Centipede arrived in arcades in 1981 like Space Invaders with a case of the DTs.
As the game starts, a hideously speedy segmented bug appears at the top of the screen, which takes the form of a garden studded with mushrooms. It gradually descends in your direction, scurrying from side to side to unsettling scuttly music.Shoot a segment and it splits to form two centipedes, which continue their descent; if one of them hits a poison mushroom, it dives directly down.
Centipede was one of the first hit games to feature a trackball, which made the action fast-paced and non-linear — but it was the eponymous enemy that gave the game its distinctive feel.
There are few things more satisfying in all of gaming than lining up below a diving centipede and rapid-firing the whole thing in one salvo. There are few feelings worse than seeing a centipede reach the bottom of the screen, where it will only breed more and more segments till it destroys you.
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