Wizard of Wor
Wizard of Wor is an arcade game released in 1980 by Midway. Up to two players fight together in a series of monster-infested mazes, clearing each maze by shooting the creatures; the game was ported to the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and renamed to The Incredible Wizard for the Bally Astrocade. The original cartridge came with a cash prize offer to the first person to solve the maze and win the game; the game was released as part of the compilations Midway Arcade Treasures 2 and Midway Arcade Origins. The players' characters, called Worriors, must kill all the monsters by shooting them. Player one has yellow Worriors, on the right, player two has blue Worriors, on the left. In a two-player game, the players are able to shoot each other's Worriors, earning bonus points and causing the other player to lose a life. Team-oriented players can advance through the game by standing back-to-back and firing at anything that comes at them; each dungeon consists of a single-screen rectangular grid with walls and corridors in various formations.
The Worriors and the monsters can travel through the corridors. Each dungeon has doors at the left and right edges, which connect with each other, making the dungeon wrap around. Whenever a door is traversed by a player or monster, both of them deactivate for a short period, making them impassable. A player who exits the door can pop back through the door when the Worluk or Wizard is in the dungeon. A small radar display indicates the positions of all active monsters; as long as a player has at least one life in reserve, a backup Worrior is displayed in a small sealed cubbyhole at the corresponding bottom corner of the dungeon. When the current Worrior is killed, the cubbyhole opens and the player has 10 seconds to move the backup into play before automatically being forced in; the various monsters include the following: Burwor: A blue wolf-type creature. Garwor: A yellow Tyrannosaurus rex-type creature. Thorwor: A red scorpion-like creature. Worluk: An Insectoid-type creature. Wizard of Wor: A blue wizard.
Both Garwors and Thorwors have the ability to turn invisible at times, but will always appear on the radar. All enemies except the Worluk can shoot at the Worriors; each dungeon starts filled with six Burwors. In the first dungeon, killing the last Burwor will make a Garwor appear. From the sixth dungeon on, a Garwor will replace every Burwor. On every screen, killing a Garwor causes a Thorwor to appear. There will never be more than six enemies on the screen at once. From the second dungeon on, after the last Thorwor is killed, a Worluk will appear and try to escape through one of the side doors; the level ends when the Worluk either is killed. The Wizard of Wor will appear in or after the second dungeon once the Worluk has either escaped or been killed. After a few seconds the Wizard will disappear and teleport across the dungeon approaching a Worrior; the Wizard remains in the dungeon until he is killed. He uses a speech synthesizer to taunt the players throughout the game. Players are referred to as "Worriors" during the first seven levels as "Worlords" beyond that point.
The "Worlord Dungeons" are more difficult than the earlier levels because they have fewer interior walls. There are two special dungeons with increased difficulty. Level 4 is "The Arena," with a large open area in its center, Level 13 is "The Pit," with no interior walls at all. A bonus Worrior is awarded before each of these levels; every sixth dungeon after Level 13 is another Pit. A player who survives any Pit level without losing a life earns the title of "Worlord Supreme." Each dungeon begins with a dramatic rendition of the five-note opening from "Danger Ahead"—the theme to the radio and television series Dragnet—with the fifth note only playing on the "double score dungeon" screen. Wizard of Wor was moderately successful in arcades. Electronic Games called the Atari 8-bit version "outstanding." It praised the arcade version, stating that while one-person and competitive two-person play was excellent, two people cooperating was "a unique playing experience". Danny Goodman of Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games called The Incredible Wizard for the Astrocade "an good replica" of Wizard of Wor.
