In Centipede, your mission is to destroy a never-ending wave of centipedes. Each level contains one centipede which begins at the top of the screen and winds its way down to the bottom of the play-field, 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 Commodore 64 version reproduces the graphics and sound of the arcade version, but with slightly less detail.

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 for their 2600 system, and since the 2600 and Commodore 64 have compatible joystick ports, that controller can be used with this game. A joystick controller can also be used. ~ Skyler Miller, All Game Guide