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Sinistar Sinistar - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Sinistar - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


A small, triangular fighter ship is maneuvered by the player through a series of "Zones" in the galaxy. The player must blast Sinisite crystals out of planetoids while fending off attacking enemy drones and Warrior ships. Collect enough crystals to destroy the evil Sinistar before he kills you.

Sinistar was produced by Williams Electronics, Inc. (1967-1985) in 1982.

Williams Electronics, Inc. (1967-1985) released 215 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1959. Williams Electronics, Inc. (1967-1985) was based in United States.

Other machines made by Williams Electronics, Inc. (1967-1985) during the time period Sinistar was produced include: Cyclone (1981), Barracora, Jungle Lord, Pharaoh, Hyperball, Varkon, Thunderball, Bubbles, Joust, and Robotron: 2084


Name Sinistar
Developer Williams Electronics, Inc. (1967-1985) (United States)
Year 1982
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 9553
Class Wide Release
Genre Space
Conversion Class Williams
# Simultaneous Players 1
# Maximum Players 2
Game Play Alternating
Control Panel Layout Single Player Ambidextrous
  • Joystick: 49-position optical
  • Buttons: 2 - Fire|Sinibomb
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard
  • Environmental/Cockpit

Game Introduction

The player must blast Sinisite crystals out of the planetoids, by firing repeatedly at them, and then collect the crystals to fill the ship's bomb bay with Sinibombs as you battle enemy ships including the Warriors (gray ships) as well as the Workers (red ships). All the while, the Workers are constructing a Sinistar, a huge red and silver evil face with devil-like horns, which eventually comes to life and begins pursuing the player's ship to devour it. Only with enough Sinibombs can the Sinistar be destroyed. The Sinistar speaks in a haunting voice, taunting the player with phrases like "Beware, I Live!", "Beware, Coward!", "I Hunger!", "Run Coward!", "Run, Run, Run!", "I Am Sinistar!", among others.

Game Play

The single aspect this game's play that makes it so difficult is the fact that the enemy ships can move much faster than you. Do not try to outrun them; you cannot. Outmaneuver them instead.

During play, the background scrolls past while the ship itself stays in the center of the screen. There are many things to keep track of during play. At the top of the screen there is a small, zoomed-out view of the area in space. Planetoids, Workers, Warriors and the Sinistar himself all appear inside this radar window. In the upper left corner of the screen, news and warning messages will appear, informing you of important developments. A beeping sound will alert you when a new message appears. Just above the player's score, two rows of small circles will form to indicate how many Sinibombs (crystals) have been collected.

To mine crystals, you must shoot the Plantetoids. Each shot imparts a certain amount of energy to the Planetoid, making it shake vigorously. Once a Planetoid has absorbed enough energy from your shots, it will start to emit crystals and then continue emitting crystals as long as you keep the total energy of the Planetoid above a certain threshold. The number of crystals that can be mined from a single Planetoid is absolutely unlimited, but the Planetoid can be destroyed if it is fired into too rapidly; it will simply absorb too much energy and explode. Five points are awarded for destroying a Planetoid except it is usually better to save them to mine for crystals.

Workers will try to steal the crystals after you have mined them. To prevent this, you can either destroy the Workers for 150 points each or just push them out of the way (your ship will not explode by running into them). Even if a Worker steals a crystal, you can still recover it; just shoot the Worker while it is flying away with the crystal, and the crystal will be left behind after he is destroyed.

Your ship can also bounce harmlessly off Warriors but they can shoot at you with fairly good aim. They will fire more and more as the game progresses, so shoot them as soon as possible before they appear on the screen. They do not start firing for up to one second and you can often destroy them for 500 ponts each before they get a shot off.

The Sinistar is built one piece at a time by the Workers. Each time a piece is added to it, you will hear a clanking sound. After 20 pieces have been assembled, the Sinistar is completed and warns "Beware, I Live!". That is your last warning to stock up on Sinibombs. The next time the Sinstar speaks, he will attack and try to eat your ship. He can fly even faster than your ship, so it will not do any good to try to fly away and avoid him.

You must collect enough crystals (these are automatically converted to Sinibombs) to destroy the Sinistar. Whenever you drop a Sinibomb from your ship, it will head straight for the Sinistar. If the Sinistar is off the scanner or or a Sinibomb hits a Planetoid, Worker, or Warrior, a "Sinibomb Intercepted" message will appear in the message area, letting you know that the Sinibomb did not hit its target. Workers and Warriors will try to move themselves into the range of a Sinibomb, and the Warriors will even shoot at the Sinibombs, so long shots are often intercepted.

