no reason to die all tensed up
Yeah, sprites were where the Commodore 64 kicked the ass of other 8-bit computers.

Apple II: jack squat.

Atari 8-bit: 8-bit-wide one-color players, 2-bit-wide one-color missiles. The bitmaps covered a 128- or 256-byte slice of memory that spanned the whole length of the screen, so if you wanted to move something vertically, you had to redraw it in memory. Not something that was practical in BASIC. But I always enjoyed quad-width.

Commodore 64: 24x21 one-color, or 12x21 three-color. Just POKE their position into memory. There's one problem that trips up the BASIC programmer, and that's that the X position has a range larger than 255. So you have to POKE the high bit separately if you want it to move into the right 1/3 of the screen.

If the other computers like the TI or the TRS-80 had anything like that, I wouldn't know.

I have seen some Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulators, though, and they look like they don't have sprites. So everything has to be done with bitmaps and software or creative tile mapping. Play Pac-Mania and see the yellow square that envelopes Pac-Man.
--Nick B Tue Dec 11 13:03:19 2007
The CoCo had 256x192x2 or 128x192x4 bitmap graphics (unless you got really funky with the VDG text modes).

The Apple ][ graphics had to be the most whacked-out. Yeah it was 280x192 6 color hi-res graphics, but that was 6 colors using 1 bit per pixel, 7 pixels per byte, and non-linear address mapping. I'm always amazed the quality games programmers were able to create for the Apple ][.

--ericball Tue Dec 11 13:28:11 2007
I am secretly delighted to have attracted a small posse of 8-bit-geeks who can talk tech rather than just reminisce over design.
--Kirk Tue Dec 11 13:43:40 2007
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