Star Wars

Platforms: Acorn Electron, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, BBC Micro, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, IBM PC/Compatibles

Also Known As


Main Genre:
Licensed Title
Gameplay Style:
Rail Shooter
Sci-Fi / Futuristic


IBM CGA version of Star Wars
IBM CGA version of Star Wars
Star Wars is an action game originally released in arcades by Atari, Inc. in 1983 and later ported to numerous home computers and game consoles. The game is based on the 1977 Star Wars film, specifically the scenes depicting the attack on the Death Star near the end of the movie. In the game players take on the role of Luke Skywalker ("Red Five") piloting an X-Wing fighter. The game uses a first person view from the fighter where players need to fend off numerous enemy attacks before finally destroying the Death Star. The original arcade game used a color vector monitor while the home conversions used wireframe graphics that mimicked the arcade game's appearance. In the arcade version and a few home versions several digitized sounds from the movie are included.


The ultimate goal of Star Wars is to destroy the Death Star; players control Luke Skywalker in an X-Wing fighter that is equipped with lasers and a shield with six levels of energy. If the player is hit by enemy fire or an obstacle, part of the shield is lost — once the shield is completely gone, an additional hit will end the game. Players can aim crosshairs on the screen to target a location when firing and also have a limited range of movement to dodge obstacles. Each level of the game is broken up into three different phases which are similar to the Death Star attack sequence of the movie. The phases are as follows:
  1. The first phase is a dog fight that occurs in outer space near the Death Star. Numerous TIE fighters along with Darth Vader attack. Enemies shoot fireballs at the player which can be either avoided or shot. It's not necessary to destroy all fighters to proceed, players just need to survive.
  2. The second phase takes place along the surface of the Death Star. There are numerous towers with laser turrets which need to be avoided. A bonus is awarded if players can destroy a given number of turrets.
  3. In the final sequence players fly through a trench on the Death Star. At the end of the trench is an exhaust port which players need to fire a torpedo into. Along the way there are numerous obstacles along with laser turrets. If players miss the exhaust port, part of the shield is lost and the sequence must be repeated. A hit on the exhaust port destroys the Death Star and players continue to the next level.
Each level in the game is more difficult than the previous: the number of TIE Fighters increases and they shoot more frequently, there are more laser turrets, and the number of obstacles increases. In both the arcade and most home versions of the game players can choose one of three difficulty levels to begin the game with. On the first level of the easiest difficulty level the second attack phase is skipped, otherwise all three need to be completed.


Platform: Atari 2600
Programmed by: Bob Smith, Neil McKenzie, Mike Stewart


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version
Upright Cabinet
Arcade Version
Cockpit variation


Instruction Manual
Atari 5200
Instruction Manual


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Star Wars has appeared in.
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