Talk:Battlezone (1980 video game)

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I removed the text claiming that Ed Rotberg also created Red Baron. That (dis?)honor goes to Rich Moore (Lunar Lander). Moore wrote much of Red Baron while Rotberg was working out the data organization for Battlezone. While Moore was the first to get something up on the screen, he was unable to finish the game using his original data organization method, and ended up using much of Battlezone's.


Halcyon Days by James Hague, Ed Rotberg interview:

Arcade History Database, Red Baron entry:

Ed Rotberg:

I was hooked on this game! I walked kilometers with only one coin in my pocket for one single game of Battlezone. Great game! The way to that place was long and I learned to whistle loud without use of fingers in that time :) Even today, decades later I would like to try it again. --Popski 01:52, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Just wondering if its worth mentioning Novagen's "Encounter!" on the C64 and Atari 8 bit, that was a pretty succesfull (filled graphics) clone of Battlezone? Paulie 17:12, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Sure why not, find a reference web page tho. --Larsinio 17:31, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

NBA Jam[edit]

I've mentioned this on the NBA Jam talk page: there was a trick in some versions of that arcade game to play Battlezone for free. I can't remember how, but if anyone remembers please add the info. -- LGagnon 20:11, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Beck's E-Pro Video[edit]

I've removed the trivia entry about this video. While it's an excellent throwback to the classic era of wireframe vector graphics, it doesn't contain anything to tie it to Battlezone specifically. Skyraider 01:17, 9 October 2006 (UTC)


Included one popular myth (erupting volcano). I recall there being other rumors involving the UFO. I don't remember it, tho. JAF1970 17:43, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Remembered one UFO myth, and moved the "tank factory" myth to the Myths section. JAF1970 17:51, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Panther and PLATO[edit]

User:Wgungfu has twice removed information pertaining to the Panther (computer game), a tank game prior to Battlezone. The passage in question read:

Its gameplay exhibited similarities to that of the team tank game Panther, written for the PLATO System in Illinois in 1975.

His edit summary was "RV speculative content. Battlezone was brainstormed in a boardroom meeting as an update to Tank, just after their Vector monitor was created. Atari's work with PLATO didn't begin until early 80's." And then: "RV. Which again is speculation, it serves nothing to enhance the actual description of Battlezone." He also removed some text from the Panther article, which I agree was speculative, but then removed a simple See also link to Battlezone as well: "RV based on speculative, unreferenced comment." How a See also link to another early tank game can be "speculative" is not explained.

I note on his user page that Wgungfu is an employee of Atari, and his action represents a possible conflict of interest. Even if Battlezone was not inspired in some way by Panther, as some of Panther's authors suggest (Atari supposedly had a busy PLATO account), the earlier game deserves at least a passing mention, as a pioneering effort in the same genre. It is not for an Atari employee to remove this content, in an attempt to make his own company's product seem more innovative, or to suppress discussion of the relationship between the two.

