Atari 2600 cover art
River Raid is a scrolling shooter videogame and was released in 1982 by Activision for the Atari 2600, and later the Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, C64, ColecoVision, IBM PCjr, Intellivision, ZX Spectrum, and MSX. The player controls an airplane in a top-down view over a river and gets points for shooting down enemy planes, helicopters, ships and balloons (for versions after the Atari 2600). By flying over fuel-stations, the plane's tank can be refilled. The player can shift side to side and change the speed of the plane. Sections of the river are marked by bridges. The game was programmed by Carol Shaw, one of the Activision programmers who had previously worked at Atari and then Tandem Computers.
The game is notable for providing a gigantic amount of fixed, non-random, repeating terrain despite tight limitations of available memory on its hardware platforms. The game program does not actually store the sequences of enemies and other objects; the terrain is dynamically generated algorithmically during gameplay using a linear feedback shift register with a fixed starting seed. A more highly randomised number generation system was used for enemy AI to make the game less predictable.
German controversy 
In West Germany, River Raid was the first videogame to be banned for minors by being put on the Index by the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften (Federal Department for Writings Harmful to Young Persons; today Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien, Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons in German).
In the explanatory statement for indexation on December 19, 1984 it is written: "Minors are intended to delve into the role of an uncompromising fighter and agent of annihilation (...). It provides children with a paramilitaristic education (...). With older minors, playing leads (...) to physical cramps, anger, aggressiveness, erratic thinking (...) and headaches." (BPjS-Aktuell Heft 2/84)[this quote needs a citation]
River Raid remained indexed as harmful to minors until 2002 when a publisher successfully lobbied to remove the game from the index in order to rerelease it in the Activision Anthology for the PlayStation 2. The anthology was rated "Free for all ages" by the "Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle".
After the initial Atari 2600 release, River Raid was ported to the following platforms:
- The Atari 2600 version of River Raid was made available on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Windows-based PCs in May 2010, and River Raid II in June 2010.