By Harry McCracken | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am
Tempest. Tapper. Rampage. Popeye. Dig Dug. Those are my five favorite classic arcade games, and I’m really not sure what order I’d rank them in. Tempest would probably come out on top–but Tapper would have a shot, too.
Tapper debuted in 1983 and existed in two versions. In one, you played the part of a bartender who served Budweiser beer, in an early example of product placement in games. The other edition was Root Beer Tapper–shown above–in which you were a soda jerk serving non-alcoholic refreshments. The gameplay was identical: You ran around tapping beverages and flinging them down counters at hordes of impatient customers in various settings. It was twitchy good fun, the graphics and sound were excellent for their day, and I know that the game has held up well–I played it, repeatedly, just a few months ago at the amazing California Extreme arcade mega-event.
And now there’s Tapper World Tour, a new version for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad from Warner Bros. and Square One. You may not be surprised to learn that the graphics are more ambitious this time around, and you serve drinks in a lot more settings. But the basic drink-flinging gameplay looks like it’s come into the modern era intact, as it should:
Lovers of 1980s gaming have another reason to be interested in this revival: Its graphics were designed by Don Bluth, whose animation studio produced the animation for Dragon’s Lair (1983) and Space Ace (1984), two games which used laserdiscs to provide astoundingly rich animation and audio for their era.
Interested in playing the new Tapper? It’s scheduled to show up on the iOS App Store in early spring. And courtesy of Warner Bros. and Square One, you have a chance at a free copy–and an 8GB iPod Touch to play it on. We’ll be giving an iPod Touch with Tapper World Tour preinstalled to one lucky winner.
You can enter the drawing in three ways:
1) Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite classic video game is, and why. I’ll leave it up to you to define “classic”–for me, it would anything dating from before 1985 or thereabouts. For you, it might be anything before 1995, or 2005. (Please use a working e-mail address so we can alert you if you win–it won’t be public, and we won’t use it for any other purpose.)
2) Tweet me (I’m @harrymccracken) and say as much about your favorite classic game as you can in 140 characters or less. If you have space, use the hashtag #tapper. (Make sure you’re following me so we can Direct Message you if you win.)
3) Post a message on the wall at Technlologizer’s Facebook page–again, with some thoughts on your favorite game.
(You can comment on more than one game, or in more than one venue, but multiple entries won’t increase your chances of winning.)
No matter which method you use, please enter by 12pm noon PT on Wednesday, March 2nd. We’ll perform a random drawing from all entrants and announce a winner by Friday, March 4th. The winner will receive the prize once the game is live in the App Store.
Now all we need are great authorized iOS versions of Tempest, Popeye, and Rampage–Dig Dug is already with us–and life will be as perfect as it’s likely to get. Let’s end with a trailer…