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Arcade games were so easy and simple to play. Back in the 80’s they were all the rage. Now, with the advent of new technology, new games have been introduced but these arcade games are still played and enjoyed by people all around.

Centipede® is probably one of the easiest and most popular games around. Many new video games are based on the simple version of this game. The player defends against swarms of insects, completing a round after eliminating the centipede that wind down the playing field.

The Gameplay

The gameplay involves shooting a centipede and eliminating it, while avoiding dangers such as fleas and spiders. The player is represented by a small, humanoid head at the bottom of the screen. The player moves the character about the bottom area of the screen and fires laser shots at a centipede advancing from the top of the screen down through a field of mushrooms. Shooting any section of the centipede creates a mushroom; shooting one of the middle segments splits the centipede into two pieces at that point.

If the centipede reaches the bottom of the screen, it moves back and forth within the player area and one-segment “head” centipedes are periodically added. This continues until the player has eliminated both the original centipede and all heads.


The player has to avoid being hit by the centipede or other enemies such as a spider or a flea. The flea leaves mushrooms behind when fewer than five are in the player area. Spiders move across the player area in a zigzag fashion and occasionally eat some of the mushrooms. Scorpions poison every mushroom they touch. A centipede touching a poisoned mushroom hurtles straight toward the player’s area.

Difficulty Levels

Each player has three lives and an infinite number of levels. When all the centipede’s segments are destroyed, a new centipede forms at the top of the screen. Every time a centipede is eliminated, however, the next one is one segment shorter and is accompanied by one additional, fast-moving head centipede.

Interface and Controls

Arrow keys are used to move the head and one control button, for example the space bar, is used to shoot the lasers.

Centipede® is a very addictive game.  It is easy to play and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

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Centipede® © 1981 Atari Interactive, Inc. ©2011 Atari and the Atari logo are registered trademarks of Atari Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved. Used under license.