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Tycho / on Fri, May 23 2003 at 2:46 pm

Tron 2.0

Tron is something of a fetish for me, and though all gamers in my age category may not feel a tingling downstairs when they watch it, I think it is fair to say that affection for the film - with its themes of electronic theology and geek empowerment - has maintained with very little attenuation.

That said, Tron 2.0 is a visually remarkable game whose shooter elements feel somewhat awkward to me.  That’s all well and good - like any other young man who pretended that a frisbee was his Identity Disc, an odd compulsion drives me to purchase it.  I’m simply saying that the visual and aural feedback from the weaponry is unlike anything before it.  Since everything is all cyber, your guns are strange wing-wongs with spinny bits on the end.  It’s a problem that only a Tron game could have.  They were making a shooter, but they couldn’t have guns, they had to have glowy whirligigs because we’re inside the machine.  I found the effects enjoyable enough, but it did appear as though I was simply seeing what amounted to cyberspace codewords for weapons I would recognize intuitively anywhere else.   

Let’s talk about the Light Cycles, though.  I like very much that you unlock new cycles and color choices as you play.  The Game Grid as classically conceived did not have “power-ups” as such, missles, turbo boosts, and the like simply did not exist - though I will happily allow that as times have changed that subroutine has been upgraded.  But Tron game people, I need you to do me a favor.   

Download Armagetron.  That’s it, just give it a little clickeroo. 

Now, go back to your own game and keep changing it until it plays exactly like that.  The main thing your version of Light Cycles needs is what the freeware Armagetron calls “Glance Keys.”  You see, while children and cuddly stuffed animals play Tron with a third person camera, real programs play it from a first person perspective - but your setup currently does not allow for this anywhere near as well as the free game does.  Glance Keys work like this:  to be effective, we need to see right, left, and behind our cycles quickly.  The keys, when pressed, look a certain direction only for the duration of the press, and immediately return your view to the front.  What’s more, and this is the biggie, if you are glancing in a direction and then turn that direction, your perspective just snaps back to the front, instead of how it is now where you’re still looking the wrong way after you change course.  Well, whatever.  Give it a try, see if you don’t like that better.


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