Video magazine's 1982 Guide to Electronic Games agreed, calling it "a near-perfect translation" of the arcade original. It would go on to be awarded "Best Multi-Player Video Game" at the 4th annual Arkie Awards where it was described as "the finest cartridge produced for ", the Atari version would be honored at the 5th Arkies with a Certificate of Merit in the same category. Golden age of video arcade games History of video games List of arcade video games Video of Commodore 64 gameplay at the Internet Archive The Atari 2600 version of Wizard of Wor can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive Images of Commodore 64 version of Wizard of Wor box and manual at C64Sets.com
Dynamic random-access memory
Dynamic random-access memory is a type of random access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of data in a separate tiny capacitor within an integrated circuit. The capacitor can either be discharged; the electric charge on the capacitors leaks off, so without intervention the data on the chip would soon be lost. To prevent this, DRAM requires an external memory refresh circuit which periodically rewrites the data in the capacitors, restoring them to their original charge; this refresh process is the defining characteristic of dynamic random-access memory, in contrast to static random-access memory which does not require data to be refreshed. Unlike flash memory, DRAM is volatile memory, since it loses its data when power is removed. However, DRAM does exhibit limited data remanence. DRAM is used in digital electronics where low-cost and high-capacity memory is required. One of the largest applications for DRAM is the main memory in modern graphics cards, it is used in many portable devices and video game consoles.
In contrast, SRAM, faster and more expensive than DRAM, is used where speed is of greater concern than cost and size, such as the cache memories in processors. Due to its need of a system to perform refreshing, DRAM has more complicated circuitry and timing requirements than SRAM, but it is much more used; the advantage of DRAM is the structural simplicity of its memory cells: only one transistor and a capacitor are required per bit, compared to four or six transistors in SRAM. This allows DRAM to reach high densities, making DRAM much cheaper per bit; the transistors and capacitors used are small. Due to the dynamic nature of its memory cells, DRAM consumes large amounts of power, with different ways for managing the power consumption. DRAM had a 47% increase in the price-per-bit in 2017, the largest jump in 30 years since the 45% percent jump in 1988, while in recent years the price has been going down; the cryptanalytic machine code-named "Aquarius" used at Bletchley Park during World War II incorporated a hard-wired dynamic memory.
Paper tape was read and the characters on it "were remembered in a dynamic store.... The store used a large bank of capacitors, which were either charged or not, a charged capacitor representing cross and an uncharged capacitor dot. Since the charge leaked away, a periodic pulse was applied to top up those still charged". In 1964, Arnold Farber and Eugene Schlig, working for IBM, created a hard-wired memory cell, using a transistor gate and tunnel diode latch, they replaced the latch with two transistors and two resistors, a configuration that became known as the Farber-Schlig cell. In 1965, Benjamin Agusta and his team at IBM created a 16-bit silicon memory chip based on the Farber-Schlig cell, with 80 transistors, 64 resistors, 4 diodes. In 1966, DRAM was invented by Dr. Robert Dennard at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, he was granted U. S. patent number 3,387,286 in 1968. Capacitors had been used for earlier memory schemes such as the drum of the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, the Williams tube and the Selectron tube.
The Toshiba "Toscal" BC-1411 electronic calculator, introduced in November 1966, used a form of DRAM built from discrete components. The first DRAM was introduced in 1969 by Advanced Memory system, Inc of Sunnyvale, CA; this 1000 bit chip was sold to Honeywell, Wang Computer, others. In 1969 Honeywell asked Intel to make a DRAM using a three-transistor cell; this became the Intel 1102 in early 1970. However, the 1102 had many problems, prompting Intel to begin work on their own improved design, in secrecy to avoid conflict with Honeywell; this became the first commercially available DRAM, the Intel 1103, in October 1970, despite initial problems with low yield until the fifth revision of the masks. The 1103 was laid out by Pat Earhart; the masks were cut by Judy Garcia. The first DRAM with multiplexed row and column address lines was the Mostek MK4096 4 Kbit DRAM designed by Robert Proebsting and introduced in 1973; this addressing scheme uses the same address pins to receive the low half and the high half of the address of the memory cell being referenced, switching between the two halves on alternating bus cycles.
