Athletic Land - left to right and right to left

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By Pbk71

Expert (99)

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24-04-2021, 16:42

Hi all,

I'm quite new here on msx.org. Used to have a MSX1 computer back in the eighties and played a lot of games. As many, I especially liked the Konami-games. One of them was Athletic Land and what always has wondered me is that you could play the game by walking from left to the right, but also by walking from right to the left. This sort of 'mirrored' the game. I thought this was an advantage as the levels were designed to be played from left to right. For example: you did not have to jump over the bumping ball, when playing right to left.
I also thought to remember that you could skip a screen after you died, as you always started left on a screen, but now I've played it again on an emulator this doesn't seem to be the case.

Does anyone know why Konami made it possible to play the game in both ways (left>right or right>left)?

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By Randam

Paragon (1283)

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24-04-2021, 17:02

Maybe it's just an easy mode...

By Pbk71

Expert (99)

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24-04-2021, 17:12

Hmm.. wouldn't Konami haven't mentioned that if that was the case? I found the manual here and there's nothing in it about game modes.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (929)

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24-04-2021, 17:25

I grew up in the U.S., so no MSX for me until I imported one as an adult, but I definitely played Athletic Land as a kid... under the name Cabbage Patch Kids, on my brother's Colecovision. And I'm not talking about the Cabbage Patch Kids game on MSX, which is kind of like a pseudo-sequel to Athletic Land -- no, the Colecovision version of Cabbage Patch Kids was EXACTLY the same game as Athletic Land on MSX, from the graphics to the level designs to the music, with the only differences being that the main character was replaced by one of the Cabbage Patch Kids, and the "Child Park" sign was changed to read "Babyland Park" instead. In every other way, it WAS Athletic Land.

...And I definitely remember using EXACTLY this same technique as a kid to make the game a little easier, and wondering about it back then, too.

Between that unusual game design choice, and the weird Colecovision Cabbage Patch Kids reskin of the MSX game followed by the MSX Cabbage Patch Kids sequel, I find Athletic Land to be kind of a mysterious game in general...

-Tom

By Briqunullus

Champion (343)

Briqunullus's picture

24-04-2021, 17:52

Not to forget that to skip the first empty screen you could go left and then right again.

By Randam

Paragon (1283)

Randam's picture

24-04-2021, 18:41

Often cheats were made for testing purposes and just not removed. Cheats etc often aren't mentioned...

By Pbk71

Expert (99)

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24-04-2021, 19:35

Quote:

I grew up in the U.S., so no MSX for me until I imported one as an adult, but I definitely played Athletic Land as a kid... under the name Cabbage Patch Kids, on my brother's Colecovision.

Cool, I wasn't aware of that. I tried it online in an emulator (here - use numpad to select level; cursor keys to move and control to jump).
This one runs a bit faster than the MSX-version. Could be because of difference between PAL/NTSC?
Edit: this seems to be the case. I selected an American MSX machine in WebMSX and this also was faster. Gaming must have been harder in the USA ;-)
There's also an option to choose a skill, but I could not notice any difference.

On the Wikipedia-page an unreleased Atari 2600 was also mentioned. I tried it online here. Fun fact: you can't walk to the left anymore ;)

Quote:

Often cheats were made for testing purposes and just not removed. Cheats etc often aren't mentioned...

I thought of that too. But wouldn't it have been more easy to make a cheat that just skips a screen? Seems to me that this needed more additional programming.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (929)

wyrdwad's picture

24-04-2021, 19:36

Pbk71 wrote:
Quote:

I grew up in the U.S., so no MSX for me until I imported one as an adult, but I definitely played Athletic Land as a kid... under the name Cabbage Patch Kids, on my brother's Colecovision.

Cool, I wasn't aware of that. I tried it online in an emulator (here - use numpad to select level; cursor keys to move and control to jump).
This one runs a bit faster than the MSX-version. Could be because of difference between PAL/NTSC?

Yeah, that's almost definitely what it is. If you play Athletic Land at 60 Hz (which is the intended speed of the game, since it is Japanese in origin, and Japanese games were all created with 60 Hz NTSC signals in mind), it should be the same speed as Cabbage Patch Kids on Colecovision.

-Tom

By Pbk71

Expert (99)

Pbk71's picture

24-04-2021, 19:38

Quote:

Yeah, that's almost definitely what it is. If you play Athletic Land at 60 Hz (which is the intended speed of the game, since it is Japanese in origin, and Japanese games were all created with 60 Hz NTSC signals in mind), it should be the same speed as Cabbage Patch Kids on Colecovision.

Just tried it in WebMSX with an American MSX NTSC machine and this indeed was the same speed as on Colecovision

By wyrdwad

Paladin (929)

wyrdwad's picture

24-04-2021, 19:44

I'm somewhat intrigued by the version in that emulator you linked, too, as I know for certain the version I played as a kid said "BABYLAND PARK" on the sign, not "BABYLAND GENERAL" with a trademark symbol. I guess there were multiple revisions of the cartridge?

Also, that Atari 2600 port is seriously impressive for the hardware! I didn't think they'd be able to get so much of the game ported over under such insane limitations, but that may be one of the nicest-looking 2600 games I've ever seen, and it actually has MULTI-TRACK MUSIC, which is almost unheard of for the system. Real shame it was never released, as I think it would've blown some minds back in the day!

-Tom

By Pbk71

Expert (99)

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24-04-2021, 19:50

I was als impressed by the Atari 2600 version. I used to own an Atari 2600 before I got my MSX, so once in a while I play some 2600 games. Considering the limitations of the Atari 2600 this is certainly graphicly one of the better games I've seen.

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