B-17 Bomber (video game)

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B-17 Bomber
B-17 Bomber
Box art
Developer(s) Mattel
Publisher(s) Mattel
Platform(s) Intellivision
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player

B-17 Bomber is a single-player game released by Mattel for their Intellivision console in 1982. The game supports the Intellivoice module.


The object of the game is to earn points by bombing targets displayed on a map that represented continental Europe and the surrounding seas. There are four categories of targets:

  • Antiaircraft guns (one point)
  • Airports (five points)
  • Factories (estimated 20 to 100 points; factories further inland were more challenging to reach and therefore worth more points)
  • Ships (estimated 5 to 40 points; larger ships were worth more points)

Bombing one's own territory (the United Kingdom) results in an estimated score of -200 points.

The keypad overlay for this game, like those of many of the more complex Intellivision games, is essential. It provides the player with convenient access to various important screens:

  • The "Pilot" screen (used to avoid enemy antiaircraft fire or "flak")
  • The "Bomb bay" screen (used to bomb targets by centering the bomb-sight on them, leading them the appropriate amount, and releasing the desired amount of bombs)
  • The "Map" screen (used to select targets and to monitor the aircraft's location throughout a mission)
  • The "Gauges" screen (used to monitor the aircraft's gauges, of which "fuel" was the most significant)
  • The four "Gun" screens (used to operate the aircraft's four guns—located at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock—in order to shoot down enemy fighters)


Before each mission, the player chooses how many bombs to load onto the B-17 Flying Fortress, from 0 to 17. Each bomb adds to the aircraft offset a few hundred gallons of fuel capacity, so that an aircraft loaded with more than 10 bombs can reach only coastal targets, while an aircraft laden with its full complement of bombs can barely cross the English Channel.

After selecting the desired number of bombs and choosing a target from the Map screen, the player begins the mission by starting the aircraft's engines and accelerating it to takeoff velocity.

Once airborne and en route to the target, the aircraft will eventually be pursued by enemy fighters and harassed by flak from antiaircraft fire. (The number, tenacity, and initial appearance of enemy fighters and the intensity of antiaircraft fire increased in tandem as the game progressed.)

Enemy fighters. The Intellivoice alerts the player to the presence of enemy fighters by stating "Fighter" or "Bandit" along with the enemy's location (e.g., "Six O’clock"). Because the enemies are capable of either destroying the aircraft's guns or causing damage to the B-17 itself, the player needs to respond quickly to the alert by switching to the appropriate Gun screen and targeting the fighter. The Intellivoice rewards a hit on an enemy by stating "Good shot" or "Got 'em."

Antiaircraft fire. The Intellivoice alerts the player to the presence of antiaircraft fire by stating "Watch for flak." The player's appropriate response is to switch to the Pilot screen and perform evasive maneuvers.

Upon reaching the target, the Intellivoice bombardier instructs the player to switch to the bomb bay screen by exclaiming, "Target in sight!" Unfortunately, this instruction does not always give the player time to center the bomb-sight over the target. (The target would appear approximately one-third from the top of the screen, which scrolled downwards, simulating the aircraft's forward movement over the target.)

End of mission. Upon either (1) running out of bombs, or (2) sustaining heavy damage, the player ends the bombing mission by returning the aircraft to the airspace above the United Kingdom. The aircraft lands automatically.

End of game. The game ends when the aircraft crashes (represented by an altimeter reading of "0") over either the sea or enemy territory. Crashing can result from running out of fuel or sustaining heavy damage from enemy fire. Notably, enemy fire can not destroy the aircraft while it was airborne; enemy fire can only damage the aircraft to the point that a crash would be imminent. The Intellivoice would signal an impending crash by stating "Mayday" repeatedly.

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