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Box artwork for Millipede.
Distributor(s)Xbox Live Arcade, GameTap
Designer(s)Dona Bailey
Release date(s)
System(s)Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, NES, Xbox 360
Preceded byCentipede
TwitchMillipede Channel
YouTube GamingMillipede Channel

Millipede marquee

Millipede was Atari's answer to fans of Centipede and upset arcade managers alike. In response to rising play times and diminishing profits seen from the aging, yet popular Centipede machines, Atari developed a sequel of sorts that upped the challenge factor and eliminated many of the various strategies that players employed to increase their game play time. It was originally going to be called "Centipede Deluxe" but perhaps because Asteroids Deluxe did not fare so well, a new title was chosen.

Millipede introduces several new insects to the mushroom garden, including an inchworm that, once shot, slows the game down for a brief period of time. DDT bombs were present for explosion. Waves of insect swarm were introduced as bonus rounds. Mushrooms could be turned in to indestructible flowers by passing beetles. And the entire forest would undergo a period of growth and decay every so often, defeating player's efforts to control the arrangement of the stage.

Among the things that Millipede did not change was the intuitive control of the trackball. Millipede wasn't nearly as well received as its older sibling, and thus did not see nearly as many home conversions. Atari systems and early Nintendo systems received the only official conversions made.

Note: The following story is taken directly from the Millipede arcade flyer which advertised the game to arcade distributors. This is an example of a rare instance where a company provided a background story in it's advertising materials.

Once upon a time in a kingdom set serenely under a warming sun, there lived a youth of royal lineage who was drawn to all of nature's beauty. He roamed the forest glade days upon end with constant admiration for what the gods had showered down upon the land. Gladly would he trade the wealth of his forefathers for the riches and tranquility that nature offered him.

Wise to the essence of life--but unwise the ways of the world--he refused the royal crown of his dying father. "I will protect the realm with all my body and soul, Father, but I will never rule its living creatures, be they beast or human. The love of the gods will see to their daily regulation. I will see to their welfare."

With his last gasp of strength, His Majesty cursed his son, "You are a foolhardy lad. The destruction of the realm is in your hands."

The populace mourned the death of their King and awaited the succession of his son. Before the crowds, the youth proclaimed, "In the name of goodness and humanity, I set you--my loyal subjects--free to live in communion with the wonders of nature. From this point forward, you shall call me Archer. I will defend your new way of life till my death."

A roar of cheering from the masses greeted his words, but all was overshadowed by a tumultuous thundering in the skies. A cloudburst followed with torrents of rain that beat wickedly upon the land. The crowd dispersed to seek shelter from the downpour.

The Archer looked out beyond the horizon. He knew only too well the revengeful signs of his father. "I beseech thee to turn back your rage from the netherworld and stop this onslaught." As if in laughing response, the ground below him began to tremble. And the day ended in utter darkness.

The sun rose upon the land in its usual manner. But the wains of the past night had produced a new, uncontrollable growth...a sudden nurturing of nature that caused everything except that which was human to grow to sizes beyond belief.

From deep within the glade, a mighty Millipede began advancing steadily--flanked by a marauding band of oversized insect rogues. Towering spiders, beetles, earwigs, bees, dragonflies, mosquitos and inchworms swept over the land to wreak their special havoc. They trampled through giant mushrooms, poisoning some and transforming several into deceivingly pretty flowers that would surely thwart the arrows of any opponent. Sometimes they raided in waves...winging down in fierce assaults.

The Archer realized that, even from the grave, the spirit of his father had commanded these creatures to act in unison against him...these same creatures whom he had loved so and had loved him. Saddened by true to his pledge, he took up his bow and arrow to defend his homeland from these aggressors. He would meet their challenge. With truth and goodness truly on his side, he would be victorious and restore the natural order and beauty of life to the kingdom.

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