Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TRON games, Atari 2600, 1982.

Though contemporaries describe the Tron game spin-offs (for once, wholly justified) as the only redeemable byproduct from the colossally flop-py movie, and despite the timelessness of the Light Cycles (Surround) gameplay (TRace ON indeed), the movie has aged somewhat more gracefully than its game adaptations. Let's face it -- if your graphics engine can't even handle depicting the filled-vector aesthetic it's intended to display, you probably won't find many adherents today. (Maybe TRON - the roguelike?)

The film's ascension into cultish elder statesman status isn't such a surprise -- there is a lot in it to like. Me, I'm especially fond of Wendy Carlos' original soundtrack (Daft Punk don't hold a candle to her!) Of course, my parents are fond of recounting the story of toddler me spelling out the movie's name (well, T-O-R-N -- close enough!) in my letter blocks, so perhaps I'm nostalgically biased. The movie can be admittedly pretty dopey, but that was just a harbinger of dopiness to come in summer blockbusters hitherto undreamed-of!

The awesome MCP is taking over another computer! Only this time it's your Atari(r) 2600! Only you can stop him!

TRON Deadly Discs, Adventures of TRON

Call it a paucity of imagination on my part, but not only can't I imagine what MCP would do with the awesome horsepower of a VCS at his disposal, I can't even imagine how he would get in. (Was it the 2600 that had some sort of PLATO interface cart?) This ad isn't even shilling for any of the A-list TRON games (hello, Light Cycles again), but the clean depiction of a Recognizer means I don't care. I haven't played either of these (the 2600 is one of my lost generations), but visually Adventures of TRON is immediately reminiscent of a Broderbund game I played at a friend's after school, entitled DROL, on one of the plethora of incompatible systems of the day. The sneakernet sure was difficult to perpetrate when your TRS-80 CoCo didn't speak Commodore 64-ese with your friend's home computer. C'mon -- BASIC is BASIC, right? They're both written by Microsoft! Well, sorry, but no. But -- ah, I digress!