I was mostly looking to play games from Arcadian at last week’s California Extreme Arcade and Pinball Show (yes, I’m still thinking about that!), and I did.  Throughout my time there I got my hands on Dragon’s LairCentipede and Millipede, and Crystal Castles.  But there were a couple of others I wanted to play as well.  One was Joust, which enjoyed a brief time of great popularity in my school.  Another was Tempest.

I was familiar with Tempest in the original arcade days.  But I wasn’t that interested in it for some reason.  Maybe it was the story, maybe it was the vector graphics, maybe it was the spinner control.  I don’t know.  I just wasn’t  interested even though it was featured on one of my favorite movies of all time, Night of the Comet.

(Jump to 2:30 to see Tempest)

I’ve become more interested in it recently.  Again, I don’t know why.  It might be nostalgia, or it might be that I’ve learned the game was inspired by a game designer who dreamed about standing at the top of a hole in the ground and shooting demons as they tried to climb out.  In any case, I wanted to play it and I got to.  I got to play both a regular upright Tempest and a cabaret version.   I did equally well on both, getting to the stages where you have to avoid the spikes.  I still didn’t understand it very well.  The action moves so fast and the enemies are so bizarre that I never figured out what I was shooting or what would happen if I didn’t shoot it.  Still, I thought it was fun.  While vector graphics aren’t my favorite, they are bright and crisp and neat to look at.  The spinner was a unique controller (though I found it harder to finesse than a trackball).  And the action was really great.  I’m glad I got to try this one, and I hope to give it a few more tries in the future.

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