RPO Replay: Tron – Deadly Discs

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Quote

After I beat Aech at three rounds of Tron: Deadly Discs, he threw down his Intellivision controller in disgust. — Ready Player One p. 40

Game Play

A purple figure runs across a grey background. 3 yellow figures move towards it. There is a purple border with ping doors around the outer ede.
The purple figure in this screenshot is Tron; the yellow figures are enemy programs.

Tron – Deadly Discs is a single-player game for Atari 2600 and Intellivision featuring a lone digital warrior (Tron) fending off endless waves of enemy programs. As in the Tron movies, the characters are armed with discs that represent their identities … as well as potentially potent weapons.

During the game, you throw your “disc” (ok, it’s actually like a short line of pixels; but hey, it was the 1980s – use your imagination) at your enemies. When you hit them, they die. True to its inspiration, you can only throw one disc at a time – it returns to you after killing an enemy, reaching its range, or being summoned by you. As the heroic Tron, you can survive multiple hits from enemies so you don’t have to worry about instant death (unlike, say, Robotron 2048)

Impressions

I re-played the 2600 version of Tron – Deadly Discs for this review. It feels like the quasi-generic, movie-tie-in game that it is. It lacks the frantic pace of Robotron 2048 (a much better game) and – given the technology of the era – can’t help but fall short of the visuals of its namesake movie. There are certainly far worse Atari games inspired by franchises or movies (SupermanE.T.) so it’s something that the game didn’t fall to those historic lows. However, Tron – Deadly Discs doesn’t distinguish itself from the dozens (hundreds) of other mediocre-to-adequate games on the platform and falls well short of classics like Yar’s Revenge and Asteroids.

High Scores

  • My High Score: 2,170

Resources

Where to Play

Commentary

Featured Image Meta

A screenshot of Tron: Deadly Discs taken from a game played using the Internet Archive emulator.

 

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