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WHAT TIME IS IT?!
March 3, 2012 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Do you like Adventure Time? (previously) Do you like 8-Bit Game intros? Then you'll like the 8-bit Adventure Time Video Game Intro.
posted by The Whelk (34 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's a direct link to the video.
posted by zamboni at 10:27 AM on March 3, 2012


See also: Adventure Time #1, the mathtastic comic written by Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame).

Also also: AdventureTi.me, the AT video fansite I linked in that (previously) post, was discontinued some months later... but now sports an icon entitled 05152012.jpg. Maybe it's returning soon?
posted by Rhaomi at 10:36 AM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it just me, or was that more 16-bit than 8-bit. I mean as far as the color pallet and the animations, it seemed to vibrant and smooth for 8-bit.
posted by djduckie at 10:40 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


An official game is pretty much inevitable. Pendleton Ward really wants to make one, and will occasionally post sketches from brainstorming sessions.

There are plenty of genres that could work, but I think a good way to match the style and tone of the show would be a WarioWare-style minigame collection.
posted by Sibrax at 10:40 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I couldn't be more charmed at the way the 8-bit soundscape of my youth is being imprinted onto kids these days. Adventure Time is aces in my book, and I'd play the frelling zork out of this game.
posted by Aquaman at 10:54 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Panzer Rainicorn Saga. The setup is that Finn has gone missing and Jake, after much sleeping, thinking, and sandwich eating, asks Lady to help him search Ooo. They find him at the end of the obvious tutorial sequence and from then on it becomes a search for the creature who stole Finn's favourite sword, his memory of their encounter, and all the candy people. Many exciting FF12-style battles on the ground and Panzer-style battles in the air follow as the three of them follow the trail of clues, discovering as they do more people and peoples who have been harmed and stolen from by the mysterious assailant, and forming temporary alliances with friends and former enemies.

I would be so up for that. Although the Mario and Luigi-style action RPG Penn's sketches imply would be cool too.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:07 AM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Adventure Time and PONY are the heavyweights of TV cartoons at the moment. You'd think there'd be more rivalry between their fanbases, but other than a few wonderful bits of crossover art there seems to be surprisingly little interaction between them.
posted by JHarris at 11:18 AM on March 3, 2012


I thought it was cute but it didn't really seem like a 'real' video game intro. I was trying to figure it out and I finally realized: It was the lack of paralax.
An official game is pretty much inevitable. Pendleton Ward really wants to make one, and will occasionally post sketches from brainstorming sessions.
There's a bunch of Adventure Time flash games on cartoon network.com
See also: Adventure Time #1, the mathtastic comic written by Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame).
Interesting. This sequence is totally brilliant.
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the bottom of my massive animation post from earlier today (I am such a linkwhore, but hey, not many people have made it to the bottom): What The Time Is - It's adZENture time!
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:30 AM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or was that more 16-bit than 8-bit. I mean as far as the color pallet and the animations, it seemed to vibrant and smooth for 8-bit.

Yeah, there's way too many colors. The Finn and Jake Sprites are (almost) plausible, and the music sounds like an NES, but the backgrounds and lots of the other characters simply have too many colors.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:00 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


My boyfriend got me the Adventure Time comic book for my birthday.

He is the best boyfriend.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:19 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there a legal way to buy all the AT episodes and keep them on my hard drive for anytime viewing? I have been wanting them for a while.
posted by damehex at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2012


(Well, the lack of background paralax, I should say. There is actually some foreground parallax in the video. But they're obviously walking past a single static image that would have been way to large to include in an 8-bit game cartridge Super Mario brothers 1 on the NES was about 50kb -- an image like that could have taken up like half the cartridge)

The thing is, with really old 'true' 8-bit games like those on the NES, you had a really limited color pallet, and you also didn't have very much space for storing sprites or images. So everything was made up of repeating tiles. You didn't have parallax either. On 16 bit systems, everyone used multiple parallax layers in the background, but still everything was made from tiles (using much larger images as tiles). This seemed like it was all one huge images that fin and jake were walking past.