I should also point that I have no particular axe to grind here: I have been a fan of Battlezone since it came out and achieved a high score of over two million; I think its gameplay has never been matched. As the Panther article makes clear, the gameplay was different in many respects; however, it was a) a line-wire tank game with b) a 3-D environment and c) mountains in the background. The Battlezone article also links to Spectre, a later such game. ProhibitOnions (T) 22:16, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I am not an employee of Atari, and my page does not state that. It simply states I work in the industry and that was my last project. I work with Legacy Engineering, which contracts out to various gaming companies. Secondly, even if I had been an employee of Atari, that has little bearing as far as Wikipedia is concerned. As was stated in moderation when someone else tried to make your claim: "Anyone can edit, and that's a foundation issue. You can't attack because he's an anon, and he can't attack you because you are affiliated with Atari." Thirdly, even more so that the Atari now (that I did the contract for) is not the Atari that was around then. That said, I'm not opposed to mentioning its resemblence to Panther, but it should not be in the development paragraph (which is a paragraph of imporance). Possibly in a later paragraph. Factually, there is no direct link between Panther and Battelzone. As Ed Rotberg (the designer of Battlezone stated in an interview): "It actually developed in one of our company brainstorming sessions. We had recently developed the vector display technology, thanks to Howard Delman, and of course our first thoughts were to do a first-person 3-D perspective game." This was the late 70's (Atari's first b/w vector monitor had been developed during '78-'79, with Lunar Lander being the first game released in '79). the mountain range with exploding volcano was specifically documented as being putting in later in development at the behest of a programmer working on another project who thought it would look better. He wound up coding it himself. Atari's work with PLATO (which they did offer support for via their PCS's) didn't begin until the early 80's, culminating in the actual PLATO package by '84. --Marty Goldberg 01:56, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
"Atari's work with PLATO" is a canard, as that was a later development. Atari, like many others in the IT business, had a PLATO account during the 1970s, when it served as the leading (ie, only) online collaborative gaming platform. Are you surprised that Ed Rothberg claims to have come up with the idea for Battlezone all by himself? Do you just take one person's word and leave it at that when you write about video games? (If so, you would fail any journalism course.) Perhaps Rothberg wanted to take all the credit for himself. Or, even if he wanted to acknowledge the influence of another game, legal reasons (ie, royalty claims) or company policy would likely prevent him from doing so. Or perhaps he'd forgotten about Panther, or perhaps it was a subliminal influence, or perhaps he thought no one else would remember it; such is human nature. However, the people who wrote Panther clearly think Battlezone was based on it, and there are indeed a number of visual similarities. Why are you dismissive of this? Lots of other video games, notably Microsoft Flight Simulator, originated at PLATO. It looks like some of the idea for Battlezone may have originated there as well. We don't take sides at Wikipedia. Why not ask User:John Haefeli yourself? ProhibitOnions (T) 11:33, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Ed does not claim to come up with it himself, as it states if you bother to read, "It actually developed in one of our company brainstorming sessions. We had recently developed the vector display technology, thanks to Howard Delman, and of course our first thoughts were to do a first-person 3-D perspective game." Are you surprised that others are claiming a successful game to be taken from their own? Are you just taking John Haefeli's word and leaving it at that? Microsoft Flight simulator has a defined linneage to PLATO and exact evoluation, that's not denied by any involved and can be traced. Incidentally, I go by multiple sources, including personally conducted interviews with a buttload of former Atari employees from the time (as a professional researcher and historian, I regularly conduct interviews with people across the industry), which will immediately be cited for "personal research" if I try and post them. Likewise, Wikipedia doesnt go by "it looks like". That's personal research as well, and unverifiable. Talk about failing any journalism course. Plain and simple, unless there's actual verifiable evidence of a) Atari having an account pre-Battlezone, including an actual PLATO terminal (which would be needed at the time to play any of those games), and b) Logs of them playing said game or accessing it, its speculation. For someone who has no axe to grind, you've gone out of your way with personal claims against me. Starting with claiming I work for Atari when I don't (therefore claiming I have a personal investment, when I don't), and now claiming I don't know how to do research. Keep reaching for those straws. --Marty Goldberg 19:47, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

