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How does the laser weapon in Gradius and Parodius work? By which I mean the laser stays coherent no matter how you are moving, as opposed to being compressed or discontinuous if you just, say, used the player's current abscissa every few frames to elongate the beam (which is the simplest method I could think of).

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Your English is very good... 2 good 2 b true cause I have red your post 3 times now... still don't get it...

Let's reduce things to a more standard level of English : the laser (and its length at that moment) is moved identically to the movement of the ship. His question is: how did they do that?

it's simply a matter of recalculating the Y position of the beam (same as your "ship") and reprint the darn thing.
since Gradius is screen 1, this is done withing a milisecond. Screen 1 is charbases which means FAST.
there ya go. no biggy.

You sure it isn't screen 2 ?

It *is* screen 2, in patternmode

might also be screen 2. But it's the same difference.
screen 1 has great pattern mode, same as screen 2 but maybe faster!? dunno.

scr1 = 2 colors per 8 chars
scr2 = each char has unique colors (max 2 on a row ofcoz)

huh? no way dude. screen 1 has same specs. 2 colors per 1 row of char, like scr2.

scr1 = 2 colors per 8 chars <-- and max 2 colors on a row, naturally..

scr2 = each char has unique colors (max 2 on a row ofcoz)

so u say. char 0-7 all have the same color on row 0 for example? (thaz crap, I've dun it 10000 o'times back in the days)
(only in STANDARD screen mode, duh)
or am I totally stupid?

what I'm saying is that char0..7 have 2 colors, char 8..15 have 2 colors, char 16..23 have 2 colors etc. etc.

So, the @ABCDEFG chars (64..71) have 2 shared colors .. meaning your 'A' can be fore:15 back:4 (for white on blue) but the other chars in that 'group' are like that then as well.

Which is why games are generally taking place on screen 2 ... just have a peek at Konami games orso .. and see what the emulator says about the screenmode.

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