Also, what's a bit confusing is that 16 bit, or even lots of 32-bit PC games (like Starcraft, DOOM, etc) used an 8-bit color depth, where you had 8 bits per pixel, but with each pixel being from a much larger palette. This video looked like it was made with a large palette squished down to maybe 8 bits or so. So it looks like a 16 bit game with an 8 bit color palette. (that is, 256 possible colors)

The NES had 54 possible colors, of which, only 25 could be displayed at once (that's technically log254 = 5.748 'bits' total with only log225 = 4.64 'bits' on screen at once)


----

Anyway, one thing I like about adventure time is how much the world seems like a distillation of like every video game world from the 8-bit/16-bit era.
posted by delmoi at 12:29 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll be honest, I've never made it past Bouncy Bee.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 12:33 PM on March 3, 2012


But they're obviously walking past a single static image that would have been way to large to include in an 8-bit game cartridge

I don't think this is true. It has to be done cleverly with bank switching, but you could have large scrolling areas with lots of non-repeating tiles if you really focus on making it work. It's wasteful of memory and processor time so it's not suitable for gameplay, but there are things you can do, like switching between graphic sets midway down the frame using raster interrupts. And large expanses of empty sky can render down to single repeated tiles easily, taking some of the pressure off.

But the color depth in the animation, and the multiple graphic layers, are not possible on an NES.
posted by JHarris at 12:45 PM on March 3, 2012


(You would need to use some of the more advanced mapping chips though, like MMC3. A lot of what the NES can potentially do is actually provided by special hardware in the carts, much like the Atari 2600. I'm not an expert on the NES hardware, but I have a very good idea of what would be required to do this on a C64, and there are some similarities between the two.)
posted by JHarris at 12:58 PM on March 3, 2012


Love it.

Isn't the point of a shield, though, usually that it isn't part of your body?
posted by gurple at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2012


Isn't the point of a shield, though, usually that it isn't part of your body?

For people who aren't Jake, sure.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:35 PM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huge thanks to: ... Pendleton Ward for making one of the most amazing, imaginative and original IPs ever.

He... he called it an IP. Not a show, not a cartoon, not a setting, not a world, not a universe, an... IP. I can't quite put my finger on why I find this rather depressing, but I do.
posted by Spatch at 1:43 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the only legal way to get them onto your PC is to TiVo them and transfer them over. Which I have been dutifully doing. (Getting them in 1080i HD makes up for the Cartoon Network wall-o-banners!)
posted by Lazlo at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2012


But they're obviously walking past a single static image that would have been way to large to include in an 8-bit game cartridge Super Mario brothers 1 on the NES was about 50kb

Mega Man for the NES had 1 megabit of memory. (hence the name?)
posted by ShutterBun at 2:45 PM on March 3, 2012


I don't think this is true. It has to be done cleverly with bank switching, but you could have large scrolling areas with lots of non-repeating tiles if you really focus on making it work.
No doubt the technology would have been capable of it, but I meant simply that the physical space on the cartage would have made it wasteful, just in terms of the file size. You didn't have a lot of space to store graphics. But that said by the end of the NES area there were some pretty large ROMs (dragon quest 4 was 1MB action 52 was apparently 2MB). But yeah there were way too many colors.
He... he called it an IP. Not a show, not a cartoon, not a setting, not a world, not a universe, an... IP. I can't quite put my finger on why I find this rather depressing, but I do.
That's pretty common terminology in the video game industry/press, for some reason. I guess because you're dealing with a set of characters/settings/stories/etc that doesn't really have a well defined term to encapsulate everything. "Universe" is commonly used (i.e. marvel universe, starwars universe, etc)

Anyway speaking of the adventure time universe, what's the deal with it anyway? The article that Rhaomi linked too described it as 'post apocalyptic', which I don't think is really correct. It's more like a vast despoiled natural world, but there are all these, like hints of stuff that's like the stuff we have in our world used to exist long ago. Like the random artifacts and whatnot.

