Millipede (video game)

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Millipede Poster.png
Millipede arcade flyer
Developer(s)Atari, Inc.
Publisher(s)Atari, Inc.
Namco (Japan)
Designer(s)Ed Logg
Programmer(s)Atari 8-bit
Steve Crandall[1]
Atari 2600
Dave Staugas[1]
Platform(s)Arcade (original)
Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, NES, Famicom, Internet, ZX Spectrum, Commodore PET, Windows
Release1982: Arcade
1984: Atari 8-bit, 2600
1986: Atari ST
1988: NES
Genre(s)Fixed shooter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
CabinetUpright, cocktail
CPU1 × 6502 @ 1.512 MHz
Sound2 × POKEY @ 1.512 MHz
DisplayRaster, 240×256, vertical orientation, palette colors 32

Millipede is a 1982 arcade game by Atari, Inc. and is the sequel to the arcade hit, Centipede, with more gameplay variety and a wider array of insects than the original. The objective is to score as many points as possible by destroying all segments of the millipede as it moves toward the bottom of the screen, as well as destroying and avoiding other enemies. The game is played with a trackball and a single fire button, which can be held down for rapid-fire.


Screenshot of Millipede

Similar to Centipede, the object of the game is to destroy a millipede that advances downward from the top of the screen. The millipede travels horizontally until it either hits an obstacle or reaches the edge of the screen, after which it drops one row and reverses direction. Once it enters the player's gray maneuvering area, it stays there and extra heads appear at intervals until both they and the millipede are destroyed. Shooting a body segment splits the millipede in two, with the rear portion sprouting its own head. A collision with any enemy costs the player one life.

New enemies and gameplay elements are introduced in Millipede:

  • Earwig: same as the scorpion in Centipede, making mushrooms poisonous so that the millipede will charge straight to the bottom of the screen after touching them.
  • Bee: same as the flea in Centipede, dropping mushrooms in a vertical line and requiring two shots to kill.
  • Spider: same behavior as in Centipede, bouncing irregularly across the player area and eating mushrooms. Multiple spiders can appear at the same time on higher levels.
  • Inchworm: when hit, slows all enemies for a short period of time.
  • Beetle: crawls around the player area for a while, then climbs up and leaves the screen, turning any mushrooms it touches into indestructible flowers. When hit, everything on the screen scrolls down one row.
  • Dragonfly: drops mushrooms while zigzagging down, and can be destroyed with a single shot.
  • Mosquito: bounces off the sides of the screen as it descends diagonally. When hit, everything on the screen scrolls up one row.
  • DDT bomb (stationary): can be blown up with one shot, destroying all enemies and mushrooms within the blast radius. Whenever the mushrooms scroll down, a new bomb is added at the top of the screen. Up to four bombs can be in play at one time. The player scores points for shooting the bomb itself, as well as increased values for any enemies destroyed in the blast.

All flowers and poisoned/partially destroyed mushrooms revert to normal, whole mushrooms and score points during the process when the player loses a life.

At regular intervals during the game, the player will face a swarm of enemies (bees, dragonflies, etc.) instead of the usual millipede. Each enemy destroyed awards increasing points, up to a maximum of 1,000 points per enemy; this attack ends when either the entire swarm has passed or the player loses a life. Also, at intervals new mushrooms will grow on the field while others die off, in a pattern similar to Conway's Game of Life.

Players can also choose at the start of the game whether to play at an advanced level, starting with a score that is a multiple of the number of points needed to earn an extra life (by default, 15,000). The gameplay is generally much more advanced than it would be had the player started with a score of 0 and worked their way up to that point level. The maximum advanced level allowed is a function of the preceding player's score, and games started at an advanced level where the player did not earn at least one extra life are not eligible for the high scoreboard.


Millipede was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit family, Atari ST, and later the Nintendo Entertainment System. A version for the Family Computer was developed and published by HAL Laboratory, renamed Milli-Pede, later named back to Millipede for its 1988 US release.

A port for the Atari 5200, identical to the Atari 8-bit computer version, was ready in 1984, but was not published.


An upright cabinet

In 1995 Millipede was released together with Centipede on the Game Boy under the title Arcade Classic No. 2: Centipede / Millipede.

In 1997, it was included in Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 for the PlayStation.

In 2005, Millipede was combined with Super Breakout and Lunar Lander for the Game Boy Advance

Both the arcade and Atari 2600 versions of the game were re-released as part of the 2005 Atari Anthology for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. It was also made available along with Centipede on the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on May 2, 2007.

In 2018, it was included as one of the playable games in the Centipede At Home Arcade Cabinet produced by Arcade1up, and was sold at retailers including Walmart and Gamestop.

High scores[edit]

Donald Hayes, of New Hampshire, USA, scored a world record 10,627,331 points playing Millipede on December 26, 2004.[2] Mr Hayes released a one and two DVD disc set documenting his high score. It was sold in limited quantities.

The highest Millipede score played under tournament settings is 495,126 points, also by Hayes.[3]

In the default high-scores table of the arcade, the initials "FXL" and "ED" can be read. They refer to "Ed Logg" (designing and programming) and "Franz Lanzinger" (who helped a bit in designing and testing). They had to appear this way because in that time Atari did not allow their programmers' full names to be in the credits of the game.[4]


  1. ^ a b Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. ^ "Twin Galaxies' Marathon Millipede High Score Rankings". Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Retro Gamer issue 76, page 27 (Q&A)

External links[edit]