1980’s arcade games-Tempest



So I’m supposed to use this knob to spin around these shapes? Then I blast anything that tries to come out of the shape? Well that sounds just weird. Oh, wait I got one, I have to contain these others. Oh, they are coming faster, let me get them. Hey, this is kind of fun. That was likely my initial take upon playing Tempest for the first time in my local arcade game in 1981-82. I believe “tube shooter” is the category for this type of game although that sounds a little dirty. At times it feels a bit like a 3D Space Invaders, but after a while it becomes it’s own game. The game was made by Atari and was known as Vortex at some point during it’s design stage but they settled on Tempest by the time they released it. The colors and the flashes of the action draw you in. I played this online a few years and liked it almost as much as I did back in the day. This was a staple of early 80’s arcades and if I went there at night I normally had to wait for a turn because there was always someone playing it. The playability and speed outweigh the primitive graphics and have helped this one to be seen as a classic. The game also shows up in the film Night of the comet and in the Rush video for Subdivisions.