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Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Atari Games
Publisher(s)Atari Games
Designer(s)John Salwitz
Dave Ralston
Programmer(s)John Salwitz
Artist(s)Dave Ralston
Hal Canon
Earl Vickers
Brad Fuller
Neil Brennan
Platform(s)Arcade, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum, Game Boy Color, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • WW: December 1986
Game Boy Color
Mode(s)1-2 players alternating turns
Arcade systemAtari System 2

720° is a skateboarding video game released in arcades by Atari Games in 1986.[2] The player controls a skateboarder skating around a middle-class neighborhood. By doing jumps and tricks, the player can eventually acquire enough points to compete at a skate park. The game's name comes from the "ultimate" trick, turning a full 720° (two complete circles) in the air after jumping off a ramp.


From official materials:

"It's just you, your trusty skateboard, and a hundred bucks as you skate, jump, slide, spin and move through four levels of difficulty, picking up loose cash, earning money through events, and finally, earning a ticket to one of the big skate parks! If you're lucky, you'll get to buy some rad equipment to make you the coolest skateboarder alive".


The game begins with the player controlling a skateboarder skating around a middle-class neighborhood using common objects as ramps for jumps.

The player begins with a number of "tickets", each of which grants admission to one of four skate parks, or "events" in Skate City, the "hub" between the parks. When a park is entered, one ticket is expended. The player gains additional tickets from earning points. Whenever the player isn't in an event, a bar counts down the time remaining until the arrival of a swarm of killer bees accompanied by the caption of "SKATE OR DIE!". Once the bees arrive, the player still has a small amount of time in which to get to a park, but the longer the player delays, this the faster the bees become, until they are unavoidable. Getting caught by the bees ends the game, though on default settings the player may elect to continue by inserting more money. Reaching a park with a ticket gives the player the chance to earn points, medals and money with which to upgrade equipment, and resets the timer.

The player constantly races to perform stunts, both in the events and in the park itself, in order to earn the points needed to acquire tickets. Thus, the player's score is directly tied to the amount of time available to play the game. In order to win, the player must complete a total of sixteen events through four hubs, a difficult task.


The "Skate or Die" message appearing, as the player is running out of time.

The game consists of four levels each consisting of four events:

  • Ramp: the player climbs around a half-pipe structure, trying to gain more and more height and performing tricks in the air to earn the most possible points. This ends when the timer runs out.
  • Downhill: a long course consisting of slopes and banks must be navigated to reach a finish line. The quicker the player reaches the finish, the more points are earned.
  • Slalom: an obstacle course in which the player is required to pass between pairs of yellow flags scattered across the course. Each gate passed grants a little extra time, and scoring depends on time remaining upon crossing the finish line.
  • Jump: the player jumps from a series of ramps, attempting to hit a bull's-eye target off the screen. There are cryptic marks on the ramp before the jump that provide clues as to the location of the target. This ends when the timer runs out or the player crosses the finish line, whichever comes first.

Scattered through the levels are several "map" icons placed on the ground which when activated show a map with the roads, parks, shops, and the player's location marked on it. Also scattered about the level are hazards and obstacles; jumping over hazards earns points.

The player earns points and money for high scores in each event, and doing well at the events earns the cash needed to buy equipment that improves player performance, and a chance at a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Completing all four events in all four classes completes the game.


There are four types of skating equipment to be purchased at different shops. The prices for each are the same, beginning at $25. Upon each return to Skate City after visiting a park, the price increases by $25, to a maximum of $250.

  1. Shoes: Allow higher jumps and faster acceleration.
  2. Board: Allows higher top speed.
  3. Pads: Give quicker recovery from wiping out.
  4. Helmet: Makes the player more aggressive, according to the console description, which translates to making the player spin faster.

Arcade cabinet[edit]

The speakers for the game are mounted atop the cabinet in a structure resembling a boombox, in line with the game's skate-rat theme. The display is larger than that of a typical arcade game and very high resolution (similar to that used for Paperboy). The joystick is rigidly mounted to a disc at a steep angle and moves in a circular fashion, instead of in compass directions like standard joysticks. The game also has two buttons, one for "kicking" (which refers not to actual "kicking", but to pushing the skate board with a foot for speed) and the other for jumping.


The game program for the arcade version was written in BLISS.[3][4]

Other versions[edit]

The game was released to the Commodore 64 (twice) in 1987, the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum in 1988, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1989, and the Game Boy Color in 1999. There is also an unreleased port for the Atari Lynx.[5][6]

The Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, and the first Commodore 64 versions were developed by Tiertex Design Studios and published by U.S. Gold. Sinclair User described it as "US Gold's finest hour".

The Game Boy Color version was developed by Game Brains and published by Midway Games. It was originally released in March 1999 in North America and Europe.[7]


The game received an overall positive reception among both users and critics. In 1995, Flux magazine ranked the game 79th on their "Top 100 Video Games", writing that it was "addicting" and completely unique for its time.[16]


Emulated versions of the game are included in Midway Arcade Treasures, released in 2003 and 2004, Midway Arcade Origins, released in 2012.[17][4]


  1. ^ "Game Informer News". Game Informer. 1999-10-12. Archived from the original on 1999-10-12. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  2. ^ "720°". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 5 Oct 2013.
  3. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine : GDC (2019-05-01), Classic Game Postmortem: Paperboy, retrieved 2019-05-10
  4. ^ a b Kieren Hawken. "The Making of 720". Retro Gamer. No. 141. pp. 62–65.
  5. ^ "Atari (UK) – Lynx Log - 1992". atarimania.com. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  6. ^ "Atari (UK) – Lynx Log 2 - 1992". atarimania.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  7. ^ "720 Degrees for Game Boy Color - GameFAQs". GameFaqs. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  8. ^ "CVG Magazine Issue 075". EMAP. January 1988. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  9. ^ "Crash Magazine Issue 47". Newsfield. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  10. ^ "Classic Reviews: 720°". Game Informer. Vol. 10, no. 91. November 2000. p. 162.
  11. ^ "Sinclair User Magazine Issue 068". EMAP. November 1987. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  12. ^ "Your Sinclair Magazine Issue 25". Dennis Publishing. January 1988. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  13. ^ "The Games Machine Issue 02". Newsfield. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  14. ^ "MicroHobby Magazine Issue 164". Hobby Press. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  15. ^ "ACE Magazine Issue 04". Future Publishing. January 1988. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Video Games". Flux (4): 32. April 1995.
  17. ^ Midway Arcade Origins Review – IGN

External links[edit]