Space Panic

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Space Panic
Space panic version e.png
Developer(s) Universal Entertainment Corporation
Publisher(s) Universal Entertainment Corporation
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s) November 1980 (Arcade)
Genre(s) Platformer
Mode(s) Single player, Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright / cocktail
Sound 1-channel (mono), amplified
Display Raster, 336 x 240 pixels, 8 colors

Space Panic (スぺース・パ二ック Supesu Panikku?) is a 1980 arcade game designed by Universal Entertainment Corporation, which Chris Crawford calls "the granddaddy of all platform games",[1] as it predates Nintendo's Donkey Kong (from 1981) which is often cited as the original platform game. Space Panic lacks Donkey Kong's jump mechanic and the main character instead digs holes in the platforms into which he must lure the aliens. He must then hit them to knock them out of the hole and off the screen. In later levels, two or more holes must be lined up vertically in order to dispose of the aliens. There is also a limited supply of oxygen.

Origins and legacy[edit]

The trap-em-up premise of the game (digging holes to trap aliens) is likely to have been inspired by the then-contemporary Heiankyo Alien (a 1979 game first released in arcades in 1980),[citation needed] but while that game is set in a maze viewed from above, Space Panic used platforms and ladders viewed from the side.

Space Panic was commercially unsuccessful, which Electronic Games in 1983 attributed to its concepts' novelty to the audience; "not only the first of the climbing games, it was also the first of the digging games. That's quite a load for a player on a new game. No punning intended when I say that the rungs were too high for the average gamer to scale." The magazine reported that the average play time was 30 seconds.[2]

The concept found success in the unauthorized home computer version, Apple Panic, and in 1983's Lode Runner which has similar look and also uses the basic premise of digging holes to trap enemies.

Universal revisited the genre with Mr. Do's Castle (1983), which incorporated and expanded upon many of the play styles explored in Space Panic.

Ports and clones[edit]

First Published Name Company System(s)
1981 Apple Panic Brøderbund Apple II, Atari 8-bit, PC Booter, VIC-20
1982 Space Panic Coleco ColecoVision
1982 Panic Visions Software Factory ZX Spectrum
1982 Monsters Acornsoft BBC Micro, Acorn Electron
1983 Bonka J. Morrison (Micros) Ltd. Dragon 32/64, Commodore 64
1983 Cuthbert Goes Digging Microdeal TRS-80 Color Computer, Dragon 32
1983 Panic 64 Interceptor Micros Commodore 64
1983 Sam Spade Silversoft Ltd ZX Spectrum
1984 Panic Planet Alligata Commodore 64
1984 Monsters 64 Available as a Compunet download Commodore 64
1984 Hektik Mastertronic Commodore 64
1984 Roland Goes Digging Amsoft/Gem Software Amstrad CPC
1986 Panik! Atlantis Commodore 16, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Atari 8-bit


  1. ^ Crawford, Chris (2003). Chris Crawford on Game Design. New Riders. ISBN 0-88134-117-7. 
  2. ^ Pearl, Rick (June 1983). "Closet Classics". Electronic Games. p. 82. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 

External links[edit]