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.