FEATURE: The Epic Games Competition 2: Tapper

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WANDA: See the part 1 article for background about the competition. Basically Willy and I played games neither of us had touched before (ie: we expected most of the games to be crappy) on the Midway Arcade Treasures collections for Game Cube blown up on a huge projection screen. Ten rounds were played on three games, with high scores recorded for each round.

Tapper was Wanda’s time to shine, baby.

Tapper wasn’t as much of a gamble as the other games we played for the competition. Both of us had played Tapper before, but not as frequently as we had played other games on the compilation. We both knew that Tapper was okay. For the uninitiated, you play a bartender serving up drinks to cranky bar patrons that make their way slowly down long tables. You go from table to table sliding drinks to them. Sliding them a drink will knock them back into the next room and out of play, but if you let them sit at the table too long, it may take two drinks to knock them back. When someone is served a drink and stays in the room, they will slide their mugs back. The round finishes if you clear the room of patrons. If you let a mug hit the floor, or if a patron reaches the end of a table without being served, you lose a life.

Originally, I believe you were serving beer, and the arcade machine was for real bars, but later they changed the name of the game to “Root Beer Tapper” and “Soda Pop Tapper” for arcades and kids. I guess. Allegedly they were dressed down for advertising alcohol to minors in the arcades, too, which makes sense. The original Tapper arcade machine was designed to simulate a bar, with beer tap joysticks, brass rails on the machine, and ashtrays and drink holders. Totally sweet. Anyway, beer makes more sense, since the rounds take place at bars and sporting events and things like that, and you are dressed as an old-timey bartender. Also, root beer doesn’t really need to be “tapped” since it doesn’t come in kegs.

For some reason, I was a kind of savant at this game. It made Willy mad, because for some reason, he couldn’t advance past the first round, and then would have to wait his turn while I played through four or five rounds. Part of his problem was the way he collected the tips in the first round. You can advance very fast, but for some reason he kept trying to farm the patrons for tips rather than getting more points by advancing to the faster rounds with more customers. I don’t know. All I know is that there’s only one Tapper champion in this house, and it’s Wanda. It’s one of the only games I’ve ever beaten Willy at.

WILLY: Wanda tends bar better than me, plus we know women bartenders rake in tips. Tapper is like a certain bonus level in Back to the Future for NES, but more fun (although just as frustrating). As Wanda said, I had trouble with the scoring technique. When a customer leaves a tip, I grab it (which makes sense). She ignores the tips and pushes to the next level. Typically, I get stuck endlessly grabbing tips on level 2, until I get careless and mess up something simple. Unfortunately, level 2 patrons hardly give you any points. Of course that’s logical—greater risk, greater reward—but I didn’t catch on until I squandered 7 of my 10 tries.

Tapper is a fine game, but more in-tune with Wanda’s tastes than mine. She loves games where you do mundane domestic things: Cooking Mama, Diner Dash, etc. (interesting, because she doesn’t ever cook or clean). I need a direct form of conflict. For instance, imagine a 2 player Tapper where you steal the other player’s tips. However, knowing that we could’ve been playing Timber—a boring Midway game starring a similar looking guy—I was all too happy to lose at Tapper.

Scores (top three from each contestant, ranked in order):

34,175 – Wanda Elektrix

25,600 – Wanda Elektrix

25,000 – Wanda Elektrix

18,475 – Willy Elektrix

14,575 – Willy Elektrix

14,400 – Willy Elektrix

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