Tank (video game)

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For the SNK game, see TNK III.
For other uses, see Tank (disambiguation).
Poster art of Tank
Developer(s) Kee Games
Publisher(s) Kee Games
Designer(s) Steve Bristow[1]
Lyle Rains
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s)
  • NA: November 5, 1974
Genre(s) Military strategy
Cabinet custom
CPU discrete
Sound Amplified Stereo (two channels)
Display Vertical orientation, Black-and-white raster display, Standard Resolution

Tank is a two-player arcade game by Atari Inc. subsidiary Kee Games, originally released on November 5, 1974 and designed by Steve Bristow and Lyle Rains.[2]


Tank uses a black and white Motorola television for its display.[3] The control panel consists of four military-style joysticks, two per player, with a fire button mounted on top of the right joystick of each pair.

Inserting coins immediately starts the game, placing the players in the upper right and lower left corners of the maze respectively.[3] The first 50 or so cabinets produced have a protruding wooden coin box area between the two speaker grills.[4]

Tank was the first game to use IC-based ROM to store graphical data.[5] Although Gran Trak 10, released in July 1974, was the first arcade game to use solid state ROM data, Gran-Trak's ROM used an earlier diode-based ROM technology.[2][4]

The custom game cabinet was designed by Peter L. Takaichi and patented October 20, 1975 (US Patent # D243,624).[2]


Players move their tanks through a maze on screen, avoiding mines and shooting each other. The players are represented by one black and one white tank sprite, and mines are denoted by an "X". Points are scored by shooting the opponent or when a player runs over a mine; the player with the highest score at the end of the time limit wins the game.

The tanks are controlled by two joysticks in a dual configuration. Pushing both joysticks moves the player's tank forward, and pulling them both back causes the tank to stop. Moving the right joystick forward while pulling the left joystick back causes the tank to turn right, while reversing the motion causes the tank to turn left.


The Atari 2600 game Combat, released in 1977, includes several variations of Tank.


The Coleco Telstar Combat!, released in 1977, played four variations of Kee Games' Tank using a General Instruments AY-3-8700 Tank chip. also tank trouble game


A sequel, Tank II, was released in 1974. It was followed by two further sequels, the full color and Motorola 6800 microprocessor based Tank 8 (1976), and the 6502 microprocessor based Ultra Tank (1978).

Battlezone was released in 1980, using the same control mechanism. Designed by Ed Rotberg, the game play was moved to 3D first person format displayed by vector graphics. The player also now competed against computer-controlled opponents.


  1. ^ Obituary: Gaming pioneer Steve Bristow helped design Tank, Breakout, by Kyle Orland, Feb 25, 2015, Ars Technica
  2. ^ a b c Fulton, Steve. "Atari Timeline: 1974". Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  3. ^ a b Kee Games, Tank Operation and Service Manual, Kee Games 
  4. ^ a b "Tank Killer List of Video Games Entry". Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Atari: From Boom to Bust and Back Again". Next Generation. Imagine Media (4): 37. April 1995. 

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