In Centipede, your mission is to destroy a never-ending wave of deadly centipedes. Each level contains one centipede which begins at the top of the screen and winds its way down to the bottom of the playfield, where you are located. Each centipede is divided into 12 segments, each of which must be shot in order to complete the level. As the centipede gets smaller and smaller, its speed increases. Other targets to look out for include spiders, fleas and scorpions. If you are hit by any of the bugs, you lose a life.

The Atari 2600 version retains the basic graphics and sounds of the coin-op on which it is based, but with less detail. The game also plays a bit faster than its arcade cousin.

In the arcade, Centipede used a trackball controller instead of a joystick. A trackball is basically a large ball inside the arcade cabinet which is spun using the hand to control the onscreen characters. A trackball, like a computer mouse, allows for more refined movement than a standard joystick.

Atari released a home version of the trackball controller which can be used with the Atari 2600 version of this game. A joystick controller can also be used. ~ Skyler Miller, All Game Guide