Also spoilers if you haven't seen all the episodes, skip the rest of my comment if you care:

And actually if you look closely at the first few frames of the intro sequence (which I did after looking at that comic panel version) It shows like a bunch of bombs shells half buried in the grass (As well as a chopped off limb hanging in a tree!? Not something you'd expect to see in a kids show :P)

One of the strongest hints about the past was in the episode where Fin and Jake go inside Marceline's memory. (that's one of the episodes that really highlights just how strong the writing in the show can be, at least in my opinion) One of the memories is of her as a little girl, playing in this post-apocalyptic wasteland. Except we know she's like a thousand years old.

Anyway, apparently there is an adventure time wiki on wikia, the same site that has wookiepedia (starwars)and memory alpha (startrek). I was looking at the article on marceline (to check her age) and they mentioned something about "mushroom war" [link] which they say might have been the cause of everything. Then there is the episode about the Ice King's VHS tapes, some of which show him as a normal person in a seemingly normal world before gaining his powers (Both of those are in season 3 I think).

Actually this thread reminded me that I'm way behind on season three.

On preview:
Mega Man for the NES had 1 megabit of memory. (hence the name?)
Keep in mind the difference between a megabit and a megabyte. 1mbit = 128kB.
posted by delmoi at 2:55 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is mathematical. I really really really want this to be a real thing.

My favourite sequence from the first issue of the comic was JAAAAAAKE SUUUUUUUUUUUUIT!
posted by robcorr at 4:27 PM on March 3, 2012


Well, to really examine this....

The 6502 workalike inside the NES is only capable of addressing 64K at once, but using bank switching tricks there is no theoretical maximum to the number of bytes it can address. Cost concerns were what kept the size of NES games down. The largest NES game appears to be Metal Slader Glory, by HAL Labs, released in Japan only, at 8 megabits/1 megabyte.

The NES on NTSC has a screen resolution of 256x224 pixels. That's 57344 bits. A 1 bit plane covering that size would fit within 64 kilobits, or 8 kilobytes. (The C64 has a resolution of 320x200, and it has a high resolution mode that can display arbitrary graphics over close to this size of bitmap, it all fits just barely within 8K.) There are NES games that can display arbitrary graphics: QIX is one.

A one bit plane is a two color, black-and-white image. Of course, the animation has a lot more colors than that, but we know it's too many for the NES anyway. And anyway, the NES cannot draw multiple overlapping backgrounds. So, how many could we display?

Simply, adding one plane to the bitmap doubles the number of colors. Four colors is 16K, 8 colors is 24K, 16 colors is 32K. Assuming no kind of compression is being used, a 256-color image is 64 kilobytes in size, just enough to fit in a 6502's address space. Scrolling the
Tile systems became popular for graphics hardware, I think, because you don't need to change nearly as many bytes to affect a sizable portion of the screen, so you can do things like clear the whole screen in a single frame with a 1 MHz chip, and because it also serves as a kind of image compression. A single-color, or even simple-patterned background doesn't need independently manipulable pixels to be rendered, you can just fill a region of screen memory with the same tile. It means having to line up your images to fit the grid, but that's a fairly easy trade-off to make. It's great for taking sections of blank sky and rendering them down into single-byte symbols. But that's a simple example. Any repeated areas of graphics on the screen, so long as they align with the tilemap, can be similarly rendered.

