Retro fix–Centipede of Atari 2600 and arcade fame finds a backstory in new comic book series


Centipede–It was one of the most addictive arcade and home video games in the first generation of video gaming.  Technically a “vertically-oriented fixed shooter arcade game,” it was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey for Atari in 1980.  The player would defend against centipedes, spiders, scorpions and fleas, completing a round after eliminating all the segments of the centipede that winds its way down the screen.  Check out the video below from the Atari 2600 home version and you may remember it well, including the ever quickening, relentless impending beeps.

Co-creator Dona Bailey was one of the first women video game designers.  She intended for Centipede to appeal to female gamers, and it would become the second most popular coin-op arcade game behind Pac-Man for the demographic.


Dynamite Entertainment and Atari are releasing a new comic book series this summer based on the game.  Centipede #1 begins a tale of survival and vengeance, written by Max Bemis (Worst X-Man Ever, Foolkiller) and artist Eoin Marron (Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original).  Dynamite reports the book will blend sci-fi, horror, and action to appeal to fans of Aliens, The Thing, and Predator: “When a terrifying creature from beyond the stars attacks his planet, protagonist Dale’s journey begins, but he is not out to save his world; it’s already much too late for that.  As the lone survivor, the only thing Dale wants is revenge.”

The cover artwork features variants from artists including Marron, Francesco Francavilla, and Dan Schkade.  A special classic game art cover will also be available, plus others (shown above and below).  The classic Atari mini-comic incentive will also be available to retailers–a remastered reissue of the 32-page mini-comic originally packaged with the Atari cartridge.


Check out more about the classic games in Tim Lapetino’s Art of Atari, reviewed previously here at


Look for Centipede, Issue #1, coming to your local comic book store this July.  Keep a look out in game stores, too–IDW Publishing has a Centipede board game in development, too.

C.J. Bunce

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