This was a radical advance halving the number of address lines required, which enabled it to fit into packages with fewer pins, a cost advantage that grew with every jump in memory size. The MK4096 proved to be a robust design for customer applications. At the 16 Kbit density, the cost advantage increased. However, as density increased to 64 Kbit in the early 1980s, Mostek and other US manufacturers were overtaken by Japanese DRAM manufacturers dumping DRAMs on the US market. DRAM is arranged in a rectangular array of charge storage cells consisting of one capacitor and transistor per data bit; the figure to the right shows a simple example with a four-by-four cell matrix. Some DRAM matrices are many thousands of cells in width; the long horizontal lines connecting each row are known as word-lines. Each column of cells is composed of two bit-lines, each connected to every other storage cell in the column, they are known as the "+" and "−" bit lines. A sense amplifier is essent
Second generation of video game consoles
In the history of video games, the second-generation era refers to computer and video games, video game consoles, handheld video game consoles available from 1976 to 1992. Notable platforms of the second generation include the Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Odyssey², ColecoVision; this generation began in November 1976 with the release of the Fairchild Channel F. But, by the end of the era, there were over 15 different consoles, it coincided with, was fueled by, the golden age of arcade video games, a peak era of popularity and innovation for the medium. Many games for second generation home consoles were ports of arcade games; the Atari 2600 was the first to port a game in 1980, with Space Invaders, ColecoVision bundled in Nintendo's Donkey Kong for the system when it was released in August 1982. Built-in games saw limited application during this generation due to the invention of game cartridges by Jerry Lawson for the Fairchild Channel F, the first system of the generation, although some consoles, such as the RCA Studio II, still came with built in games, but had the capability of utilizing cartridges.
The popularity of the game cartridge grew after the release of the Atari 2600, from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, most home video game systems used cartridges, before the technology was replaced by optical discs. The Fairchild Channel F was the first console to use a microprocessor, the driving technology that allowed the consoles to use cartridges. Other technology was improving during this era: screen resolution, colour graphics, AI simulation. In 1979, gaming giant Activision was created by former Atari programmers, was the first third-party developer of video games. By 1982, a glut of consoles, over-hyped game releases, low-quality games from new third-party developers began to appear, over-flowing the shelf capacity of toy stores. An over-saturation of consoles and games, coupled with poor knowledge of the market, saw the video game industry crash of 1983 and marked the start of the next generation. Beginning in December 1982, stretching through all of 1984, the crash of 1983 caused major disruption to the market in North America, caused some developers to collapse and the market to not recover until the 3rd generation.
Due to this no new games were released in 1984. The second generation ended on January 1, 1992, with the discontinuation of the Atari 2600; the Fairchild VES was released by Fairchild Semiconductor in November 1976 and was the first console of the second generation. It was the world's first CPU-based video game console, introducing the cartridge-based game code storage format; when Atari released their VCS the following year, Fairchild renamed the VES to the Fairchild Channel F. The console featured a pause button which allowed players to freeze a game so they could take a break without the need to reset or turn off the console so they did not lose their current game progress. Fairchild released twenty-six different cartridges for the system, with up to four games being on each cartridge and the console came with two pre-installed games and Tennis. In 1977, Atari released its CPU-based console called the Video Computer System called the Atari 2600. Nine games were released for the holiday season.
Atari held exclusive rights to most of the popular arcade game conversions of the day, used this key segment to support their older hardware in the market. This game advantage and the difference in price between the machines meant that each year, Atari sold more units than Intellivision, lengthening its lead despite inferior graphics; the Atari 2600 went onto to sell over 30 million units over its life time more than any other console of the second generation. Early cartridges were 2 KB ROMs for the Atari 2600 and this limit grew from 1978 to 1983: up to 16 KB for Atari 5200. Bank switching, a technique that allowed two different parts of the program to use the same memory addresses, was required for the larger cartridges to work. Atari 2600 cartridges got as large as 32k through bank switching. In the case of the Atari 2600, which had only 128 Bytes of RAM available in the console, a few late game cartridges contained a special combined RAM/ROM chip, thus adding another 256 bytes of RAM inside the cartridge itself.
