Starhawk (1979 video game)

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For the PlayStation 3 game, see Starhawk (2012 video game).
A Starhawk game cartridge for the Vectrex game system
A Starhawk game cartridge for the Vectrex game system.
Developer(s) Cinematronics
Publisher(s) Cinematronics
Designer(s) Tim Skelly
Platform(s) Arcade (original)
Release 1979
Genre(s) Fixed shooter
Mode(s) Up to two players, simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system CCPU cpu @ 5 MHz
Mono sound
Display Vector graphics X-Y monitor

Starhawk is a 1979 vector arcade game designed and programmed by Tim Skelly and manufactured by Cinematronics.[1] Starhawk is a shoot 'em up unofficially based on the Star Wars: Episode IV trench run, the first arcade game to blatantly use concepts from Star Wars.[2] The game was unique at the time for its pseudo-3D graphics. It was released for the Vectrex home system in 1982.

The arcade cabinet had to have a cinder block placed inside of it, to prevent it from tipping onto the player.[2]


According to the Vectrex manual, the story involves "protecting your comrades from alien ships trying to infiltrate your culture" and "defending the sovereignty of your planet".


Various ships, highly reminiscent of TIE fighters, would appear on the horizon of the trench and the player had to shoot them before they destroyed the player's ship. The player is given initially sixty seconds and the counter is continually decrementing, but increases as the player destroys enemies. Twenty seconds is given for every 10,000 points scored. It is feasible that a good player could play indefinitely. The player would continue flying down the trench towards a specific target similar to the Star Wars Death Star target. The game would get progressively more difficult as the player advanced. Similar to the flying saucer from Space Invaders, a command ship would periodically appear and would attempt to shoot at the player. If the command ship was not destroyed quickly, the player lost 800 points.

Besides the firing button, there are three buttons that control the speed of the crosshairs.


  • Command ships – 800
  • Starship – 500
  • Rocket – 300
  • Missile – 100
  • Bomber – 100


  1. ^ "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". 
  2. ^ a b Wirtanen, Josh. "The First Star Wars Arcade Game Wasn't Officially a Star Wars Game". Retrovolve. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 

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