Lost In Translation/Space Wars

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Space Wars
Space Wars marquee.
No screen shot.
Space Wars control panel.
Manufacturer Cinematronics
Released 1977
2-way Joystick
3 Button(s)
Main CPU CCPU (@ 5.000 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
Vector (Horizontal)
0 x 0 pixels
38.00 Hz
32,768 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 8 ROMs
4,512 bytes (4.41 KiB)
MAME ID spacewar

About The Game

Space Wars is an arcade video game where a battle between 2 opposing space ships takes place in a hostile space-field.

Additional Technical Information

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'.

Original Products
  • Space Wars (Cinematronics) [USA]
  • Space War (Vectorbeam) [USA]
Licensed Products
  • Space Wars (Sonic) [Spain, EUR]
  • Space Wars (Taito) [Japan]


Once a ship is destroyed : 1 point

Tips and tricks

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)

Cabinet and Artwork


GCE Vectrex (1982)

The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.