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TRON is an arcade game released in 1982. It is loosely based on the motion picture of the same name. It was followed by Discs Of TRON.


Arcade cabinet

TRON was distributed in four types of cabinets: the standard upright, the mini upright, cocktail (table), and the sit down enclosed cabinet version. The upright cabinet is designed as movie tie-in. It has, as a special feature, two blacklights and fluorescent lines painted on, resembling the blue, red etc. circuit lines from the film TRON. In a darkened room or arcade the lines glow. The sit down enclosed cabinet is the rarest of all the cabinet types. The sit down plays a part in the 2010 TRON: Legacy movie. Walt Disney Pictures searched for 3 years with no luck until they found a video game collector in Slayton, Minnesota who rented his sit down game to Walt Disney Pictures.

All cabinets feature an 8-way joystick for moving, with one button for firing or speed control, and a rotary dial for controlling the direction of the fire (a setup also used in Kozmik Krooz'r another Midway game). The game can be played by one player or by two alternating players as the controls are made for only one player at a time.


The player in the role of TRON has to beat four subgames, each at 12 increasingly difficult levels. All four segments of one level must be completed before continuing with the next level.

I/O Tower

This segment of the game mimics TRON's quest to enter the Input/Output tower from the motion picture. In the arcade game, the player must destroy large numbers of Grid Bugs with TRON's disc and clear a path to the flashing circle, which must be entered before a timer runs out to complete the section.

MCP Cone

This area imitates TRON's final battle against the MCP. The game's interpretation has the player destroying a multicolored wall in front of the MCP cone and getting by the wall, into the cone. A 1000 point bonus is awarded for completing the level, and an additional 1000 points is given for destroying all blocks of the wall.

Battle Tanks

The Battle Tanks sub-game is not strictly based on film events, but the tanks are taken from there. The player must guide TRON's red tank through a maze and destroy several blue tanks or red recognizers controlled by the computer. This must be done without taking any hits from enemies. If the player drives into the purple diamond in the center of the maze, the tank is warped to a random area of the maze. A bug in the game results in a cheat option. When the player's tank is not touching the white line in the corridors, it can not be hit by the enemy's fire, but it can still be rammed by enemy tanks.

Light Cycles

File:TRON Video Game. Lightcycles.png

This game is well known and associated with the TRON franchise. The player must guide a blue Light Cycle in an arena, while avoiding the walls and trails (walls of light) created by his/her Light Cycle and that of his/her opponent. The player must maneuver quickly to force opponents to run into walls. The enemy cycles have a fixed behavior pattern for each level and the player can find a pattern which will defeat them every time on this level. The Light Cycle colors from the film are reversed in the game, where the player drives the blue cycle and the enemy the yellow cycle. In the film, the protagonists' cycles are yellow, orange, and red, and the enemies' are blue.


These floating vehicles, colloquially referred to by the public as "stompers" for quite some time take the place of the tanks at higher levels in the tanks game. The designation "recognizers" was used very sparingly in the film and many viewers might have therefore been unaware of the proper name. In the film, the Recognizers were the vehicles that attempted to stop the light cycles from escaping the game grid by "stomping" on them, and one of these vehicles was also the type of machine that Flynn "resurrected" with his user powers.

Recognizers do not fire at the player's tank at all but move at high speed, relentlessly converge on the player's location, and each still require three shots to destroy them.

Level keywords

Each of the 12 difficulty levels has a different keyword. They all relate in some way to computing, and most of them are programming languages. The keywords are, from lowest difficulty to highest: RPG, COBOL, BASIC, FORTRAN, SNOBOL, PL1, PASCAL, ALGOL, ASSEMBLY, OS, JCL, USER.


The lead programmer was Bill Adams.[1] The original high score in all of the games was programmed with his initials "BA". He also included his children's initials.[citation needed]


The video game's story was based on an early draft of the script for TRON. In the game, the light cycle the player controls is blue and the enemy light cycles are yellow whereas in the movie the colors of the opposing players are reversed. The Grid Bugs played a major part as an enemy TRON has to fight whereas in the movie they are briefly mentioned and run away. The MCP cone was rewritten as the MCP's tower in the film but remained in the game with the same premise for the player to breach it. The tank level is based on the tanks in the movie. Sometimes the enemy tanks are replaced by faster, non-shooting recognizers through a trick in the game.

Reception and criticism

TRON was awarded "Coin-Operated Game of the Year" by Electronic Games Magazine.[1]


A port of this game was included as a hidden bonus in TRON 2.0 for the Game Boy Advance.


  1. 1.0 1.1 About the technology author(s) (Web). IBM Multimodal Annotation Tool. (2002-08-09). Retrieved on 2007-09-15.

External links

TRON videogames
Arcade game series
TRON | Discs of TRON
Console game series
Tron: Deadly Discs | Tron: Maze-A-Tron | Tron: Solar Sailer | Adventures of Tron
Tron 2.0/Killer App | Tron: Evolution | Tron: Evolution - Battle Grids
Related games
Kingdom Hearts II | Ricochet

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