is it not set up as a true 4-way button array?)

[size=2]*I’d give half my teeth to know what the fuck happened to my copy. It just disappeared one day and never got found. Whoever the bastard is that still has it after borrowing it so long I forgot I loaned it out, die please![/size]

Or if you want something a touch less frenetic, I’ve really been enjoying Mutant Storm.

This is the one arcade game I’ve been waiting for, and I have to give it an 80/100. The look and sound is there, but playing with a gamepad with this much play does take some getting used to. Not a bad effort and clearly worth the $5-$10 to me. It’ll see some good playing time.

I believe there is, but since I am already well down the Robotron elitist path I’m not going to turn back now and simply say that this is in no way a legitmate controller config for Robotron. I wish I had a well thought-out reason for it, but it just strikes me as trying to type with boxing gloves on. I can’t imagine anyone could get serious scores not using dual sticks. But I suppose there are some out there…

I agree, Mutant Storm is not bad. But with three other 8-way shooters on Live Arcade (Smash TV being the other one not yet mentioned) none of them really hits the sweet spot to me.

It makes me crazy that the folks doing emulation for games like this can’t get it right. It’s easy to get ahold of the original arcade machine and just play them side by side and see where you’re fucking up. I mean, why fuck with greatness?

I’ll try the demo out later today when I get time. I haven’t even had a chance to turn the machine on yet. Too much going on this weekend. :-?

At least I finally got the box, though! :D


Well, if your complaint is that the throw on the analog sticks is too long, the throw on buttons is really damn short! ;)

It does take getting used to, but no more (or less) so than taking any joystick-centric game and mapping it to a D-pad. Since you already have the game it seems, you might as well give it a shot. I didn’t find the scheme bad at all. (Although for a while it may be hard on your thumb to play for long stretches.)

Then again, I thought Robotron X was a nifty game so I may be way far away from your purist-inspired ideals anyway. :D

Which half? Would you take out every other tooth in a zigzag pattern like a jack-o-lantern, or just lose the whole top or bottom and replace it with a prosthesis?

Which half? Would you take out every other tooth in a zigzag pattern like a jack-o-lantern, or just lose the whole top or bottom and replace it with a prosthesis?[/quote]

I’d probably start at my wisdom teeth which need to come out anyway and work forward.

I laugh at sloppy controllers connected over a wireless link to code rendering on a GPU (ok guessing here) via a command queue to double-buffered frame buffers being displayed on an LCD.

Running on a system about 8 billion times faster than the original. If you’re complaining about frame buffer lag on a bus that has 26 gigabytes of bandwidth per second, you’re smoking crack.

Hahaha, I am so not getting into this argument. Again.

But if you somehow think that the xbox360 version actually has less lag than the original, I’d love to see your in-depth reasoning. (Hint: “The system is about 8 billion times faster” doesn’t cut it.)