BATTLEZONE

Battlezone was released circa November 1980 by Atari who also developed the game. Battlezone is a first person tank shooter.

Battlezone is a game where the player fought other tanks in a wireframe 3D game world. The game had a goggle visor which some consider the origin of virtual reality. The game action could also be viewed from the sides of the viewfinder for spectators to watch. The game had 2 sticks with one containing the fire button.

A later, less common version of the cabinet removed the goggle to improve visibility to non-players and improve the ergonomics for players who could not reach the periscope. This modification also was welcomed by some operators, who felt that the small windows did not attract enough attention to the game when played.

The player drives a tank over a open area with a mountain in the distance. Then out of the field of view an enemy tank would appear that the player had to engage and destroy.

Each successive tank killed was met with a more difficult enemy tank. The design of the harder to kill tanks changed.

The UFO can appear on the screen at the same time as an enemy tank, and it can occasionally be destroyed by enemy fire.

The game ran on a 6502 CPU with monochrome vector graphics. About 130,000 machines were sold for $2100 each.

The use of vector graphics required a different use of the CRT where it was operated like an oscilloscope. The use of a persistent phosphor gives the illusion of a dynamic display. Due the limitations of the 6502, the use of a vector display makes sense.