A lot of arcade collectors don’t like Tron. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “The game is a work of art, but the game play sucks!” I usually ask these people what their high score is, and the answer typically leaves me with the same conclusion: they hate it because they’re terrible at it.
Tron is not an easy game. Each level has four mini stages: light cycles, grid bugs, tanks, and the MCP cone. Most casual players won’t get past the first level. This is one of those games where the more you understand it, the more fun and addictive it becomes. Without getting beyond the first level, it’s hard to see what makes Tron such a rush. Each level has its own strategy, its own patterns, and its own nuances. The further you get, the more imperative it becomes that you act quickly on them.
At one point, my best friend and I each owned a Tron machine. From our respective houses, we’d compete and text each other photos of our high scores. I had to take a break from playing at one point because I developed what I coined “Tron finger,” from repeatedly squeezing the trigger on the joystick.
Like many games I’ve owned over the years, this is one that has graced my collection more than once. My original Tron became part of the outstanding collection of games at Grinkers Grand Palace (RIP) in Eagle, Idaho, along with my Empire Strikes Back machine.
The previous owner of my most recent Tron did an extensive restoration on it, and it’s about as close to perfect as it gets.
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