Tempest

If you’ve never thought of bowties as being particularly menacing, well… you’ve never had the pleasure of playing one of our favorite arcade games ever.

Back in the early days of the 1980’s the race was on to introduce games that could offer something the ‘other guys’ hadn’t yet. And that’s exactly how Tempest made its mark. Developed by Missile Command creator David Theurer, Tempest hit arcades in the fall of ’81, and it was an instant hit. ‘Why’, you ask?

Simple. Instead of a flat, two-dimensional ‘playing field’ (Hellooooo, Space Invaders! Greetings, Asteroids!), we suddenly found ourselves staring into a third dimension. Tempest, you see, had depth. The meanies came up at you from the bottom of the abyss while you (well… your yellow claw, actually) zipped around the top, picking them off as they came.

…which brings us back to the bowties. Yep, remember those little red lovely bits of happiness? Unlike the spinning snowflakes, you couldn’t just let the bowties go. If you didn’t get them before they reached the top of the pit, well… they’d just flip around until finally they trapped you and sucked you back in (unless you were somehow lucky enough to finagle yourself underneath one as it flipped so you could get a quick shot it… but how effing often did that happen. Like, never.)

The other groovy thing about Tempest? No joystick. Instead, we had the rotating knob, and no, it wasn’t as cool as the track ball made popular by Centipede (which we love!) but it was new, and it was different, and we loved it. Plus, we now had the added bonus of being able to pick a starting level… no more always starting with the cake-walk easiness at the beginning.

You know, these video game inventor guys might just be on to something here…

We ♥ Tempest.

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~ by weheart80s on May 24, 2011.

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