RealSports Soccer

Original System: Atari 5200

Although both versions of RealSports Soccer are very similar, the unreleased Atari 8-Bit port sports a new and improved title screen over the 5200 version which had a fairly spartan one.  Not only is there a nice rainbow cycling Fuji, but the option selection has been reworked so it's a bit easier to understand exactly what's being changed.

In the original 5200 version the player uses the * key to switch between the options (Number of players, Time, and Difficulty) and then uses the # key to change that option.  As was the standard at the time, in the Atari 8-Bit prototype the player uses the Option Key to switch between the options and the Select Key to change the option.  The difference is in the presentation.  In the 5200 version the options are all displayed at once and the * key highlights the option to change.  In the 8-Bit prototype the option being changed is displayed on one line and the value for that option is displayed on a second line.  This makes everything much more readable.

Since the Atari 8-Bit joystick lacked a second button and the keypad, changes to the control system had to be made.  The Atari 5200 controller has two fire buttons, so the programmer decided that the bottom button would also do a ground kick (the top button will perform the currently selected kick).  As the Atari 8-Bit controller only has one fire button it is missing the dedicated ground kick button. 

Perhaps the biggest change between the two systems is the way that kick selection and player changing is handled.  On the 5200, the keypad on each controller allows the player to choose which type of kick they were using (high, medium, low, or ground) and to change which player they were controlling.  On the Atari 8-Bit computers players were forced to use the keyboard which, other than being a bit more cumbersome, works well enough.  However in order to make sure that each player had enough room to hit the appropriate key the layout was changed from the 5200 original.  Instead of having six keys for switching players (two rows of three) there are now fifteen keys (three rows of five).  Kicks are selected using the four keys below these.  This was most likely changed due to there being more keys available on the keyboard vs the keypad and due to the fact that players now had to reach over and quickly hit a key on a shared keyboard instead of their own personal keypad.  Each players set of keys are located on opposite ends of the keyboard in order to prevent crowding.

Title screen and controls aside, there are some other minor differences between the two.  First for some strange reason Atari decided to change the font used for the scoreboard.  The Atari 5200 version uses the standard Atari font with white text while the Atari 8-Bit version uses a new custom font with black text.  Neither one seems better, just different.  Second, the Atari 8-Bit version corrects a formatting issue where there was a large gap between the left players score and the current half by centering the teams/scores instead of having them on the edges of the screen.  Third, the score and team name are displayed in reverse order so the score is always on the edges of the screen.  Finally the lowest difficulty has been renamed from Beginning to the more grammatically correct Beginner.

Atari 400/800

Atari 5200


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