Tron (video game)
North American arcade flyer.
|Mode(s)||Single player or 2 players alternating|
|Cabinet||Standard upright, mini upright, cocktail|
|Arcade system||Midway MCR-II|
|CPU||main: Zilog Z80 @ 2.5 MHz
sound: Zilog Z80 @ 2 MHz
|Sound||2 x AY-3-8910
|Display||Resolution 512 x 480|
Tron is a coin-operated arcade video game manufactured and distributed by Bally Midway in 1982. It is based on the Walt Disney Productions motion picture Tron released in the same year. The game consists of four subgames inspired by the events of the science fiction film. It features some characters and equipment seen in the film, e.g. the Light Cycles, battle tanks, the Input/Output Tower. The game earned more than the film's initial release.
In 1983, Midway released the sequel arcade game Discs of Tron, which was inspired by the disc throwing combat sequence of the film. Another sequel followed in 2003 with the computer game Tron 2.0. On January 10, 2008, the game was released for Xbox Live Arcade ported from Digital Eclipse and branded by Disney Interactive.
In the 2010 film Tron: Legacy, the arcade game makes a brief appearance, but is displayed as being manufactured and distributed by the in-universe company ENCOM International instead of Bally Midway. It is also displayed as such on the "ENCOM International" promotional website for the film.
Tron was distributed in three types of cabinets: the standard upright, the mini upright and the cocktail (table) version.
All cabinets feature an 8-way joystick for moving, with one button for firing or speed control, and a rotary dial for controlling the direction of the fire (a setup also used in Kozmik Krooz'r, another Midway game). The game can be played by one player or by two alternating players as the controls are made for only one player at a time.
The player in the role of Tron has to beat four subgames, each at 12 increasingly difficult levels, with each level named after a computer programming language, such as "BASIC", "RPG", "COBOL", "FORTRAN", "SNOBOL", "PL1", "PASCAL", "ALGOL", "ASSEMBLY", "OS", "JCL" and "User", (then "User" repeats itself). All four segments of one level must be completed before continuing on to the next level.
This segment of the game mimics the scene from the motion picture in which Tron enters the Input/Output tower. In the arcade game, the player must destroy large numbers of Grid Bugs with Tron's disc and clear a path to the flashing circle, which must be entered before a timer runs out to complete the section. If a Bit appears on the screen, it can be picked up for a bonus of 5000 points.
This area imitates Tron's final battle against the MCP. The game's interpretation has the player destroying a multicolored wall in front of the MCP cone and getting by the wall, into the cone. A 1000-point bonus is awarded for completing the level, and an additional 1000 points is given for destroying all blocks of the wall.
The Battle Tanks subgame is not strictly based on film events, but the tanks are taken from there and the gameplay is similar to Atari Combat. The gameplay does resembles a two dimensional version of the in-universe game Space Paranoids which itself was realized as a 3-D first person maze shooter but would have been difficult to realize on real world arcade machines of the time. The player must guide Tron's red tank through a maze and destroy several blue tanks or red recognizers controlled by the computer. This must be done without taking any hits from enemies. If the player drives into the purple diamond in the center of the maze, the tank is warped to a random area of the maze. A bug in the game results in a cheat option. When the player's tank is not touching the white line in the corridors, it can not be hit by the enemy's fire, but it can still be rammed by enemy tanks.
In a player versus AI variant of the snake concept, the player guides a blue Light Cycle in an arena against an opponent, while avoiding the walls and trails of light left behind by both Light Cycles. The player must maneuver quickly and precisely in order to force opponents to run into walls. The enemy cycles have a fixed behavior pattern for each level: if the player can find it, the opponent can be defeated every time on this level.
These floating vehicles, colloquially referred to by the public as "stompers" for quite some time, take the place of the tanks at higher levels in the tanks game. The designation "recognizers" was used very sparingly in the film and many viewers might have therefore been unaware of the proper name. In the film, the Recognizers were the vehicles that attempted to stop the light cycles from escaping the game grid by "stomping" on them, and one of these vehicles was also the type of machine that Flynn "resurrected" with his user powers.
Recognizers do not fire at the player's tank at all but move at high speed, relentlessly converging on the player's location, and each still requires three shots to be destroyed.
Each of the 12 difficulty levels has a different keyword. They all relate in some way to computing, and most of them are programming languages. The keywords are, from lowest difficulty to highest: RPG, COBOL, BASIC, FORTRAN, SNOBOL, PL1, PASCAL, ALGOL, ASSEMBLY, OS, JCL, USER.
