Monday, January 2, 2012

Video game of the week: Discs of Tron for arcade

In 1982, Walt Disney Pictures released a movie called Tron. Since then there have been a ton of video games based upon the movie, and there has been a sequel film only released in 2010. While the original movie and the sequel did alright at the box office, and they have their cult followings, neither has been a huge success with the general viewing public. Still, the movies live on in part because the original was one of the first films to really tackle the subject of video games, part of the plot being about real humans becoming part of a computer world and taking part in actual games.

Like I said, there have been lots of Tron video games, both in the arcade and for the home console markets, as well as for computers. But of them all, my personal favorite has to be Discs of Tron.

Discs of Tron was not the first Tron video game. That honor goes to a game simply titled Tron, which was popular in its own right and not a bad game by any means. But Discs of Tron, to this day, has the best action and continual gameplay of any of the Tron games.

In this game, the player controls the Tron character in a world of video games. Specifically in this game, Tron moves around on a giant floating circle in an arena while using flying discs as a shield and as a weapon to defeat his enemies.

The first level of the game is fairly easy, with Tron moving around on one circle while facing one simple enemy. But as the game progresses, Tron must move around on more circles simply in order to survive the barrage of enemy discs, bombs and other attacks coming his way. Sometimes there are shield in the center of the screen, these shield making it more difficult for Tron to hit his target, but also making it more hard for the enemy combatants to attack Tron.

The control system for this game was quite complex for its time. The main controller was a large joystick with two buttons, one a trigger and the other smaller on top, but the player also had to use a dial for Tron to aim his attack discs. By today's standards that's no big whoop, but in the early 1980s this was considered complicated gameplay. Still, it wasn't anything a gamer couldn't figure out, and the complexity of the controls actually added to the fun once you were familiar with them.

There were at least a couple of different cabinets for this game. One was the traditional cabinet in which the player could just walk up and insert his or her quarters. The other was a cockpit cabinet in which the player could sit down within the cabinet for play. It seems I've seen a couple of smaller table cabinets, but my memory might be playing tricks on me.

This game is still popular today, and if you search online you can probably find a few free versions of it to play.

Anyway, Discs of Tron is my all-time favorite arcade game. It was fun, exciting, had great graphics and sounds, and could offer hours of play. For only 25 cents. You can't find that nowadays!

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