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Atari 2600 Megamania box artwork autographed by Steve Cartwright
Designer(s)Steve Cartwright
Platform(s)Atari 2600 (original)
Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit
ReleaseAtari 2600
  • NA: September 1982
Atari 8-bit
Atari 5200
Genre(s)Fixed Shooter
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer

Megamania is an Atari 2600 game designed by Steve Cartwright and published by Activision in 1982. It took six months to develop the concept and another three months to fine-tune the game.[1] It was released for the Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit family in 1983, ported by Glyn Anderson.

Megamania is similar to Sega's 1981 arcade title Astro Blaster. Both games have nearly identical patterns of approaching enemies with the player relying on an "energy" meter. Also, the player's ships are remarkably similar in both games.


Gameplay screenshot of Megamania

Megamania gameplay resembles that of Astro Blaster, but rather than being aliens or spaceships the enemies are various objects such as hamburgers, bow ties, and steam irons. The object is to shoot them down before the energy bar at the bottom of screen is depleted, all while avoiding the oncoming enemies and their own projectile attacks. Each of the enemies fly in select patterns and as soon as they hit the bottom of the screen, they re-appear at the top until shot by the player. The player's spacecraft depicted in the game is a cross between the U.S.S. Enterprise and Klingon battlecruiser from the Star Trek universe.

If a player exceeds a score of 999,999 the game ends.[2]

Activision patch[edit]

Anyone who scored above 45,000 points could send Activision a picture of their screen and become an official Megamaniac. They also would receive an Official Megamaniac emblem.[3]


The band The Tubes performed a Megamania theme song in a 1982 television commercial advertising the Atari 2600 version of the game.[4]

Ports and re-releases[edit]

Megamania was released for both the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200. They both included the same general gameplay, but the 5200 boasted some differences as listed.

  • There is a title screen at the beginning of the game.
  • The enemies are more detailed and most use a combination of colors instead of just one.
  • The names of three of the enemies (as listed in the manual) have been changed. This may be due to the increase in graphical detail. There are "ice cream sandwiches" instead of "cookies," "refrigerator magnets" instead of "bugs," and "diamond rings" instead of "diamonds."[5][6]

The Atari 8-bit family version is the same as the Atari 5200 version.

The Atari 2600 version was included in with the Activision Anthology release in 2002.


The original Atari 2600 version of Megamania received an award for "Most Humorous Home Arcade Game" at the 4th annual Arkie Awards.[7]:108 Video magazine reviewed the Atari 8-bit version in 1984, describing it "hardly different" in terms of gameplay from the original Atari 2600 version, but emphasizing its "visually enhanced" graphics that allow players "to clearly distinguish what each wave of attacking objects is supposed to represent".[8]


  1. ^ Nick (Racketboy) (January 2010). "Podcast #5: Listener Requests pt1". RetroGaming with Racketboy. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Megamania profile". Atari Age.
  3. ^ "Megamania User Manual for Atari 2600". Atari Age.
  4. ^ "Megamania television commercial". YouTube.
  5. ^ "Megamania Atari 5200 manual page". Atari Age.
  6. ^ "Megamania Atari Mania page". Atari Mania.
  7. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (February 1983). "Arcade Alley: The Fourth Annual Arcade Awards". Video. Reese Communications. 6 (11): 30, 108. ISSN 0147-8907.
  8. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (March 1984). "Arcade Alley: We Still Want Action". Video. Reese Communications. 7 (12): 22. ISSN 0147-8907.

External links[edit]