If you follow the link from the Panther article to the slideshow, it should be obvious from the screenshots (from 1975) the BZ is a direct descendant of Panther (and therefore originated on PLATO). It's not just another 3D-perspective tank game; it's the same game only multi-player. Any web search with terms "battlezone panther plato" will provide ample supporting documentation. -Renamed this section to "Panther and Plato" from "Conflict of Interest". --RainmanCT (talk) 18:32, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Looking at a picture and stating they look the same therefore must be the same is WP:OR. Web searches for "battlezone" and "plato" bring up fan sites that surmise the connection, which is still not valid documentation. Something like Atari's Lunar Lander for instance, has definitive documentation via interviews from ex-Atari employees stating they wanted to do an arcade version of the DEC game. To date there is no such reference for Battlezone - and in fact its own programmer has clearly stated it came from a brainstorming meeting with management, with the goal of taking their earlier Tank game (1974) and making it a 3D perspective game. If valid and notable supporting documentation is ample (i.e. something other than a Plato fan site asserting a connection), feel free to provide it. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 22:54, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually the only thing he clearly stated was that it was developed at a brainstorming session. When asked about who first proposed it, he said that he "honestly did not remember". Interesting that you dismiss all 427 hits on the search as "fan sites". Did you skip or ignore the articles on early computer game history? re: "therefore must be the same" - I never made any such statement or conclusion. I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as far as WP:COI but considering some of your mis-statements along with the titles you list on your user page, it's becoming clear that you have a dog in the race and should recuse yourself from the discussion. --RainmanCT (talk) 18:12, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Regarding what he stated - exactly, you just proved it again - no statement or source for stating it in any way was connected to Plato. And yes even among the "427" hits where even the "game history" one you mention surmises the connection but provides no definitive proof or actual references. There is however a recent interview (just this past January in the UK publication Retro Gamer) with Ed Rotberg, who clearly and unequivocally does state where the inspiration came from - "The inspiration came from those early overhead-view tank games, which everyone loved." I.E. Tank and Tank II. As it states, Howard Delman did the vector generator in response to Exidy, they decided to do a 3D game, had said brainstorming session where he states the above inspiration lead them to do a 3d Tank game, and Battlezone emerged. Regarding the claimed COI, you're just parroting what the previous person said three years ago, and it's just as silly now as it was then. Once again, not an employee of Atari (and the Atari around now isn't even the same one that did Battlezone). I work with Legacy Engineering and am just a contractor in the video game field. No dog, pony, or any such race. I'm also a professional historian that has written in the industry as well, so I'm very meticulous when it comes to needing verifiable sourced references for a controversial claim. What is clear is you're new here, not familiar with the guidelines of the video game project or Wikipedia in general, and the few contributions you've made are almost all to this talk page, save the two Plato game edits. A Plato fan with an agenda of promoting Plato material at Wikipedia. There's nothing wrong with wanting to beef up the Plato articles, I think its great. But there is an issue here when said agenda wants to push hearsay. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 19:00, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I am new here. Two concepts that I picked up immediately which you may want to review are: WP:CIV and WP:GF. If you infer from my brief edits about Plato that I have an agenda of promoting Plato material at Wikipedia while dismissing questions raised about your own agenda as "silly" then you should probably look up irony. I have no agenda at all other than helping contribute to the eventual article which will doubtless mention "panther" in some form. I'm not wiping out anyone else's edits, nor am I dancing around my corporate background. If I had based my opinion of your ties on your summarization above without looking at your user page, I would think that you had no connection AT ALL to Atari (just a contractor?), rather than being 1) co-owner, atari gaming headquarters 2) owner, electronic entertainment museum 3) moderator, atari inc. discussion boards. Rather than attacking people who mention these things you might at least acknowledge that a reasonable person could (without knowing what these entities are) perhaps mistake your position as being biased given your background. Can't you see that? __RainmanCT (talk) 20:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I suggest we stop talking about motives and instead submit the evidence. If RainmanCT believes BZ was derived from Plato, the burden is on him to provide verifiable, reliable sources. A Google search and comparison of screenshots are both original research and not acceptable, in my opinion. Rees11 (talk) 20:37, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Agreed and thank you. I was not suggesting that the case should be closed based on those screenshots and will pursue other avenues. --RainmanCT (talk) 20:51, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Rees11 has the right idea. We can talk back and forth all we want, but reliable sources are what dictate article content.
Steven Kent's Ultimate History of Video Games (pp. 148–149) and James Hague's Halcyon Days[1] both quote Rotberg saying that the idea came from a company brainstorming session. Retro Gamer's feature (pp. 52–55) on the making of the game also states this, along with another comment from Rotberg about it being inspired by the popularity of early overhead-view tank games.
Though the Gamasutra article says otherwise, I don't think it needs to be completely disregarded. I remember conflicting inspiration being present for Space Invaders. See Space Invaders#Development for how we resolved it. I'm sure something similar can be done here. (Guyinblack25 talk 22:50, 29 June 2009 (UTC))
It doesn't have to be completely disregarded, though at most it could only be used as a reference for stating something like "others have noted the similarities between Battlezone and the earlier released Panzer game for the Plato network." I don't see a conflict of inspiration here though like with Space Invaders as you mention, there aren't multiple interviews or articles with Ed stating different inspirations like there was with Nishikado. From Zap (1984), to Halcyon, to Steve Kent's, to this video interview, to High Score, to the Retro Gamer, its been pretty consistent. The inconsistency seems to have come about because of surmising on the Plato related information side. I.E. articles or information written with regards to Plato and its games, and usually never with any references or resources, just statements to the effect. Or by people formally affiliated with Plato, which also suffer from the same said lack of references (i.e. personal opinion). I've sent an email to the author of the Gamasutra article by the way, asking him exactly what his references were to make the statement, or if it was his own educated opinion. Like I mentioned earlier, the designers of Lunar Lander openly stated the idea was meant to be a version of the original DEC mainframe game. I haven't come across anything to that effect here, and there'd be no reason for Ed and company not to state it publicly as was done for Lunar Lander if it was the case. The recent clarification of the top-down tank games as inspiration just further solidifies this. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 03:27, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd have no problem with "others have noted the similarities between Battlezone and the earlier released Panzer game for the Plato network," which is different from "Battlezone was inspired by Panzer." But I'd want to have a reference rather than just leaving the reader to wonder who "others" is. See WP:WEASEL. If we can make the correct choice between "similar to" and "inspired by" I think we'll be on the right track. "Inspired by" implies that Ed saw the older game and decided to make something along the same lines. I don't know whether that's true or not but I wouldn't want to make that claim without a good source. Rees11 (talk) 16:15, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Regarding that Gamasutra article that was brought up above, I just recieved the following confirmation from the author, who was very genuine in his response (his email address is publicly available, hence I'm leaving it in the repsonse) -
from Sam Shahrani <>
to Martin Goldberg
date Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 1:24 PM
subjectRe: Education feature article at Gamasutra
Upon reviewing the piece, it appears that that that's an unsourced educated opinion based on information available at the time. My
apologies; should I have the opportunity to update the piece, I will happily remove the statement and, note the information from retro
gamer, which was unavailable when the article was written in 2006. Thanks for the heads up!
If you notice any other mistakes or irregularities, please let me know; all unsourced errors are, of course, my own.
Sam Shahrani
--Marty Goldberg (talk) 19:46, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Scott Evans revert war[edit]