The Atari standard joystick, released in 1977, was a digital controller, with a single fire button. The Atari joystick port was for many years the de facto standard digital joystick specification. In 1982, Atari released the Atari 5200 in an attempt to compete with the Intellivision. While superior to the 2600, poor sales and lack of new games meant Atari only supported it for two years before it was discontinued; the Bally Astrocade was referred to as the Bally Home Library Computer, was released in 1977, but was available only through mail order. Delays in the production meant that none of the units shipped until 1978. In this form, it sold at computer stores and had little retail exposure unlike the Atari VCS; the rights to the console were sold to Astrovision in 1981 and they re-released the unit with the BASIC cartridge included for free. When Astrovision changed their name to Astrocade in 1982 they changed the name of the console to the Astrocade to follow suite, it sold under this name until the video game crash of 1983 and was discontinued in 1983.
In 1978, Magnavox released its microprocessor-based console, the
BASIC is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. In 1964, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College, they wanted to enable students in fields other than mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn. In addition to the language itself and Kurtz developed the Dartmouth Time Sharing System, which allowed multiple users to edit and run BASIC programs at the same time; this general model became popular on minicomputer systems like the PDP-11 and Data General Nova in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hewlett-Packard produced an entire computer line for this method of operation, introducing the HP2000 series in the late 1960s and continuing sales into the 1980s. Many early video games trace their history to one of these versions of BASIC; the emergence of early microcomputers in the mid-1970s led to the development of the original Microsoft BASIC in 1975.
Due to the tiny main memory available on these machines 4 kB, a variety of Tiny BASIC dialects were created. BASIC was available for any system of the era, became the de facto programming language for the home computer systems that emerged in the late 1970s; these machines always had a BASIC installed by default in the machine's firmware or sometimes on a ROM cartridge. BASIC fell from use during the 1980s as newer machines with far greater capabilities came to market and other programming languages became tenable. In 1991, Microsoft released Visual Basic, combining a updated version of BASIC with a visual forms builder; this reignited use of the language and "VB" remains a major programming language in the form of VB. NET. John G. Kemeny was the math department chairman at Dartmouth College, on his reputation as an innovator in math teaching, in 1959 the school won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award for $500,000 to build a new department building. Thomas E. Kurtz had joined the department in 1956, from the 1960s they agreed on the need for programming literacy among students outside the traditional STEM fields.
Kemeny noted that “Our vision was that every student on campus should have access to a computer, any faculty member should be able to use a computer in the classroom whenever appropriate. It was as simple as that."Kemeny and Kurtz had made two previous experiments with simplified languages, DARSIMCO and DOPE. These did not progress past a single freshman class. New experiments using Fortran and ALGOL followed, but Kurtz concluded these languages were too tricky for what they desired; as Kurtz noted, Fortran had numerous oddly-formed commands, notably an "almost impossible-to-memorize convention for specifying a loop:'DO 100, I = 1, 10, 2'. Is it'1, 10, 2' or'1, 2, 10', is the comma after the line number required or not?"Moreover, the lack of any sort of immediate feedback was a key problem. Kurtz suggested. Small programs would return results in a few seconds; this led to increasing interest in a system using time-sharing and a new language for use by non-STEM students. Kemeny wrote the first version of BASIC.
The acronym BASIC comes from the name of an unpublished paper by Thomas Kurtz. The new language was patterned on FORTRAN II. However, the syntax was changed. For instance, the difficult to remember DO loop was replaced by the much easier to remember FOR I = 1 TO 10 STEP 2, the line number used in the DO was instead indicated by the NEXT I; the cryptic IF statement of Fortran, whose syntax matched a particular instruction of the machine on which it was written, became the simpler IF I=5 THEN GOTO 100. These changes made the language much less idiosyncratic while still having an overall structure and feel similar to the original FORTRAN; the project received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, used to purchase a GE-225 computer for processing, a Datanet-30 realtime processor to handle the Teletype Model 33 teleprinters used for input and output. A team of a dozen undergraduates worked on the project for about a year, writing both the DTSS system and the BASIC compiler; the main CPU was replaced by a GE-235, still by a GE-635 The first version BASIC language was released on 1 May 1964.
