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Arcade Games for LegoTM Mindstorms NXT

If you like to play Arcade games and you also like LEGO and NXT, you will definitely like this Arcade Game collection for NXT.
There are currently 4 games available that I ported over and adapted to NXT's smaller screen size and inputs:
  • Asteroids from Atari (1978)
  • Lunar Lander from Atari (1979)
  • Pong from Atari (1975)
  • HeadOn from Sega and Gremlin (1979)
  • Arkanoid from Taito (1986)

    More games are coming later.

    These games run on the NXT with the original LEGO firmware.

    Find instructions below how to build the NXT Arcade Machine, and how to copy one or more of the games onto your NXT.

  • IF YOU EXPERIENCE FREEZING OF NXT WHEN QUITTING THE GAMES, PAGE DOWN TO THE "Generic Gameplay" SECTION!



    History:
  • December 14, 2007: Arcade Game Machine building instructions
  • December 14, 2007: Arcade Games Loader with 3 games: Asteroids, Moon Lander and Ping Pong
  • December 21, 2007: Arcade Games Loader update to 4 games, added Head On
  • February 16, 2008: Arcade Games Loader update to 5 games, added Arkanoid




  • Downloads

    Building instructions for the Arcade Game Machine are available in PDF format bellow. Download size is about 2.5 MBytes. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to see and print the instructions.

    Download the Arcade Game Machine Building Instruction in PDF Format
    (2.5 MB)


    3D Model of the Arcade Game Machine for MLCad is available for download below. Download size is about 550 KBytes. You will need MLCad or other compatible Lego 3D modeller that can read the mpd file format. You could possibly also need Technics (and NXT) part definitions from the LDraw part pages.

    Download the Arcade Game Machine 3D LEGO Model (.mpd file)
    (550 KB)
    The Arcade Game Manager comes in a ZIP file, that you can download here. It also includes the games that can be loaded on your NXT. You need to unzip the Setup.exe and the NXTArcadeManager.exe files and run the setup program. This will install the NXT Manager on your machine. The NXT Manager can copy the selected games with all of the necessary files (images, sounds, data files etc.) onto the connected NXT.
    Download size is about 518 KBytes.

    Download the NXT Arcade Game Manager
    (518 KB)






    Building the Arcade Machine

    Building the Arcade Game Machine is simple if you follow the downloadable instructions: build two similar controllers each with a knob and a button, build a frame, attach the NXT brick and connect the 4 cables.
    However you will need 2 buttons (officially called touch sensors) to build the 2 fully functional controllers (you can order additional buttons from LEGO Shop). Some games need both buttons, but not all. See the Games Information below for details about the needs of each game.




    Game Information

  • Asteroids: Adopted to NXT from Atari's 1978 Asteroids game.
    Purpose of the game is to survive in the asteroid belt with the spaceship among increasing number of asteroids by manouvering between them and shooting them, and progress to the top level.
    Any time you shoot a big asteroid, it will break up into 2 smaller ones. Shoot the smaller ones to destroy them. The game will start on the level with only 4 big asteroids, and add 1 big asteroid on every new level. The last level starts with 12 big asteroids.
    If the ship runs out of fuel, it will become impossible to manouver. The fuel gauge is on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen the list of ships show the remaining lives.
    You control the ship with both buttons (accelerate and fire) and 1 turn knob (turn ship).
    You can play the game with 3 to 10 initial lives.
    In the menu user can set volume (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%) and handedness. In right handed setting the ship is controlled with the right side knob, accelerates with the right button and fires with the left button. In left handed setting the ship is controlled with the left side knob, accelerates with the left button and fires with the rigth button. All settings are permanently saved and will be loaded next time you play Asteroids.
  • Arkanoid: Adopted to NXT from Taito's 1986 Arkanoid game.
    Purpose of the game is remove all the bricks from the game and advance through all 33 rounds, in the final round defeat the game's boss Doh.
    The player controls "Vaus", a space vessel that acts as the game's "paddle" which prevents the ball from falling from the play field, and attempt to bounce the ball against a number of bricks. The ball striking a brick causes the brick to disappear. When all the bricks are gone, the player goes to the next round, where another pattern of bricks appear. There are a number of power-up capsules that can fall from disappearing bricks to enhance the player's Vaus (expand it, shorten it, make it sticky, equip a laser cannon, multiply the number of balls in play, or slow down the ball). There are also a number of differently behaving bricks (solid that cannot be removed, bricks that have to be hit multiple times), also flying enemy ships that prevent the ball to reach the bricks.
    At round 33, the final stage, the player will take on the game's boss, Doh and defeat it with his remaining extra lives.
    You control Vaus with the knob and use a button to start the ball and fire the lasers during the game. There are different game types selectable from the main menu. Arcade game copies the original gameplay. Shootout game provides the player with laser turrets for the entire game. Powerup-fest game continuously provides new power-ups. Helpless game revokes all power-ups. Easy game prevents the ball from speeding up as well as removes all UFOs and paddle shortener power-ups.
    In the menu the user can set the volume (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%) and handedness. All settings and the game's hi score are permanently saved and will be loaded next time you play Arkanoid.