What's up with the revert war over Scott Evans? It's pretty clear from the reference ( that Scott Evans claims to own the Bradley Trainer, and doesn't mind if people know about it. Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but a verifiable reference carries more weight than truth here on Wikipedia. I'll admit that a single web page is not the best ref, but I think has violated the 3RR. Rees11 16:47, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you are correct. Scott (who's new site is actually is a well known collector of Atari coin-op related machines, documents and overall history. He does actually own the Bradley Trainer, and picked it up (with most of the other material) when Midway closed the Atari Games offices in California. The anonymous IP is a proxy with a long history of edit problems according to it's talk page. I placed a 3RR warning on his talk page, which he now violated with this last edit, and been reported at the Administrators Notice Board. I've also asked for a semi-protect for the page. I can not put back the correct info today, otherwise I'll be in violation of 3RR as well. --Marty Goldberg 16:53, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Inconsistant genre labeling?[edit]

Why is this game categorized as a simulation and not as vehicular combat? --Logomachist 20:47, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Added it. --Marty Goldberg 21:48, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Non-free content[edit]

If you believe the images should not be on Wikipedia, you need to challenge the Non-free use media rationale on the image pages. After the image pages have been removed you can come back here and remove the links to them. Rees11 (talk) 00:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

However, having said that, you may have a point under NFCC 3a, "Minimal usage," and 8, "Significance." Rees11 (talk) 00:48, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Clones in table[edit]

Since most of the information on clones are one-sentence paragraphs, I propose to list them in a table with all the important information in columns. An example is show below.

Name Year Developer Platforms Notes
Stellar 7 1980s Damon Slye/Dynamix, Inc. Amiga, DOS, Macintosh The developer, Damon Slye, created several other similar tank games
Arcticfox 1986 Damon Slye/Dynamix, Inc. Amiga, Apple IIe, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum Similar game, by developer of Stellar 7. Added valleys and hills to landscape.
Robot Tank 1983 Activision Atari 2600 One of Activision's first games

Let me know what you think. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 18:32, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Good timing, I actually happened to be looking at that as well earlier today but was thinking the opposite direction - that it needs to be severely trimmed down and put in prose. That's actually the precedent in articles that have passed GA or FA status, such as Space Invaders. That means paring it down to a few games notable for being clones that are mentioned in the context of Battlezone clones vs. an arbitrary list of clones and detailed info about their differences. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 06:28, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

New owners of the 1998 Battlezone franchise also own this game?[edit]

At least that's the impression the bankruptcy sale documents gave, leaving Atari (or whoever ends up buying the classic arcade properties) with a perpetual royalty-free license to resell this version. If this is correct, should it not be mentioned somewhere in this article? Sslaxx (talk) 12:22, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Rebellion only owns the Atari Battlezone games, not the Activision ones. There was a source for this at the time ([2]) which listed specifically each game each company had purchased, but the site that was hosting it is now unreachable and the Wayback Machine does not have it archived. Rebellion was listed has having purchased 1980's Battlezone and 1995's Battlezone 2000. (talk) 11:39, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Plain vs plane[edit]

Both are correct. "Plain" is a geographic term, "plane" is a topological one. I don't have a preference. Kendall-K1 (talk) 11:57, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

The clean-up[edit]

I like the recent cleanup. This article was getting too bloated with speculation and trivia. The only thing I'd like to see put back in is the high score record, which seems well sourced. I would just put in the first two sentences: "On August 30, 1985, David Palmer, of Auburn, California scored a world record 23,000,000 points while playing at The Game Room arcade in Citrus Heights, California. This game took 23 hours, at the end of which he quit with four tanks still left.[1]" Anyone have a strong opinion? Kendall-K1 (talk) 00:37, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

We typically only cover details like that (and even then, in less detail) when it's covered by a reliable secondary source. Otherwise that Twin Galaxies record is just as important as the record on any other game (and not particularly noteworthy). czar  02:41, 16 March 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ 1986 Guinness Book of World Records

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Panther again[edit]

I'm not opposed to including something about Panther, but the recently added text is not supported by the source. It doesn't say "It is often described as having been inspired by Panther". It says "Panther and Panzer would prove to be the inspiration for a game that would mark the appearance of polygon-based 3D graphics in both the arcade and the home: Atari’s Battlezone. " but the author of that source has said that was speculation on his part. Kendall-K1 (talk) 17:52, 16 January 2017 (UTC)