Arcade / Atari, Inc. 1980


“Centipede” is a classic fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Atari, Inc. in 1980. The game features a player-controlled bug blaster set at the bottom of the screen, tasked with shooting a centipede advancing from the top through a field of mushrooms. The gameplay is characterized by the centipede’s movement, which descends one level closer to the player upon hitting a mushroom or the edge of the screen. Additional challenges are presented by other creatures like spiders, fleas, and scorpions. The player must avoid or destroy these enemies while clearing the centipede segments to advance to the next level. The game is notable for its bright, pixelated graphics and rapid, increasingly challenging gameplay.

“Centipede” was co-designed by Dona Bailey and Ed Logg. Bailey, one of the few female game designers at that time, contributed significantly to the game’s development, particularly its color palette and design elements, which helped make the game appealing to a broader audience. The development aimed to create a shooting game that was different from the space-themed titles prevalent at the time, resulting in a more earthy and nature-inspired theme. “Centipede” was one of the first arcade games to attract a significant number of female players, a notable achievement in an industry that was predominantly male-focused.

Upon release, “Centipede” was a commercial success and received positive reviews for its innovative gameplay and appealing graphics. It became one of the most popular arcade games of the early 1980s and is remembered as a classic of the golden age of arcade games. Its success led to its adaptation for numerous home systems, including the Atari 2600, 5200, and computers like the Commodore 64. The game’s popularity also resulted in sequels and related games, such as the 1982 follow-up “Millipede,” which introduced new gameplay elements and challenges.

In terms of rarity and collectibility, original “Centipede” arcade machines are prized by classic game collectors. While exact production numbers are unclear, the game’s popularity at the time suggests a significant production run. The value of an original “Centipede” arcade machine can vary widely, largely depending on its condition, originality of parts, and operational status. Well-maintained units with original artwork and components can fetch higher prices in the collector’s market.

The hardware specifications of “Centipede” include a 6502 CPU running at 1.512 MHz and a POKEY chip handling the sound and partial game logic. The game’s control is achieved through a trackball, which allows smooth and quick movement of the player’s blaster. Key components for repair and maintenance include the CPU, sound chip, power supply, trackball assembly, control panel, and CRT monitor. Due to the age of these machines, finding replacement parts can be challenging and often involves sourcing from decommissioned arcade machines or specialized suppliers. Maintenance might involve replacing capacitors, reflowing solder joints, and repairing or replacing old wiring and controls.

Arcade Video Game Price and Field Guide:

Dedicated Upright, Mini (Cabaret), Cocktail
Genre: Shooter, Bug Zapper

One of the Top 50 Historically Important Games 

Upright (46,062 Manufactured)

Lower – 725
Average – 850
Higher – 1100

Cabaret (3,942 Manufactured)

Lower – 775
Average – 975
Higher – 1250

Cocktail (13-inch monitor, 5,977 Manufactured)

Lower – 600
Average – 700
Higher – 900

Cocktail (19-inch monitor, 25 Manufactured)

Lower – 1100
Average – 1500
Higher – 1900+

Atari’s 2nd best-selling arcade game of all time after Asteroids.

Centipede/Millipede/Missile Comand:
Team Play Inc. 2001
Dedicated Upright, Mini
Genre: Multigame

Lower – 425
Average – 675
Higher – 850

A multi-game re-releasing several Atari arcade games. Some versions also include Let’s Go Bowling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *