Retro Arcade Review: Tapper (1983)

Why can’t I stop playing Tapper?

As this rarely updated blog may have demonstrated, I’m a man of fleeting obsessions. I can write intensely for a period of a couple of days, and then I’m off, following my nose into obscure lovecraft lore, or makeup tutorial drama on youtube, or rewatching the entire 1990’s x men animated series.

My god it’s been a long lockdown.

But Tapper man. Tapper’s got something on me.

I love that little game. for those who haven’t yet slowly worn the chrome plating off their joysticks to this little nugget of black tar gaming history, Tapper is the game of serving root beer to an ever increasing bar full of patrons. Ironic that the most addictive game I’ve come across since Tetris strenuously emphasizes that it is not about serving addictive substances. It might look like beer, it might wreck your life like alcohol, but Tapper is strictly straight edge, (at least in my version, though there are tons that wholeheartedly embrace alcoholism like a fifteen year old on his first lambrini).

He needs a hit of root beer so freaking bad.

It’s got those chunky, over bright graphics you know I love, and the madcap sense of humour that marks it out as a bit of an oddity. The kids playing Tapper in the eighties arcade weren’t dreaming of fighting dragons or saving the universe, but I have a suspicion they were probaly the more interesting kids to talk to.

Speaking of the eighties, you’ll need reaction times of late stage Tony Montana to make it far. Tapper has the same mix of reflexes and forward planning that made Tetris so satisfying, your mind is always on two steps ahead, three steps, then come back here, NO FASTER DAMMIT TAPPER.

Plus, that tache. I know I can’t award points strictly for facial accessories, but it’s a well known fact that moustaches make games better.

Tapper is a fast game, which is perfect in a world of Skyrims and Borderlands-s, where by the time I’ve finally figured out the 17 pages of lore I need to understand the rich character work, I’m already late for work. Not a problem for Tapper. The lore is, you’re an un-unionised bar keep. Serve Root Beer, get tipped, probably get slung out of the bar in a couple of minutes. The ennui your little expressionless sprite embodies is part of the joy.

Check it out on mame, it runs like lightning, or, if you prefer, HIRE OUR KIT!

Tapper. Five out five beers.

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