From StrategyWiki, the video game walkthrough and strategy guide wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Space War
Box artwork for Space War.
Developer(s) Atari
Publisher(s) Atari
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Shooter
System(s) Atari 2600
Players 1-2
Twitter Search
Facebook Search
Google+ Search
Twitch Space War Channel
YouTube Gaming Space War Channel

Space War was one of the eleven Atari 2600 titles that were part of the second wave of games released in 1978. It is loosely based on Spacewar!, the famous 1962 computer game by Steve Russell. Spacewar! is considered the first popular interactive video game and it was developed in MIT. Two players compete against each other by piloting a space craft equipped with photon torpedoes. The winner is the player who destroys the opponent more times.

The Atari 2600 version contains 17 variations grouped into two general modes of game play. The first mode stays true to the traditional essence of Spacewar!; players pilot warring space craft in an effort to earn the most points by destroying the opponent. Various options are offered, such as invisible barriers around the edge of the screen, or the ability to warp across the screen, and the presence of a gravity producing sun. In the second mode, called Space Shuttle, players compete to see who can touch the floating space station more times. Space Shuttle was the only mode which was designed to be played by a single player.

In the early days of video games, teaching players how to understand momentum and inertia was a challenge. The game attempts to model idealized Newtonian physics, so once a ship is floating through space, nothing is going to slow it down unless the player applies some thrust in the opposite direction. The speed of each player's missiles is also affected the speed of the ship firing them. It was released as Space Combat under the Sears Telegames label.

Controls[edit]

Console[edit]

  • Color/BW: Switch between color display and black & white display. (This feature made the game look better on black & white TVs that were still prominent at the time of the game's release.)
  • Left/Right Difficulty Switch: These switches have no effect in games 1 through 7 (Space War). In games 8 through 17 (Space Shutle), if you switch the difficulty to "a", you must match the velocity of the Space Module exactly in order to dock with it. When the difficulty switch is set to "b", you do not need to match the velocity exactly in order to score a point.
  • Game Select: Select a game variation. The variations cycle from 1 to 17 and start back over at 1. See the Game Variation section below.
  • Game Reset: Starts a new game in whatever game variation is currently selected. Both players' scores are reset to 0, and the ten minute timer starts over.

Space War[edit]

Space War Player1.png
  • Arcade-Stick-Up.png: Press up on the joystick to activate the thrusters on your ship, and accelerate in the same direction that your craft is facing.
  • Arcade-Stick-Left.png or Arcade-Stick-Right.png: Press left or right on the joystick to rotate your ship in a counter-clockwise or clockwise direction respectively.
  • Arcade-Stick-Down.png: Press down on the joystick to activate Hyperspace. Hyperspace renders your ship invisible, and therefore invulnerable to destruction, but it consumes large amounts of fuel.
  • Controller Button: Press the button fire a missile in the direction that your craft is currently facing. Firing missiles consumes your ammunition supply so fire carefully.

Space Shuttle[edit]

Space War Player2.png
  • Arcade-Stick-Up.png: Press up on the joystick to activate the thrusters on your ship, and accelerate in the same direction that your craft is facing.
  • Arcade-Stick-Left.png or Arcade-Stick-Right.png: Press left or right on the joystick to rotate your ship in a counter-clockwise or clockwise direction respectively.

Game Variations[edit]

Type Space War Space Shuttle
Game Number 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Number of players 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
Single Space Station
Galactic Boundary
Warp Drive
Space Sun
Hyperspace
Starbase

Space War[edit]

Space War

The two players are represented by a pink and blue spaceship in a green field of space. The goal is to score points by shooting your opponent's Star Ship with your missiles. Aim the nose of your Star Ship in the direction you want to fire. Each game of Space War lasts ten minutes or until one player scores ten points. Player's scores appear at the top of the playfield and are color coordinated with the Star Ships.