One of the graduate students on the implementation team was Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller, one of the first people in the United States to earn a Ph. D. in computer science and the first woman to do so. BASIC concentrated on supporting straightforward mathematical work, with matrix arithmetic support from its initial implementation as a batch language, character string functionality being added by 1965. Wanting use of the language to become widespread, its designers made the compiler available free of charge, they made it available to high schools in the Hanover, New Hampshire area and put considerable effort into
Gun Fight, known as Western Gun in Japan and Europe, is a 1975 arcade shooter game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, released by Taito in Japan and Europe and by Midway in North America. It was the first video game to depict human-to-human combat, while the Midway version was the first video game to use a microprocessor. Following its November 1975 release in North America, it went on to sell over 8,000 arcade cabinets in the United States, it was ported to the Bally Astrocade video game console as a built-in game in 1977 as well as several home computer platforms. The theme of the game involves two Old West cowboys armed with revolvers and squaring off in a duel. Whoever shoots the other cowboy first wins the duel. Unlike in a real-life duel, both cowboys get numerous opportunities to duel in order to score points; the game was included in GameSpy's "Hall of Fame" in 2002. Western Gun was a fixed screen shooter, it was the first video game to depict human-to-human combat. When shot, the characters in the game fell to the ground and the words "GOT ME!" appeared above the body.
The game had two distinct joystick controls per player, with one eight-way joystick for moving the computerized cowboy around on the screen and the other for changing the shooting direction. Unlike other dual joystick games, Western Gun has the main joystick on the right instead of the left. Other features of the game included obstacles between the characters which block shots, such as a cactus, stagecoaches; the guns have limited ammunition, with each player given six bullets. Gunshots can ricochet off the top or bottom edges of the playfield, allowing for indirect hits to be used as a possible strategy. Taito gave Western Gun artwork of cowboys in the Wild West on the video game arcade cabinet which matched the in-game graphics featuring cacti, covered wagons and human characters. In contrast to earlier games which used miniature shapes to represent abstract blocks or spaceships, Western Gun featured cartoon-like human characters; the game use bitmapped framebuffer technology to display animated human-like characters, using Fujitsu's MB14241 video shifter chip, later used by Sea Wolf and Space Invaders.
Tiles are used to display text. Taito licensed its game Western Gun to Midway for release in North America, one of the first such licenses, after the 1974 scrolling racing game Speed Race designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, the 1974 sports game Basketball; the title Western Gun, while making perfect sense for Japanese audiences in that it conveys the setting and theme as as possible, was considered to have sounded odd to American audiences, so it was renamed Gun Fight instead for its American localization. Tomohiro Nishikado's original Western Gun design was based on discrete logic, like most video arcade games of the time; when Dave Nutting adapted it for Midway, he decided to base it on the Intel 8080, which made Gun Fight the first video game to use a microprocessor, since his company Dave Nutting Associates had licensed the technology for the first arcade pinball machine to include a microprocessor, The Spirit of'76. Nishikado believed that his original version was more fun, but was impressed with the improved graphics and smoother animation of Midway's version.
This led him to design microprocessors into his subsequent games, including the blockbuster 1978 shoot'em up hit Space Invaders. Gun Fight uses a yellow screen overlay. In 1978, the game was introduced to the home market with its port to the Bally Astrocade console, which included a color version of the game within the system's ROM. In 1983, Epyx ported Gun Fight and another Midway game, Sea Wolf II, to the Atari 8-bit family, released them in an Arcade Classics compilation. In 1987, Interceptor Software ported Gun Fight to Commodore 128 computers. Atari, Inc. released a similar arcade game in 1976 titled Outlaw. In 1982, the clone Gunfight was released for the Atari 8-bit family by Hofacker / Elcomp Publishing; the Duel for the Commodore 64 is a clone released in 1985. Boot Hill Gun Fight at the Killer List of Videogames Arcade-History.com Gun Fight page
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick known as the control column, is the principal control device in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-stick, it has supplementary switches to control various aspects of the aircraft's flight. Joysticks are used to control video games, have one or more push-buttons whose state can be read by the computer. A popular variation of the joystick used on modern video game consoles is the analog stick. Joysticks are used for controlling machines such as cranes, underwater unmanned vehicles, surveillance cameras, zero turning radius lawn mowers. Miniature finger-operated joysticks have been adopted as input devices for smaller electronic equipment such as mobile phones. Joysticks originated as controls for aircraft ailerons and elevators, are first known to have been used as such on Louis Bleriot's Bleriot VIII aircraft of 1908, in combination with a foot-operated rudder bar for the yaw control surface on the tail.
