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Forums > Submission Feedback > JoeTheDestroyer's River Raid review

This thread is in response to a review for River Raid on the Atari 2600. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Felix_Arabia
Posted: November 07, 2010 (07:24 AM)
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Thanks for writing this. The game brings back old memories as one of the first games of consequence that I ever had the opportunity to play. I remember, or at least have altered to remember, the twisting river ways that narrow over the horizon, the limited fuel barrels and their wily aero-guardians, and that harrowing sense of urgency that the plane was fulfilling the mother of all missions, but its chance for success remaining aloof no matter what prior level progression bore. Good stuff.

I don't have to boost my review resume because I have a real resume.

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Author: sashanan
Posted: November 08, 2010 (01:20 PM)
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Lovely game, this. Couple of bits of pointless trivia:

- One of the first well known games to have been programmed by a woman.
- There is a theoretically infinite number of levels. Rather than fit these into the Atari's limited memory, the game actually runs an algorhythm that calculates what the level should look like, gradually adding rougher terrain, more enemies and less fuel tanks as the levels progress. But since there is no random factor in the algorhythm, the levels actually look the same each time and give the illusion of conscious design. (First X levels might actually have it, not sure.)
- Hilarious in hindsight: this game was refused classifiation and thus effectively banned in Germany for its excessive violence. Yeah.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 08, 2010 (01:32 PM)
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Isn't it conscious design if someone develops an algorithm to define the levels and there's no random factor? What's the practical difference between a level that has 2 enemies and a level that has 1 enemy plus 1 enemy?

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto on secret doors to another world

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Author: aschultz
Posted: November 08, 2010 (02:57 PM)
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Err...nothing, the way you state it. I think you didn't quite mean what you meant to mean. Hope this is not logical quibbling.

I think something can be quasi-random but still doable, and I think that's useful if people are trying to learn patterns, or if you want to give credit for rewarding patterns so nothing TOO unfair happens when you put random stuff together, e.g. if you had no way out after having to shoot a bunch of enemies because it took too long before refueling.

I suppose you could also have, say, a sequence of 1000000 random numbers, subject to the first 100 being from 1 to 100, up to 1000 being 1 to 90, up to 10000 being 1 to 80, and so forth. This would still be random, but repetitive, to allow for pattern recognition etc.

level 1 = 1st 5
level 2 = 1st 10 (as opposed to 6-10)
level 3 = 1st 15 (as opposed to 11-15)
...and so forth.

It would still be random, but a bit hedged. In either case, we could claim conscious design. Just in one case, we would deliberately want to repeat, and in the other, we would not.

Hope I'm making sense.

My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips

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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: November 10, 2010 (03:39 AM)
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Haha! Banned for excessive violence. That's great!

The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.

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Author: sashanan
Posted: November 10, 2010 (11:51 AM)
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Well, what I meant to say is, level 38 is always the same level 38, but it wasn't drawn out on paper and playtested and enemies added and removed until it felt just right.

Of course, who knows how often that algorhythm was tweaked before the game in general felt "just right", so I suppose that too is a form of conscious design, just on a different level.


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