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you are a robotron head.
September 12, 2006 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Have you played Robotron today?
posted by 6am (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

That used to be my favorite game, the higher levels are just sensory overload. I always wanted to get one for my house. Playing it with out double joy sticks is very difficult.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:41 PM on September 12, 2006

The sound is half of what makes that game great. I've also recently been researching proper double joystick setups I could use on the PC. Best thing I came up would be getting two of these...they even come in Robotron red.

Also, the wiki page for Robotron has some good tactical advice on it.
posted by 6am at 4:47 PM on September 12, 2006

I need to finish my Mame cabinet.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:49 PM on September 12, 2006

I loved Robotron and Smash TV, the two joystick system always worked really well for me. Can't wait to get home and fool around with this. Thanks 6am!
posted by quin at 4:51 PM on September 12, 2006

My best games would go for hours.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:52 PM on September 12, 2006

Robotron was my favorite arcade game of all time (closely followed by Defender, also a Williams game from the same team).

You can still play the original with the MAME emulator and the ROM, of which you need to have a legal *cough* backup.

As far as the double joystick goes, this is what you want (I haven't bought one, but by god I'm tempted):
Measuring in at 25 inches from side to side with 15 LBS of heavy-duty industrial grade materials, the X-Arcade™ Two-Player makes it feel like you are playing an arcade console. Both of you can yank away at the joysticks, smash the fire buttons, and get lost in the rush of the game, this game controller can take it. You don’t have to take our word for it either, we back up its bullet-proof physique with a Lifetime Warranty.
assuming you can rig it to use both joysticks for single player (which would be trivial if the drivers are any good).

(on preview, beaten with the MAME thing. You don't need to build a cabinet, though, of course -- it works just dandy on your PC (even ones with low specs).)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:53 PM on September 12, 2006

Yeah, the X-Arcade dual sticky stick is amazing, but it's too much money.

I wonder if anyone reading this has tried the dual competition pro idea and knows if it'll work with mame?
posted by 6am at 5:00 PM on September 12, 2006

Yeah, the X-Arcade dual sticky stick is amazing, but it's too much money.

Well, it is pricey, and I am the King of Frugalzania, but if the action of the sticks and buttons have that solid, industrial tactility of the cabinets of old (and if the unit weighs in at 7kg, they probably do), and when I think about how many thousands of quarters I pumped into them in the 80's, I reckon it's a solid purchase (pun intended), and almost worth the raised eyebrow of the wife. Particularly with the lifetime guaranteed.

Problem for me (*sob*) is there's no distributor in Korea. Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:07 PM on September 12, 2006

GOD did I love Robotron.
Thank you.
posted by squidfartz at 5:07 PM on September 12, 2006

rampage and defender , great stuff.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:09 PM on September 12, 2006

Sorry, just finished playing with an X-Arcade dual, only managed 250k. I would recomend against the x-arcade.

The x-arcade dual used the ps/2 port and communicates with keystrokes.

First, our first dual was defective, so we had to return it to Fry's and get another.

I have found it very likely to feeze going one direction, it gets overloaded with alot of play. Really annoying in robotron esp on the higher levels.

On our daily marvel vs capcom games here at work, we find one strategy would be to overload the controller, thus the 'swishes' of the opponents get chopped up and don't work.

Also being a ps/2 device, only one of them can operate at a time. No hope for 4 player gauntlet.

We're looking for a good USB device to replace it, or we're going to gut its electronics and replace it with a usb gamepad's.
posted by jboy55 at 5:11 PM on September 12, 2006

Bummer, jboy55, but thanks for the heads-up. *takes it off his wishlist*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:16 PM on September 12, 2006

There needs to be a more standard way to plug game controllers into web browsers.
posted by delmoi at 5:20 PM on September 12, 2006

> almost worth the raised eyebrow of the wife. Particularly with the lifetime guaranteed.

Do they guarantee your life? That's not how I read it.
posted by jfuller at 5:24 PM on September 12, 2006

Anyone else having flash difficulties with Safari?

...This makes myself and baby Jeebus cry because we love all of these games and can't play them.
posted by rollbiz at 5:32 PM on September 12, 2006

I have no idea what the root of it is, but Rampage has held sway over me for what seems like ever. I even had a birthday .party at the local bowling alley, knowing perfectly well how awesome tag-team six-person Rampage would be in comparison to duck pins.

And now I can play it in a browser! You've made that nine-year-old very happy.
posted by now i'm piste at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2006

Do they guarantee your life? That's not how I read it.

See, now I was going to correct that typo in a quick followup, but I know how many people are driven to frothing apoplectic heights of towering geek rage by people who have the temerity to waste precious time by doing so, so I figured it was obvious and let it slide.

And got tweaked anyway. Just can't win on Snarkfilter, can you?

There needs to be a more standard way to plug game controllers into web browsers.

Er, we were talking about MAME, not the browser games. I would have thought that was obvious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:44 PM on September 12, 2006

Heh, I thought jfuller was claiming that if it made your wife's eyebrow rise too much, you'd need something protecting your life.
posted by kenko at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2006

That is possible.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2006

Anyone else having flash difficulties with Safari?

Looks like the ArcadeEmulator2 Flash Xtra doesn't exist for OSX. I couldn't find it anyway. Very upsetting, as I'm now incredibly desperate to play browser Rampage.
posted by mosessmith at 6:21 PM on September 12, 2006

Anyone else having flash difficulties with Safari?

...This makes myself and baby Jeebus cry because we love all of these games and can't play them.

