Sunday, March 27, 2011

Game of the Week: Tron for arcade

In 1982, Walt Disney Productions released a movie about video games called Tron. Of course a movie about video games had to have video games about the movie, right?

To that end, over the next couple of years there were a half dozen or so Tron video games released, several for the Atari 2600 or Intellivision home video game systems, but a few for the arcades as well.

The arcade game Tron was the first to reach the arcades, released by Bally Midway in 1982, which would be followed up in 1983 with the arcade masterpiece Discs of Tron.

Tron was a popular game, so much so that Electronic Games magazine awarded it with Coin-Operated Game of the Year.

And why wouldn't this game be popular? It had fantastic graphics, at least for the time, as well as solid sounds and bright coloring. The gameplay was awesome, some of the best of the time, with unique controls of a joystick with a firing button and a radial dial.

Perhaps best of all, Tron was actually four games in one. Each round, the player got to pick the order in which to play the four mini-games. In one of these sub-games, the onscreen character shot at electronic spiders. In another game, the character played a game somewhat similar to Breakout, here the character having to shoot away colored bars in a tower. In still another mini-game, the player controlled a tank that roamed a maze shooting at enemy tanks. And in the last game, the player drove a light cycle around the screen while leaving behind a wall in hopes of destroying an enemy, computer-controlled light cycle.

It was all great fun. And still is awesome today.

There were four styles of cabinets for the original Tron, with most gamers being familiar with the regular arcade version. There was also a smaller arcade version and a cocktail table version. Most rare, however, was a sit-down version that was something like climbing into a race car.

With the release of the new Tron: Legacy movie, hopefully these older arcade games will get a chance to shine again, because they deserve it.

Below are images from the game.

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