Friday, June 20, 2008

MAME Hands-On Assignment

During the process of attempting to get MAME to work and to actually play a game on it, I became increasingly frustrated with the complicated process one had to go through just to play a game on it. It also didn’t help that there wasn’t a place to go for directions (for those who aren’t good at figuring some things out technologically) or anything. The whole program seemed to be geared more towards the person who would be easily able to figure out how to use it on his/her own and that definitely isn’t me.

After giving up on trying to figure out the MAME program, I decided to do some searching of my own and was able to find a site where you could download RealArcade and play some classic Atari games for free for 60 minutes, then if you wanted to have unlimited access, you had to pay $10. The six games that I was able to play were Pong, Asteroids, Centipede, Super Breakout, Missle Command, and Tempest. So I played the various games for an hour and this is what I observed.

I first started with Pong because I had played it before. However, the computer was very good and I proceeded to get beaten very quickly. What was cool about this, is that the screen replicated what you would see at an arcade with the yellow incasing around the screen. The next game I played was Tempest, which was like Asteroids, but the controls were horrible, which immediately turned me off to the game. My next adventure was Missle Command, which was surprisingly fun. I had to shoot down enemy fire with missles to protect the city from being destroyed. It took like 2 games to learn the controls, so I could see how this could be successful in the arcade because it was easy to learn and fun. Centipede was up next, which was another game that was easy to pick up. However, this game really didn’t appeal to me so I didn’t play it very long. I played Asteroids for like 5 minutes, then became hooked on Super Breakout. I played this one for like half an hour and had a blast. There’s something about this game that appeals to me, I think it’s the challenge of trying to improve. It’s a very simple game, but has lasting appeal much like some of the other games that Atari made back in the day. Overall, I had a great time and definitely see how some of these games became so popular in arcades. Most are easy to pick up, but difficult to master, leaving you wanting to keep coming back for more.

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