Lost In Translation/Star Wars (Atari)

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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.

Star Wars
Star Wars marquee.
Star Wars (Atari) title screen.
Star Wars control panel.
Manufacturer Atari
Released 1983
Analog joystick
4 Button(s)
Main CPU (3x) M6809 (@ 1.512 MHz)
M6809 (@ 1.512 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
(4x) POKEY (@ 1.500 MHz)
TMS5220 (@ 640.000 kHz)
Vector (Horizontal)
0 x 0 pixels
40.00 Hz
32,768 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 13 ROMs
73,984 bytes (72.25 KiB)
MAME ID starwars · starwar1

About The Game

Star Wars is a 3-D arcade video game shoot-em-up.

Game Overview

Approaching The Death Star

The Play Mode begins in outer space with the Death Star off in the distance. The Red 5 X-Wing aiming device (cursor) appears as a cross-hair on the screen. As the flight control is moved in any direction, the four laser guns move accordingly. Firing the laser guns will cause alternating laser beams to fire from the guns toward the cursor. In this mode, R2-D2 is controlling the flight pattern of the X-Wing based on the flight of attacking T.I.E. Fighters.

Your goal is to blast any and all T.I.E. Fighters and their oncoming shots. If you are hit, your deflector shield will automatically turn on and dissipate the energy from the shot, causing a very bright light to flash on the screen. You will experience a roll in space due to the impact. In a while, the T.I.E. Fighters will turn away from you and fly back to the Death Star.

Surface Of The Death Star

In the next phase of the Play Mode, the X-Wing flies directly toward the Death Star, engines roaring, to a surface covered with hostile laser bunkers and laser towers. Now you, not R2-D2, control the X-Wing. Your goal in this phase is to reach the trench. To do this you must avoid or eliminate (by shooting) the structures and the shots fired by them.

The laser tower tops have a progressive scoring incentive that is displayed in a message in the top centre of the screen, along with the number of remaining laser tower tops to be destroyed before the X-Wing dips into the trench. Eliminating all laser tower tops awards you an added bonus.

Getting hit by a shot or smashing into a laser tower top or laser bunker will roll the X-Wing to the right or left as the deflector shield automatically turns on and absorbs impact, displaying a very bright screen. Each collision costs you one deflector shield.

In The Trench Of The Death Star

Once you have travelled the required distance over the Death Star surface, the X-Wing dips down into the long, deadly trench. In this phase, you can fly right, left, up, or down; but you remain within the trench.

Your main goal while in the trench is to destroy the Death Star by shooting the exhaust port at the end of the trench. You can survive the trench by flying around catwalks, which stretch across the trench at various altitudes, and by avoiding or shooting shots fired from the red laser-gun turrets on the walls. Deflector shield energy is lost if a shot hits you or if you smash into a catwalk. If you successfully reach and shoot the exhaust port, the RED 5 X-Wing will soar away from the Death Star and then turn toward it to watch it blow up.

If you miss the exhaust port, you will crash through the back wall and R2-D2 will show his displeasure with you. The X-Wing will remain in the trench until the Death Star is destroyed or you run out of deflector shields.

Upon destroying the Death Star, the X-Wing returns to another war in the stars with smarter T.I.E. Fighters from a more advanced Death Star. Your ability as a Jedi Warrior will be challenged even more with the destruction of each successive Death Star.


Released in May 1983.

Also released as "Star Wars [Cockpit model]".

The basic game engine for Star Wars was converted from a 2-year old space game project called 'Warp-Speed', which was designed to develop 3-D image capabilities. The controls were adapted from the controls used for Army "Battlezone".

Star Wars was the first Atari game to have speech. The game featured several synthesized voices from the film. The most memorable was the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, after losing the game, stating 'The force will be with you--always'.

Hidden In-game Message

On odd-numbered levels, when approaching the Death Star and right after hitting the exhaust port, the message 'MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU' is visible on the surface of the Death Star. On even-numbered levels, the programmer's names appear on the Death Star :

  • 'HALLY'
  • 'RIVERA'
  • 'DURFEY'

Approximately 12,700 units were produced.

A sequel was planned as 'Star Wars II' the same year (idea form only) with a serial communication concept (link between 2 or more cabinets) - this idea never was born.

The default high score screen of "Cyberball 2072" features names of many Atari arcade games, including STARWARS.

A Star Wars [Upright model] appears in the 1984 movie 'Gremlins'.


Enemy Targets
Target Points
TIE Fighters 1,000
Darth Vader's ship (per hit) 2,000
Laser bunkers 200
Laser towers 200
increasing by 200 per tower
Trench turrets 100
Fireballs 33
Exhaust Port 25,000
Destroying all tower tops 50,000

End Of Wave Bonus
Bonus Type Points
Per shield remaining 5,000
Starting on medium difficulty (wave 3) 400,000
Starting on hard difficulty (wave 5) 800,000

"Use the Force" Bonus
(for not shooting in the trench until the very end)
Wave Points
1 5,000
2 10,000
3 25,000
4 50,000
5 and above 100,000

Tips and tricks

  • In the tower scene, you can shoot fireballs that are hidden behind the towers. In the trench scene, you can shoot fireballs through the catwalks.
  • Moving the flight yoke far left and far right during the attract mode will switch between the instructions and the high score list.
  • In the trench you can 'Use the Force' and get bonus points by not shooting ANYTHING until you reach the exhaust port. The text 'USE THE FORCE' is shown at the top of the screen until you shoot. The bonus is actually awarded just before you have to shoot the exhaust port, so it's possible to take out some of the gun turrets at the end, too.
  • It's rumoured that if you shoot Darth Vader more than 30 times, you get 27 shields. It is said you can also get 255 shields, but this is rare.


  1. Star Wars [Cockpit model] (1983)
    Star Wars [Upright model] (1983)
  2. Return of The Jedi (1984)
  3. The Empire Strikes Back (1985)


Designed By
Mike Hally (MLH)
Programmed & Developed By
Greg Rivera (GJR)
Norm Avellar (NLA)
Eric Durfey (EJD)
Jed Margolin (JED)
Earl Vickers (EAR)
Rick Moncrief (RLM)

Cabinet and Artwork


Box art for the DoMark port of Star Wars.
Atari 2600 (1983)
Colecovision (1984)
Atari 5200 (1984)
Atari XEGS
Nintendo GameCube (2003, "Star Wars Rogue Squadron III - Rebel Strike Limited Edition Preview Disc")
Commodore C64 (1983)
Tandy Color Computer (1984, "Space Wrek")
Amstrad CPC (1987)
Atari ST (1987)
Commodore Amiga ("Star Wars", DoMark)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1988)

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
Arcade Ambiance 1986 N/A[1] 2004-08-27 Andy Hofle Digital download only.

Sound Comparison

Platform Song Titles Sound Source
Arcade " Tie Fighter BGM #1 (Stage 1, 2 & Odd Stages)" "Approaching Death Star" "Trench Flying BGM" "Death Star Destroyed" "Tie Fighter BGM #2" M1 v0.7.8a6

Platform Song Titles Sound Source
Arcade "Bunker Tower BGM #1" "Bunker Tower BGM #2" "Tie Fighter BMG #1 (Stage 4 & Even Stages)" "Game Over (No High Score)" "Game Over (High Score List)" M1 v0.7.8a6

External Links


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.