Why You Need to Be a Freak Like Tempest

tempest classicallytrained #ProudFreak

This special post is in honor of Owner, bestselling author, and all around cool guy Chris Brogan’s Birthday. Here’s to many more! – Check out Chris’ site here and pick up his must read book – The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

As an arcade game, Tempest was a bit of a freak.

Let’s figure out why.

Vector Graphics

It was among the very first in the market to use vector displays for the graphics, creating a very distinct, futuristic look. The graphics appear as bright glowing wireframes on a black background, with the playing field appearing like a closed tunnel or a plane with boarders on either side. The player is a “C” shaped ship that can travel only along the edge of the playing field, firing shots downward at advancing enemies.

Difficulty Selection

Tempest allowed a level select option of sorts when continuing, allowing the player to select from various start points based on how far they advanced in the previous game.


The control scheme was a spinner knob with buttons on the left hand side, appropriate for the game play design of Tempest, but not the most common of control configurations.

Stage Advancement

Tempest also supported a progressive stage approach where the stage shape and layout changed as you progressed, with the level taking a wide range of different geometric layouts. This approach was quite different from the standard arrangement of the time, with games like Pac Man and Space Invaders keeping the same basic layouts for each stage and simply increasing speed.

The Result – a very popular and desirable arcade game for players and collectors both, ranking as the 10th most popular game on the International Arcade Museum’s KLOV list. Not too bad, for being such a freak.

It’s Good to be a Freak

Chris Brogan thinks so. I agree. Let me explain a bit.

Have you ever felt like you just didn’t quite fit in? Do you like to approach things in a way that seems slightly different, or even a bit contrary to the routine, safe, bland 9-5 day job?

Do you feel like you have more to offer, but are not sure where to go next?

Then you should do the world a favor (and yourself in the process) and pick up the practical guide The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth (don’t worry, it’s not your average business book – just look at the cover).

So here is the interesting thing – freaks stay true to who they are. I know I have wrestled with the idea for a long time, trying to figure out how I can make everything work together.

How do I be me, more of me than anyone else can ever be? And how can me being 100% true to who I am, benefit others?

World Dominators Feel Fear Too

I’m sure you wish you could turn your passion into business (or at least get paid to do what you love all day long). But maybe you think it’s too strange.

Maybe it’s too “out there.”

May I remind you that you are reading words from a guy that is uniting video games with life and leadership lessons?

I know. The fear is there.

It can feel overwhelming.

But you can redirect it. Because it never really goes away.

But it can be ignored.

Then you are free to be awesome, in the way that only you can.

In an interview for the podcast episode of the Social Media Examiner, Chris addresses this very topic (check that out here).

The Sequel (and another freak or two)

Jeff Minter is an individual who has forged a path, and remained true to himself.

In 1994 he produced Tempest 2000, the sequel to…drum roll please…

Tempest (see what they did there?)      quote tempest 2000 classicallytrained #ProudFreak

This time, the game was released on the Atari Jaguar – the first 64bit system, leading the console wars with a claim to the most power.

Games like Alien vs. Predator and Rayman set graphical standards high at a time when the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation were also producing increasingly realistic graphics.

Yet one of the very best games is simply an update of a game from 1980, now with a fun techno soundtrack.

Tempest 2000 was a freak. And I still love it to this day.

You should also get to know a bit more about Jeff Minter, who is currently independently designing and programming games, with dozens created over the past 3 decades, often including references to llamas, sheep, and camels. You should also check out his work with light synthesizers which he describes as “a form of abstract interactive entertainment.” Find out more on his site HERE.

Freaked Out Yet?

Are you dissatisfied with how things are? Do you think you know a better way, a way that things could be better?

Then stay outside the box.

Feel free to eat the box, if you are in to that sort of thing.

And stick close to other #ProudFreaks that can support you in your quest.

P.s. Be sure to wish Chris Brogan a Happy Birthday on his site or twitter.