  • Head On: Adapted to NXT from Sega's and Gremlin's 1979 HeadOn game.
    Purpose of the game is to drive your car through the maze to pick up the dots while trying to avoid the opponent's car that trying to ram you. Upon successfully clearing all the dots on one level, advance to the next level where the same awaits you with less time. The higher you get the better reflexes the game requires.
    This game can be played by 1 player against the machine, or 2 players against each other. If played by 2 players, each player controls their car with a knob. Rotating the knob makes the player's car switch lane at the permitted area. Pressing the button boosts the car speed.
    Initially there are 54 dots in the maze that need to be cleared. When 2 players play against each other, whoever collects more dots, receives higher score. When the 2 players collide, both loose a life. Game is over when both players lifes are gone.
    When a player plays against the machine, the machine's car does not collect dots. However it will continuously try to ram the player's car. The player wins and advances to the next level when cleans all the dots.
    The starting difficulty level can be selected in the menu. The player also can select in the menu to start with 3 or 6 lifes.
    In the menu the user can also set the volume (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%). All settings are permanently saved and will be loaded next time you play Head On.


  • Moon Lander: Adopted to NXT from Atari's 1979 Lunar Lander game.
    Purpose of the game is to land the space ship on 1 of the 2 landing platforms in each round hence gather most possible points per round that will end up by the end of the game.
    You must land the spacecraft with minimal tilt angle, minimal vertical and horizontal speed. If the ship touches the landing platform with too great horizontal or vertical speed or tilt angle, it will immediatelly explode. If the spaceship hits the surface or flies out of the screen horizontally, it will immediatelly explode.
    You control the ship with 1 of the 2 buttons (accelerate) and 1 turn knob (ship tilt angle). The ship cannot tilt with more than 90` angle.
    If the ship runs out of fuel, it will become impossible to manouver.
    Gauges on the left side show remaining fuel (marked with F), horizontal speed (marked with H) and vertical speed (marked with V).
    Game plays at 4 possible locations: Moon, Mars, Earth, Jupiter. The increasing gravity pull of these locations represent 4 difficulty settings (Moon is the easiest, Jupiter the hardest).
    Game length can be choosen from 3 to 30 rounds. At the end of each round an evaluation will be given and will advance to the next round regardless of passing or exploding on that round. Score is given upon landing based on time took to land, difficulty of location, dificulty (based on size) of platform. Score is not given upon explosion.
    In menu user can set volume (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%) and handedness. In right handed setting the ship is controlled with the right side knob. In left handed setting the ship is controlled with the left side knob. All settings are permanently saved and will be loaded next time you play Moon Lander.