Interestingly, Nintendo's own games did not often store levels as plain tilemaps, but used software to "paint" groups of tiles onscreen in sequence on the fly as the screen scrolled. The Legend of Zelda's overworld is stored as sequences of vertical "stripes" of objects, which explains that game's idiosyncratic appearance. I seem to remember reading that Super Mario's overworld is stored the same way. Mario 2 and 3 used a different system, that draw sections of rectangular fields of tiles into off-screen areas on the fly. A hillside in Mario 2, or a "block" like the infamous White Block in Mario 3, is drawn on the screen as a field of tiles with special borders. It's a fairly ingenious solution. (The NES had an entire screen-sized area to scroll into, but the C64 only had a two-character-size region off-screen at once, AND the screen had to be put into a reduced width mode to provide it, which is one of the reasons that scrolling games are harder to implement on that hardware.)
posted by JHarris at 4:37 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I forgot to add:
When we talk about advancing computer graphics, what we're actually talking about is the advance in graphic display relative to cost. The principles of displaying lots of colors at once have been with us since at least the Atari 2600, which had a surprisingly large palette, but storing that data in memory requires processor time to manipulate, and memory to store, and silicon to convert into the proper video signals at the right time, and those things are expensive. The 2600 had 128 bytes of memory. A Nintendo 3DS has 64 MB. Both systems can make up for it, though, by using ROM space, the 2600 making it directly accessible, the 3DS loading it into RAM out of storage.

Computer construction is always a matter of what's the best you can do with the budget allowed, and as with many things where if you relax a fundamental restriction "impossible" things suddenly become able to be realized, if you increase the manufacturing budget you can display astounding (for the time) things. That's what the Neo-Geo did; it could display graphics a generation ahead of its time, but it cost a lot of money to manufacture. It was profitable for what it was I guess, but it remains more of a footnote in gaming hardware because the price kept it out of the hands of most players.

Towards the end of its life the NES could display much better graphics than at the start because manufacturers included more complex mapping chips. They really went crazy with this in Japan, where manufacturers each made their own carts (in a wide variety of styles). In the US, however, Nintendo kept a much tighter hold on their leash, and demanded as a condition of licensing the right to manufacture each cartridge themselves, giving most of them the trademark NES-era gray case. This was, I think, so they could retain control over the lockout chip that was the key to their business model, but it also limited the number of special mapper chips that they would build into a cart.

This is why the Japanese version of Castlevania III had worse music here than in Japan, they were redeveloped to use one of Nintendo's off-the-shelf chips instead of the custom chip Konami used in Akumajō Densetsu. Cost and business methods directly contributed to making the game substantively worse in the US than in its original release. My point is, this sort of thing went on all the time, it is a little-considered aspect of that age of game development.
posted by JHarris at 4:54 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


(Yeah, I geeked out about this a bit.)
posted by JHarris at 4:54 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind the difference between a megabit and a megabyte. 1mbit = 128kB

I felt it was relevant, as the post I was responding to appeared to state that Super Mario Bros. was 50 kilobits. (possibly they actually meant kilobytes)

I think NES cartridges peaked at about 4 megabits, but I wonder if it was simply due to the physical size of memory chips at the time. Could they have crammed more into the cartridges if the cases were made longer? And would the NES be able to use it all?

But yeah, the color palette definitely looks too complex for 8 bit.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:28 PM on March 3, 2012


JHarris: "This is why the Japanese version of Castlevania III had worse music here than in Japan, they were redeveloped to use one of Nintendo's off-the-shelf chips instead of the custom chip Konami used in Akumajō Densetsu."

Fascinating! Videos for comparison: Japanese, USA.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:57 PM on March 3, 2012


I think NES cartridges peaked at about 4 megabits

Famicom, I hear, it was 8. On the NES, Kirby's Adventure was 6.
posted by JHarris at 12:06 AM on March 4, 2012


Action52 was 16 megabits :)
posted by delmoi at 8:03 AM on March 4, 2012


That was awesome, although I was secretly hoping for a cameo from Party Pat.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:24 AM on March 4, 2012


I love these threads.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:35 PM on March 4, 2012


Oh. My. Glob. 8-bit Treetrunks!
posted by buzzkillington at 9:23 PM on March 4, 2012


Is there a legal way to buy all the AT episodes and keep them on my hard drive for anytime viewing? I have been wanting them for a while.

All four seasons are available on iTunes, if that works for you.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:23 AM on March 5, 2012


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