Ghostbusters was designed by David Crane and originally released by Activision in 1984. In the game, players start out by using their limited funds to purchase one of four vehicles, along with additional equipment necessary to catch ghosts. Players then move a Ghostbusters symbol around a map screen, plotting routes to ghost disturbances. At each disturbance, the player controls two Ghostbusters, attempting to use their proton beams to manuever the ghost over the trap they have placed and then catch the ghost. (Notably, only three Ghostbusters are ever depicted in the game, although there are four in the film.) If the player is successful in catching a ghost in the Commodore version, a voice declares "Ghostbusters!" If the player fails to do so, the ghost will slime the player, and a voice will say "He slimed me." All the while, the music consists of a rendition of the Ray Parker, Jr. hit "Ghostbusters" playing repeatedly.
When the psychokinetic energy (PKE) in the city reaches a certain level, provided that players have successfully earned beyond a threshold of money, the game moves on to the next stage, in which players must sneak past the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man at the Temple of Zuul. In the original computer version, successfully getting two Ghostbusters past Stay-Puft resulted in the player winning the game. (Whether players win or lose, they are provided with an account number they can use to carry their earnings over to their next game, allowing them to purchase better equipment.)
Later versions of the game include additional content. In the Sega Master System version, for instance, slipping past the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is much easier than in the original computer versions. However, players then must make their way up the stairs of the haunted apartment building, fending off plate-throwing ghosts, and then defeat Gozer in a brief shoot-out. The NES version has a similar sequence on the staircase, but is far more difficult due to the odd controls.