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Solar Quest Solar Quest - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Solar Quest - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


A space combat vector game with an overhead perspective. Eliminate waves of alien ships invading your solar system. Rescue the survivors before they fall into the sun and perish.

Solar Quest was produced by Cinematronics in 1981.

Cinematronics released 33 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1976. Cinematronics was based in United States.

Other machines made by Cinematronics during the time period Solar Quest was produced include: Armor Attack, Rip Off, Star Castle, Tail Gunner, Sundance, Boxing Bugs, Freeze, Zzyzzyxx, War Of The Worlds, and Jack The Giantkiller


Name Solar Quest
Developer Cinematronics (United States)
Year 1981
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 9612
Class Wide Release
Genre Space
  • Orientation: Horizontal
  • Type: Vector
  • Color: Black and White with a Color Overlay
Conversion Class Cinematronics B&W Vector
# Simultaneous Players 1
# Maximum Players 2
Game Play Alternating
Control Panel Layout Single Player
  • Buttons: Rotational (left, right)
  • Buttons: 4 - Thrust|Fire|Hyperspace|Nuke
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard

Game Introduction

The object of Solar Quest is to defend a solar system against waves of invading alien ships. The game area consists only of a sun at the center of the screen. The rest of the screen is empty space, which wraps at the edges of the monitor.

The game is organized into numbered phases. During a phase, seven different types of invading alien ships appear. The types of alien ships get smaller and harder to shoot as the phase progresses. Most of the time all the alien ships on the screen are of one type, although two or three different types can be present at the same time. Up to 8 alien ships can be on the screen at once. The phase is complete when all seven types of enemy ships have been eliminated from the solar system.

The alien ships typically fly around the solar system in a somewhat random fashion, but the longer the game is played, the more aggressive they become. Early in the game, enemy ships will sometimes change course and begin to chase your ship. If you don't destroy them or leave the area, they will ram you. The longer the game lasts, the more often this happens. At higher levels, the alien ships have weapons and they will shoot at you as well.

The player's weaponry consists of a cannon and a nuke. The cannon fires a single shot in the direction your ship is pointed. Up to four shots can be outstanding at any given time. There are no restrictions on ammunition. The nuke, as the name implies, destroys all alien ships in the area when the device is detonated. The player's ship starts the game with only a few nukes, so they must be used sparingly. Additional nukes are earned every 10000 points. Using a nuke is a two step process, so the player has to plan ahead a little bit. The device is fired using the nuke button in a manner similar to the cannon. Then, when the nuke nears its target, the player again presses the nuke button. This detonates the device and all enemy ships in the area of the blast are eliminated. If all else fails, the player always has the option of escaping through hyperspace.

Whenever an alien ship is destroyed, a "survivor" is left drifting in space. One of three things can happen to a survivor: He can be shot (by you), he can be rescued (by you) or he can fall victim to the gravitational pull of the sun and suffer a fiery death. The player is awarded more points for rescuing survivors than shooting them, and if enough survivors are saved, extra ships can be earned. The game is over when all of the player's space ships have been destroyed.

Solar Quest KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 3.77 (3 votes)

Fun Factor: 3.67

Overall Like 3.67
Fun (Social) 3.67
Fun (Solo) 3.67
Collector Desire 5.00

Technical Rating: 3.89

Gameplay 3.67
Graphics 3.67
Originality 4.33
Sound/Music 5.00

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

Switching from Free Play to Coin without cycling power leaves 999 credits on the machine.

More pictures


This was the last black and white vector game produced by Cinematronics. It was created by Scott Boden who also designed Star Castle.

Cabinet Information

The cabinet's construction is particle board. The front of the cabinet is covered with black, textured vinyl and the sides are white with stickers covering the upper half. The sticker art consists of the game's name and a scene showing space ships engaged in combat around a star. The monitor plexiglass has screened artwork with a similar style.

In the center of the monitor overlay where the sun is displayed, there is a yellow starburst area. At the top, where scores are shown, there is a rectangular orange area. The remainder of the overlay is blue.

The monitor itself is mounted facing the rear of the cabinet and the image viewed by the player is reflected from a pane of bronze, semi-reflective glass. The rear of the cabinet is lit with a blacklight. This light source illuminates the backdrop, a fluorescent orange and green starscape, and allows the image to show through the rear of the glass to combine with the monitor's display.


The game uses the standard Cinematronics CPU board. A ROM swap, a Solar Quest sound board, and an appropriate control panel are required for a conversion in a Rip Off or Star Castle cabinet. However, a conversion like this would leave much to be desired given the original's unique display system.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Solar Quest Census

There are 14,825 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,504 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 164,875 machines (6,918 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 53 known instances of this machine owned by Solar Quest collectors who are active members. Of these, 50 of them are original dedicated machines. 3 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There is one active VAPS member with a Solar Quest machine for sale.

Wanted - There are 6 active VAPS members currently looking for Solar Quest.

This game ranks a 16 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 10 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]



Although Solar Quest uses a standard Cinematronics monitor, it has an additional daughter board that allows it to display 64 different intensity levels.


Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 116; Color photo Price guide: No
  2. Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 116; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Upright

eBay Listings

Click to search eBay for Solar Quest Videogame machines and related items.

Click to search eBay for Cinematronics for machines and parts.

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Ebay Compatible Application

Flyer CINEMATRONIES SOLAR QUEST Video Game advertisement original see pic

Auction ends in: 3 hours, 25 minutes


Solar Quest by Data East Video Arcade Flyer / Brochure / Ad

Auction ends in: 3 weeks, 3 days


Cinematronics SOLAR QUEST flyer- good original

Auction ends in: 4 weeks, 5 hours


Vintage Cinematronics Solar Quest Bezel Original

Auction ends in: 1 month, 29 minutes



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