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Star Wars

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Star Wars is a first-person shooter based around the final scenes of the original Star Wars film. It first appeared for arcade coin-operated machines and was subsequently converted to other gaming platforms.

You take on the role of Luke Skywalker, aiming to destroy the Death Star. In the first phase you have to pass swarms of TIE Fighters, including dogfighting the one piloted by Darth Vader himself. In the second phase the station's surface is protected by laser towers, third involves attacking its weakest spot - the unprotected exhaust port - with proton torpedos. Your X-Wing starts with six shields, but more can be awarded for good performance. Complete the game and it loops back around at ever-increasing difficulty.

The game uses vector graphics, which allow lots of action at high speed on comparatively slow systems.


Star Wars ZX Spectrum Flying along the surface of the Deathstar
Star Wars Atari 5200 Making the run on the death star
Star Wars Macintosh Shooting TIE Fighters.
Star Wars DOS Title Screen

Alternate Titles

  • "Star Wars: The Arcade Game" -- Title used for most console versions

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A painstaking experience Amiga Lukasz Gorski (13)
Fun little arcade game. DOS Jeremy Johnson (736)
The Force arrives on the PC DOS Roedie (5211)
Pure mindless fun.. even tho it doesn't feel like StarWars at all DOS Lukasz Gorski (13)

Critic Reviews

Electric Playground Amiga Feb 28, 1997 9 out of 10 90
Eurogamer.net (UK) Arcade Oct 25, 2007 9 out of 10 90
The Atari Times Arcade May 21, 2002 88 out of 100 88
Personal Computer Games Commodore 64 Aug, 1984 7 out of 10 70
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Atari ST Dec, 1987 8.4 out of 12 70
Commodore User Amiga Apr, 1988 7 out of 10 70
All Game Guide ColecoVision 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Zzap! Commodore 64 Jan, 1988 70 out of 100 70
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 1990 56 out of 100 56
Tilt Commodore 64 Feb, 1988 8 out of 20 40


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1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Star Wars appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Arcade version

The original coin-op Star Wars game was built using Ed Rotberg's incomplete spaceflight fortress assault game entitled Warp Speed. Add the joystick from his Military Battlezone and some licensed properties, and voila -- Star Wars!

Commodore 64 versions

There were two licensed conversions of Star Wars: The Arcade Game for the Commodore 64. The first was a cartridge by Parker Brothers. This version used simple sprites for the TIE fighters and clusters of dots to represent the fireballs. Several years later, Domark put out a much more faithful conversion which used vector graphics for all the game elements. Unfortunately while it was quite accurate, it suffered from poor frame rates which often made it difficult to play.


My hazy memory recalls: The front of the box contained an embedded LED that blinked slowly, like once every 3 seconds. I believe the LED was part of R2D2's head poking out of the top of the X-Wing.

References to the game

In the 1984 Christmas horror film Gremlins some of the Gremlin's can be seen briefly playing the original Arcade cabinet version of Star Wars.

Rogue Squadron III

In the Gamecube title Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III - Rebel Strike, the full version of Star Wars: The Arcade Game was an unlockable bonus feature.


Resourceful programmer tricks #2: The function keys serve as multiple different functional boss-keys, information about the programmer, and other neat little functions -- way above and beyond a typical boss-key. Poke around the keyboard while the game is running and see what you find!


  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #87 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
Information also contributed by Guy Chapman, Pseudo_Intellectual, Rekrul, vedder and FatherJack

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