If you went into an arcade in the late 90s, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a T-Mek machine, though you may not have known what it was. The machine itself was pretty imposing, it was a large machine designed for four people (the version I played, at any rate). Each person got a self-contained cockpit, complete with screen, seat, two joysticks, and surround sound system. But for what?

T-Mek is a game about fighting tanks, and your station is supposed to simulate the interior of the tank. The controls are a bit tough to wrap your head around at first. Each of your sticks controls the treads on one side, so you push them both forward to move forward, both back to go backward, and one in each direction to turn. Use the triggers to fire your weak guns, left thumb to shield, and right thumb to fire your special weapon. It really becomes second nature after a while.

This is all nice and everything, but what do you do? Well, you and up to three of your friends jump into your tanks and then ride around an arena in an effort to blow each other up. Each time you do some damage, you get points. Get the most points at the end of the match, and you win!

Single player is about the same as multiplayer, except that you have to go up against progressively harder computer-controlled opponents in order to ascend the ladder and claim the title of ‘champion tank shooter-guy’. But, to be honest, I didn’t really invest much time into the single player mode. Multi-player was much more exciting. It was pretty exhilarating to go into an arcade on a Saturday night and string together a half-dozen or more victories in a row. Kind of makes me misty-eyed remembering what a good time can be had at a good arcade, and saddened that they’re becoming harder and harder to find anymore.

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