I once had a good idea of how "science" was to progress. So, let's just wing it and see how it goes :)
The Scientific Process has vaguely these steps :
So, here's how I suggest we go about it.
A game is examined. Three things happen at the same time :
A. A player's guide is written.
B. A "programming" guide is written.
C. At least rudimentary placeholder sprites are created.
With what we've learned from step 1, we attempt to make a game similar to the game examined.
We write down everything we've learned. :)
It's all very vague I know. I will post here soon with details on how you can participate. Yes, the sprite sheet recently posted is for this. It's missing the "zarlon cannon", the "smart missile thingy", the "neutral zone" and the "shield" of the quotient.
You will need access to the original Atari 2600 version of Yar's Revenge. I cannot endorse the use of emulators for any research, but I'll never ask you if you are using one.