Centipede (video game)

From Academic Kids

Centipede
Screenshot of Centipede
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari
Game designers: Dona Bailey and Ed Logg
Release date: 1980
Genre: Stationary shooter
Game modes: Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet: Standard
Controls: Trackball; 1 button
Monitor
Raster, standard resolution 240 x 256 (Vertical) 8 Colors
Notes
This was the first arcade game to be designed by a woman.

Centipede is a 1980 arcade game produced by Atari. It was the first arcade game designed by a woman, Dona Bailey.

Contents

Description

The player is represented by a small, insect-like character at the bottom of the screen. The player moves the character about the bottom area of the screen with a trackball and fires laser shots at a centipede advancing from the top of the screen down through a field of mushrooms. Shooting any section of the centipede creates a mushroom; shooting one of the middle segments splits the centipede into two pieces at that point, which each continue on their way down the board.

The centipede starts out at the top of the screen, travelling either left or right. When it hits a mushroom, or the edge of the screen, it drops one level and switches direction. Thus, more mushrooms on the screen cause the centipede to descend more rapidly. The player can destroy mushrooms with their shots, but this is usually a slow process since each mushroom takes four hits before it vanishes.

If the centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, it moves back and forth within the player area, and periodic one-segment "head" centipedes are added. This continues until the player has eliminated both the original centipede and all heads. When all the centipede's segments are destroyed, a new centipede forms at the top of the screen. Every time a centipede is eliminated, however, the next one is one segment shorter, and is accompanied by one additional, fast-moving, one-segment "head" centipede. A player loses a life when hit by a centipede or another enemy, such as a spider, or a flea which leaves mushrooms behind when less than five are in the player area. There is also a scorpion which poison mushrooms they touch, but they never appear in the player's movement region. A centipede touching a poisoned mushroom is sent hurtling straight toward the player's area.

Legacy

Centipede was followed by Millipede in 1982, a somewhat less successful, though respectable, game.

Ports

Missing image
A7800_Centipede.png
Atari 7800 version of Centipede

This game, like many other Atari arcade games, was ported to the Atari 2600 and many home computer systems of the era (for example, Apple II, Commodore 64, etc.) for home play. Today, it is also often included in the TV Games-style series that have become popular in recent years.

Also, a new version for PC and the PlayStation was released in the late '90s. The game itself was more or less a completely new game (allowing free movement around a map) but the original version of Centipede was available in this version, albeit with slightly updated 3D graphics.

Song

In 1982, Buckner and Garcia recorded a song called "Ode to a Centipede", using sound effects from the game, and released it on the album Pac-Man Fever.

External links

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