#63 Tapper

Posted: 16th March 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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410th played so far

Tapper_coverGenre: Action
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1983
Developer: Marvin Glass and Associates
Publisher: Bally Midway

Commercial tie-in games always seem a bit weird. They often seem bad – existing games with the identifying marks filed off and a logo plastered in. There are probably plenty of them around (mostly as Flash games these days), while the association with movie and TV tie-ins often feel as bad.

Then again, there are some that are generally liked. Peter enjoys Cool Spot (I did not know it at the time, but this was a tie-in with 7up), loads of good racing games have the arguments about using realistic brands, and even Theme Park has some advertisements for a bank in it. Tapper heavily featuring the Budweiser brand (at least in its original incarnations) doesn’t feel entirely out of place in this list. It seems to be a decently memorable game anyway, with the advertising being appropriate, something to look at now. The younger generation would recognise it because of a cameo in Wreck-It-Ralph.

Our Thoughts

Luckily, the game doesn’t push the promotional part of it beyond some background graphics. Sure, it’s more than a background detail, but it doesn’t matter much. The game itself is good. It’s simple enough for an arcade game – one designed to be placed in pubs even – with a few decent mechanics that are easy to pick up and never overwhelm. Perfect, really, for someone who’s had a drink and look to try their skills.

Even sitting comfortably at home the game stays engaging. Initially the game seems simple – serve the drinks, get the customers out of the way and be quick enough. It gets more annoying when customers don’t just go away after serving, and start sending the glasses back to you, which you have to catch.

During a level, the game is fairly unforgiving – one customer waiting too long or one glass not caught means it’s over and you have to start again. The game isn’t fast or harsh enough that this happens too often, instead giving you plenty of time with each life – just not always enough to finish the level.

One thing that surprised me as a positive were the graphics. They are cartoony and bright, slightly more fun than you expect and more detailed than most contemporaries. It makes the game more enjoyable and higher quality – it feels like a lot of care has been put into the game, especially when in later levels the setting changes and the scenes look stranger.

Final Thoughts

It’s perhaps not a highly complex game, but Tapper offers a lot of replayability by slowly layering concepts. With the graphical style, there’s a drive to explore a bit further to see some extra character bits, which helps drive you on. Perhaps not always worth as many quarters, but these days there are plenty of ports to play the game without worrying about that.