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aka: Choplifter

Description official descriptions

Choplifter! is a side-scrolling action/arcade game that puts you in command of an attack chopper. Your mission: Go behind enemy lines and rescue up to 16 hostages per level. Be careful, though, because tanks and enemy aircraft will try to stop you - and they won't stop shooting while you are rescuing those hostages!

Originally released for Apple II home computers, Choplifter! was later ported to the arcades and a number of video game consoles. Many imitators and homages would follow.


  • チョップリフター - Japanese spelling

Groups +


Credits (Apple II version)

Created by
Cover Art Illustrator



1001 Video Games

Choplifter appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Arcade version

After Choplifter! was released for the Apple II, it was not only ported to numerous other computer and console systems, but also converted by Sega into a coin-op arcade game. This makes Choplifter! one of the few 1980s games to start on a home system and later appear in arcades, instead of the other way around. According to Dan Gorlin he did not really have anything to do with this version as Sega created their own design and artwork for the game. He was nevertheless impressed with the result although would have preferred an analogue controller.

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]

Cancelled PC version

Game creator Dan Gorlin began work on a PC version of Choplifter! during the 1990s, but says it was never completed due to "industry problems."

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]


Choplifter! began as a 3D game in early development, but was later converted into a 2D side-scroller when creator Dan Gorlin realized the limitations of contemporary hardware.

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]


Game creator Dan Gorlin cites both the Iranian hostage crisis and the arcade game Defender as major influences on Choplifter!'s design.

[Source: Retro Gamer Magazine, Load 51]


Choplifter designer Dan Gorlin on the surprising influence of his game on the industry:

A lot of professionals in the game business now tell me that Choplifter was big influence on them. It kinda freaks me out; like inventing dynamite or something.

(From the book *High Score!* by Rusel DeMaria and Johnny L. Wilson, p.125.)


While they both spawned strings of sequels to lead series of their own, Choplifter and Lode Runner can be considered to share not just human sprite animation, but a "game world" along with Will Wright's Raid on Bungeling Bay, all three games (all published by Brøderbund) eventually featuring the militaristic denizens of the Bungeling Empire as the primary antagonists.

Information also contributed by Garcia and Pseudo_Intellectual

Related Games

TC Choplifter
Released 1995 on Windows 3.x
Choplifter HD
Released 2012 on PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360...
Choplifter III
Released 1993 on Game Gear, Game Boy
Choplifter HD: Albatross Chopper
Released 2012 on Windows
Choplifter III: Rescue Survive
Released 1994 on SNES
Choplifter II: Rescue Survive
Released 1991 on Game Boy
Choplifter HD: Arrowhead Chopper
Released 2012 on Windows
Choplifter HD: Ostrich Chopper
Released 2012 on Windows
Choplifter HD: Zombie Zombie Zombie
Released 2012 on Windows

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 8127


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by PCGamer77.

SG-1000 added by djindio. Arcade added by Michael Cassidy. Sharp X1, PC-6001 added by Infernos. Apple II added by KnockStump. Coleco Adam added by Hipolito Pichardo. Atari 7800, Atari 5200 added by RKL. Atari 8-bit added by Martin Smith. PC-88, FM-7 added by Terok Nor. VIC-20, Thomson TO added by Игги Друге. MSX added by koffiepad.

Additional contributors: Freeman, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, 64er.

Game added January 8th, 2003. Last modified May 4th, 2023.