Star Wars (arcade game)
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Star Wars was an arcade game produced by Atari and released in 1983. The game is a first person space simulator, based around Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope. More specifically the game's action covers the final act of the movie and the attack on the Death Star. The game is composed of 3D color vector graphics.
The player assumes the role of Luke Skywalker ("Red Five"), as he pilots an X-wing fighter from a first-person perspective. Unlike other arcade games of similar nature, the player does not have to destroy every enemy in order to advance through the game; he must simply survive as his fighter flies through the level, which most often means he must avoid or destroy the shots that enemies fire.
The player's ultimate goal is to destroy the Death Star through three attack phases.
- In the first phase of the game, the player begins in outer space above the Death Star. He must engage in a dog fight with Darth Vader and enemy TIE fighters.
- In the second phase, the player reaches the Death Star's surface as laser turrets on towers rise to confront the player. If the player manages to destroy all of the towers, he will receive a sizeable point bonus.
- In the third phase, the player flies through the final trench towards the thermal exhaust port, the Death Star's weakness. Along the way he must avoid laser shots and various catwalks that block the path. At the end of the trench, the player must fly low in order to fire a torpedo into the port. If successful, the Death Star explodes and the game immediately restarts at a higher difficulty level. If unsuccessful, the player must restart the third phase from the beginning.
Each successive Death Star run greatly increases the difficulty; TIE Fighters shoot more often, there are more Laser towers and batteries in the second round, and there are many more obstacles and laser fire during the trench run. Unlike the movie, where the units shoot beams similar to lasers, the enemy units in this game shoot projectiles resembling fireballs, in order to give the player a chance to destroy the fired shots.
The game featured several digitized samples of voices from the movie, including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and the mechanized beeps of R2-D2.
The game is available as a standard upright or an elaborately decorated sit-down version. The controls consist of a yoke control (similar to a steering wheel — twisting left and right gives combined roll and yaw; pushing forwards and backwards with the side control gives pitch) with four buttons — two trigger style and two in position to be pressed by the thumbs — each of which fired a laser positioned on the four leading edges of the X-Wings.
- The game was developed during the Golden Age of Arcade Games and is considered the #4 most popular game of all time according to Killer List of Video Games;
- This game can be converted into the Empire Strikes Back arcade game.
The game was published for the Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and Sinclair Spectrum in Europe by Domark in 1987 and 1988. That same year Broderbund acquired the rights to develop Star Wars games from LucasFilm. Broderbund published the Apple II, Commodore 64 and DOS versions of the arcade game in North America in 1988. Two versions were released for the Atari 5200 by Parker Brothers; Star Wars Arcade and Death Star Battle. The latter is almost an exact conversion of the Atari 2600 version. Amiga and Atari ST versions (1988) are very similar to the original one. They allow possibility to mouse control and feature digitized sound effects.
- In 2005, Brandon Erickson set a world record by playing for over 54 hours on a single credit. 
- In the films Gremlins and No Small Affair (both released 1984), both cabinets were depicted. The trench sequence was seen in Gremlins when the mutant monsters play the game and in the film No Small Affair, an upright cabinet is used.
- Players with attention to detail may notice that after the TIE fighter waves, when flying towards the Death Star, the yellow grid lines on the Death Star spell out either "MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU" on odd-numbered waves or names of some of the developers on even numbered waves.
- When flying in the trench towards the vulnerable exhaust port, "USE THE FORCE" is spelled in green until the player fires a shot. If the player chooses to dodge the fireballs (he or she should not fire any shots and use one shot to fire the torpedoes into the exhaust port) the player get a sizeable "USE THE FORCE" bonus. This is encouraged by Obi-Wan himself at the beginning of the trench sequence.
There is an urban legend that if the player can shoot Darth Vader's ship 30 times during the first phase, he will be rewarded with 27 or 255 extra lives. This is such a difficult task that it has still not been proven or disproven.
The plot for this game was used in the Nintendo Gamecube game, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. The first level of the game (after the tutorial) is the attack on the Death Star, divided into three parts, just like the arcade game: dogfighting with TIE fighters, destroying gun turrets, and the final attack run on the Death Star.