This 1:6 scale Tempest machine plays just like the classic

Originally published at:


They did a nice job of replicating the look of a vector CRT.


My neighbors have the Galaga one. Awesome. Tempest is right up there.


I was maybe too young to have vivid memories of the heyday of those vector games, but a few years ago I got to play an original star wars arcade game in Barcade in Brooklyn (its not there anymore) and was blown away by the look of the vector graphics. The lines are so bright and piercing. Its really a cool look and it’s very hard to make anything look like that… maybe impossible… even though this game does approximate it well. It’s weird sometimes, because we tend to think modern technology can do anything, that some old technologies just can’t be made the same way anymore. Last time i had that thought was with 78 records. although you can make a vinyl record that plays at 78 rpm, you can’t make one out of the same shellac material and durability without essentially building an entire factory and resurrecting long dead manufacturing techniques. CRTs seem to be going down that same sad route.


Well this would go perfect with a Hot Toys 1:6 Boba Fett.

Now I just need a Hot Toys 1:6 Boba Fett.


Vector displays are interesting because, unlike raster displays, they don’t have a frame rate. Instead, they have a limit on the amount of line drawing they can do before there’s too much flicker. That length limit also includes when the beam is off and traversing to a new location to draw another vector.

The wildly changing x-y values were really rough on the coils and capacitors of the CRT.

For obvious reasons, most vector monitors had a safety circuit that cut the beam if the x-y position stopped changing.


I have both and they are pure awesome.


Does the controller allow you to whip it really hard and let go so it keeps spinning like the original game?

  • All the features are here from the classic edition
  • authenticity under the hood
  • the same white-knuckle game from the classic arcades, only action-figure size
  • The only thing that’s different is the unlimited play

B. S.

You can’t change the display technology - a fundamental component of this game - and call it an “authentic” experience.


One thing that can’t be reproduced in a scale model is the feel of the large, heavy trackball from the original machine.


Tempest uses a spinner (rotary controller) not a trackball.


Well, whatever the technical term it was a big heavy thing that you could give it a twirl then move your hand to slap the fire button and still have the controller moving from its own inertia.


Absolutes are for zeros =).


There was a heavy wheel on the shaft. It could either be mounted with the knob, or as a track wheel. (I had one, but that was before a move a while back. It might be in a box in the basement.)

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Ok, here’s a story I make my kids still listen to from time to time.
I’m in 9th grade. It’s the 80s, natch.

As a weekly thing we do, my parents hang out at the Friendly’s in our local big ol’ mall, and let me and my brother eat some Orange Julius and go to the arcade instead. (A great idea, tbh)

As newly minted Rush fan (the band, dammit), I was relentless in bugging my parents to go home early from our normal outing, because it was the release of the album ‘Signals’ that day…
I’d already bought my cassette, hit the arcade, AND the world premier of the first single was going TO BE ON Mtv!

We made it home in time.
The song was Subdivisions. A song about being the cast out of society, and how blah society actually is. Lots of high school kids in the video.
The rejected nerd in said video hits the arcade at the end… and he’s playing a game…
The game that others watch ME play.
Adolescent bliss.

Since then, the stars have rarely aligned in my life like they did that day.

Sorry if I suck at storytelling.


Unfortunately that doesn’t work as well and that might have been hard to do with a spinner that small.

The Trackball on the Centepede is perfect though.


An analog CRT oscilloscope works in essentially the same way and can be used as a very fast vector display. There’s even a modified Quake that outputs vector graphics through soundcard:

The limiting factor here is soundcard’s bandwidth, so theoretically high end 192 kHz soundcard with filters removed could perform very well.

Sadly oscilloscopes didn’t have it - I have one (completely based on vacuum tubes, not even one transistor) with hole burnt in luminophor:


I think I’ve linked to this before. That’s how it is when you get old.


Auto-like for female Rush fan.


Relatively speaking.