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Did CPC games get better over time?


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Well, obviously they did, but there is a question that people often ask as to whether you should take that into account when you review a game - that later games will be better.  Should you review against the current benchmark or the potential benchmark?

 

I wasn't actually that interested in the answer to that question but I was fiddling with some data and thought you might like to see.  This is taken from the Amstrad Action reviews list.

 

image.thumb.png.3e470b18a35e3716bfb0db65e644cfca.png

 

Note that the primary axis is truncated since they reviewed 140 games in issue 1.

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I've just interviewed an Atari developer who mentioned that because they made so many games on the system and the hardware was around for so long they simply get better and better with coding techniques. Maybe that has something to do with it, developer's realising that you can do more with the system than simply porting ZX Spectrum games to it.

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45 minutes ago, gunrock said:

Or did the later games near the end of the magazine run get higher rated to appreciate the developer's efforts in a dwindling market?

 

In general you shouldn't trust a single-format mag's reviews when the format is on its arse. A lot of the time they are pumping up the scores just to make readers feel more positive about the machine and keep buying the magazine.

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Single-system mags at the time would re-review games when they came out on budget. Would be interesting to do a comparison between original and budget reviews and see how views changed. 

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Yes. There is a clear distinction between the games released in 84 to those released is say 1990. Compare Rainbow Islands or Robocop to the Galactic Plague or Roland in the Caves

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Those early pack-in games were very basic. Roland in the Caves, Roland in Time, on the Ropes, Harrier Attack etc etc. but I was still playing them right to the end. Great as a game like Robocop was, having to multi load on tape could get fucked.

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32 minutes ago, Nathan Wind said:

Those early pack-in games were very basic. Roland in the Caves, Roland in Time, on the Ropes, Harrier Attack etc etc. but I was still playing them right to the end. Great as a game like Robocop was, having to multi load on tape could get fucked.

 

Did any later releases of the CPC sort this? Think the 128K Speccy did. Unless that's just my dodgy memory.

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1 hour ago, Lorfarius said:

 

Did any later releases of the CPC sort this? Think the 128K Speccy did. Unless that's just my dodgy memory.

Yeah most games that were multi load on the 464 were loaded in one go on the 6128 machines.

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There were a few tricks with the CPC that only got discovered quite late, such as timing mid-frame CRTC updates to get smoother scrolling, and pre-shifting each sprite 4 times in memory to get around the nasty video memory layout.

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On 28/07/2022 at 13:42, Vimster said:

Single-system mags at the time would re-review games when they came out on budget. Would be interesting to do a comparison between original and budget reviews and see how views changed. 

 

That's actually what I originally wanted to do but I was having some difficulty working out how to extract the data.  Still working on it.

 

 

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On 28/07/2022 at 12:35, Rex Grossman said:

 

In general you shouldn't trust a single-format mag's reviews when the format is on its arse. A lot of the time they are pumping up the scores just to make readers feel more positive about the machine and keep buying the magazine.

 

While I would ordinarily agree with you, when you look at some of the games that AA reviewed towards the end of its life, the scores they gave stack up today.  Fluff and Megablasters are genuinely great games.  Of the last few games they released, one was given 37% and one was given 75% (Street Rally and Masters of Space respectively) - and try those on an emulator and I can't see you disagreeing with the scores.

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3 hours ago, Xevious said:

 

While I would ordinarily agree with you, when you look at some of the games that AA reviewed towards the end of its life, the scores they gave stack up today.  Fluff and Megablasters are genuinely great games.  Of the last few games they released, one was given 37% and one was given 75% (Street Rally and Masters of Space respectively) - and try those on an emulator and I can't see you disagreeing with the scores.

 

I'm sure there are examples of scores being fair (and games later in a machines life should at the very least be more technically impressive) but if you take the dying days of any console or computer and see what the magazines are saying they are generally far too optimistic.

