Tank II was an old arcade game released by Kee Games (a division of Atari), way back in 1974.

The story

The original Tank was an instant hit. So Kee (Atari), quickly devised a plan to launch a whole series of "Tank" games. They designed a boardset that could be easily modified to change the game. This would allow them to come out with a new "Tank" game whenever they wanted, with no real extra work needed.

Tank was followed up by three sequels, Tank III, Tank 8, and Ultra Tank.

The game

This is a rather basic game. Each player uses a set of two levers to control a simple tank inside a maze. Blast mines and your opponent to win. (This is a two player only title, so you will need a friend to play). This is basically the same game as Tank, but with different levels.

The Machine

The Tank II cabinet was an upright with woodgrain sides, and no sideart at all. The main monitor bezel and marquee have all the art (they are done in orange with primitive pictures of tanks). The control panel has four joysticks mounted on it (two for each player). These are of the lever type, and only move up and down. This is exactly the same cabinet that Tank came in, only the name has changed.

The PCB to this game can be modified in many ways (some still undocumented), to change the behavior of the game. A little solder work can produce effects such as new mazes, invisble tanks, guided missiles, and even warp effects. In fact it is possible to wire these modifications up so you can turn them on with the flip of a switch (they all work by grounding various pins on the games PCB, therefore you can wire said pins to ground with a switch inbetween for player selectable options). All these option were basically the next 7 or 8 Tank games hiding on the Tank 2 board. But the new versions were never released, as someone figured out the hacks back in the 70s, and published instructions in an industry magazine.

Where to play

This title has not been emulated, or properly ported to any other architecture. Atari's Combat is similar, but it isn't the same.

You may want to add this to your arcade game collection. It isn't a bad title, but it does require two players at once, which severely limits home use. Luckily black and white games like this often sell for very cheap prices, so you may be able to pick up this historical title for next to nothing. If you are buying it more for historical significance, then you may want to purchase an original "Tank" machine instead of a "Tank 2".

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