Arcade Video game published 41 years ago by Atari, Inc.

Listed in MAME

Quantum screenshot

Quantum © 1982 Atari.

Quantum is a reflex-based vector game set in the sub-atomic world of quantum physics, in which the player controls a probe (or 'Sparkler') and must fully encircle atomic particles for points without touching various other particles. Once the particles are surrounded by the probe's tail they are destroyed.

The game features numerous particle types that must be encircled and destroyed or avoided. First, there are nuclei around which electrons orbit. When a nucleus is encircled (snared) and explodes, the Electrons change into Positrons which, if they are encircled before flying off the screen, are worth extra points.

As play progresses, Pulsars appear. These travel towards the player's probe, pulsating their arms in and out as they move. The probe is destroyed if it makes contact with any part of a Pulsar. Other deadly particles include triangular Photons, self-deviding Splitters and diamond-shaped Triphons.

In later stages, the nuclei join together, forming bonds. The player's probe is destroyed if it crosses the bonds when they are red, but can safely cross when they are yellow.

Goodies for Quantum
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The game came in the same cabinet as "Space Duel" and "Gravitar", but it was not a conversion kit. It had totally different art, and was only available in full dedicated cabinet form. Like all vector games, Quantum is very problematic, and monitor failures are very common.

Game ID : 136016

Main CPU : Motorola 68000 (@ 6.048 Mhz)
Sound Chips : (2x) POKEY (@ 600 Khz)

Screen orientation : Vertical
Video resolution : 256 x 231 pixels
Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz
Palette colors : 32768

Players : 1
Control : trackball


Quantum was released in December 1982 in limited quantities. Atari employees have said that there were 500 or fewer games produced. The original price was $2,095.

Quantum was the first Atari game to allow a player to try the game without inserting a coin. During the attract mode, the game allowed the player to move the comet to try to capture a particle. During this mode, the messages 'TRY CAPTURING THIS ATOM' and 'MOVE THE TRACKBALL'.

Quantum was also the first game to allow player to 'draw' his name with the trackball when he gets the high score.

Quantum was designed by General Computer for Atari as part of a lawsuit settlement for a "Missile Command" speedup kit to which they affixed their copyright.


Electron : 20 points.
Triphon : 100 points.
Splitter : 100 points.
Photon : 200 points.
Positron : 200 points.
Tryd : 300 points.
Nucleus : 300 points.
Pulsar : 400 points.


* Once you capture a particle (or anything), you should keep circling it. You can keep capturing it over and over until you get tired. For 4x the score, you can apply this trick to two particles at once. Obviously this trick is easier to do on the very early levels.

* White particles always move vertically, while colored particles always move diagonally. Knowing this may make capturing them easier.

* If the player earns the highest score, a special option allows them to sign their name using the trackball, as well as enter their initials into the high score table.


Game's ROM.
Machine's picture.