Gameological At E3This Could Be Good

Tank! Tank! Tank!

Tanks For The Memories

Tank! Tank! Tank! is a silly arcade game with a bit of Calvin And Hobbes spirit.

By Anthony John Agnello • June 6, 2012

The preview events provided by most game studios offer only brief glimpses at very big games, so reporting on a preview requires a lot of guesswork and reading between the lines. For E3, we’re highlighting a few games in which we see some promise. Who knows how a game will pan out in its final form? The most we can say with confidence is This Could Be Good.

The violence wasn’t always like this. There wasn’t always a need for the Murder Report. Not every game had a helicopter crashing in a pile of flames and limbs while somebody yelled at you about saving the president, or the president’s daughter, or both. Games like Namco’s Point Blank put a gun in your hand, but then you shot goofy things like dartboards floating out of a jungle canopy while a muppet yelled at you. It was sweet, conflict as cathartic as a game of freeze tag, and no bloodier. Tank! Tank! Tank!, an unassuming little game from Namco tucked away in a corner at E3, has that spirit in its noisy guts. It’s effervescent compared to all the spies, soldiers, and superheroes flooding the halls at E3.

You and three other people control tanks in a city overrun with big cartoony monsters like spiders or robots, and then you shoot them. It’s that simple. Buildings crumble as you tool around, and the spiders just pop—rather than exploding in some pile of goop meant to shock. There are bigger bouts where everyone needs to work together to bring down towering bad guys, like a leering mechanical hydra whose heads can swallow your tank whole, but that’s about as complex as it gets.

It’s all fast. Your tank feels less like a lumbering war machine than an extension of your hands. Tank! Tank! Tank! is a Calvin And Hobbes moment: You’re an imaginary terror stomping on a city made of sand. There’s never any threat of the game taking itself too seriously. The Wii U controller takes a picture of you before you start playing, and that’s your icon in the field. The demo version had a computer character that was a picture of a real cat wearing a cartoon princess crown over the tank. It’s the sort of sight that’ll elicit a chuckle when you see it firing off a bunch of missiles with smiley faces painted on them. Violence in games doesn’t always have to be Lara Croft stabbing someone in the neck with an arrow. Sometimes it can just be a dollop of sweet chaos.

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512 Responses to “Tanks For The Memories”

  1. Binsbein says:

    I’ve played this game in the arcade and it’s good fun reminiscent of the Tokyo Wars cab. While some of the novelty won’t be there since you’re not feeling the feedback and noise produced by the tank seat in the arcade, it’s most likely still a solid release for Wii U.

    Edit: Hopefully the game is really expanded for consoles because in the arcade version there are only three mission-based cooperative stages and then some VS options.

    • Raging Bear says:

      Sounds fun, but will people shell out for a retread? I wonder if it’ll be downloadable or available in brick & mortar shops.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I’m pleased because there aren’t THAT many good arcade games coming out in Japan these days, so taking advantage of them pleasantly surprised me.  Nice call.

  2. sirslud says:

    Yeah, the arcade version of this was rather fun – Mississauga Paladium represent!

    • Merve says:

      Bumper cars and glow-in-the-dark mini-putt FTW! (I just realized it’s been almost a decade since I’ve been to Playdium. Wow.)

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Roseville Dave & Buster’s Here!  (Actually going there tonight for dinner with friends)  This game is pretty fun, but doubt I’d bother with a home version.

    • caspiancomic says:

      I miss the big Playdium on John St. =( It’s some crappy nightclub now. In theory that should actually be a more appropriate birthday venue for me now that I’m in my twenties, but all I really want to do is play House of the Dead.

  3. Adam Johnson says:

    When you mentioned there was a Calvin and Hobbes spirit, I assumed combat included urinating on the Ford logo. Consider me dissapointed. 

  4. caspiancomic says:

    Tank! Tank! Tank!

    Winner: Best Name, E3 2012.

  5. MattKodner says:

    anything involving self-pics and popping spiders sounds good to me

  6. Jon Irwin says:

    I’m really glad someone is noticing and writing about this game. Others have written this off as ugly or some throwaway shovelware…   But I see a game that–thank goodness–is bright and fun and fast and doesn’t show plastic heads contorting in plastic anguish over the death of their plastic children.