On the EDGE of the Web
Tempest in a catbox
I give Edge quite a bit of hell around here for being a bunch of schizos in their review mannerisms as well as the laughably-poor ‘journalism’ that under-girds their rep (why??), but I do quite enjoy their little retrospectives on classic games, part because they’re well-written and part because it gets my unrepentant geek all worked up:
It’s hard to imagine the game getting anything but praise from both publisher and public alike, but Tempest 2000 wasn’t always considered the jewel in the Jaguar’s crown. “I was gobsmacked at its popularity because I’d had a knock-back at the Jaguar launch in New York,” remembers Minter. “During a drunken talk with one of the Jaguar designers he’d been quite scathing about the then-unfinished T2K, saying that it didn’t make good use of the hardware. He said Atari considered it to be nothing but a ‘makeweight’ title at best compared to the likes of Trevor McFur In The Crescent Galaxy. Of course, a lot more of the game was completed after that, but nonetheless I really thought my game would pretty much be the worst of the [launch titles] and worried whether it would even be considered good enough for release. When people came back from CES just after I arrived and started telling me it had got an award as one of the best games at the show I was rather relieved.”
I met Minter at one of the E3s (whichever one most directly preceded the launch of the ill-fated Nuon) and he was a very agreeable guy, if horrifically shy, especially after an over-exuberant game mag guy (no game journo me) gave him an epic tongue bath over this very game while playing an early build of Tempest 3K. (Which, sadly, did not soar to the heights of its feline predecessor but was, still, quite entertaining.)
Also, CHI asked me the other day what games I would give a 10 to, and I think it’s safe to say that, with the power of hindsight in full effect, Tempest 2K is deserving of such an accolade1, even if *none* of my friends ever ‘got’ it way back in the Jag’s (abbreviated) day and it’s still every bit as fun now as it was then:
You can grab a Jaguar emulator here and then track down a ROM and have at it.
Also: you can still find Minter making games, mainly over here under his Llamasoft shingle.
And, finally, at the end of this piece he teases with:
“Imagine an updated Tempest on the PSP…”
I can, but I’d much rather see it on a console, given the option.
1 Which will, no doubt, elicit gasps of horror from the collected, torch-wielding, throng, but so be it, heretics!