Very few people can make as definitive a statement about Tempest as Jeff Minter. Dave Theurer takes the crown on anything to do with the arcade original, seeing as he programmed it and all, but from Tempest 2000 to the upcoming TxK, anything Tempest-y has been left in the expert hands of Jeff Minter’s Llamasoft. Seeing as he’s also a huge fan of retro gaming, having started game making on the Commodore PET, it only makes sense that he’d have take a look at what happens when you try to squeeze a vector graphics game onto underpowered sprite-based hardware.
The primary reason for the mid-80s game market crash is the sheer volume of utterly unplayable garbage shovelware that got foisted on to the public, and while Tempest didn’t escape this effect there are some surprisingly capable versions kicking around. The low point of Microgen’s version of Tempest on the Spectrum (yes, worse than the Atari 2600 version) is counterbalanced by the simply amazing-looking demo of Orlando’s Tempest on BBC Micro. There were blatant clones, original games based on the gameplay style, unreleased prototypes, and versions both official and unofficial. Tempest’s ancient history is surprisingly varied, and this is a nice look at the chunky-pixel versions of an arcade classic.
For a much nicer version than what’s available on Youtube, the .mp4 can be downloaded here.