Message Board
  Atari Systems
  Game Scores
  Video Reviews
  Bonus Material
  Join TAT!


Dodgson! We've Got Dodgson Here! - The Atari Times

Dodgson! We've Got Dodgson Here!

Nothing to do with the Jurassic Park guy
by Gregory D. George

December 14, 2001
When thoughts arise concerning new, homebrewed games for the Lynx, one can easily be overshadowed by the accomplishments of Carl Forhan and Songbird Productions. However, Carl isn't the only one with Lynx programming under his belt.

Harry Dodgson has been programming games for Atari systems since 1983 and programming in general since 1975. Originally, his interest in writing games from the Lynx came from his wife. "My wife wanted a version of Othello for her Lynx," says Harry. Additionally, he finds it fun to create a game that others will enjoy.

The classic game of Othello, programmed by Harry is accompanied by his mascot, Pounce. "It's Pounce, the Loch Ness monster," he said.

When asked about hidden features in Othello, Harry is understandably reserved. "There are two hidden features in Lynx Othello.The first one is a Lynx vs Lynx mode.The other is the Atari digitized sound demo program.I'm not saying how to get to either one (yet)."

Programming your game can be hard enough, but getting it out to the masses is an even greater challenge. To accomplish this, Harry relies on Video 61. After burning the EPROMs, they are sent off, where Video 61 handles the manual and assembly of the cartridge. Included with the Othello cartridge is an instruction manual and plastic case.

Harry's proudest achievement to date is the Atari 7800/2600 monitor cartridge now going into it's fourth production run. The monitor cart is used for low end development, which means you can develop simple games with it. It has 6KB of RAM for 2600 games, and 16KB of RAM for 7800 games. Both sets of RAM is backed up by a battery. Also included with the cartridge is a sizable book that gives you insight into programming the Monitor Cartridge.

According to Harry, the easiest Atari system to program for that he has worked on is the Lynx. "The Epyx/Atari development system makes it a joy to work with." Conversely, the most difficult system to program for is the Neo Geo Pocket. "I tried to do a game for the NGPC.I didn't get too far as the system is extremely limited," he said.

One of the most ingenious features of Harry's Lynx games is the LGSS, or Lynx Gaming Sharing System. "I originally wrote it to make testing multiplayer games easier," writes Harry. With the LGSS system, a person with an LGSS cart can play any LGSS enabled game with two Lynxes without having a second card. "It was a concept at the beginning of the Lynx development to play multiplayer with only one copy of the game.It's supposedly one of the features of the GameBoy Advanced."

As for Harry's latest challenges, he is working with Carl Forhan and some of his own projects as well. "I'm working on Space Battles and finishing up Ultravore for Songbird Productions."

With so many interesting developments by Harry Dodgson, we can only imagine just what will come next!

To get a copy of Harry's games, contact Lance at Video 61... (651) 462-2500, or visit http://www.atarisales.com. To Visit Harry's website, go to http://www.provide.net/~hdodgson/lynx.html

The classic game of Othello arrived for the Lynx in 1999 thanks to Harry Dodgson.
Othello includes the LGSS program so you don't need two copies of Othello to play networked.
You can't let that little green twerp win! But, he must be pretty smart to hide from humans for all these years...
The monitor cart will allow you to write simple games for the 2600 or 7800.

Reader Comments for Dodgson! We've Got Dodgson Here!

Add Comment
What is the greatest video game company of all time? (Hint: Atari.)