Blockade was a video arcade game released by Gremlin back in 1976.

The story

This game was one of many titles released around that time that were all almost identical in gameplay (like Bigfoot Bonkers, Comotion, Checkmate, and Dominos). You controlled a line that moved around the screen, leaving a trail behind you. The object was to get your opponent to crash into your line before you crashed into theirs.

This basic game is remembered by most people as being a part of the Tron video game (the Light Cycle sequence), but Tron was merely ripping off a much older idea.

The game

This game was two player only, you must have a live human opponent to play against, or else the other players character will go straight into a wall, making for a very quick and boring game.

Each player moves their character around leaving a solid line behind them. All moves are made on an invisible grid, so you can only turn at 90 degree angles.

To win you must last longer than your opponent before hitting something (first person to hit something loses). One good strategy is to try and box your opponent in to a small section of the screen, and then just move carefully until they crash. Pushing backwards on the stick will cause you to crash into your own line, so avoid that at all cost.

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The number imbedded in the border at the top of the screen is the number of rounds you have to win to beat your opponent. The machine flashes each players individual score everytime someone loses a round. These graphics are black and white. But the game uses a green overlay to make it black and green instead.

The Machine

This game came in an upright dedicated cabinet. The machine was decorated with only a marquee, which showed the game title. It did not have any other graphics or sdieart. The sides were of a dark woodgrain, which probably went nicely in the average pool hall or bowling alley (where most early games were located).

The game used an 8080 CPU, and featured a control panel that was devoid of joysticks, instead you controlled the game using a button for each direction. My guess is that the lack of joysticks was done merely to save money on the machines, as four buttons are cheaper than one joystick.

Inserting a coin started the game at once. Both players got to play for a single coin. The game ended after one player chalked up six wins, but this was operator adjustable down to as low as three.

Where to play

You probably won't find this at your local arcade. Prices seem to vary wildly on real cabinets of this game, but are not nearly as much as you would pay for a Ms. Pac-Man or similar title. I do not suggest buying this one for home use (unless it is really cheap), because you need two people to play. Although the look of this machine would be perfect for a 70s themed pool room.

MAME supports this game perfectly. So you can play it on your home computer. This game has also been cloned for nearly every platform known to man (under various names), so you can probably play this no matter what kind of hardware you have.

Block*ade" (?), n. [Cf. It. bloccata. See Block, v. t. ]

1.

The shutting up of a place by troops or ships, with the purpose of preventing ingress or egress, or the reception of supplies; as, the blockade of the ports of an enemy.

Blockade is now usually applied to an investment with ships or vessels, while siege is used of an investment by land forces. To constitute a blockade, the investing power must be able to apply its force to every point of practicable access, so as to render it dangerous to attempt to enter; and there is no blockade of that port where its force can not be brought to bear.

Kent.

2.

An obstruction to passage.

To raise a blockade. See under Raise.

 

© Webster 1913.


Block*ade", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Blockaded; p. pr. & vb. n. Blockading.]

1.

To shut up, as a town or fortress, by investing it with troops or vessels or war for the purpose of preventing ingress or egress, or the introduction of supplies. See note under Blockade, n.

"Blockaded the place by sea."

Gilpin.

2.

Hence, to shut in so as to prevent egress.

Till storm and driving ice blockade him there. Wordsworth.

3.

To obstruct entrance to or egress from.

Huge bales of British cloth blockade the door. Pope.

 

© Webster 1913.

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