Tapper [1983] |Arcade|

Looking back, it’s amazing to think of just how many games had a downright wacky premise compared to the somber and “safe” franchises you’ll see nowadays. Outside of the odd, or in some cases, very odd indie game, you’ll usually end up stepping into the shoes of a tortured, yet endlessly bland, blank slate and go on a bunch of sidequests.

Oh, look how varied and interesting these protagonists all are.

Back in the days of 1983, everyone was so willing to experiment that you could make a game based around beer, and Bally Midway did just that. Resulting from a partnership with Budweiser, Tapper follows a bartender trying to serve impatient customers. There are four different bars to tend to with up to four customers at each bar at any given time. Every time you give a customer a beer, it pushes him/her back and the customer is removed from play when pushed off screen. With its bright, colorful graphics and solid gameplay, Tapper became an instant classic.

This is the original version of the game, but Midway also made a child-friendly version called Root Beer Tapper to assuage fears that they were marketing alcohol to children (because, as we know, all video games are just meant for children). This version replaced the bartender with a soda jerk and removed all references to alcohol, which makes the high number of violently impatient customers really scary. I would not want to live in that world…. Anyway, both versions of the game proved to be a smashing success and was followed up by Timber, where you play as a lumberjack. Although not as big a success as its predecessor, Timber was a worthy addition to arcades, with its similarly bright and colorful graphics, and non-combative gameplay. I don’t know about you, but I start to get sick of violent games after a while. I’m tired of shooting people and getting shot at, EA! Give me trees to chop down! Have a look at a gameplay video of it (not by me) here:


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