Jeff Bridges: Battlezone Fiend

To get into character for 1982's Tron, Jeff Bridges became quite the video game fiend. But it was fun with a purpose. The actor reminisces about playing Battlezone, a vector-graphics tank shooter loosely similar to the film's fictitious "Space Paranoids."

The Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore (incidentally, a guy I read every Saturday when he was at the Winston-Salem Journal) also shared a love of Atari's hit from the early arcade days, but got its name wrong revisiting the subject with Bridges.

I recalled an interview with him from the '80s, us talking about a shared favorite arcade game of the 80s, "Battle Ground," the primitive graphics tank-battle game that I'd loved and he'd played incessantly as a way to get into his Tron role.

"Battle ZONE!" He corrects me with a cackle.

Bridges apparently became quite hooked on the game. Director Steve Lisberger had trucked in video games, lining the walls of the sound stage. ("For FREE!" says The Dude. "You didn't have to bring quarters to work!") but they turned into a distraction.

And so many of us in the cast just got locked into them in between takes. It's a wonder we got that film finished. We'd hold up shots, everything, if I was on a high score roll. But this time [for Tron Legacy] they didn't do that. Probably heard stories about me and Battlezone from the first one.

Jeff Bridges on Returning to Tron, and his Battlezone Days on the Original [Orlando Sentinel]