Friday Flyers: Tempest (1982)

Programmed as well as designed by Dave Theurer (Missile Command) and released by Atari into the arcade wilds in 1982, Tempest, lays claim to the first arcade game title that would allow you to select which level you started at. Though most fans at the time, including myself, believed this was a space game, David Theurer has gone on record stating that the player was actually travelling through a hole in the ground. The setting was inspired by a reoccurring nightmare the game designer had, “with monsters from the center of the Earth that are trying to get out of the hole.”

Thanks as always to The Arcade Flyer Archive for the awesome scanned flyers you see below. Especially that Tempest coupon!

A big thanks to GlassDarkly for uploading the interview with Dave Theurer over on YouTube!


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

Never Miss an Episode

Stay up-to-date on the latest from the Retroist Podcast. Sign up and receive email notifications when there's a new episode of the Retroist Podcast or when we launch new podcasts.
* indicates required

3 thoughts on “Friday Flyers: Tempest (1982)

  1. Earblast says:

    I always said that when I got my first house with a basement, I would get one of these. I picked up one about a year ago. It really is a one of the best games ever. My collection has expanded and I think that Tempest was the start of a new hobby.

    I can still remember the first time I played it out in Michigan City, Indiana. The mall there had two arcades at the time. The arcade I first played this at was loaded with cabarets, which was a real oddity.

  2. Ugly American says:

    It’s been said that art is done when there’s nothing left to take away.

    Vector graphics is that art.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.