ORBIT

• HIDDEN MESSAGE: The initials “LR” (for Lyle Rains), “OR” (for Owen Rubin), “ATARI”, “Ly” (for ?), “Mh” (for Morgan Hoff), and “PM” (for Paul Mancuso?) can be found in the program, coded as graphics (picture #1).  According to Rubin, it’s quite possible these can be triggered to appear on the screen!  From Owen Rubin-

“That game was before we were allowed to put our names in the game. Originally, entering my home phone number at the time would display the initials. I have NO idea what my number was at that time, but when scanning the code, if you see some tests on the options panel for a series of numbers, that’s what it was going to be. It was originally my birth date followed by my SSN, but I did not want that info in the ROMS anywhere! {Stefan Jokisch}

• To see all the graphics (including the initials), enter the test mode, set the NEXT TEST switch on, and then start toggling the DIAG TEST switch.  {Don Hodges}

• The test version of the game had a trick that would give you free time.  From Owen Rubin-

“In an EARLY release of Orbit, entering a special code at the right time in the attract mode would give you free time on the game. I thought I could play it when in an Arcade for free. I went to the field test location one day, and even though they would have given me free tokens, I decided to enter my very long code. I looked around, no one was watching, and bang, I had free time. A week later, I went back to see a bunch of kids hanging around the game, and watched one kid, about 14, enter the code and start playing. I walked up to him and asked him how he knew how to do that, and he just shrugged.  My guess is, he saw me do it, or did it by pure accident and had a good memory for what he pressed. It was removed from the game obviously.”

• The space stations actually orbit the sun. Owen gave them an initial hit of velocity at the start of each wave and the gravity routines do the rest (they ignore negative gravity, because the first time you selected it, they would fly off the screen). To test the gravity routines, Owen put the space stations into orbit around the sun, and just let it run for days. Several days later, they were still in orbit, but degraded a bit and a bit more elliptical. They finally lost orbit a few days later. Not that Owen needed to do this, as he could have put them on tracks, but he wanted his 8-bit gravity math to work as well as possible all the other time.

• It’s possible to shoot yourself.

• The coin input will become disabled if you have at least 80 minutes of playing time accumulated (80:00); once a game is in progress, you can increase this another 30 seconds, once the timer drops below 80:00.

• The “OIL” graphic from the Sprint 1 and 2 games is in the code (picture #2)!  According to Owen, this was likely due to the game being based on Spring 2’s hardware, and the graphic was mistakenly left in.  {Scott Stilphen}

• BUG: Due to a bug in the way the game was written, the initials PM are actually drawn on the screen very often, but erased extremely quickly, so they would never be visible.  However, they are visible when running Orbit in a MAME debug build.  {Don Hodges}

 

  

 


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