Whenever a Sinibomb makes a direct hit upon the Sinistar, one section will be destoyed for 500 points each. The Sinistar has 13 sections (12 pieces and the face), so it will take at least 13 Sinibombs to destroy him. However, when the Sinistar is being built, he is assembled from 20 pieces; after he is completed, the seven pieces that make his face combine into one section. The face section will be the last one to be destroyed, and it will be worth 15000 points. If you run out of Sinibombs before you can destroy the Sinistar, the Workers will rebuild him while you collect crystals, except in the first wave where the Sinistar is only built once.

After you have destroyed the Sinistar, your ship will warp to another Zone where another Sinistar will be built. When you arrive at the next Zone, you will need to collect more crystals for Sinbombs and attempt to destroy the next Sinistar after he has come to life. When you first appear in a new Zone, the Sinistar will be straight ahead, about two scanner widths away.

After the first Zone, the Zones repeat in a group of four: Worker Zone, Warrior Zone, Planetoid Zone, and Void Zone. The Worker, Warrior, and Planetoid Zones have extra Workers, Warriors, and Planetoids, respectively. The Void Zone has very few Planetoids and is the most difficult.

Sinistar KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 3.62 (14 votes)

Fun Factor: 3.51

Overall Like 3.86
Fun (Social) 2.50
Fun (Solo) 3.71
Collector Desire 3.64

Technical Rating: 3.73

Gameplay 3.93
Graphics 3.64
Originality 3.43
Sound/Music 3.93

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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Cheats, Tricks, Bugs, and Easter Eggs

There is a very risky maneuver that can lead to either disaster or a powerful comeback. When Sinistar has you in its grasp, a spare shot that is floating in space can kill you, of course taking a life. The unfortunate thing is that when Sinistar's mouth closes, another life is taken, resulting in the loss of two lives. Bear in mind that the Warrior ships will not fire at you when you are in Sinistar's grasp, so a floating shot is the only thing that can make this occur. However, if this happens to you when you are down to your last life, the loss of two lives will reduce your number of lives to -1. This will give you 255 lives.



The game was originally going to be called "DarkStar" (only a few prototype marquees exist). The game play was not supposed to be quite so difficult, but just before production started, the upper-management decided to make the game harder. In May of 1998, an alternate ROM set believed to have been burned for the 1983 AMOA Trade Show in Las Vegas was discovered. This set offers slightly different game play and has ROM chip serial numbers ranging from 16-3004-12 through 16-3004-22. The programmers of Sinistar believe this set may have the coveted easier difficulty settings.

John Newcomer's original idea for this game was titled Juggernaut.

The code name for this game was "Opie-Star." Why? The joke inside Williams was that it sounded like Sinistar was saying "Ron Howard" (Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show or Richie Cunningham on Happy Days) instead of "Run Coward!"

Cabinet Information

The cockpit cabinet has a unique design where the front plastic section opens up like a car hood. The small openers ("shocks") are about as effective as those found on most car hoods.


Play the game on-line (requires Shockwave) at

The cockpit version of the game allows only single player games, employs a panning sound feature, and displays different diagnostic codes on the ROM board's 7-segment LED.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Sinistar Census

There are 14,944 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,544 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 165,327 machines (6,937 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 296 known instances of this machine owned by Sinistar collectors who are active members. Of these, 273 of them are original dedicated machines. 4 of them are conversions in which game circuit boards (and possibly cabinet graphics) have been placed in (and on) another game cabinet. 18 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 8 active VAPS members with a Sinistar machines for sale.

Wanted - Very Popular - There are 60 active VAPS members currently looking for Sinistar. There are 2 active VAPS members looking for Sinistar boards sets.

This game ranks a 72 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 78 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 49-position optical joystick has a rubber centering "X" that often breaks. There are (were?) available from WICO, but rubber bands can be used as well.


Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 133; Color photo Price guide: No
  2. Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 133; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Upright
  2. 3D Model (External): cockpit

See the game at:

This game is available at the following public arcades, bars or museums:

Name Location State Country Details Check-ins
Upstate Pinball & Arcade Museum 109A West Trade St, Simpsonville South Carolina United States Arcade (Classic Videogame)
Children: Allowed
Focus: Classic Games
Food: No
Alcohol: No
Payment Method: Admission Charge

eBay Listings

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Ebay Compatible Application

Williams Blaster or Sinistar 49 way joystick interface board

Auction ends in: 4 weeks, 16 hours


Sinistar Arcade Marquee

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Williams Arcade Sinistar CPU PCB board repair and upgrade service.

Auction ends in: 3 weeks, 1 day


Used vintage lot of 32 Random button arcade Video Game Parts Fm2-4

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Auction Results

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Auctions Recap

Year Count Median $ Average $
2015 1 805.00 805.00
2017 1 1,003.00 1,003.00
All Years 2 904.00 904.00


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