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Spear Diver - Atari 2600 Hombrew Binary Release


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Hey All!

Today, I'm happy to release the bin file for Spear Diver, an Atari 2600 Homebrew game. After getting feedback on the artwork style I had chosen for this game (and if I should continue with it into the future), I was humbled by the kind words of @TrekMD, @G-type, @Link  and @darkchylde28. I was even more humbled by the interest they had in trying my game out. That being said, I have decided to release the binary. All 10 physical CIB copies have sold off at this point, but I would be humbled and honored for anyone here to try the game out and add it to their own personal digital library.

This game was created with my young nephews, daughter and step-kids in mind. I wanted to create a game for kids. I fell in love with the Atari 2600 as a kid, and I can only hope that I can pass along some of that appreciation to the younger generation in my family and maybe contribute to the community of people still trying to keep this system alive. The game is short, only 4 small "levels", but coupled with a bit of frantic action and a need to pay attention to multiple things at once, I hope the game gives everyone at least a few minutes of fun. From watching my younger nephews play, to having the game officially demoed at Game-On in Smithtown NY and seeing a group of guys my own age all struggle and laugh until they finally completed the game, I am truly humbled. The support from this community has been simply icing on the cake.

In the physical copy release, the box and manual both contain a QR code that alludes to a secret within the game. I had purposefully left a small bug in the code that would allow the player to cheat at a specific point in the game. The first person who emailed me and could prove, and describe the cheat would receive a prize I've put aside for the winner. While I have sold out of physical copies, I still have yet to announce a winner for this small contest. (I've gotten a few questions, but none have truly found it so far). I am now opening the floor up to you all. ROM plays will now qualify for this contest, and if YOU happen to be the person to find this hidden "bug," I'll have a small prize for you as a token of my appreciation for playing my game.

If you happen to be a seasoned Atari Veteran, and this game poses little challenge to you, I encourage you... put the joystick in the hands of a kid and watch them have a go at it. You may just see some frustration in their face that we can all probably relate to here, when we were younger.

As far as replay value, I will be honest and say that I believe there is very little once you've figured out the tricks. However, as the coder of the game I have some very strong opinions on what may or not be able to be accomplished with a speed run. I would love to see someone give that a go and finish the game with the highest score possible while making a break for the treasure chest from the very start.

The other reason to come back and play would be to find that cheat.  🙂

I must ask for anyone and everyone who is able to: read through the ReadMe.md, the full manual, and use classic hardware when possible. Any joystick will add to the game, but I've found that the classic controller, and those in that style do this game the most justice. The arrow keys on the keyboard simply aren't the same and steal from a bit of the fun in this game (which was a realization I had while beta testing, and a motivating factor in doing a hard copy only release up until today).

***A teaser hint to all who play: If you find yourself getting greedy when you notice fish appearing from one "schooling" location on the first level... you may want to rethink the way you go about capturing them... it only takes a few fish getting away from you to destroy those greedy gains 🙂

 

The ReadMe.md, Manual, and BIN can be found on my Github repo: here

 

Thanks to All who play, and good luck to those who try to find the cheat... I'll be waiting to see what's found.

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Hey All! Today, I'm happy to release the bin file for Spear Diver, an Atari 2600 Homebrew game. After getting feedback on the artwork style I had chosen for this game (and if I should continue wi

Hey @Lambda, thanks for sharing the binary and manual! 

Thanks so much for this!  Can't wait to give it a shot once I get home!

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@G-type nice!!! Happy you got to try it out! That’s a solid finish. Like I said it’s short and sweet mini game, (and mainly created as a fun way to teach my daughter some math concepts like Pythagorean theorem).

question: how many times did the shark get you before you were able to swim past? 😂

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1 hour ago, G-type said:

I figured out the strategy and now can get past the shark 100% of the time

Awesome!!! So now I have three questions to ask:

1) how many times did it take you to get to this point? (How many times did the shark catch you before you figured it out?... also: did you ever die by drowning? Or the squid?)

2) do you think you can speed run the game? (Start by catching no fish at all and making a mad dash for the treasure chest?)

3) did you notice anything “fishy” on the shark stage 😃 (pun intended). I can’t wait for someone to find the bug I left in the code that allows for the cheat!

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took me about a dozen tries to figure out the strategy. I can and have speed run the game with no fish. The squid never caught me once I knew to avoid him. I did drown on some of the occasions when I was building up a fish supply and had a run of bad luck early on with a bunch of fish near the top of the screen. (I hunted exclusively near the seaweed)

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2 hours ago, G-type said:

took me about a dozen tries to figure out the strategy. I can and have speed run the game with no fish. The squid never caught me once I knew to avoid him. I did drown on some of the occasions when I was building up a fish supply and had a run of bad luck early on with a bunch of fish near the top of the screen. (I hunted exclusively near the seaweed)

Haha yes, hunting in the seaweed can cause you to get greedy based on the “schooling” fish 🙂 this is something to be aware of when building air supply.

Awesome!!  If you make a fast Speed run, feel free to post that score and I’ll add it to the games pedigree! I’ve started keeping lists of speed run scores of players that submit them, I’d be happy to add yours if you post it!

you said something that caught my attention... seaweed... all I’m going to say 🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...

@G-type (You’re in second place behind me, and not by much at all!)(and I programmed the game 😂)

I’ve updated the Fastest Runner Board:

The board consists of the Top 5 fastest runs of this game based on submissions:

1)- Score: 23,300 - Lambda (Programmer)

2)- Score: 23,100 - G-Type

3)- Score: 22,500 - Rich H.

4)- Score: 20,400 - Justin Z.

5)- Score: 19,900 - Samiam

 

The fastest I’ve seen level 3 attained was with a score of 43,600. From there it becomes tricky. Movements and calculation are key.

(considering adding the Speed Run Scoreboard  as a file to the official Github). 
*I’ll request all future submissions to require an image of the Win screen with score. Even on a emulator/keyboard, I’ve found beating this relatively difficult to surpass the 23k score mark!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’m so incredibly humbled to make this post.

It took me 7 months to even find this... (my daughter turned 1, life gets in the way hah) but it appears The Immortal John Hancock did a Bonus Video review on Spear Diver, with over 820 views! The views, general review, the comments, and shares have me so completely stoked. I enjoy John’s videos so much for their straightforward and honest reviews regarding his perspective on the collecting hobby. 
Video can be found here

 

At the same time, I was amused to see the game now going for 60$ on Let-Go (and Sold!) Over 50% from my initial release price for CIB.

Page found Here

 

I hope to continue improving my code and will hopefully be able to produce more as I find the time. A HUGE THANKS to any and all who have given my simple mini-game a chance, whether by purchase or ROM download! I can’t even express how much that means to me. Thank you all!

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Edited by Lambda
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