The name "joystick" is thought to originate with early 20th century French pilot Robert Esnault-Pelterie. There are competing claims on behalf of fellow pilots Robert Loraine, James Henry Joyce, A. E. George. Loraine is cited by the Oxford English Dictionary for using the term "joystick" in his diary in 1909 when he went to Pau to learn to fly at Bleriot's school. George was a pioneer aviator who with his colleague Jobling built and flew a biplane at Newcastle in England in 1910, he is alleged to have invented the "George Stick". The George and Jobling aircraft control column is in the collection of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Joysticks were present in early planes; the coining of the term "joystick" may be credited to Loraine, as his is the earliest known usage of the term, although he most did not invent the device. The electrical two-axis joystick was invented by C. B. Mirick at the United States Naval Research Laboratory and patented in 1926". NRL was developing remote controlled aircraft at the time and the joystick was used to support this effort.
In the awarded patent, Mirick writes: "My control system is applicable in maneuvering aircraft without a pilot."The Germans developed an electrical two-axis joystick around 1944. The device was used as part of the Germans' Funkgerät FuG 203 Kehl radio control transmitter system used in certain German bomber aircraft, used to guide both the rocket-boosted anti-ship missile Henschel Hs 293, the unpowered pioneering precision-guided munition Fritz-X, against maritime and other targets. Here, the joystick of the Kehl transmitter was used by an operator to steer the missile towards its target; this joystick had on-off switches rather than analogue sensors. Both the Hs 293 and Fritz-X used FuG 230 Straßburg radio receivers in them to send the Kehl's control signals to the ordnance's control surfaces. A comparable joystick unit was used for the contemporary American Azon steerable munition to laterally steer the munition in the yaw axis only; this German invention was picked up by someone in the team of scientists assembled at the Heeresversuchsanstalt in Peenemünde.
Here a part of the team on the German rocket program was developing the Wasserfall missile, a variant of the V-2 rocket, the first ground-to-air missile. The Wasserfall steering equipment converted the electrical signal to radio signals and transmitted these to the missile. In the 1960s the use of joysticks became widespread in radio-controlled model aircraft systems such as the Kwik Fly produced by Phill Kraft; the now-defunct Kraft Systems firm became an important OEM supplier of joysticks to the computer industry and other users. The first use of joysticks outside the radio-controlled aircraft industry may have been in the control of powered wheelchairs, such as the Permobil. During this time period NASA used joysticks as control devices as part of the Apollo missions. For example, the lunar lander test models were controlled with a joystick. In many modern airliners aircraft, for example all Airbus aircraft developed from the 1980s, the joystick has received a new lease on life for flight control in the form of a "side-stick", a controller similar to a gaming joystick but, used to control the flight, replacing the traditional yoke.
The sidestick saves weight, improves movement and visibility in the cockpit, may be safer in an accident than the traditional "control yoke". Ralph H. Baer, inventor of television video games and the Magnavox Odyssey console, released in 1972, created the first video game joysticks in 1967, they were able to control the vertical position of a spot displayed on a screen. The earliest known electronic game joystick with a fire button was released by Sega as part of their 1969 arcade game Missile, a shooter simulation game that used it as part of an early dual-control scheme, where two directional buttons are used to move a motorized tank and a two-way joystick is used to shoot and steer the missile onto oncoming planes displayed on the screen. In 1970, the game was released in North America as S. A. M. I. by Midway Games. Taito released a four-way joystick as part of their arcade racing video game Astro Race in 1973, while their 1975 run and gun multi-directional shooter game Western Gun introduced dual-stick controls with one eight-way joystick for movement and the other for changing the shooting direction.