  • Ping Pong: Adapted to NXT from Atari's 1975 Pong game.
    Purpose of the game is to keep the ball in play with the paddles on the sides of the screen and score goal to the opponent. Win the game by reaching the necessary score first.
    Game can be played by 2 players or 1 player against the machine. If played by 2 players, each player controls the paddle with a knob. Sit the players at the 2 ends of the machine and watch the screen sideways. The buttons will start the ball after goal.
    If the game is played by 1 player, the strength of the machine can be set in the menu from 1 to 4. Level 1 is the easiest to beat, level 4 is the hardest.
    Speed of the ball can also be set in the menu from Slowest to Fastest in order to adjust the game to a wide age group.
    Game length can vary from 3 to 21 points, also selectable in the menu. The game is over when one of the players scored these points and wins the game.
    In menu user can set volume (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%). All settings are permanently saved and will be loaded next time you play Ping Pong.




  • Generic Gameplay

    READ THIS TO AVOID FREEZING OF NXT WHEN QUITTING THE GAMES: Your NXT is not freezing! In order to make the games appearence nice, the display refresh is customized during the game. When you use the little gray button on the NXT to terminate the game, it might just happen that your device is not refreshing the screen any more! You just need to restart the NXT with the buttons: hit the grey button 4 times, then the orange square. Your NXT is off now, when you turn it back on, it's all back to normal!
    In order to avoid this problem, do not terminate during gameplay. First pause the game with the orange square, then you can terminate the game with the gray button, or exit through the menu.
  • Menus: These games sport a similar menu system where you can set up the game's length, difficulty or other settings, then start the game. In the menus you can move up or down with the NXT's left and right arrows, select a menu point with the center big orange button. Hitting the small gray rectangular button will exit from the game immediately. This is just how NXT programs work, and there's nothing I can do about it. For the settings for each game, please see the games instructions below. During gameplay you can get back into the menu by hitting the orange square button on the NXT. To avoid screen refreshing problems upon exiting, make sure that you get back into the menu before terminating the program.
  • Settings: All the games settings (like length, level, volume, handedness) are permanently saved on the NXT per game, so next time you play the same game it will start with all the same settings. It is true of course, only until you delete the options files fom the NXT. Options files have the game's name with .opt extension (for example AsteroidsArcade.opt). If you would like to retain the settings for a game, do not manually remove these files. When you remove a game from the device with the NXT Arcade Game Manager that you can download below, it will not remove these files.
  • Using the knobs: For games that use one or both the turn knobs (or wheels) for control, it is important that the player or players can turn the knob to an initial confortable position before the game starts. After selecting the Play menu, the players can do this, then hit the orange square button on the NXT and start the game.
    It is important to notice, that some games will let you turn the knob only until a certain angle. For example the Ping Pong game will let you only turn the knob until the paddle reaches the top or bottom of the screen.
    One tip is, if you play a game where the knob's handle is in your way to reach the left side button, you can just pull out the handle and stick it on the frame so it won't get lost while you don't need it.




  • How to Use the Arcade Game Manager

  • Run the Manager: The Arcade Game Manager can be run form the Program menu > Sorosy Dot Com > NXT Arcade > NXT Arcade Game Manager.
    The Manager will first try to find a connected NXT. If the NXT cannot be found, the Manager will exit. Otherwise you will see the list of available NXTs connected to the machine, where you need to pick one (if you have more than one), and the Manager will start up.
  • Using the Manager: The Arcade Game Manager shows a list of available Games, show which ones are already on the connected NXT. It will let you pick ones to add. It will also let you remove Games, if you are running out of program space on the NXT. If you select a Game, it will show you game information and screenshot in the right side info panel. If downloading a Game fails for any reason, the Manager will roll back to the last state of the NXT. The Update button will add or remove the games you selected. It will take care of not removing shared files that are needed by other games. This button is only enabled if there's enough memory on the connected NXT to add all the Games you selected.
  • Using the File Tools: The File Tools button is found on the bottom of the Manager's main window. It shows all the files on the connected NXT and will let you delete any in order to make room on the device. It will also help you see stale files, which are part of any Game that is not entirely downloaded and you can delete them without impacting any fully downloaded game.


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