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Platforms: Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, Arcade, Apple II, PC, Intellivision, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, and ColecoVision
Release Date: June 1981
Why this game mattered: In the pantheon of classic arcade games, few can argue that Centipede belongs anywhere but the top. The subtle simplicity of this game, where you shoot and shoot and shoot as the big monster gets closer and closer, is the kind of thing you can only really appreciate with a room full of excited people at your back as the score goes up. Centipede was one of those arcade games where finding someone who was truly good at playing was just as exciting as playing yourself, and it filled a room with energy every time someone took on a high score.
Fun fact: While frequently confused with one of the space-based shooters of its age, your main character in Centipede is actually a garden gnome with a magic wand.
Future games influenced by this title: Centipede was immediately followed by Millipede, but really this game has taken so many different shapes across every form factor you can imagine. Most recently, Centipede was re-released as a mini arcade cabinet you can set up in your home for way less than the cost of a full cabinet. But if you're looking for games Centipede inspired, you can look at pretty much any vertical shooter not set in space. Those, obviously, came from Galaga.
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