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Comotion was a video arcade game released by Gremlin back in 1977. This title is the sequel to Blockade.

The story

This game was one of many titles released around that time that were all almost identical in gameplay (like Bigfoot Bonkers, Blockade, 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 for two or four players 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 opponents before hitting something. Each player is eliminated when they crash, taking their lines with them. One good strategy is to turn around and head for the outer area of the screen (in four player mode), because everyone starts out headed for the center. Skirt around the edges until you only have one opponent left, then box them in. Pushing backwards on the stick will cause you to crash into your own line, so avoid that at all cost.

ASCII Screenshot
                           
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The arrows imbedded in the border at the top of the screen represent the number of lives each player has left. These graphics are black and white.

The Machine

This game came in only one form factor, that of the standup cocktail (a format that was really only used in the 70s). The machine was a round table about 4 feet tall. The table top was wood grained, and it had four sets of player controls spaced evenly around the table. The monitor was located inside the table facing upwards. This game had simple sideart that consisted of a few stripes and a "Comotion" logo (the logo snaked around much like the games characters did).

The game used an 8080 CPU, and featured control panels that were 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.

Two people could play for twenty five cents, or four people could play for fifty cents. The prices were hard coded into the games romset, so operators really couldn't mess with them (the games title screen clearly said "25 cents for two players, 50 cents for four players").

Where to play

If I was going to buy a game like this, this is the one I would choose (as opposed to Blockade, Bigfoot Bonkers, and all the other games that are just like it). The games standing cocktail format is easy to integrate into a pre-existing game room, or den. Even if you don't play the game much, you can always use it as a table.

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

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