There comes a time when you know you will have to do something that you don’t really like. Well that time has come as I am going to tell you about an effect called unlimited bobs. But first I need to tell you what a bob is : indeed it is a round and most of the time it has been drawn by a graphician. Sometimes the object used has a different shape then we simply talk about it as a sprite (as can be seen in the next screenshot).
This very old effect was at the center of many challenges and records in the 80s and the 90s. Yet as far as I am concerned there is nothing really special about it… Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is not a technical effect, simply that I don’t like it much. The unlimited bobs usually form a line and – like an endless caterpillar – as they move around the screen new bobs add to the dance.
I don’t want to cause any uproar but I am taking the risk to put in the same category these two effects, namely unlimited bobs and sprites records. The former display an endless line made of bobs and soon enough the screen is so overcrowded with these that you cannot tell how many bobs are actually shown and I think that this is mostly a coding trick (see first screenshot).
The latter tho displays a curvy line also made of bobs yet this time their number will not increase as the challenge consists in displaying as many as possible. Usually the number of bobs is clearly announced before the show starts. But to speak the truth, even tho limited, who can say how many bobs there are but the author ?
Furthermore I can easily confess that I find this effect ugly as hell. 🙂 This is mostly what we call a « coder’s effect » in other words something technical but definitely not stylish nor enjoyable to most viewers out there…
For a long, very long time coders faced that challenge, breaking previous sprites records again and again tho I don’t think it was of any interest to demo lovers like me (see the screenshots below). Yet this is only my opinion of course.
To wrap it up, unlimited bobs can be funny or entertaining for a while but soon enough this effect proves pretty boring and messy as there are too many things on screen. As for bobs in sprite records, there is no way to check how many bobs are actually displayed so I will rather let coders discuss about this topic. Now let’s have a look at unlimited bobs with an excerpt taken from 1991 Dark side of the spoon demo by Unlimited Matricks (note that this example runs in overscan as well !) :