Gravitar was released in August 1982.
5,427 units were produced and original selling price was $2,095.
Developed in 14 months, Gravitar was the first game that Mike Hally produced and designed for Atari. The concept of Gravitar was based on a combination of "Lunar Lander
" and "Asteroids
Gravitar has a color X-Y video display. This display, with its three color guns and higher voltage, has the same technology that was used in previous Atari black-and-white X-Y displays. However, the screen now displays dazzling colors and unique visual effects.
Gravitar was the first game to have a real-time dynamic perspective - When you enter a planet, the screen zooms in to give you a closer look. Unfortunately, it was a colossal failure, primarily because of its difficulty. While beautiful to look at for its time, the learning curve was too steep too early - When you're plugging quarters into a machine, you stop playing a tough game. But interest in the title has resurged among hard-core arcade gamers. This is because once the controls are mastered, the game is phenomenally addictive.
On the other hand, saying it's "phenomenally addictive" under whatever condition is a highly subjective and, let's face it, completely unsubstantiated statement, especially in light of the game's disastrous performance in the actual marketplace. People loved hard games in the days, like Defender. This game was simply a poorly conceived piece of eye candy, an example of tech and former laurels taking the place of cohesive planning and testing.
The default high score screen of "Cyberball 2072
" features names of many Atari arcade games, including GRAVITAR.
Dan Coogan, of Phoenix, AZ set a new Gravitar world record, scoring 8,029,450 points on December 23, 2006, playing for 23 hours and 15 minutes. The previous world record was 4,722,200, which reigned for 24 years, set by Ray Mueller of Boulder, CO on December 4, 1982, playing for 12 hours and 21 minutes.
A Gravitar unit appears in the 1983 movie 'WarGames', in the 1983 movie 'James Bond 007 - Never Say Never Again' and in the 1987 movie 'Death Wish 4 - The Crackdown'.
In 1982, Atari released a set of 12 collector pins including : "Missile Command
", "Battle Zone
", "Asteroids Deluxe
", "Space Duel
", Gravitar, "Dig Dug
" and "Food Fight
The prototype of this game is known as "Lunar Battle