The video game's story was based on an early draft of the script for TRON. In the game, the light cycle the player controls is blue and the enemy light cycles are yellow whereas in the film the colors of the opposing players are reversed. The Grid Bugs played a major part as an enemy TRON has to fight whereas in the film they are only briefly shown. The MCP cone was rewritten as the MCP's tower in the film but remained in the game with the same premise for the player to breach it. The tank level is based on the tanks in the film. During the fifth stage the enemy tanks are replaced by faster, non-shooting recognizers.
Reception and criticism
New York Times reported that 800 arcade cabinets were sold by 1982. The book The naked computer reported that Tron made $45,000,000 by 1983. In USgamer's estimation 10,000 cabinets were sold and the game made more than $30,000,000 of revenue by 1983.
The world record high score for Tron was set in July 2011 by David Cruz of Brandon, Florida. Cruz scored 14,007,645 points based on Twin Galaxies rules and settings for the game.'
- Discs of Tron (1983): an arcade game which was originally intended as a fifth segment of Tron but was left out because programming was not finished in time. In it, the player engages in disc throwing combat, similar to the film sequence. This did get limited release in arcades and stores in New Jersey, New York, and other areas.
- Tron 2.0 (2003): first-person shooter computer game sequel with a new Light Cycle design by Syd Mead who had also designed them for the film.
- Tron 2.0 Killer App (2004): a port of Tron 2.0 as videogame to Xbox and Game Boy Advance with significant changes to the game. The Xbox version features new multiplayer modes. In the Game Boy Advance version there are Tron and Discs of Tron included.
- Space Paranoids (2009): arcade game with joystick and ball controls, created by 42 Entertainment for the 2009 San Diego Comic Con. It has also made an appearance at Disney California Adventure's ElecTRONica event beginning in 2010.
- Tron: Evolution (2010): a third-person action-adventure, tie-in video game for the film Tron: Legacy by Propaganda Games, published by Disney Interactive.
- Tron: Evolution - Battle Grids (2010): a video game based on the 2010 film Tron: Legacy made exclusively for the Wii and Nintendo DS. Its storyline predates that of the other versions. It's developed by n-Space and published by Disney Interactive Studios.
- Videogame series for Mattel's Intellivision console:
- Open-source computer games released under GNU General Public License via download for multiple platforms:
- Armagetron Advanced: based on the Light Cycle game from the film Tron.
- GLtron: based on the Light Cycle game from the film Tron.
- KTron: another game based on the Light Cycle game from the film Tron. KTron is one of the KDE Games distributed as part of the K Desktop Environment (KDE) ( kde.org/applications/games/ktron/ ).
- WTron: a clone of KTRON for the Windows platform ( wtron.sourceforge.net ).
- A legally licensed Tron game is available for the Tomy Tutor computer, but it was only released in Japan and is unrelated. In the USA, however, for copyright reasons this game was retitled as Hyperspace.
- "Tron Arcade". www.3gcs.com. Archived from the original (WEB) on July 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
Information about technical specifications, cabinets, gameplay, level keywords.
- "Trivia for TRON" (WEB). www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- "About the technology author(s)" (WEB). IBM Multimodal Annotation Tool. www.alphaworks.ibm.com. 2002-08-09. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- Harmetz, Aljean (3 July 1982). "Movie Themes Come To Video Games". Star-News. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Jack B. Rochester & John Gantz (1983), The naked computer: a layperson's almanac of computer lore, wizardry, personalities, memorabilia, world records, mind blowers, and tomfoolery, William Morrow and Company, p. 164, ISBN 0-688-02450-5, retrieved 20 April 2011,
Although the Disney Studios expected to make over $400 million from this siliconic extravaganza, our source at Variety tells us that its North American rentals were $15 million and estimated total gross, $30 million. The arcade game Tron, made by Bally, grossed more.
- Rignall, Jaz (30 December 2013). "Top 10 Biggest-Grossing Arcade Games of All Time". USgamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Twin Galaxies Scoreboard of TRON" (WEB). www.twingalaxies.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- "Tron: Deadly Discs" (WEB). www.mobygames.com. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- "Hyperspace" (WEB). www.floodgap.com. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tron (video game).|
- Tron at the Killer List of Videogames
- Twin Galaxies High Score Rankings for Tron
- TRON guide at StrategyWiki
- Tron - homage site with descriptions of the game
- Twin Galaxies Interview with TRON Champion David Cruz
- Flash version of game on Tron Legacy website