Tron is a coin-operated arcade video game manufactured and distributed by Bally Midway in 1982. The game consists of four subgames inspired by the events of the Walt Disney Productions motion picture Tron released in the same year.
Tron consists of four sub-games based on events and characters in the movie. In general, the player controls Tron, either in human form or piloting a vehicle, using an eight-way joystick for movement, a trigger button on the stick to fire, and a rotary dial for aiming. The goal of the game is to score points and advance through the game’s twelve difficulty levels by completing each of the sub-games. The game supports two players alternating.
At the start of each level, the player must choose between four quadrants, each one corresponding to one of the sub-games. The sub-game in each quadrant is not known to the player until it is selected – if the player fails the game and loses a life, he/she is taken back to this selection screen and an icon representing that game is now visible.
The sub-games are as follows:
- I/O Tower
The player must guide Tron to the flashing circle of an Input/Output tower within a set time limit while avoiding or destroying Grid Bugs. This game is based on the I/O Tower scene in the film, while adding the Grid Bugs as enemies (which were only briefly mentioned in the film).
- MCP Cone
The player must break through a rotating shield wall protecting the MCP cone and enter the cone without touching any of the shield blocks. This game is based on Tron’s final battle with the MCP in the film, but changes the nature of the MCP’s shield.
- Light Cycles
In a player-vs-AI variant of the Snake game concept, the player guides Tron’s blue Light Cycle in an arena against one or more yellow opponents. The objective is to force the enemy light cycles into walls and jet trails, while simultaneously avoiding them. This game is based on the Light Cycle Arena sequence in the film, though the colors of the friendly and enemy characters are reversed. This is the only sub-game in Tron to not use the rotary dial.
- Battle Tanks
The player must guide Tron’s red battle tank through a maze and destroy all of the opposing blue enemy tanks by hitting each of them three times. The tank can warp to a random location in the maze by moving into a diamond in the center. In higher difficulty levels, the enemy tanks are replaced by red Recognizers that are much faster and attempt to collide with the player instead of shooting at him/her. This game is not based on any particular scene, but is rather based on Tank Program elements, including Clu’s failed intrusion into the ENCOM mainframe and the “Space Paranoids” game featured at the beginning of the film.