In North Americ
Gorf is an arcade game released in 1981 by Midway Mfg. whose name was advertised as an acronym for "Galactic Orbiting Robot Force". It is a multiple-mission fixed shooter with five distinct modes of play making it five games in one, it is well known for its use of a new feature at the time. Gorf's most notable feature is its robotic synthesised speech, powered by the Votrax speech chip. One of the first games to allow the player to buy additional lives before starting the game, Gorf allows the player to insert extra coins to buy up to seven starting lives; the underlying hardware platform for Gorf allowed arcade operators to swap the pattern, CPU, RAM boards with other similar games, such as Wizard of Wor. Only the game logic and ROM boards are specific to each game; the player controls a spaceship that can move left, right, up, down around the lower third of the screen. The ship can fire a single shot. Unlike similar games, where the player cannot fire again until the existing shot has disappeared, the player can choose to fire another shot at any time.
Gorf consists of five distinct "missions", each with its own patterns of enemies. The central goal of each mission is to destroy all enemies in that wave, which takes the player to the next mission. Completing all five missions will increase the player's rank and loop back to the first mission, where play continues on a higher difficulty level; the game continues. The player can advance through the ranks of Space Cadet, Space Captain, Space Colonel, Space General, Space Warrior, Space Avenger, with a higher difficulty level at each rank. Along the way, a robotic voice heckles and threatens the player calling the player by their current rank; some versions display the player's current rank via a series of lit panels in the cabinet. These are the missions: Astro Battles: The first mission is an exact clone of Space Invaders; this is the only mission, not set in space, but rather against a sky-blue background. A small force of enemies attacks in the classic pattern set by the original game; the player is protected by a glittering parabolic force field, worn away by enemy fire.
The force field switches off temporarily. Laser Attack: In this mission, the player must battle two formations of five enemies each; each formation contains three yellow enemies that attempt to dive-bomb the player, a white gun that fires a single laser beam, a red miniature version of the Gorf robot. Galaxians: This mission is a clone of Galaxian, with the key differences being the number of enemies and the way the enemies fire. Gameplay is otherwise similar to the original game. Space Warp: Mission 4 places the player in a sort of wormhole, where enemies fly outward from the center of the screen and attempt to either shoot down or collide with the player's ship, it is possible to shoot enemy shots in this level. Flag Ship: The Flag Ship is protected by its own force field, it flies back and forth and fires at the player. To defeat it, the player must break through the force field and destroy the ship's core: if a different part of the ship is hit the player receives bonus points and the part breaks off and flies in a random direction posing a risk to the player's ship.
If the player successful hits the Flag Ship's core, the Flag Ship explodes in a dramatic display, the player advances to the next rank, play continues on Mission 1, with the difficulty increased. Gorf was intended to be a tie-in with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but when the game designers read the film's script, they realized that the concept would not work as a video game; the player's ship resembles the Starship Enterprise. A planned sequel, Ms. Gorf, was never released, it was programmed in the programming language Forth. The source code for the prototype is owned by Gorf programmer Jamie Fenton; the game exists only as source code stored on a set of 8-inch floppy disks, is difficult to retrieve, would require access to a development environment that no longer exists in order to compile it into executable machine code. Gorf was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision game consoles and the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, VIC-20 personal computers in 1982. Due to copyright issues, the Galaxians mission was removed from all ports.
In 2006, it received a arcade-perfect port for the Atari Jaguar CD by 3D Stooges Software. The Atari 2600 version of the game received a Certificate of Merit in the category of "Best Solitaire Video Game" at the 4th annual Arkie Awards, received the "1984 Best Computer Game Audio-Visual Effects" award at the 5th Arkies the following year. At the 5th Arkies the judges pointed out that the Atari versions had out-polled both the ColecoVision and Commodore 64 versions of the game, they suggested that it is the game's "varied action" that "keeps players coming back again and again."Regarding the VIC-20 version, Electronic Games wrote that "this fast-moving colorful entry is a must... one of the best games available for the VIC-20", Ahoy! Stated that the VIC-20 version "still has my vote for the best of the bunch... The graphics are excellent". On July 17, 2011, Keith Swanson set a new Gorf world record score of 1,129,660 points, recognized by Twin Galaxies, his game spanned 826 missions across 6.5 hours.
Swanson is the first person to score one million