Tutankham (Arcade) is the Retro Game of the Day for 27 May, 2016

A little known gem that is part maze chase, part shooter, Tutankham has a grave-robbing explorer braving mazes of tombs trying to find various treasures while evading a host of mean little creatures out to end his life.  He can defend himself with a laser and a screen clearing “flash bomb”, but the laser only fires left and right.  The goal on each level is to collect enough keys to open the final chamber and retrieve the level’s treasure, but only one key can be carried at a time so you have to backtrack through the maze if there is more than one lock.

Sure, the gameplay seems limiting, but this creates a real challenge for players, as many times the game is a test of patience and endurance to find openings in waves of enemies to proceed to a new safe spot.  It is this sort of limiting play that creates such a great game, something lost on many games that try to do too much and end up harming basic gameplay.

There has been stories told about the game’s title that it was shortened from the full name of Tutankhamen, the pharaoh the game was name after, but the full name was too long for the arcade cabinet.  There has been no indication of whether this is actually true or not, but it’s such a widely circulated story that its truth is uncertain.  I honestly believe that if they wanted to shorten it, they would have just called it King Tut or something similar and that Tutankham was a deliberate naming choice, but I could be wrong.

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