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Matty doesn’t like Heartland

December 13, 2008

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Matty On Games’ latest review is of STOSSER’s Heartland. Matty is not impressed by Heartland’s casual feel, ripped-off graphics and lack of collision-based threats, but I think he’s overlooked a few things.

Heartland’s casual feel was actually quite unique in 1996. Back then there were no explore-em-up flash games clogging up the internet so the game would have felt quite unique. In the case of the recycled graphics, bedroom coders often will not have the skills nor the software to create decent looking sprites and maps (the rogue white pixel in one of Sassy’s running frames is testiment to this), so ripping them from other games was a quick and easy way to get graphics into your game. These days, a quick post on the appropriate forum will find you a pixel-pusher willing to beautify your game, but back then it was not so easy. Lastly, but most importantly, Heartland is written in STOS and features 8-way scrolling. Let me repeat that: Heartland is written in STOS and features 8-way scrolling. A lot of commercial games developed using machine-code failed to achieve that on an ST. Quite a feat.

A very entertaining read as ever, and great that it sparks discussion about long lost Atari ST PD games.

PS: If you like the aforementioned multimedia explore ’em up games, you’d do worse than check out Knytt Stories by Niffla’s Games (though there are no top hats there either. Just umbrellas).

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2 comments

  1. In the case of the recycled graphics, bedroom coders often will not have the skills nor the software to create decent looking sprites and maps

    Thing is, in the readme doc, STOSSER admit they were originally planning to draw their own main character and used the Dizzy sprite when testing the game and subsequently left it in. A very odd decision in my opinion, especially given that Codemasters can be quite protective of their IP, but there you go.


  2. Second you, that the 8 way scrolling was amazing at that time. The game was really nice. Also the 1 VBL remake of it later

    Ripping graphics is lame. But would be intersting to know which forum you mean, today it’s really hard to get a motivated graphician



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