Tapper - Christoper Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Tapper (1983)

Tapper is a great choice from Christopher Tupa, for this week’s Retro Arcade Art. Developed by Marvin Glass and Associates. Who I should add were responsible for a few games and toys you might recall. Ever hear of Operation or Mouse Trap? While Tapper may have been developed by Glass it was released by Bally Midway.
Tapper - Arcade Marquee

I think we should tackle the Tapper name right out of the gate. This classic arcade title has the distinction of being produced by Budweiser!
Tapper - Budweiser Arcade

It is a fact that the arcade cabinet has one of the most distinctive designs. The brass rail at the bottom of the machine for Players to rest a foot. As well as some featuring ashtray holders on the side of the control panel.
Tapper - Arcade Cabinet

While those are definitely unique features to be sure. However for a game that was mostly carried in family-friendly arcades. A lot of parents saw Tapper as promoting drinking and smoking. Which is why of course that Bally Midway released Root Beer Tapper as an alternative a mere year later.

Gone were the ashtrays and brass rail. The side art had even been altered to showcase a character that looked more like a soda jerk than a bartender. Naturally all elements of the Budweiser brand had been removed from the game as well.
Tapper - Root Beer Sign

As for the gameplay for Tapper it’s easy to understand but hard to master. Tapper must keep slinging frosty glasses of root beer to his thirsty patrons. Who appear in early stages in small numbers but increase in later levels.

On the first couple of stages you will be serving cowboys in a western bar. Followed by an outside event with sports fans. Then you will need to contend with angry punk rockers in a basement bar. And finally you will head to outer space to serve some aliens.

This is done by pulling on the tap which of course fills up the mug in Tapper‘s hand. Releasing the tap slings the full mug across the bar to a waiting patron. Doing so might result in a happy guest being pushed outside the doors. In fact you need to clear the bar of all patrons before being able to complete the stage. Of course if there is no one to receive a mug it crashes to the floor and you lose a life. The same thing will occur as well if you fail to retrieve a mug that the patron sends back to be refilled.
Tapper - Empty Mug

Also if a patron reaches the end of the bar without being served they lose their temper. Taking it out on the Player in fact by sliding Tapper across the bar and out the door. Resulting in a loss of a life of course.

Players can move up and down at the edges of the bar. In later stages the ends of the bar are often split up. Two might have you serving from the right side and two on the left, etc. Besides picking up the empty mugs which will net you points, some patrons will leave a tip. Collecting this will cause a quick dance number to start up which usually distracts the patrons. Giving you a couple of seconds to collect empty mugs and not get overwhelmed.
Tapper - Dancers

In addition to slinging root beer, between the changes in venue. There is a quick mini-game. A bandit shakes up all but one can of root beer. Then slams his fist against the counter causing them to rotate – forcing the player to keep a sharp eye on the unshaken can. Otherwise when you open the wrong can Tapper gets a face full of soda. Find the right can of course and you get a hefty bonus to your score.

Now that you know the rules of Tapper, why not watch it in action?

[Via] Barry Bloso

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Don’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!


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.

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