Black Widow

Arcade Video game published 40 years ago by Atari, Inc.

Listed in MAME

Black Widow screenshot

Black Widow © 1983 Atari.

Black Widow is a vector-based single screen shoot-em-up in which the player controls a black widow spider and must defend her web from invading insectoid enemies, including mosquitos, beetles, hornets, spoilers, grenade bugs, rocket bugs and thunderbugs.

The game starts with the player first selecting their preferred difficulty level from a choice of fourteen. The higher the difficulty level chosen, the greater the bonus awarded upon completion.

The game uses a twin-stick control method, with the left stick controlling movement and the right controlling direction of fire and the aim is to clear each web of bugs before moving onto the next. To add variety, certain parts of each web are coloured either green or red. Green lines can only be passed over by the Black Widow but red ones can only be passed over by the enemy insects. The various bugs and their traits are as follows:

* Mosquitos - these leave "grubsteaks" (represented as dollar symbols) behind when killed that can be piskced up for extra points.

* Beetles - these will eat grubsteaks but will also leave them behind when killed.

* Spoilers - these dangerous creatures are invulnerable to the Black Widow's shots and must be avoided.

* Hornets - will lay eggs on "grubsteaks" that must be pushed out of the web or into its centre before they hatch into more Hornets (or possibly even Spoilers).

* Grenade Bugs - these will explode when hit, sending out a blast wave that kills all enemy insects and eggs caught in the blast radius, the Black Widow can also herself be a killed by the blast wave.

* Rocket Bugs - these are invulnerable and will launch miniaturized versions of themselves (called "rockettes") at the Black Widow from any other insects they tag.

* Bug Slayer - this is also invulnerable but harmless to the Black Widow) and competes with her for "grubsteaks". It is also capable of killing all the other dangerous insects.

* Thunderbugs - Every fourth wave, a formation of Thunderbugs will fly towards the Black Widow; if one gets hit by her shots it will break away from the formation and fly directly towards her. If shot a second time, it dies. A bonus is awarded for destroying the entire wave.


Game ID : 136017

Main CPU : MOS Technology M6502 (@ 1.512 Mhz)
Sound Chips : (2x) POKEY (@ 1.512 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Players : 2
Control : Double 8-way joysticks


Even if the title screen says 1982, Black Widow was released in February 1983.

James Vollandt holds the official record for this game with 930,100 points on May 1, 1984.

1,550 units were produced. All Black Widow games were conversions of other Atari vector titles and were sold $995. Even the brand new ones were actually "Gravitar" games that Atari converted at the factory. In general this title shared a lot of common components with "Gravitar" and "Space Duel", and Black Widow machines are often used to repair those titles.

Mosquito - If shot, becomes '$'.
Beetle - Eats '$', but if shot, becomes '$'.
Hornet - Lays an egg on '$', but if shot, becomes '$'.
Egg - Grows to become hornet or spoiler. Must be pushed off the web to score 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, or even 2,500 points.
Grub Steak - Tag for 500, 250, 100, or 50 points -- the sooner the better.
Spoiler - Invulnerable. Can only be destroyed by a grenade bug, bug slayer or rocket bug.
Grenade Bug - Explodes if shot. Bugs and eggs within the kill zone score 500 points each.
Rocket Bug - Invulnerable. Launches "rockettes" at black widow from the other bugs it tags. Shoot rockettes to score 100 points each.
Thunderbug - If shot, it breaks formation and attacks. If shot again, it explodes all other T-bugs for 5000 points. Keep away from all T-bugs to earn 10,000 points. The resulting chain reaction from multiple thunderbugs is very dangerous and can encompass over 80% of the level at some times, depending on how many T-bugs are involved.
Bug Slayer - Harmless to the player and invulnerable. The Bug Slayer competes with the Black Widow for food. Beat it to its flashing prey for points

Designed and programmed by : Bruce Merritt


usa Sony PlayStation (2001) "Atari Anniversary Edition Redux [Model SLUS-01427]"
europe Sony PlayStation (mar.1, 2002) "Atari Anniversary Edition Redux [Model SLES-03808]"
usa Microsoft XBOX (nov.16, 2004) "Atari Anthology [Model 26084]"
usa Sony PS2 (nov.22, 2004) "Atari Anthology [Model SLUS-21076]"
europe Microsoft XBOX (nov.26, 2004) "Atari Anthology"
europe Sony PS2 (feb.18, 2005) "Atari Anthology [Model SLES-53061]"
japan Microsoft XBOX (aug.4, 2005) "Atari Anthology [Model B7X-00001]"
usa Sony PlayStation 4 (oct.18,2016) "Atari Flashback Classics Vol.1"
usa europe Microsoft XBOX One (nov.1,2016) "Atari Flashback Classics Vol.1"

usa Nintendo DS (mar.8, 2011) "Atari Greatest Hits Vol.2 [Model NTR-BR7E-USA]"

usa PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (nov.11, 2003) "Atari - 80 Classic Games in One! [Model 25069J]"
europe PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (june.10, 2005) "Atari - 80 Classic Games in One! [Replay]"
usa Steam (mar.24,2016) "Atari Vault [Model 400020]"

Mobile Phones usa (jul.16, 2003)
usa Nokia N-Gage (2005) "Atari Masterpieces Vol. I"
europe Nokia N-Gage (oct.13, 2005) "Atari Masterpieces Vol. I"
Apple Store usa (2012) "Atari Greatest Hits"
Google Play usa (2012) "Atari Greatest Hits"


Game's ROM.
Game's picture.