|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (September 2013)|
Picture label cover art
|Designer(s)||Howard Scott Warshaw|
|Release date(s)||May 1982|
Yars' Revenge is a video game released for the Atari 2600 in 1982. It was created by Howard Scott Warshaw, who also wrote the 2600 titles Raiders of the Lost Ark and the much-derided E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Yars' Revenge was Atari's best selling original title for the 2600.
The game began as a licensed port of the Cinematronics arcade game Star Castle. In Warshaw's original design attempt, a powerful cannon is protected by three layers of counter-rotating shields. The player must shoot holes in these shields in order to destroy the cannon inside. But once these holes are made, the cannon can also shoot out at the player. If the outermost layer is completely destroyed, new layers of shields are grown. Harassing the player are three free roaming mines that hunt out the player's ship.
As the Atari version grew, change after change was introduced until the final product had very little resemblance to the original. In this game, the hero is an insect-like creature called a Yar who must nibble or shoot through a barrier in order to fire his Zorlon Cannon into the breach. The objective is to destroy the evil Qotile, which exists on the other side of the barrier. The Qotile can shoot at the Yar even if the barrier is undamaged, by turning into the Swirl. The player is warned before the shot is fired, and he can retreat to a safe distance to dodge the enemy's energy blast. The neutral zone is a field in the center of the screen where the Yar can hide from the pursuing enemy torpedo, but where the Yar cannot shoot. The Yar cannot evade the flying Swirl anywhere.
Each level ends with the destruction of the Qotile or Swirl. Odd-numbered levels will have a stationary shield protecting the Qotile, even-numbered levels will have a rotating shield protecting the Qotile. The destroyer missile will follow the player faster as levels progress.
As with several other video games for the 2600 system, a miniature comic book was included in the game package of Yars' Revenge to illustrate the story behind the game. The comic book explained the "revenge" of the game's title in terms of the Yars avenging the destruction of one of their worlds, Razak IV.
Atari also released an album, under the label Kid Stuff Records, which contained a theme song and a radio drama-style reading of an expansion of the story in the comic book. A different, 7" recording explained the tragedy that revealed that a Yar could use himself to target the Zorlon Cannon rather than eating from the barrier. Both recordings were produced by John Braden.
The game has an Easter egg. After killing the Swirl in mid-air, a black vertical line will appear on the screen across the spot where the Swirl was shot (the line is referred to in the manual as the "Ghost of Yars" and warns the player to stay off its "mean streak"). If the player moves vertically along that line and is slightly below the middle of the screen when the explosion closes, the game will end and go into the Game Select screen with programmer's initials, HSW, shown both forwards and backwards in place of the word Select. In game 6 or 7, JOV appears when this trick is performed, under the creator's initials.
In 1999, a Game Boy Color version was developed by Vatical Entertainment and released by Telegames. A version was created in 2005 for the Atari Flashback 2 system. There was also a 3-in-1 cartridge released for the Game Boy Advance in 2005, published by DSI Games. This title also featured Pong and Asteroids. The game was made available through Xbox's Game Room in 2010.
A reimagining (titled Yar's Revenge, rather than Yars' Revenge) was released as a downloadable title on April 12th, 2011 on Xbox Live Arcade and on April 28, 2011 for Microsoft Windows. It is still pending release for the PlayStation 3. It was developed by Killspace Entertainment and published by Atari. In this version, the titular Yar has been reimagined as a humanoid female in mechanized power armor.
Another remake, a prequel to the original, Yars' Revenge: First War was released as a part of the Atari GO initiative on April 8th, 2011 on Facebook. It was developed by Baboom Games and published by Atari. This version is an arcade social game reminiscent of the original Atari 2600 game. This version has been acclaimed by remaining faithful to the original and still offering new innovative content.  
Another reimagining, playable for free on web browsers supporting HTML5, has been released on Atari.com along with a number of other classic Atari games.
In 2005, a sequel to the original Yars' Revenge, titled Yars' Return, was released on the Atari Flashback 2.
- Bogost, Montfort 2009, p. 88.
- Bogost, Montfort 2009, p. 89.
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- Atari Flashback 2 Instruction Manual, page 10
- Official Version of "Yars' Revenge" at Atari Arcade
- AtariAge entry for Yars' Revenge
- Yars' Revenge at MobyGames
- Yars' Revenge at TheAlmightyGuru
- Yars' Revenge original TV commercial
- Yars' Revenge: The First War Facebook App