First came the Tron movie: an electric adventure story about a computer wiz who tries to terminate a runaway program in a huge computer information system only to get pulled into the system. Produced by Walt Disney studios, Tron is not only about computer adventures, it is filled with computerized effects: graphics that aren’t possible in the real world of film-making, but exist through the magic of computer electronics.
Tron may well pick up where Disney films like Fantasia left off. It will be visually astounding and at the same time, create seemingly impossible effects for the first time on film.
The computer adventures of Tron won’t be limited to the movie screen. Bally Manufacturing is reported to be readying a Tron game for arcade play. The arcade version of Tron will also be placed in movie theaters before the movie opens as sort of an electronic coming attractions unit to alert movie-goers to the computer potentials of Tron.
Home game players won’t be left out of the Tron adventures either. Mattel has announced that Tron will be available for their Intellivision system.
The Intellivision version of Tron is something of a first in home game circles. There will actually be two complete Tron carts. Tron I lets the player become Tron and fight off the blue warrior enemies using fatal discs. Tron II is a maze type game where the player must eliminate alien dots as he or she advances toward the heart of the master computer program.
So whether you favor the tensions and excitement of a Space Invaders type game where you have a direct confrontation with the enemy (Tron I) or the eye/hand coordination necessary to keep the aliens at bay as you move through a maze (Tron II), you’ll find plenty of action in the Tron home game carts.
The concept of releasing a movie, arcade game, and home game carts at practically the same time is a new one for both the movie and the video game industry. Whether the existence of the arcade-home games will help promote the movie remains to be seen, but there’s no question that people who see the movie and hear about the game will definitely want to see what kind of action the game provides.
As with upcoming games based on Raiders Of The Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back, Tron has a terrific advantage: it is an instantly recognizable game plan to those who have seen the movie and enjoyed its plot. So if a moviegoer gets into the Tron concept, he or she can step into the action by playing the Tron game. Of course, the final verdict on the Tron game won’t come in until it has hit the arcades and home carts. As with other computer games, its ultimate success or failure as a hot new game will depend on the kind of action it offers the player.
Another Time, Another Place
The film version of Krull is now filming at Pinewood Studios in England, with Ken Marshall starring, and eight sound stages fitted out for special effects by Derek Meddings (he did the effects for Superman I & II) to be filmed by Peter Sushitzky (he was director of photography on The Empire Strikes Back).
While Columbia Pictures in producing the movie in England, back in the U.S. the latest news is that Krull will be more than a movie—it will also be the latest in the list of movies that are also screen games.
D. Gottlieb & Co. (which happens to be the arcade subsidiary of Columbia Pictures) will create and manufacture arcade video and pinball games which, according to the film company, will be “keyed to the spectacular settings and effects of the film…”
Home game fans will also be able to experience the marvels of Krull because Atari and Columbia have signed an agreement so that Atari can make home video game carts based on the film.
So step into what Columbia describes as being set in “another time and place,” and prepare to play Krull.