The gameplay in Tapper is fairly simple: serve beverages to each customer that enters the bar until there are no customers remaining in the bar. For each patron that enters the bar you must fill a glass with a drink from the kegs. When the glass is full you can slide the drink along the aisle towards the advancing customer. Each time you serve customers a drink you will knock the customer away from you. In order to proceed to the next level you have to knock all the customers out of the bar by serving them drinks. In order to knock them out of the bar completely they must be fairly close to the entrance of the bar. If the customer has managed to move up over a third of the aisle then the customer will still get knocked back but hang around to finish their drink. The customer will then proceed to slide the empty mug back at you and continue his advance up the aisle toward you and your kegs.
There are multiple ways to lose a life in Tapper, one of which is breaking mugs. Mugs are broken if there is no one to receive them on either side of the bar. If you are thrown an empty mug and do not catch it before it falls, it will break. This also works the other way as well; if you slide a mug down an aisle that has no customers available to receive the drink it will break. Customers are unavailable to receive your beverages when they are either consuming a previous drink or viewing the entertainment. A life can also be lost if a patron makes their way to your end of the bar where he will then proceed to throw you out of the bar. You are given 2 lives to start off with in the beginning of the game but can pick up additional lives by achieving a certain number of points. When a life is lost you must restart the level with no loss of score.
Tapper features 4 different stages each with their own uniquely themed customers, entertainers and environment. For the first two levels you will be catering to individuals donning cowboy hats in a Saloon. For levels 3-5 you will be bar tending a sporting event where you will serve athletes from various sports. In levels 6-9 you work in a punk bar providing beverages to very odd characters including one that appears to have a safety pin in his head. This stage is where the difficulty curves the largest making it very difficult for most to make it to the next stage. For the last four levels you satisfy aliens at a space station by ridding them of their thirst using your beer/pop.
Bonus Rounds occur after a stage is completed and give you the opportunity to win additional points. Every bonus round consists of a masked man with a villainous smile shaking up cans of beer/pop while your bartenders back is turned. After shaking five of the six cans the masked man then proceed to switch the positions of the cans in an effort to make you forget which one is safe. You, as the bartender have to choose the safe can to open. If you choose the right can a message will display at the bottom of the screen stating "This buds for you" and you will receive a fair amount of points. If you pick one of the cans that was shaken up your bartender will be sprayed with beer/pop and a message saying "Oops" will appear at the bottom of the screen and you will receive no points. Whether you win or lose the bonus round you will still proceed to the next stage.
- Saloon patron cleared from bar - 50 points
- Sporting Event patron cleared from bar - 75 points
- Punk Bar patron cleared from bar - 100 points
- Space Station patron cleared from bar - 125 points
- Tip collected - 1500 points
- Empty mug collected - 100 points
- Bonus Round won - 3000 points
Root Beer Tapper
Root Beer Tapper was introduced in 1984 because the original version of Tapper (Featuring Budweiser) was thought to have been created to market alcohol to minors. The gameplay is identical to the original, with a few aesthetic changes involving the appearance of the character and the Budweiser logos that were featured in the original.