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Tiny Tank: An Afterthought

A few times in this project we’ve come across a “Hidden Gem” recommended by another. Future Cop: LAPD comes to mind, and maybe to an extent something like Board Game: Top Shop. The lure of these games, at least in my opinion, is being solidly done, like story or gameplay, that has withstood the test of time. Basically, you can go back and still enjoy these games 20+ years later.

With no hesitation I will add Tiny Tank to that list. The game carries itself well in its age, thanks in part to the tongue-in-cheek dark Americana humor at the forefront. Linking together the gameplay and stage variety, you get a complete package that not only delivers PS1 level thrills, but also retro gaming excellence. Visually Tiny Tank is on the better side of graphics, and the same goes for the cinematic cutscenes and voice acting. Had I played this game when it initially released in 1999 I could easily see it being in my shortlist of favorites.

The developers of the game, Appaloosa Interactive, have quite a few quality video games to their name, with the biggest easily being the Ecco the Dolphin series. Something they also developed was Jaws Unleashed, which we’ll get to a bit later in this project on the PS2. I bring it all up, because some of their most iconic or noteworthy games are heavily rooted in North American culture, despite the company itself being from Hungary. With that in mind, thinking of the over the top approach to American militarism and American ideals is honestly a bit funnier. I had assumed this was developed by someone with a good sense of humor in the States, but seeing now it was developed externally makes it a bit better!

Older games tend to be a relic of their time — an era maybe forgotten or at the very least one we’ve all moved on from. Revisiting them gives us a chance to swim in nostalgia and relive yesteryear (or perhaps ruin what was once a good memory). Playing for the first time decades later gives us a chance to see how the game truly holds up, with no prior experiences and expectations guiding thoughts on the playthrough. Too often games become deeply seated in what others think of them, and how “you should like this game” and “this hidden gem is worth your time”.

In an effort to avoid falling into those common pitfalls of retro gaming, let me say this: I personally enjoyed Tiny Tank. All of the above mentioned aspects of the game held up really well to me: the visuals and humor were some of my favorites. The game certainly isn’t for everyone, as the humor can be lost on some, and the appropriate tank control scheme can be tough to get used too. Also, this is a retro game: it has none of the marking of modern games folks might enjoy today. Your mileage may vary is a great way to describe it.

What I think stands out most about Tiny Tank is how much it pulls in terms of retro gaming. It’s a good, no — a great example of something that’s a memory of its time as well as a good representation of the excitement and fun one can have playing old video games. What better way to enjoy your hobby than trying something new? And how rewarding is it when that game turns out to be worth your time. It certainly doesn’t happen with every game. I’m glad it did here.



I've been writing about video games for years and playing them even longer. You'll find me playing all types of games, old and new. Mega Man III is greater than Mega Man II.