Atari Ultra Tank (1978)

Ultra Tank History and Gameplay

Designed by Steve Bristow and developed by Lyle Rains, Tank (Kee Games, 1974) was the original tank combat video game. Each player has a birdseye view of a maze and drives a tank while avoiding mines and shooting at each other. This combat style differentiated the game in a world of pong and driving video games. It was a hit that spurred multiple sequels: Tank II, Tank 8, a bootleg Tankers, and ultimately Ultra Tank in 1978.

To keep earning money on location, operators hacked the original Tank circuit board enhancing the play. Ultra Tank incorporated these hacks into switchable options. In this writer’s opinion, the options are not very compelling as most times a player will select the same barricades, visible tanks, and guided missiles. Additionally, primitive AI made 1-player play possible by battling a “Robot” tank. Unfortunately, the robot is rather dumb and not too hard to beat.

Ultra Tank cabinet
Ultra Tank cabinet

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Sega Tracer (1976)

Sega Tracer released in 1976 was a compact version of its predecessor Bullet Mark. A bridge between electro-mechanical arcade (known as EMs) and video games, this discrete logic twin shooter has a number of noteworthy features.  Using a mirror, the monitor is reflected from the bottom of the cabinet giving the illusion of the targets being further in the distance. The bezel displays the current score setting and large faux LED scoring. When shooting both twin tommy guns flash red LEDs in the tips and shake with a RAT-AT-TAT-TAT. This effect is really wild. Watch the video below the fold to get an idea.

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Taito Speed Race (1974)

Midway Wheels, with approximately 7000 manufactured, was a successful license of Taito Speed Race. I always wanted to add a Wheels to the collection. Over the years I came across a few, but I could not find a keeper. Recently, I found a decent condition Wheels that I was planning to pick-up from a local hoarder. Then this Speed Race happened.

taito_speedrace

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Bronze Age Video Arcade Games

Early 1970s black and white video games are said to be from the Bronze Age arcade era. Pong and Space Invaders are essentially the bookends. Primitive and prototypical to the 1980’s classic arcade games that followed, these games pioneered video game technology and idioms.

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