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Kim Justice talks about this a bit in her recent video on budget rereleases. If I remember correctly (and I'm at work so can't check) Head Over Heels went from the original 95% to something in the 60s. Will dig out the link later if I remember :)

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5 minutes ago, Rex Grossman said:

 

I'm sure there are examples of scores being fair (and games later in a machines life should at the very least be more technically impressive) but if you take the dying days of any console or computer and see what the magazines are saying they are generally far too optimistic.

That’s why I found Amiga Power so refreshing at the time… Rather than claiming that the Amiga was going to have a resurgence once everyone bought accelerator boards and rating games highly for merely existing, they openly recognised that the Amiga was dying. And wasn’t afraid to rate the substandard rubbish being released at the time review scores of 2% or whatever.

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On 28/07/2022 at 13:42, Vimster said:

Single-system mags at the time would re-review games when they came out on budget. Would be interesting to do a comparison between original and budget reviews and see how views changed. 

I think @Kim Justicecovers that in her latest video on Hit Squad re-releases, and gives some good examples of how game scores change between releases. Mostly downwards, as a lot of games are initially marked highly due to the hype around whatever arcade game or movie they are licensed from, or even just the marketing hype around original games. Once they are re-released and that hype has died down, it becomes apparent that they are actually pretty crap games!

There are a few occasions where it is reversed though, and games that originally got poor scores are marked highly on re-release. 

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There’s a couple of examples of that in ZZAP! too, the most memorable being Warren Lapworth trashing Quedex from Thalamus (which got a Sizzler on full price release and 60-odd% on budget)

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I remember Super Mario 3 being released on PAL and being reviewed after the same magazine had reviewed Mario 4 on import.  Jaz Rignal reviewed SMB4 and said it was amazing, then later reviewed SMB3 and said how, in a number of ways it even beats Mario 4 on the Super Famicom. Then when SMB4 launched with the PAL version they said how it was better than SMB3 in every way.  I can't remember if this was Mean Machines or not, or whether I just made all that up, or why I'm still typing.  Anyway, Submit.

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On 28/07/2022 at 11:49, gunrock said:

Or did the later games near the end of the magazine run get higher rated to appreciate the developer's efforts in a dwindling market?

Always happened, the final Amiga games that were out during the last issues of the Amiga magazines were apparently all masterpieces.

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5 hours ago, dave7g said:

Always happened, the final Amiga games that were out during the last issues of the Amiga magazines were apparently all masterpieces.

ap.png.9562b2311afbdacbd9e53235eec6702c.png

 

Certainly sounds like a masterpiece (from Amiga Power's final issue - the game being Kick Off 96).

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Well I'm sorry I can't remember every single article from game magazines fro0m 30 years ago. If you think mags about dying systems weren't pretending everything was rosy and the games were just as as good as the newer consoles, you are mistaken.

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On 01/08/2022 at 11:44, Xevious said:

Of the last few games they released, one was given 37% and one was given 75% (Street Rally and Masters of Space respectively) 

 

If I recall right, Street Rally was very poorly received because it was basically a renamed re-release of a much earlier game.

 

Edit: I've kinda misremembered. The review was on its own terms, the claims of it being another game entirely came a few issues later: 

 

image.png.ca548ce7c9b10d316f8660e4b4c82a57.png

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On 28/07/2022 at 13:42, Vimster said:

Single-system mags at the time would re-review games when they came out on budget. Would be interesting to do a comparison between original and budget reviews and see how views changed. 

 

Amstrad Action gave Head Over Heels a shocking 62% in 1990, despite it being just as good then as it was when it came out.

 

EDIT: I should read the thread before replying :lol: - what earlymodernsteve said.

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2 hours ago, dave7g said:

Well I'm sorry I can't remember every single article from game magazines fro0m 30 years ago. If you think mags about dying systems weren't pretending everything was rosy and the games were just as as good as the newer consoles, you are mistaken.

Can you remember something from five posts before your original one?

 

22 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

That’s why I found Amiga Power so refreshing at the time… Rather than claiming that the Amiga was going to have a resurgence once everyone bought accelerator boards and rating games highly for merely existing, they openly recognised that the Amiga was dying. And wasn’t afraid to rate the substandard rubbish being released at the time review scores of 2% or whatever.

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