Tron was the first video game that was officially licensed from a movie. Other games had been created before 1981 but they were unofficial versions or they weren’t officially licensed from the movies they were associated with. The premise of Tron involves a man named Kevin Flynn who is a genius programmer for a company called ENCOM. Ed Dillinger isn’t as much of a genius but knows how to “acquire” and take credit for other people’s work. He runs a program called the MCP (Master Control Program) which is taking over the system. Tron is a program that is designed to put the MCP in check. When Flynn is pulled into the computer world, he must get together with Tron to defeat the MCP. In order to achieve this, they must survive the games created by Sark and the MCP. In the end, the good guys win and it is proven that Flynn, not Dillinger, was the creator of all the programs.

The game is based on four different parts of the movie. These four parts are the MCP Cone, Light Cycles, Tanks, and accessing the I/O Tower. You get through each of these areas utilizing a four-way joystick with trigger and a spinner knob. There are 12 named levels: RPG, COBOL, BASIC, FORTRAN, SNOBOL, PLI, PASCAL, ALGOL, ASSEMBLY, OS, JCL, and USER. The player will be on the user level until they finish the game. For a more detailed description of the game and gameplay, go to tron/faqs/29128 for my FAQ.

In order to capitalize on Tron, the original movie, Disney con- tracted with Bally-Midway to create an arcade game to compli- ment the movie (and to also encourage people to see it). Bally- Midway was given a very narrow window in which they were told to design, program, and test this game. I managed to catch up with Bill Adams, the programmer, to gain some insight and to get to know him a little better.

OSG: What was the primary system you worked on when you were in college and how did they work into your Computer Science degree?

OSG: When you were learning about data structures and databases, what program or language were you using?


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Kevin Butler Kevin Butler (16 Posts)

Since he played on the first Magnanvox Odyssey in 1973, Kevin was bitten by the video game bug. It didn't matter what the games looked like, they were just fun. When Space Invaders was released in the United States in the late 1970's, he spent a ton of quarters in his local Aladdins Castle trying (unsuccessfully) to master the game. He continued to play on various console and arcade games (even learning to program the Apple II+) until he joined the navy in 1983. Joined the navy in 1983 and became a Hospital Corpsman in 1984. While in the navy, Kevin was able continue his hobby of programming PC's and playing videogames. In the early to mid 1990's, Kevin learned to program the Atari ST and worked for Majicsoft for a couple of years. Before retiring from the navy in 2004, Kevin started to write FAQ's for GameFAQ's. His forte was arcade FAQ's since that was his real passion still. His FAQ's have appeared in many places that seek to preserve the arcade game history. This is especially true for the MAME project where his guides are a part of the documentation. After retiring from the navy, Kevin has been more involved in computer repair, networking, and computer security but he still is involved in the arcade history arena. He currently lives in Neosho MO with his wife and one son who is also a video game hobbyist.