Jump to content

Omega Race

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Omega Race
ColecoVision box cover
CBS Electronics
CBS Electronics
Designer(s)Ron Haliburton[1]
Platform(s)Arcade, Atari 2600, VIC-20, Commodore 64, ColecoVision
Genre(s)Shoot 'em up

Omega Race is a shoot 'em up arcade video game designed by Ron Haliburton and released in 1981 by Midway.[1] It is the only arcade game with vector graphics that Midway created.[citation needed]

Omega Race was ported to the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 and published by Commodore in 1982. In 1983, ColecoVision and Atari 2600 versions were released by CBS Electronics.


Set in the year 2003, the player controls an Omegan Fighter spaceship to destroy enemy droid ships in a rectangular "track."[2] The player's ship is controlled with a spinner to rotate the ship, a button for thrusting, and a button for firing lasers. The enemies that the player must destroy or avoid are drone ships, commander ships, two types of space mines, and shooting star ships. The ship bounces off an invisible barrier on the edges of the screen that briefly appears when hit. By default, extra ships are awarded at 40,000 and 100,000 points.


The Atari 2600 cartridge came bundled with a "booster grip" controller which converted the single-button Atari CX40 joystick to having separate buttons for thrust and shoot.[3] Omega Race is one of a few CBS games for the Atari 2600 with an additional 256 bytes of RAM in each cartridge, a feature promoted by CBS as "RAM Plus."[4]


Consumer Guide's How To Win At Video Games stated in 1982 of Omega Race that "any unskilled player can pop a quarter into the machine and stay up there for up to 20,000 points." According to the book, more than 35,000 machines were created, with the average machine taking in $181.00 per week at the time of the book's publication. Frequently, it was one of the top ten money-making arcade machines in any given week in that time period.[5] Michael Blanchet's 1982 book How to Beat the Video Games praised it as having a "deceiving appearance", saying that despite appearing easy it "develops a healthy level of frustration, which you'll find quite stimulating".[6]

Compute! called Omega Race "a real winner for the VIC".[7] BYTE stated that the VIC-20 version "is fast paced, has colorful graphics, and features good sound effects ... Omega Race is a fun game that retains all the best characteristics of the arcade version".[8] Ahoy! called the VIC-20 version "fairly faithful to the arcade game, and very exciting".[9] The VIC-20 version of Omega Race was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the category of "Best Solitaire Computer Game" at the 4th annual Arkie Awards.[10]: 33 


Omega Race was cloned for the TRS-80 Color Computer as Space Race in 1982.[11]

An update of the game for the Atari Jaguar was pitched to Atari Corporation by Temporary Sanity Designs, however, it never moved forward beyond the proposal phase and the document is in the hands of community member joekorali of AtariAge.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  2. ^ "Omega Race". Arcade History. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  3. ^ "Omega Race by CBS Electronics". Atari Guide. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  4. ^ Stilphen, Scott. "Part of the Secret to the VCS's Longevity". Atari Compendium.
  5. ^ "Omega Race". How to Win Video Games. Pocket Books. 1982. pp. 42, 86. ISBN 0-671-45841-8.
  6. ^ Blanchet, Michael (1982). How to Beat the Video Games. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 96–100. ISBN 0671453750. Omega Race has a deceiving appearance. "A piece of cake," I said the first time I saw it. I was wrong. This game develops a healthy level of frustration, which you'll find quite stimulating.
  7. ^ Herman, Harvey B. (October 1982). "Four New Cartridges for VIC-20". Compute!. p. 132. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  8. ^ Wszola, Stan (March 1983). "Omega Race for the VIC-20". BYTE. p. 251. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  9. ^ Salm, Walter (March 1984). "VIC Game Buyer's Guide". Ahoy!. p. 49. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  10. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (March 1983). "Arcade Alley: The Best Computer Games". Video. 6 (12). Reese Communications: 32–33. ISSN 0147-8907.
  11. ^ Boyle, L. Curtis. "Space Race". Tandy Color Computer Games. Archived from the original on 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  12. ^ joekorali (March 30, 2009). "Atari Jaguar promo stuff? (Page 2)". AtariAge. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  13. ^ successfultroll (March 30, 2009). Atari Jaguar Promo Stuff Part 3 (6min 23sec). YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19.

External links[edit]