720º puts the player in an environment called Skate City. The game starts with a Skate City session, during this session, the player must score enough points to earn tickets before the timer runs out. When the timer runs out, a swarm of bees arrives to attack the player. The player must then spend one ticket to enter one of four skate parks. The player is encouraged to perform tricks and stunts almost constantly to score points and earn tickets. The points scored add to the time remaining throughout the game.
The four parks are:
- Ramp - Where the player rides a half pipe, trying to gain air, pull tricks and score points.
- Downhill - Where the player navigates a downhill course, the quicker the time, the more points scored.
- Slalom - Here the player rides between a series of gates. Each gate successfully navigated adds more time to the clock, the more time left on the clock at the end, the more points scored.
- Jump - The player tries to hit a target off screen by hitting ramps correctly.
The player can earn medals in these parks. With these medals comes some money, this money can be used to buy upgrades to improve the skaters performance. The game timer is also reset.
After the four rounds of a park, the player then returns to Skate City to complete another session. Once all four events are completed in all four parks, the game is complete. In the arcade version, the players' remaining money is then converted into points ($1-10points) and the game ends.
There are upgrades available to buy in four shops throughout the city. These upgrades consist of;
- Helmet - This increases spin speed, enabling the player to score more points in a given amount of time.
- Shoes - This upgrade increases the high that the player can jump, again helping the player to earn more points.
- Pads - Decreases the recovery time after a crash
- Board - Increases the skating speed, this is useful for the downhill and slalom events.
Versions and Ports
The game was originally released in the arcades in 1986. It had a very distinct cabinet, with speakers mounted to the top in the style of a boom box. The monitor was also larger than customary for arcade games of this era and featured a higher than normal resolution. The joystick was really more of a paddle-type device, which allowed players to spin very quickly.
An emulated version of 720º was also included in Midway Arcade Treasures in 2003, and again in Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play on the PSP in 2005.
Two different versions of the game were created for the Commodore 64. In the UK, US Gold produced a version of the game that fit completely into memory. Afterwards, Mindscape produced a more elaborate, though slightly less playable version for the US market. Some early versions of the Mindscape release didn't contain the bees that chase the player and end the game once time has expired, making it impossible for players to lose.
720 was also ported to the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, NES and eventually the Game Boy Color.