Video games and beer!

by Beer, Featured

The Budweiser-branded Tapper video game

The plan was to market the video game in bars, not arcades for kids

Here’s a blast from the past! This is a video game release by Bally Midway back in 1983 called Tapper.

Budweiser – the video game

The idea was you play the bartender, serve customers before they get angry, and catch empty glasses before they fall to the ground. If you can clear all the customers, you get to enjoy a virtual beer and advance to the next level.

The first version of this game came with Budweiser branding in the back of the bar. The Budweiser theme song was actually used in the game, and the original machines used real Budweiser tap handles for the game controls. Later the taps were replaced with plastic taps with Budweiser branding. The plan was to market the video game in bars and nightclubs.


Who made the Suntory version of Tapper?

There is also a Japanese version for Suntory brewery, one of Japan’s oldest alcohol distributors founded in Osaka, Japan in 1899.

The Suntory branded version of Tapper

This version doesn't exist according to Sega, so who made it?

The interesting thing about this Tapper version is the machines surfaced in the 1990s, and they were built on arcade boards made by Sega. Sega denies any Suntory branding machines were built by Sega, so it’s unclear who made the modded arcade machines. It is common for arcades to repurpose existing machines with new games because it was cheaper than purchasing new popular games, but the Suntory Tapper is an unusual modification.

Subsequent games changed the marketing to Rootbeer tapper, probably because marketing beer to kids isn’t a good idea in the United States (a-ok in Japan though).

I might have to try to find one of these to add to my home bar!

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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!