Friday, March 15, 2013

80's Gaming Geek Alert: Tempest

Way back in the 1980's there were some fun games tucked away in the mall arcades -- and one of them was a little number by the gaming company, ATARI, called "Tempest."  With neon style electric-like pulses hurtling towards you out of the void, it featured an awesomely fast spinning nob instead of the standard arcade game joystick.

An online flash-version of the game can be found at the Atari website (and at the IGN games website here).

Here are a couple of Youtube videos concerning the game.  The first is a demonstration of the game (in which you can see the spinner control in action) given by a guy that built an arcade in his basement (and he also gives a nice discussion on the difference between raster monitors and vector monitors).  The second is someone showing off his gaming chops on a PC version of the game that replicates the arcade version pretty well.

The word "ATARI" means something to the effect of "to hit the mark."  If you're interested, an interview with one of the game's designers can be found here.

The game was released in 1980.  The ATARI logo can be seen briefly in the movie Blade Runner (1982).  As a result, this game and the movie are linked together in my mind (even though the game itself doesn't appear in the movie) -- perhaps, as some of the British empiricists would describe it (e.g., John Locke and David Hume), it is a mere association of ideas.

Blade Runner, Deckard, with the ATARI logo in the back.

 Here's an image of an long exposure of of the game screen (from Dan Zuccarelli):

The game has no background music, but the following should be suitable music to listen to while you play (even though it's associated with another game and movie).