Atari "Asteroids" Movie Director's Quote

In a recent interview with ComingSoon.net , the director of the upcoming Asteroids movie, Lorenzo di Bonaventura had this to say about the concept:

"...we really went after a mythology on the level of "Star Wars." We'll see if we succeeded or not, but it's not a simple like, the asteroid's gonna hit the – we never come to Earth. The entire movie takes place in the asteroid field "

Last year we wrote out own top-10 list of alternative ideas for the Asteroids movie.  Maybe #7 from that list is not so far-off after all:

7. U.F.O. : The owner of space rock mine in Alpha Centauri has been going about his business for 100s years until one day some malicious a-hole hyperspaces into his asteroid field, and start blowing-up all his precious products. What’s more, the bastard’s space-ship is really f*cking fast, and can shoot dozens of shots at once, while the owner’s slow moving giant U.F.O. fires one shot at a time and flies in a distinctive patterns that gets it blown out of the sky almost instantly. Can our hero use all of his ingenuity to build a better faster, smaller U.F.O. before all is lost? By studying the TV transmissions from a small blue planet 30 or so light years away, he uses his worm-hole transportation device to capture Earth’s greatest T.V engineers: Mike Brady (architect), Mr. T. (unique weapons crafter), McGyver (mechanical genius), .Murray from Riptide (hacker/robotics expert), and Arthur Fonzarelli (for that magic touch) and employs them all to help make a weapon that can save the family business from total destruction.

Read more: Top-10 Alternative Ideas for The Universal “Asteroids” Movie | 8bitrocket http://www.8bitrocket.com/2009/07/07/top-10-alternative-ideas-for-the-universal-asteroids-movie/#ixzz0uvC53dyr
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A TRON "Legacy"?

There will be a new TRON movie out this year and no one could be happier than I. I loved the first TRON movie when it was released back in 1982. While it was not a great movie, it came out at the exact right moment for me, smack-dab in the middle of the golden age of classic video games and arcades. Along with movies like War Games and Cloak And Dagger, it helped form a fantasy world of computers and video games that colored my childhood, and help lead to a successful career as an adult. At the same time, the associated arcade and console video games created to tie-in with the movie stand out as great game designs. They came from a more creative age when licensed games were more than just re-skinned platformers.

However, notice I emphasized for me up there in that last paragraph. That is because, TRON was not very popular at the time. I know this for a fact, because I sat in the near empty movie theater with my brother and my mom, watching the movie with none of my closest friends. In fact, I recall a couple of my friends flatly refusing to go, because it was a "Disney" movie they thought it looked "lame". Yes, there was a time, not too long ago, when the Disney name was associated with CRAP movies, and TRON did not escape this. While TRON was awesome for me as a 12-year old, that was not the general consensus at the time. No one talked about it. No one bought the trading cards, or the toys, and certainly no one else (that I knew of) wanted for a sequel. While my brother and I were able to convince one other friend to play "Tron Light Cycles" on our bikes, we would never admit to anyone else that was what we were doing.

The movie ended up making money that year (it cost $17 million and grossed $33 million), but that was peanuts in 1982, the year E.T. made $425 million. It was #22 on the box office list , and came in behind such "classics" as The Toy ($47 million), the Sword And The Sorcerer ($39 million), Best Friends ($36 million) and Friday The 13th Part III ($34 million). Even for a Disney movie, this was not a great total. The mostly forgotten Disney movie The Black Hole (seen in poster on the wall of the second trailer below, BTW)  from 1979 managed to make $35 million.

The fact is, for many years after TRON was released, people talked about it being a failure. That is why it has taken 28 years to see a sequel.

"The original “Tron,” released in 1982 and loaded with computer-generated effects, was a hit with the young male crowd, who quickly turned a related arcade game into a success. But the movie failed to attract a wide audience. The story — a man is pulled inside a video game and is forced to play space-age gladiator games — turned off mainstream moviegoers." - New York Times

However, I've noticed that there has been a lot of fan-fare for the new TRON or (TR2N) movie coming out in December. This weekend there was a very well received new trailer shown at Comicon in San Diego. However, before you see that one, watch this original trailer for the 1982 version of TRON:

And Now The New One for Tron Legacy

It looks really cool, but juxtaposed with the trailer for the first one, and the knowledge that it was pretty much failure, what kind of "Legacy" does the movie really have? The fact is, TRON was a victim of the same video game crash that destroyed the golden age of video games. While this new version has all the trappings of a blockbuster (CGI, 3D, hot young stars) will it really work? The upgraded graphics are cool, but do they make sense? There has obviously been a massive hardware upgrade since 1982 in TRON's world, but does that change the way things look inside a computer? Why is "Flynn's" arcade still in the same location with all the games still inside? Hasn't there been a bit of urban renewal in that location in the past 30 years? If not, why not? That story might be more interesting than a guy sucked inside a microprocessor.

I just don't believe there is any real "Legacy" for the movie TRON in the general public. It's simply "The next big thing" that will soon replaced with another. Up until a few tears ago when the PC game Tron 2.0 was released, no one even talked about it. In fact, I'm sure you could find it as the butt of video game movie nerd jokes more than the object of any kind of praise or reverie. You see, TRON was paved over. It was trashed an forgotten like so many other great little gems from the 80'. Pushed aside in a disposable decade that now appears to have influenced far more than many people are willing to admit.

Of course, I'm going to go see the new movie. I'll be there with the everyone else, donning 3D glasses after paying $14 a head (x5) for the privilege. It will probably be a fun time too. However, just like most modern movie experiences, the sensory red-bar will probably hit max on every level, but the effect will be short-lived. A cotton candy sugar-high that disappears shortly after lunch. One thing is for certain though, several times that day I will think about the original movie, and how much it meant to me when I saw it so many years ago. The "Legacy" for me was that day with my mom and brother, sitting alone at the Mann Theaters at the Olde Towne mall, eating red licorice and enjoying TRON as if it was the greatest movie ever made, no matter how many people told me otherwise.


