No, this is not a throwback nor time travel post from 1981. While the Atari name and brand is absent from actively manufacturing new games for the amusement market, the current IP holders (Atari SA) have been happy to license their classics out to developers interested in making use of them. For arcades we’ve seen two remakes hit the scene in recent times – first with Atari Breakout by Coastal Amusements followed this past year with the Atari PONG Table by UNIS.
Now the beloved arcade classic Centipede will be joining them, helmed by the experienced crews at Play Mechanix and ICE. AH writer SaraAB87 recently got the chance to play the game when visiting her local Dave & Busters in upper New York state. She said:
Graphically, this new take on Centipede resembles the movie Pixels. It plays with the same concept as the original game, but now there are power-ups, it supports three players at the same time and you use a joystick move your character instead of the trackball.
I was actually really good at it, I think I got up to something like wave 8 and managed to earn 150 tickets, which is good for one play. I’m not the best at actually playing arcade games, but this I got some time on with no problem, probably because I am pretty familiar with the original Centipede, one of my favorite classic games (besides simulators).
In looking closely at the cabinet image here, you can see that the control panel calls it “Centipede Chaos,” while the marquee just says Centipede. Given that this is a location test, it’s pretty likely that the marquee will change for the production version (much like we saw the Nerf Arcade marquee change between the location test and the production still that was sent out, and we’ve seen that happen many other times). Of course, most people will just see CENTIPEDE and be pinged by nostalgia, but it’s good that this will be Centipede Chaos so as to help distinguish it from the original and the various console iterations that have been released over the years. Click on the image below to get a bigger look.
You’ll also notice that the joysticks are a little more “stocky” than the usual Happ sticks, making them look more like the mushrooms seen in the game. That said, I think most would prefer the original trakball controllers(unless the gameplay has changed so much that it works better with a stick…we’ll have to wait and see).
As a guess, this looks to use a 65″ HD monitor (the Frogger sitting next to it used a 42″ screen, IIRC), and by Sara’s description of the gameplay, is a little more involved than some of the videmption classic game remakes we’ve seen in the past as there are multiple waves to play(Pac-Man Chomp Mania and Galaga Assault both featured one wave/round, then it was a boss battle, then done). That also might put it into the realm of Rampage (2018), which tracked waves, but was essentially an endless game.
One thing we’re certainly curious about, as we always are with these videmption releases, is whether or not the game has an amusement/ticketless mode built-into it. Most recent videmption releases do, where the title then plays like a normal arcade game. I’ve had the aforementioned Galaga Assault at my arcade where it’s setup like this, and people have enjoyed it; I’ve also played Space Invaders Frenzy in the ticketless mode and found it to be fun. I have no idea how many locations opt to use that mode instead of the default, however.
We’ll certainly be keeping tabs on this one, and will see if it appears at Amusement Expo 2019 in Las Vegas here in a couple of weeks. What do you think about it from what we’ve seen so far? Sara says that she believes that a “couple of Dave & Busters” locations have it, so you might find it out there now if you’re wanting to see it.