Astro Blaster

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Astro Blaster
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Gremlin Industries[1]
Designer(s)Gary Shannon[2]
Barbara Michalec[2]
Genre(s)Fixed shooter
Mode(s)1-2 players alternating
Arcade systemSega G80

Astro Blaster is a space-themed fixed shooter released in arcades by Sega in 1981. It was designed and programmed by Gary Shannon and Barbara Michalec.[2] The game uses speech synthesis and during attract mode a voice says "Fighter pilots needed in sector Astro Blaster!" It is the first video game to have a copyright registered in Japan.[1]


In sector 1 with the fuel gauge almost full.

The player controls a ship which can fire and move left or right. The player must continuously monitor the onscreen temperature and fuel gauges. If the ship's laser overheats, it is disabled until it cools; and if fuel is depleted, the game ends regardless of how many lives the player has left. The player must battle through waves of enemies, which attack with varied formations and flight patterns. When a wave is destroyed, a new one appears. The Warp function is usable once per sector or life, temporarily slowing all enemy vessels and making them easier to shoot.

At the end of each sector, the player flies through an asteroid belt and can obtain extra fuel by shooting fireballs. Then the mother ship is met, where the player docks and refuels for the next sector.

The player is rewarded for completing each of 25 undisclosed tasks or "secret bonuses", such as shooting all enemies in a specific order or shooting all enemies without missing.[3]


In his 1981 book How to Master the Video Games Tom Hirschfeld wrote that Astro Blaster challenges the player with 29 different attacks, distributed through six sectors, each succeeding sector getting progressively more difficult.[4]


The 1981 Apple II game Threshold was inspired by seeing an Astro Blaster machine.[5]

An Astro Blaster cabinet can be seen in Shenmue.

Astro Blaster is one of five unlockable games in the PlayStation Portable version of Sega Genesis Collection.

The current world record high score was set in 1982 and is held by Gus Pappas with 299,100 points.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Overseas Readers Column - Japan's First Video Copyright Registered". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 175. Amusement Press, Inc. October 15, 1981. p. 42.
  2. ^ a b c Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  3. ^ "Astro Blaster arcade video game by SEGA". Arcade History.
  4. ^ Hirschfeld, Tom (1981). How to Master the Video Games. Toronto, New York, London, Sydney: Bantam Books. pp. 8–12. ISBN 0553201646. p. 9: a. ASTRO BLASTER challenges the player with an amazing 29 different attacks, distributed through six sectors. Each succeeding sector has more difficult attacks, and more of them.
  5. ^ Halcyon Days: Interviews with Classic Computer and Video Game Programmers. 1997.
  6. ^ "Twin Galaxies' Astro Blaster High Score Rankings". Archived from the original on December 17, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2009.

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