Sea Wolf (video game)

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Sea Wolf
Sea wolf arcade midway flyer.jpg
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Dave Nutting Associates
Publisher(s)Midway Games
Platform(s)Arcade, Commodore 64, VIC-20

Sea Wolf is a shooter video game by Midway, originally released in arcades in 1976.[1] It is a video game update of an earlier coin-operated electro-mechanical Midway game, Sea Devil,[2] itself based on Sega's 1966 coin-op electro-mechanical arcade submarine simulator Periscope.[3] Sea Wolf was designed by Dave Nutting.

In 1982, Commodore International produced cartridge ports of Sea Wolf for the VIC-20 and then-new Commodore 64 computers.[4]

Midway released a color arcade sequel, Sea Wolf II, in 1978.[5]


The player looks through a large periscope to aim at ships moving across the virtual sea line at the top of the screen, using a thumb button on the right handle of the scope to fire torpedoes. The periscope swivels to the right and left, providing horizontal motion of a targeting cross-hair. The cabinet features a mixture of video game and older electro-mechanical technology for player feedback. Using back-lit transparencies reflected inside the scope, the number of torpedoes remaining are displayed, as well as a red "RELOAD" light which lights up momentarily when the player has launched five torpedoes. Additionally, when a ship is hit, a corresponding "explosion" light is reflected onto the screen image at the ship's approximate position. A blue overlay is affixed to the screen to provide a "water color" to the sea. Sounds include a sonar ping, the "whoosh" of launched torpedoes, torpedo explosions, and the klaxon sound of the PT boat racing across the screen.

Sea Wolf is time-limited, with the player having an opportunity to win bonus time by reaching an operator-set score. The player's score is shown on the bottom half of the screen as well as the high score, one of the first known instances of a high score in a video game.[6] Targets include destroyers, a fast-moving PT boat, and mines floating across the screen that serve as obstructions.


Sea Wolf eventually sold 10,000 arcade cabinets. Sea Wolf II sold another 4,000 units.[5]

Sea Wolf was the highest-earning arcade video game in the United States for two years in a row, in 1976[7] and in 1977.[8][9] It was later the fourth highest-earning arcade video game of 1978 in the United States.[10]


Sea Wolf was followed by Sea Wolf II in 1978. In 1983 Epyx ported Sea Wolf II and another Midway game, Gun Fight, to the Atari 8-bit family and released them in an "Arcade Classics" compilation.[11]

In 2008, Coastal Amusements released a retro video redemption game based on the original Sea Wolf.[12]

High score[edit]

The current world record holder for Sea Wolf is Alan Radue with a score of 11,300 points. The record was set on October 2, 2011 at the Tranquility Base Arcade and verified by Twin Galaxies International on October 9, 2011.


  1. ^ a b "Sea Wolf Killer List of Video Games Entry". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  2. ^ Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. "1976 Midway Sea Wolf". Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  3. ^ Steve L. Kent (2001), The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokémon and beyond: the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world, p. 102, Prima, ISBN 0-7615-3643-4
  4. ^ "Sea Wolf for Commodore 64 (1982) - MobyGames". Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  5. ^ a b Steven L. Kent (2000), The first quarter: a 25-year history of video games, BWD Press, p. 83, ISBN 0-9704755-0-0, retrieved 2011-04-09, Sea Wolf, which was another creation of Dave Nutting, did solid business, selling more than 10,000 machines. (A later color version sold an additional 4000 units.)
  6. ^ Medler, Ben (2009). "Generations of Game Analytics, Achievements and High Scores". Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture. 3 (2): 177–194.
  7. ^ "Profit Chart". RePlay. October 1976.
  8. ^ "Top Arcade Games". Play Meter. November 1977.
  9. ^ "Profit Chart". RePlay. November 1977.
  10. ^ "Video Games". RePlay. November 1978.
  11. ^ "Arcade Classics: Sea Wolf II / Gun Fight". Atari Mania. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
  12. ^ Shaggy. "Shaggy's Review – Sea Wolf by Coastal Amusements". Arcade Heroes. Retrieved 2011-06-28.

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