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RSS Feedburner Feed Fixed

One thing we forgot when we moved the site was to update the Feedburner to point to the new site. I just remembered to do it this morning. Here is the new Feedburner RSS link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/8bitrocketcomBlog ...which also happens to be the OLD Feedburner RSS link...go figure 🙂

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Tutorial Mess : Please Help

In our recent move, there was simply no good way way to move over all of our tutorials.  We altered the format so many times in 3.5 years, that moving them to something structured like Word Press was a huge problem.

We have fixed as many issues "automagically" as possible, but it appears that there are still a lot of problems with some of them.

If you find an issue with a tutorial, please contact us or add a comment, so we can can fix it as soon as possible.


The Fultons

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Does The Windows 7 Phone Open-Up Silverlight Games Development?

Microsoft recently released the beta of the Windows 7 development tools, and Silverlight is big part of that release.   Silverlight can used in conjunction with the XNA framework which gives Windows 7 Mobile apps access to Xbox Live, among other features.  As well, (and as it should be), Windows 7 Phone apps made with Silverlight  can be sold in the Microsoft Mobile apps store.  Here is a quote from silverlight.net:

"Developers build Silverlight applications and package them for submission to the Windows Phone Marketplace where users can download them to run on the phone on a trial or purchase basis. Silverlight for Windows Phone supports a built-in try/buy API to simplify the process of converting a trial to full version for both developer and end consumer."

This appears to open-up Silverlight game development to the Windows 7 phone in a major way.  Yes, the audience is small, and yes, it is C#/Visual Studio Microsoft land, but it is also a market that will not be over-saturated with apps too quickly, and could be very lucrative if you get in on the ground-floor.

Check out the Wiondows 7 Phone development site here:


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The Polish Adobe Flex User Group Really Likes 'The Essential Guide To Flash Games"

We've reached Poland!  The Polish Adobe Flex User Group just reviewed The Essential Guide To Flash Games, and they seem to really like it!

"In my opinion, it is the most valuable book about seriously flash games developing available on the market. The most important thing: authors does not avoid complex techniques, they just explain problems on real-life game examples. Highly recomended!"

You can read the rest here.

Interesting story (to me anyway).  Back when I was making games full-time for hotwheels.com, the fine people of Poland were some of the most frequent players of them.  Synchronicity? I think so.


Contest: Jay Is Games Casual Gameplay Design Contest #8

Design a game that incorporates the theme Sandbox . It doesn't have to be complex nor large in scope.  You may use any browser-based technology platform

Due date: August 1, 2010

Contest Site: http://jayisgames.com/archives/2010/06/game_design_competition_8.php


Contest: Kongregate is going mobile

Here's your opportunity to contribute to the mobile world. Adobe and Kongregate are working together to bring you the Mobile Flash Game Contest with Adobe Flash, which we're giving away nearly $30,000 in prizes! We are hoping to engage users with fun games as part of a rich Internet experience that work seamlessly across any device anywhere.

Quality games entered in the contest will be added to a growing list of the many Flash-based mobile games already on Kongregate's Mobile Site for Android phone users to play.

Count me in! How do I enter?

To enter, create a mobile game using Adobe Flash or optimized an existing game for mobile that includes the basic requirements of the Adobe Flash Platform. Bonus points will be given to any game that implements any extra credit features. Other requirements and resources are provided.

When you're ready to submit your game, upload your mobile game to Kongregate by August 23, 2010. Judging based on these criteria will be considered when determining the winners.


Contest : Flash Game License "Cell Your Flash Game"

The rules are simple: submit a high-quality Flash game that can be played and enjoyed on Android 2.2 smart phones.

You can enter a brand new game or port one of your existing games, and you can enter more than one game in this contest.

By entering, you agree to grant us a non-exclusive license to display your game (with your 3rd party ads turned off, if applicable) on a new mobile gaming portal we're creating. The site, which will be www.gameanyplace.com, will promote awareness of Flash gaming on portable devices.

Games will be judged based on how well they meet Adobe's criteria for mobile games, as well as on the quality of gameplay. (But they won't be judged on the use of advanced phone features like an accelerometer or multi-touch input.)

Your game needs to work in the mobile environment as well as possible. That means that:

  • Your game must scale appropriately to multiple screen resolutions, keeping buttons and interactive elements at a usable size.
  • Your game's rescaled user interfaces must work with game logic. For example, hunt-the-pixel games must not become unacceptably difficult.
  • And input events that aren't supported on a mobile device - like mouse-over and mouse-move events - must not be important to game-play.

Winning entries will also:

  • Perform well on less-capable devices.
  • Support the "Pick up and Play" game flow that mobile players expect.
  • Look great at smaller resolutions.
  • Be incredibly fun and cool to play!

Here is a link to the contest page:



Contest: Mochi Media – Mobile Gaming Contest with Adobe

Mochi Media and Adobe are putting on a Flash game contest and extending through the fall. You may remember that Mochi was one of the first to develop a mobile site for Android with Adobe's new Flash player. Well, this 'Made for Mobile' contest is for developers to create games for the Android mobile platform that runs in Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The contest will give prizes to the developers and the submissions will be showcased on Mochi's mobile-optimized site that was launch a month or so ago.
Some details about the contest:

* Submissions are judged on aesthetics, usability, performance, creativity and coding quality;
* Games will be judged by a panel of representatives from Mochi, Adobe, and a few gaming journalists;
* Submissions are due by midnight on October 8, 2010 and winners will be announced the week of October 18th.

For more information you can visit http://www.mochimedia.com/contest

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