I know for a fact I've not played Tron, but ever since catching the later parts of the film on TV a long time ago (and then subsequently watching it all, a few times, along with behind the scenes stuff, and the sequel), I think we've all wanted to be Kevin Flynn in some fashion.
Thirty-three years on, thanks to the wonderful whizz kids at Disney, I'm able to play Tron as it was meant to be played - in a Flash game on a website with optional mouse support. There is a God.
I kid, but it's the only way I can play, so I'll take it. And it's faithful too. Unlike some of the flash versions of Atari games I've played so far, for example, this isn't a tarted up reskin or reimagining. Beyond a change in menus and a pop up set of instructions for each minigame, it seems to be a straight port of the arcade classic.
Time to hop into a Light Cycle and scram.
Tron is split into four minigames which you can tackle in any order. Upon completion of all four, they reopen with a difficulty increase and you do it all over again. Nothing more complicated needs to happen, and the games and control schemes reflect that.
The I/O Tower levels goal is for you to plop yourself into the circle and be abducted by technicolour aliens or something. You're hindered by Grid Bugs however, meaning that while you can try dodging them on your path to the goal, it's more likely that you'll throw your identity disc at a few of them. One hit is all it takes and the level is cleared in no time.
Mixing things up is the Battle Tank game, putting you in control of a tank and tasking you with destroying any threats intent on destroying you. Those with a keen eye will notice that your turret moves much smoother than it would have done thirty years ago, should you be using the mouse to aim your shots, rather than switching it to a more old school auto aim mode. Does it absolutely shatter the illusion? Of course not, get back to shooting.
The controls can lead to some hiccups beyond visuals though, depending on which device you play on. With keyboard controls for movement, either the arrow keys or WASD, if you've got the skills but your keyboard isn't up to the task, you're going to notice. As you can tell above, I was awfully close to watching my opponent's Light Cycle smash into a wall, only for my laptop keyboard and I to not quite gel, resulting in my demise just a second too soon. Play it on a proper keyboard.
The Master Control Program cone is all that you need to reach to complete the set and increase the difficulty (unless you started with this level, in which case do the others as well). Shoot, shoot some more, shoot enough of a gap in the wall to run through, then run through. Couldn't be simpler.
You've seen it all now. I hope you're taken in by the minigames whatever order you tackle them in though, because you'll be seeing them loop until it's game over.
It's repetitive, but it's bite-sized gameplay (gotta be a pun in that somewhere...) that mixes things up just enough to keep your attention, and it's a movie tie-in, so it should be an absolute must play game in the first place, right?...
It's not a bad little game. Simple graphics and sounds, like the movie. Perhaps loses some of the scope of the film - the Light Cycle arena is a little pokey, for example, but you can't have everything. It's free online, and you're not going to use Flash for anything important, so give it a shot.
The difficulty levels are named after computer languages, including the likes of BASIC, Fortran, and Assembly. I wonder where LOLCODE would fit into the difficulty range...
Tron, developed by Bally Midway, first released in 1982.
Version played: Flash, via Disney Games.