Yeah doesn't work for the mac in Firefox or explorer either. Figures.
posted by tkchrist at 6:24 PM on September 12, 2006

Man, I remember Joust well, and Defender. What was that game where you were a geometric shape and you shot down a geometric tube to get to the next level?
posted by Eekacat at 6:35 PM on September 12, 2006

Tempest. Another great game I play via emulation all the time (but not having the twiddly-knob makes it way harder).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:59 PM on September 12, 2006

Eekacat: Tempest.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:59 PM on September 12, 2006

Screw the last human family! You do everything under the sun to help them survive, and what do they give back in return? Nothing!
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:15 PM on September 12, 2006

I love the 2 joystick games as well. My favorite is "Total Carnage" which was the sequel to Smash TV.

If you want to play properly and not buy a couple of those big joysticks, I recommend buying a gamepad with two analog sticks. You know, like the PS2 (or Xbox, etc.) uses. I think you can even buy an adapter for your PS2 controllers.

I got a Logitech Wingman for about $2 at a thrift store, but I wouldn't really recommend it.

Oh, and you should really use them with MAME :)
posted by redteam at 7:24 PM on September 12, 2006

posted by sourwookie at 7:27 PM on September 12, 2006

Ponce De Leon constantly on
The fountain of youth not Robotron

--Beastie Boys
posted by sourwookie at 7:31 PM on September 12, 2006

Sinistar was the best game of the era, IMHO.

Williams was great for putting out crazy ass fast paced games that would burn your your entire quarter stash in mere minutes.
posted by drstein at 8:37 PM on September 12, 2006

Sinistar was good, but the Warriors are too vicious in my book; they kill me far more often than the Sinistar does.

Robotron's damn near perfect however.
posted by JHarris at 8:58 PM on September 12, 2006

Oh, and Smart Dalek, they give back POINTS. That's important because if you don't keep rescuing people to get those large score bonuses, you'll never get the extra lives needed to survive later levels.
posted by JHarris at 8:59 PM on September 12, 2006

Nothing in my many many many years of video gaming has every been as satisfying as a perfect run through the Walking Brain Guys stages, rescuing every last pink pixelated mommy for floating 5000 point after floating 5000 point bonus; wrenching those big chunky joysticks around, sweating and throwing in body english, with a crowd arrayed in a half-circle behind you murmuring 'holy shit's as you reach that perfect Flow, barely catching a breath during the rainbow wipe between levels, and diving in again: no respite, no stopping, just go!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:18 PM on September 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

O my GOD. Thank you for this.

I just visited the Musee Mechanique is San Francisco, which has a bunch of the classic (for a quarter!), but to play them at nice.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:26 PM on September 12, 2006

Wonderful. Thanks for the link. If you're looking for a further fix, I recommend Llamatron (by the genius Jeff Minter). Also there are Gridrunner, Tempest and Revenge of the Mutant Camels.
posted by greycap at 10:53 PM on September 12, 2006

Greycap, sadly the version of Llamatron on that page is slowdown-tastic under Windows XP. Better off searching out a copy of the Atari ST version and playing it via emulation.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:14 AM on September 13, 2006

It always makes me happy to see original ROMs played in an emulator like this, instead of someone's ill-conceived attempt at recreating the game in some new programming language. Perfect timings, graphics, a nice thing. Particularly since it gives air to obscurities like Satan's Hollow. Shame there's no Joust 2 though.

I wonder what trademark disaster caused them to republish this as "Defender II" instead of "Stargate"?
posted by Nelson at 12:32 AM on September 13, 2006

At the time, Kenner owned trademark rights to the name "Stargate".
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:58 AM on September 14, 2006

Thanks for this. Joust is one of my favourite games of all time.
posted by teleskiving at 4:56 AM on September 14, 2006

One reason why people may find it difficult to re-enact their high scores of old in Robotron is that the MAME emulation of Robotron is perfect.

But the original Robotron machine was not.

The original Robotron hardware actually started maxing out once a certain number of enemies were on screen at the same time; this inability to handle the demand meant that some enemies were skipped at each movement phase in order to try to catch up to the action, and the entire action got a little bit slower.

That's right -- not only are you the player going into sensory overload and fighting against tunnel vision and trying to make microsecond decisions in the heat of battle, but so was the CPU, on the other side of the glass. Not only were you fighting against implacable computer opponents on screen, but you were literally warring against an implacable computer opponent emulating the conflict -- and forcing it to struggle and lose.

Of course, modern computers could run thousands of Robotrons simultaneously. So they don't exhibit this gradual slowdown. As a result, even the best players now get steamrolled in MAME because their plucky human ability, which rested just above the threshold of a 1982 CPU, is now well under that of a 2006 CPU.

The machines have won...and among the casualties of the unstoppable Brains is Robotron.
posted by felix at 8:58 AM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

A PlayStation 2 controller and an adapter works great for cheap Robotron-like dual sticks. It's not the same of course, but it's close, and I don't have any stuck keys problem like you can get with a keyboard-emulating arcade stick. If you don't have a PS2 already, there are a few gamepads (Logitech makes some) that are essentially the same pad with a USB cable on the end.

The PS2 controller works very well for other dual-stick games like GridWars 2 (as seen right here!) and Mutant Storm. And MAME.

If you want your own non-stickable arcade stick you might have to build your own and use an I-PAC which they say "is the ONLY keyboard encoder to have up to 56 inputs each with it's own dedicated microprocessor pin. Each input is interrupt-driven for NO interaction or delays, vital for multi-button games such as fighting games." Or maybe use an UltraStik, that looks nice too. I don't know, I haven't done this yet, but obviously I want to...

I love dual stick games. I dropped many quarters into Smash TV, which was the dual stick game at the time, and that control scheme is just as fun today with all these other games.
posted by drstupid at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2006

whoah, that Ultrastik looks badass! Having USB connection is very smart too, making it easy to put together a custom controller. I want it...but it'd be £70 to buy two stiks...
posted by 6am at 12:53 PM on September 14, 2006

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