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In the SEGA Arcade/Genesis/Mega Drive game Flicky, why does knocking out a cat only sometimes yield a diamond?

You can see what I am talking about 20 seconds into this video:

Diamonds are worth various amounts of bonus points, and exactly what governs their value would be a second part to the question.

I've played the game for years, and I own the original arcade cabinet, but I've never been able to figure this out. The only guaranteed way would be to decompile and analyse the original Z80/68000 code.

Indeed, the behaviour might even be different across platforms.

Any thoughts or information appreciated.

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Please don't use the arcade or genesis tags unless your game is specific to one or the other. If the question just applies to basic gameplay, chances are extremely good it will work exactly the same on both platforms. –  Frank Nov 2 '12 at 16:17
    
@fbueckert There are variations in the game between platforms, in fact one level on the home version has some items in the "wrong" place. You can read more about that on my blog: flicky1984.tumblr.com So I would say that the tags for both versions are worthy. Most people are familiar with the home version, though I am more interested in the arcade version. There's a definite case for both. –  matt Nov 2 '12 at 16:44
    
Does this gameplay you're asking about differ between the versions? –  Frank Nov 2 '12 at 16:45
    
@fbueckert that's my point, we just don't know. You can say there's a good chance it's the same across platforms, and somebody else could say there's a good chance it's different. I prefer to say it's unknown. –  matt Nov 2 '12 at 16:47
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If it's unknown, then neither tag is required. I'd really recommend removing them, as they are currently redundant. You can read more about how to use platform tags here. We're a little sensitive about tags right now, as we just finished cleaning up a ton of them, so we're trying to make an effort to ensure they're being used correctly and stay consistent throughout the site. –  Frank Nov 2 '12 at 16:53
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2 Answers

It's just a random feature just like in some modern games enemied might drop item X 0-3 and item Y 0-1, except it's just one item it's probably about 50-50 though knowing Sega.

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There is no such thing as random in computer code. Everything is determined with an algorithm/rules. Have a read of this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_number_generation –  matt Nov 5 '12 at 12:43
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

This was answered for MegaDrive/Genesis here:
http://gendev.spritesmind.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=20360#20360

the cat must die in the first 1/6th of any in-game second unit of time

And for Arcade here:
http://gendev.spritesmind.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=20360#20360

Diamonds are awarded depending on the screen position of where the cat lands (complex rules)

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