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Commonly considered the earliest progenitor of first-person shooters (FPS), Battlezone is a 3D tank game initially released in the arcades, and later converted officially to many systems. Earth has been invaded, and you and your tank lead the defensive effort. You drive around the battlefield from a first-person view, targeting and firing at tanks, planes and UFOs. You have a radar to help you see where the enemies are in direction and distance. Objects can be used as strategic cover. Controls simulate the tracks of a tank realistically, so the direction and speed settings are varied - combining forward right and backward left movements (as you can on keyboard versions) sees you change direction more quickly.


Battlezone ZX Spectrum Loading screen
Battlezone Arcade Title / attract mode
Battlezone Atari 8-bit Game over
Battlezone Atari 8-bit Main menu

Promo Images

Battlezone Magazine Advertisement Inside front cover

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User Reviews

Relive the first first-person shooter in a surprisingly faithful reproduction of the original arcade game. PC Booter Trixter (9122)

Critic Reviews

Woodgrain Wonderland Atari 2600 Oct 02, 2016 A 100
The Video Game Critic Atari 2600 Feb 13, 2019 A 100
neXGam Atari 2600 Jun 27, 2013 8.3 out of 10 83 (UK) Arcade Oct 25, 2007 8 out of 10 80
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Atari 2600 Sep 25, 2004 7 out of 10 70
Electronic Fun with Computers & Games Atari 2600 Jan, 1984 2.5 out of 4 62
ST Action Atari ST Aug, 1988 61 out of 100 61
The Games Machine (UK) Atari ST Sep, 1988 51 out of 100 51
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Sep, 1988 4 out of 10 40
Game Freaks 365 Atari 2600 Jan 07, 2009 3.8 out of 10 38


Topic # Posts Last Post
The arcade original 1 John F
Aug 23, 2007


1001 Video Games

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

Arcade version

Development of the original Battlezone coin-op was a team effort: Morgan Hoff was the project leader; Jed Margolin handled electrical engineering; Ed Rotberg programmed it; Roger Hector modelled all 3D objects as minimally as possible, and Howie Delman's vector-graphics generator was used.

References to the game

Battlezone units appear in the movies:
  • Tron (1982)
  • Joysticks (1983)
  • The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)
  • Running Scared (1986)


Owen Rubin kept pestering Rotberg to make the volcano on the horizon active; Rotberg brushed him off, challenging Rubin to write the code for the volcano himself if he felt so strongly about it# The next morning, there it was sitting on his desk.


  • Retro Gamer
    • Issue 46 - #20 in the "Top 25 Atari 2600 Games" poll
Information also contributed by Nélio, PCGamer77 and FatherJack.

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Contributed to by Trixter (9122), Alaka (59047), Kabushi (223540), Martin Smith (66862), Pseudo_Intellectual (61234), Servo (57415) and wanax (344)