Nostalgia is great. But c'mon...
As a game with actual graphics, Centipede was a big surprise on the IBM. The gameplay is smooth and challenging, with the same rising difficulty level as the arcade version. Centipede puts your pulse rate through a series of hills and valleys as the creature gets lower on each level.
Clearly it's unfair to compare Centipede with, say, Unreal Tournament. But try these, all pc conversions from 1983: Galaxian, Frogger, Moon Patrol, Lode Runner, Donkey Kong and PacMan. They're all better. As one of the first arcade games many people played, along with PacMan and Pong, centipede tends to inspire a certain virginal nostalgia among games fans. But even among pc games of the time centipede is limited and boring, the kind of game that you'll play a few times in between PacMan sessions.
The Bottom Line
If you're a student of computer gaming history, you should definitely play centipede, both in pc and arcade (MAME) form. You may even find you like it. But unlike other games of this vintage, from Galaxian to Zork to the utterly formidable PacMan, Centipede just doesn't hold up.