Battlezone is an arcade game which was released by Atari in 1980. The game achieved an interesting look by utilizing both first person 3D vector graphics and "viewing goggle" that the player used to view the screen. Battlezone is widely considered the first virtual reality arcade game. The game is set on a horizontal plain with mountainous horizons, a volcano, and other solid geometric shapes.
The player commands a tank and tries to destroy enemy tanks, supertanks, and UFOs. Solid geometric objects can be used as cover. The game uses a score-based system, giving values to each enemy.
- Standard enemy Tank – 1000 points
- SuperTank – 3,000 points
- UFO – 5,000 points.
Occasionally, guided missiles were seen, and if destroyed, counted as 2,000 points. Each of the targets could be destroyed with a single shot. If the player reaches 15,000 points, a bonus tank is awarded. Another is awarded at 100,000 points. The game only includes one hostile enemy on the game board at all times; the player never has to battle two enemy tanks at once, or a tank and guided missile.
Battlezone was housed in a standard upright arcade cabinet with a novel "periscope" viewfinder which the player used to view the game. The game could still be watched from the sides. The controls consisted of a left and right joystick. Each joystick could only move in the Y axis, controlling the treads on the player’s tank. One joystick was used to fire the weapon.
Later on in the arcade’s lifespan, additional cabinets were created. Modifications were made so that the player’s view was larger by removing the “periscope”. This allowed greater freedom for players who could not reach the “periscope” and also allowed a better view for spectators.
Battlezone has been ported to many other systems including DOS, the Apple II, Atari ST, the Commodore 64, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and the Atari XEGS. On April 16, 2008 an updated port of Battlezone was released on Xbox Live Arcade. The game was developed by Stainless Games and published by Atari Inc.. It features 1080i graphics, Dolby 5.1 audio and an online mode to play against 2 - 4 friends in Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes, and incorporates Xbox Live Vision support.
Notable High Scores
A world record of 23,000,000 points was achieved by David Palmer on August 30, 1985. The game session took 23 hours to achieve the high score. David also achieved a score of 10,000,000 points in the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament.