First Reader- Ryan

In playing the three different versions of Pac-Man it is interesting to see how even a simple game like that can evolve over time.  Most of the changes can be seen in the graphics department but subtle changes transform the game like the change in sound or even the small attempt at evolving the story by giving the enemy ghost like characters names.  Now instead of just Pac-Man versus things, we see he is battling Blinky, Pinky, Inkey, and Clyde.  Pac-Man is attempting to steal energy right from under their noses with some helpful large dots to change the guards into edible objects.  Even the sound of Pac-Man “dying” gives it the feel of “dying”.  What before seemed a fun endeavor, is now is a fretful mission to stay alive.

The evolution of the game is no doubt due to the advancements in how much RAM was available to be used in making the game.  As pointed out in the article Racing the Beam, the original Atari 2600 only had 128 bytes of RAM, while the NES had 4 kilobytes, and the flash version no doubt has substantially more than that.  The availability and affordability of RAM surely has contributed to the evolution of gaming.  It would be quite difficult to tell the story of Call of Duty Black Ops if Treyarch were limited to using 128 bytes of RAM.  One could equate the technology early game developers were limited to with writing a story only using a total word of around fifteen words.

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2 Responses to First Reader- Ryan

  1. While it’s true that it’d be difficult to port modern games like Call of Duty to an old Atari VCS, that hasn’t stopped people from trying. In fact, there’s a whole category of games called “demakes,” which are modern games recreated—or reimagined—to run on earlier platforms. Ian Bogost, one of the authors of Racing the Beam, has even taught a class devoted to the study and creation of demakes.

  2. Jason Ko says:

    Speaking of shooters remade into “retro” versions of themselves, there is a 2D version of CounterStrike, as well as a flash version of Portal.

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