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Reactor Reactor - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Reactor - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


The player uses his ship to deflect enemy particles into the Reactor wall without getting deflected into the wall himself. Meanwhile, the Reactor core is constantly expanding unless the player deflects the enemy particles into the sets of control rods located on the screen and in later levels turns into a vortex which can "suck" the player's ship in. The player can use energy to make the deflections more forceful or use decoys to fool the enemy particles.

Reactor was produced by Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. in 1982.

Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. released 59 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1970. Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. was based in United States.

Other machines made by Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. during the time period Reactor was produced include: Caveman, Pipeline, Mars God of War, Tidal Wave, Force II, Insector, Combination Rotation (never produced), Punk!, Q*bert, and Snots And Boogers


Name Reactor
Developer Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. (United States)
Year 1982
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 9274
Class Wide Release
Genre Shooter
Conversion Class Gottlieb
Game Specific Reactor Pinout
# Simultaneous Players 1
# Maximum Players 2
Game Play Alternating
Control Panel Layout Single Player Ambidextrous
  • Trackball: Optical
  • Buttons: 2 - EnergyDecoy
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard
Control Panel Reactor Control Panel Image
Side Art Reactor Side Art Image

Game Introduction

The game activity starts with the player's ship contained within the heart of a nuclear reactor. The player moves his ship using the track ball and has the use of a rapid fire energy button and a decoy button to protect himself.

During the game play, the core expands as the enemy particles attempt to destroy the player's ship by deflecting it against the kill wall. Simultaneously, the player must destroy the enemy particles by using his ship to deflect them against the kill wall.

Most people remember Reactor for its attract mode music, which is a series of guitar riffs synthesized using distortion. Hitting any button in attract mode will cause Reactor to blast its awesome music.

Game Play

Pushing the energy button when the player's ship is in contact with an enemy particle will increase the force applied to both the player's ship and enemy particle. When the decoy button is pushed, a decoy will emerge from the player's ship. The decoy will remain stationary at the point where the ship was located when the button was pushed. The decoy confuses the enemy so that they attack the decoy instead of the player. The decoy cannot be destroyed and should be placed in one of three positions:

  1. Next to a kill wall
  2. In front of the control rods
  3. Inside the entrance to the bonus chambers

In doing so, the enemy particles will be lured into a position that will allow the player to:

  1. Destroy them against a kill wall.
  2. Destroy the control rods.
  3. Trap them in the bonus chamber.

Knocking down either set of control rod, with enemy particles will reduce the size of the core. Knocking down both sets of control rods will add an extra decoy.

Every 15,000 points, the player earns one extra ship this depends upon a DIP switch setting. While the enemy particles are in the bonus chambers, they will deflect off one another and the walls. As they are deflected off the walls, a bonus is scored. To achieve maximum bonus, the player must use the ENERGY button to hold the enemy particles in the bonus chamber as long as possible. The player earns 15 points per bounce during the early rounds and 15 points per bounce as the game progresses. On each round, point values per bounce increase.

As the game play progresses, the reactor core continually grows in size, which decreases the usable playfield. During the early rounds, the core is a rectangular shape which expands outward, forcing the player closer to the dangerous kill walls. The player can shrink the core by destroying eaither set of control rods or killing the total amount of enemies "TO GO" for each round.

In later rounds, the rectangular expanding core is replaced with an expanding and swirling vortex. Unlike the rectangular core, the vortex is deadly to the player. As it enlarges, it will draw the player to its center where the player will be destroyed. A skillful player can get out of the vortex even after being caught by moving the ship in a clockwise direction.

The ideal game play is a balance of using the decoys and bounce chambers to accumulate large bonus points, extra ships and using the control rods to gain extra decoys.

Reactor KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 3.58 (10 votes)

Fun Factor: 3.36

Overall Like 3.78
Fun (Social) 2.22
Fun (Solo) 3.60
Collector Desire 4.00

Technical Rating: 4.11

Gameplay 4.11
Graphics 3.56
Originality 4.56
Sound/Music 4.22

Personal Impressions and Technical Impressions each account for half of the total score. Within the Personal Impressions category, Like carries a little more weight than the other factors.

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This game was created by Tim Skelly who also created many of the Cinematronics vector games including Sundance, Star Castle and Solar Quest.

Cabinet Information

The game is housed in an orange cabinet that is shorter than a typical upright cabinet. The side art is orange, red, and yellow and has the Gottlieb logo, some graphics of the Reactor core and the name of the game. The control panel is black with yellow and orange writing on it. The marquee is located at about eye level and has two large speakers that put the music and sound directly in the player's face. The monitor glass is plain glass with a small black border.


This game is the predecessor to other Gottlieb titles like Qbert, Mad Planets and Krull. These all run on a similar hardware platform.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Reactor Census

There are 14,912 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,532 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 165,200 machines (6,928 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 76 known instances of this machine owned by Reactor collectors who are active members. Of these, 70 of them are original dedicated machines. 2 of them are conversions in which game circuit boards (and possibly cabinet graphics) have been placed in (and on) another game cabinet. 4 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 3 active VAPS members with a Reactor machines for sale. There is one active VAPS member with an extra Reactor circuit board for sale.

Wanted - Popular - There are 22 active VAPS members currently looking for Reactor.

This game ranks a 18 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 33 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census want list records.

Rarity and Popularity independently are not necessarily indications of value. [More Information]



The Gottlieb system boards are based upon the Intel 8088 microprocessor. The sound board is identical to other Gottlieb games like Qbert and uses the hard-to-find LM379S op-amp chip to mix and amplify the sound and speech. The speech is generated by the Votrax SC-01 speech chip.


Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 146; Color photo Price guide: No
  2. Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 146; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Dedicated

eBay Listings

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Ebay Compatible Application

REACTOR - Gottlieb Arcade - MAIN LOGIC PCB - WORKING 100%

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Flyer GOTTLIEB REACTOR Arcade Video Game advertisement original see pic

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original Reactor Gottlieb Vintage Arcade Video game manual

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reactor arcade redemption pcb parts untested #11

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