Scramble (video game)

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This article is about the 1981 Konami game. For the 1982 Grandstand game, see Scramble (tabletop electronic game).
Scramble Arcade flyer
North American promotional flyer for Scramble
Developer(s) Konami
Digital Eclipse
Western Technologies
  • NA GCE
  • EU Compu-Games A/S
Platform(s) Arcade, Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, Tomy Tutor, Vectrex, Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade), Windows Mobile, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4
Release date(s) Arcade Vectrex Tomy Tutor Xbox Live Arcade
  • INT September 13, 2006
Windows Mobile
  • NA December 10, 2007
Arcade Archives(PS4)
  • JP December 25, 2014
  • NA June 30, 2015
  • EU September 22, 2015
Genre(s) Horizontal scrolling shooter
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Konami Scramble
CPU Zilog Z80 @ 3.072MHz
Zilog Z80 @ 1.78975MHz
Sound AY-3-8910 @ 1.78975MHz
Display Raster, 224 × 256, vertical orientation

Scramble (スクランブル Sukuranburu?) is a 1981 side-scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game. It was developed by Konami, and manufactured and distributed by Leijac in Japan and Stern in North America. It was the first side-scrolling shooter with forced scrolling and multiple distinct levels.[3] The Konami Scramble arcade system board hardware uses two Zilog Z80 microprocessors for the central processing unit, two AY-3-8910 sound chips for the sound,[4] and Namco Galaxian video hardware for the graphics.[5][6]

The game was a success, selling 15,136 video game arcade cabinets in the United States within five months, by August 4, 1981, becoming Stern's second best-selling arcade classic after Berzerk. Its sequel Super Cobra sold 12,337 cabinets in the US in four months that same year, adding up to 27,473 US cabinet sales for both, by October 1981.[2]


The player controls an aircraft, referred to in the game as a "Jet," and has to guide it across a scrolling terrain, battling obstacles along the way. The ship is armed with a forward-firing weapon and bombs; each weapon has its own button. The player must avoid colliding with the terrain and other enemies, while simultaneously maintaining its limited fuel supply which diminishes over time. More fuel can be acquired by destroying fuel tanks in the game.

The game is divided into six sections, each with a different style of terrain and different obstacles. There is no intermission between each section; the game simply scrolls into the new terrain. Points are awarded based upon the number of seconds of being alive, and on destroying enemies and fuel tanks. In the final section, the player must destroy a "base". Once this has been accomplished, a flag denoting a completed mission is posted at the bottom right of the screen. The game then continues by returning to the first section once more, with a slight increase in difficulty.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Scramble was commercially successful and critically acclaimed in its time. In its February 1982 issue, Computer and Video Games magazine said it "was the first arcade game to sent you on a mission and quickly earned a big following."[7] In 1982, Arcade Express gave the dedicated Tomytronic version of the game a score of 9 out of 10, describing it as an "engrossing" game that "rates as one of the year's best so far."[8] The Vectrex version of the game was also praised in a review by Video magazine where reviewers praised its fidelity to the original arcade game and described it as their favorite among the Vetrex titles they had reviewed.[9]:120 The game's overlays were singled out for praise, with reviewers commenting that "when you're really involved with a Vectrex game like Scramble, it's almost possible to forget that the program is in black-and-white."[9]:32

The direct sequel to Scramble was the helicopter arcade game Super Cobra. Unlike Scramble, Super Cobra was widely ported to video game systems and home computers of the time.

An updated version of Scramble is available in Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced by inputting the Konami Code in the game's title screen. This version allows three different ships to be chosen: the Renegade, the Shori, and the Gunslinger. The only difference between the ships besides their appearance are the shots they fire. The Renegade's shots are the same as in the original Scramble, the Shori has rapid-fire capabilities triggered by holding down the fire button, and the Gunslinger's shots can pierce through enemies, meaning they can be used for multiple hits with a single shot.

According to the Nintendo Game Boy Advance Gradius Advance intro and the Gradius Breakdown DVD included with Gradius V, Scramble is considered the first in the "Gradius" series. However, the Gradius Collection guidebook issued a few years after by Konami, lists Scramble as part of their shooting history, and the Gradius games are now listed separately.

Scramble was included on Konami Arcade Classics in 1999.

Scramble joined the Xbox Live Arcade library for the Xbox 360 on September 13, 2006, its release having been delayed from September 6, 2006 due to bugs.

Scramble made the list of Top 100 arcade games in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition

Scramble was made available on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Windows-based PCs on March 24, 2010.

Its emulated version was re-released in 2005 for PlayStation 2 in Japan as part of the Oretachi Geasen Zoku Sono-series.

Legal history[edit]

In Stern Electronics, Inc. v. Kaufman, 669 F.2d 852, the Second Circuit held that Stern could copyright the images and sounds in the game, not just the source code that produced them.[10]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Stern Production Numbers and More CCI Photos". 1 May 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Game Genres: Shmups, Professor Jim Whitehead, January 29, 2007, Accessed June 17, 2008
  4. ^ Scramble at the Killer List of Videogames
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "The Hotseat: Reviews of New Products" (PDF). Arcade Express 1 (1): 6–7 [6]. August 15, 1982. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (October 1982). "Arcade Alley: The First Portable Video Game System". Video (Reese Communications) 6 (7): 32, 118–120. ISSN 0147-8907. 
  10. ^ Brandon Rash. "Case: Stern Elec. v. Kaufman (2nd Cir. 1982)". Patent Arcade. Retrieved 2006-09-16. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]