The two lines to the right of your score refer to fuel and missile supply. The top line is the fuel gauge; the bottom line is the amount of missiles remaining. Each player begins with eight missiles. Once the arsenal is depleted, the game will automatically reset each player with eight more missiles only when both players are out of missiles. In most War games, fuel cannot be resupplied. In games 6 and 7, players can refuel and resupply missiles by docking with the Starbase. Fuel is used by adding "thrust" to your Star Ship or by putting your Ship into Hyperspace.

In Space War, you will score one point when your opponent's Star Ship explodes. A Star Ship will explode when:

  • A direct hit is made by firing a missile.
  • The Star Ship collides with the Space Sun (games 4 and 5).
  • The Star Ship runs out of fuel while in Hyperspace (games 2 through 7).
  • The Star Ship tries to enter Hyperspace when out of fuel (games 2 through 7).

The options for Space War include:

  • Galactic Boundary or Warp Drive.
  • The presence of a Space Sun or Starbase.
  • Hyperspace or no Hyperspace.

Galactic Boundary: In game variations 1, 2, 4, and 6, your Star Ship cannot penetrate the playfield boundaries and will instead bounce off the edges.
Warp Drive: In game variations 3, 5, and 7, if you move your Star Ship off one edge of the Galaxy Boundary, it will go into Warp Drive and reappear on the opposite side.

Space War Sun.png

Space Sun: In game variations 4 and 5, you must fight the pull of gravity from the sun in the center of the Space Galaxy. Your Star Ship will explode from exposure to the extreme heat and reset to the starting position.
Starbase: In game variations 6 and 7, you must make contact with the Starbase at the center of the galaxy to refuel and resupply your missiles. Your missile and fuel gauges at the top of the playfield will reflect resupplies as your Star Ship resets to the starting point.
Hyperspace: In game variations 2 through 7, you can push down on the joystick to enter Hyperspace. When in Hyperspace, your Star Ship becomes invisible and uses more fuel. It is impossible to be hit by your opponents missiles or to collide with the Space Sun while in Hyperspace. To make your Star Ship drop out of Hyperspace and reappear, push the joystick down again.

Space Shuttle[edit]

Space Shuttle

Connect your Star Ship with the Space Module to score. One point is scored each time the Star Ship is successfully docked with the Space Module. In one-player games, you control one Star Ship with the left Joystick Controller and compete against the clock. During two-player games each player maneuvers his Star Ship to score. In two-player games with two Space Modules, the target Space Module will be the same color as your Star Ship.

Recommended strategy is to first match your Star Ship's speed to the Space Module's speed. Then slowly maneuver your Star Ship towards the Space Module. During Shuttle games the Star Ships have an unlimited supply of fuel. The options for Space Shuttle include:

  • One or two players
  • One or two Space Modules
  • Galactic Boundary or Warp Drive.
  • The presence or absence of a Space Sun.

Number of players: Game variations 8 through 13 are intended for two players to compete against each other. The first player to score ten points or the most points in ten minutes wins. Game variations 14 through 17 are for one player only. You have ten minutes to score a maximum ten points.
Number of Modules: Throughout most two player competitions, each player must chase after the Space Module that corresponds to their own ship's color. Therefore, neither player can interfere with each other's attempts. However, in game variations 9 and 12, each player must chase after the same Space Module.
Galactic Boundary: In game variations 11 through 13, 16, and 17, your Star Ship cannot penetrate the playfield boundaries and will instead bounce off the edges. So too will the Space Modules.
Warp Drive: In game variations 8 through 10, 14, and 15, if you move your Star Ship off one edge of the Galaxy Boundary, it will go into Warp Drive and reappear on the opposite side. The same is true for the Space Modules.
Space Sun: In game variations 10, 11, 15 and 17, you must fight the pull of gravity from the sun in the center of the Space Galaxy. The direction of the Space Modules is influenced by the presence of the sun as well. There is no penalty for touching the Space Sun in the Space Shuttle games.