Space Wars

Arcade Video game published 46 years ago by Cinematronics, Inc.

Listed in MAME

Space Wars screenshot

Space Wars © 1977 Cinematronics.

Space Wars is a battle between 2 opposing space ships in a hostile spacefield.

Goodies for Space Wars
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Main CPU : CCPU (@ 5 Mhz)

Players : 2
Buttons : 5


Released in October 1977.

Space Wars was the first vector game, and introduced the concept of 'fuel for money', in which the player could insert more coins and buy more fuel during the current game in play.

Rosenthal began working on Space Wars in 1973. He realized he had a commercially viable product on his hands in December of 1976 when he put the game in a friend's arcade before leaving on a trip to Boston. When he returned, he found that the game had made $500 in 6 days and he began looking for a company to license his game. He hit the streets carrying a demonstration unit (along with a "Lunar Lander" game he'd created) but was rejected by most companies until he struck a deal with Cinematronics, who had been around since 1975 but had produced only 3 games, none of them hits. Space Wars was the hit of the 1977 AMOA show and went on to sell at least 10,000 units (some sources put the figure at 3 times that).

Atari reportedly offered Cinematronics $5 million to license the game but the offer was refused (though Cinematronics would launch an unsuccessful lawsuit against Atari for patent violation after the release of "Asteroids").

A Space Wars unit appears in the 1982 movie 'Tron'.

Michael D. Mize has been the "High Score" holder for this Arcade Unit since 8/21/1982. At 19 points it is considered the "Lowest" High Score of all time.

Once a ship is destroyed 1 point

* Temporary invincibility : Either ship will become invincible after being hit as long as their pieces are still floating in space. This can be used as an advantage by skimming the edge of the middle star in the middle to knock off a piece of the ship. Then, fly into your opponent while invincible.


Original design (Spacewar!) by : Steve Russell (on a PDP-1 mainframe in 1962).
Hardware design & game program for Cinematronics by : Larry Rosenthal (Founder of Cinematronics).


GCE Vectrex usa (1982) "Space Wars [Model VT-3105]"
GCE Vectrex europe (1982) "Space Wars [Model 8130]" by Milton Bradley


Game's ROM.
Machine's picture.
All In Color For a Quarter - Keith Smith