back to article Drinking games: Tapper 1983, this Bud's for you...

So just as everyone is coming to the end of their January Dryathalon, I find the only thing I have on my mind is more beer. Indeed, I'm reminded of Tapper, which incorporates two of my favourite pastimes: drinking and gaming. Tapper (1983) Pour substitute? Tapper is an arcade classic and so iconic it’s even lovingly …

  1. petur

    blast from the past

    Wow, that old already, I actually remember playing that :)

    (before I discovered you can actually do useful things with a computer)

    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: blast from the past

      (before I discovered you can actually do useful things with a computer)

      Fortunately this was only temporary, then we invented the internet and comment sections.

    2. Michael Strorm

      Re: blast from the past

      I'll always have some nostalgia for Tapper, as it was one of the earliest "proper" arcade-style games I remember playing- on a friend's BBC B, at a time when my Dad only had a ZX81.

      The BBC B conversion had a "Mountain Dew" sign (*) instead of "Budweiser" on the bonus level. (**)

      In fact, they apparently made a family-friendly alcohol-free arcade version called "Root Beer Tapper", which is the one I have on "Midway Arcade Treasures", though the aforementioned "Mountain Dew" BBC B conversion was still just called "Tapper". Probably because no-one in the UK had heard of root beer back then anyway.

      Anyway, regarding the arcade original- the graphics are much higher resolution than most games of the time, aren't they? (Wikipedia says they're 480x512, which sounds about right). The detailing and cartoony feel must have been quite impressive back then.

      (*) This was long before Mountain Dew's brief existence on the 90s UK market- for years I only knew it from that game (and didn't know what it was).

      (**) Now that I think of it, I assume the masked character in the original Budweiser version wasn't called the "soda bandit" either.

  2. Sir Runcible Spoon


    My memories of this game seem to trigger feelings of anxiety for some reason :)

    It was a very stressful game, and I don't even recall that there was a 'space' level, let alone reached it!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never seen those later levels, just shows how bad I was at it.

  4. o_0

    Tapper is a great game. I have the arcade machine in my garage. It's been sitting there in the dark for the last 10 years. When I got it it would work without sound, coming up with an "Interface Sound Board error" when it booted. Then the monitor died and that's where it has sat ever since!

    1. FartingHippo


      Your story made me sad. Here's my tale of woe:

      In the mid 90s I was offered a full-size, working Scramble cabinet for £10. I said "no thanks". Still kicking myself.

    2. Kurt 5

      Like a number of games from that era the cabinet was customized - full artwork (not just some side art), custom metals on the sides of the control panel, and a bar rail on the bottom. A great cabinet!

  5. Fortycoats

    I had the C64 version

    The graphics weren't as good as the screenshots here, but it was still a fun game.

    I seem to remember another way to "die" was if a customer got to the end of the bar, and proceeded to throw you sliding along the bar until you hit the wall :-)

    And the stress was when the music got faster and faster, when the bar was almost empty.

    Might have to fire up the C64 emulator this evening...... Tapper and Uridium are on the playlist tonight!

    Beer----> sliding towards the next punk through the door

    1. Fading
      Thumb Up

      Re: I had the C64 version

      Definitely a me too. Never got passed the sports stages - and the stress from sending an extra beer (IIRC the more full the beer mug the greater the distance the patrons were thrown back) - great game. Uridium huh? More of a Paradroid fan myself.

      1. Paw Bokenfohr

        Re: I had the C64 version

        +1 for Paradroid.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: I had the C64 version

          OMG, Paradroid on the C64 loaded from a 1541 disk drive using the @ loader in around 1.5 seconds.

          I bet you any money you couldn't get a game to load up on a modern PC in that time, even a simple one like Paradroid!

          Taking on a 999 with a poor 100-series was always a tough ask, timing was essential to have the last erg of energy to flip the switch to your side :)

  6. Zog_but_not_the_first


    ... GET IN THE VAN.

  7. Ben Bonsall

    Check out the range of bars on Discworld Mud... And the range of drinks. You can get so unbelievably pished that you fall unconscious or wander blindly, have an unbelievably strong coffee that sends you out the other side of sober, have absinthe that makes you see bunnies... There's even badly rolled cigarettes and dodgy mushrooms if drinking isn't your thing. And a type of pepper you snort and sneeze so hard it blows you across the room...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I always liked the bar in Space Quest I, which you happen to revisit in Space Quest IV via time travel only to get thrown out for being in 256 colours.

  9. Lamont Cranston


    I can't see any rose bushes.

    1. FartingHippo


      They're hidden by drinkers vomiting up shitty, tasteless beer.

  10. ThomH Silver badge

    Tempest with beer

    Who could resist?

    It's in the Midway Arcade collection and iCade compatible so I most recently played it probably a week or two ago. I doubt I'll ever get to the third bar, let lone the fourth.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    I had the game, but don't remember the name...

    ...was it also called something else? Or is my memory finally giving up on me.

    1. John Gamble

      Re: I had the game, but don't remember the name...

      Yeah, there was a modification for those establishments that wanted a video game, but didn't want it promoting evil alcohol. The tea-total one that I remember was Root Beer Tapper.

      No one who played it was fooled, of course.

  12. chivo243 Silver badge

    Not so popular at the arcade of my youth

    Love the nod to Wreck it Ralph, my boy loves that movie.

    Poor Tapper was put in the dark room at the far end of the arcade. By the time you worked your way back there, you were out of coins/tokens. Although, Space Invaders Deluxe and Galaxian were in the same room, and I spent many hours there playing them and watching the really good players for better techniques. If I could have a game, I would like Robotron 2084. I've seen online/pc versions that don't do the original justice...

  13. Petrea Mitchell
    Thumb Up

    Booze in games

    One of the most essential game bars I recall was the chain of identical bars in the Bard's Tale games, where the only way to recharge your bard was to take them to the local bar and get them a drink.

  14. CJ_in_AZ

    Even older...

    Wish I could locate a copy (preferably source code) for "RudeTrek" -- a text game that ran on the IBM-360 back in the mid-1970s. I heard about it, but never got to play it. :-(

    1. asdf

      Re: Even older...

      I very vaguely remember the arcade games of the mid 1970s also being much more electo mechanical games what with the microprocessor just being invented and all.

  15. julian abbs

    i got tapper as a christmas present in one year

    worst present ever (including the years where i got nothing), i still feel the same sense of outrage i felt then that anyone i was related to could possibly think i would like it

  16. Dana W

    Insert obligatory American beer joke here.

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