Saturday 26 May 2012

Tank Commander - Commodore VIC-20 - 1984

Tank Commander from 1984 is the fifth and final game on my list for the Commodore VIC-20.  I can’t quite remember why I bought it as I had a Spectrum by this time. I think I got it because the description reminded me of a board game I had called Tank Battle.  Again, there were vastly superior games around at this point for other computers but this is one of the better VIC titles.

The board game Tank Battle - well, it has a fuel dump, command centre, tanks and mines

Tank Commander is played out over a large semi-randomly generated play area.  The scrolling terrain consists of various elements such as mountains, rivers, trees and a road. In the game you control a tank and have to travel into enemy territory to destroy an oil depot, an (I think) communications station and a command bunker before moving to the next level.  The command bunker can only be destroyed from below.

Out to stop you are enemy tanks, mines and the occasional aircraft.  Enemy tanks are either black or white.  The black tanks will hunt you down while the white tanks are static and are normally placed next to bridges.  Mines are scattered around and are easy to avoid as are the bombs dropped by the aircraft.  Once past the tanks, the enemy installations are easily destroyed.

The graphics are pretty good for the VIC and the sound consists a constantly rumbling engine noise and some simple spot effects.  As I said this is neither the best game for the time nor indeed for the VIC-20 but I have a soft spot for it so it gets on the list.

Planes are quite easy to evade.


  1. Thank you for your kind words! I wrote it and I must admit it was hardly a world beater but am glad someone liked it.
    I can remember being on a Thorn stand at one of the shows and a couple of teenagers stopped to look at its attract mode. I was pleased (and surprised) how they homed on on the 2 tech aspects that were a challenge - the number of colours on the screen at the same time in that res and the size of the map given the RAM available. Unfortunately my pride was not so high after they worked both out in less than a couple of minutes.

    1. Thank you for creating it!! I spent many an hour on that game and it's still pretty playable today. Did you write any others?

    2. Oh, and at least give yourself some credit by mentioning your name.

  2. Name is Peter Hayward. It was only someone asking on a BBS (they do still exist) if anyone had any old CBM kit they could borrow that prompted me to look for the game.
    No, I didn't write any others. I was working on a game for the 64 based on the avian racing in the Gor books when the powers that be decided to reduce Thorn's SWG division and I was one of the early (and lucky) redundancies.

  3. Oh, and my wife has just reminded me of her input - she solved the problem of how to have impassable borders (sea on one side and mountains on the other

  4. Thanks for the comments, Peter. They are much appreciated :)

  5. This is amazing, Mr. Hayward himself commenting here. This is why I love the Internet. Tank Commander is also my fave game for the Vic20, was also the first videogame my dad bought for me on my birthday.

  6. Was a great game.