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International Arcade Museum® — Killer List of Videogames®

Space Wars Space Wars - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Space Wars - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


Two player only game where each player flies around space and tries to shoot each other. Features include partial damage, modifying gravity and inertia. Controls are fire, thrust, rotate left and right, hyperspace and reset.

Space Wars was produced by Cinematronics in 1977.

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 Space Wars was produced include: Flipper Ball, Embargo, Starhawk, Sundance, Tail Gunner, and Rip Off


Name Space Wars
Developer Cinematronics (United States)
Year 1977
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 9691
Class Wide Release
Genre Space
  • Orientation: Horizontal
  • Type: Vector
  • Color: Black and White
Conversion Class unique
# Simultaneous Players 2
# Maximum Players 2
Game Play Competitive
Control Panel Layout Multiple Player
  • Buttons: Rotational (left, right)
  • Buttons: 3 - Thrust|Fire|Hyperspace
  • 10-digit keypad
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard
  • Cocktail
Instructions Space Wars Instructions Image

Game Play

Timed play. The player with the largest number of kills wins. After a kill, the victorious player will wait for 5 seconds before the next round begins. During that time he can kill himself and give the other kill for the other guy. Hitting the reset button will start the next round of battle.

Space Wars KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 4.14 (2 votes)

Fun Factor: 4.63

Overall Like 5.00
Fun (Social) 5.00
Fun (Solo) -1.00
Collector Desire 4.00

Technical Rating: 3.75

Gameplay 4.50
Graphics 3.50
Originality 4.00
Sound/Music 3.00

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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More pictures


This game has the honor of being the first Black and White Vector arcade game. The designer of the game saw ISpace WarsI in a research lab running on a minicomputer and felt that he had to have one of his own. So over the period of a few years he built the prototype of the game out of easily available parts. He did not use a microprocessor because he could not afford it, so he built his own. He eventually teamed up with others to form Cinematronics, and the basic design of ISpace WarsI was used in about a dozen other games including ISolar QuestI, ITail GunnerI and IStar CastleI.

Cabinet Information

There were three different cabinet styles for this game. The Cinematronic upright cabinets have two lighted marquees one on the top of the game and one below the monitor and above the control panel white text on a black background with red trim. Lots of text for instructions. The side art was simply a blue vertical strip that said SPACE WARS.PThe Vectorbeam upright was slightly smaller and did not have a lighted marquee, but it did have the graphic images of each of the ships on the marquee. The side art consisted of a two foot square sticker with a graphic showing one ship blasting another.PThe table version had fake woodgrain surfaces, with a monitor bezel that showed ships fighting.


WWW httpwww.multigame.comspacewar.htmlPThis game was the first graphic, animated computer game. In 1961 DEC shipped their first computer, the PDP1, to MIT. There, a small group of friends at MIT decided to write some demoware for the machine that would use the supplied vector monitor. The game was released as Spacewar in 1962, becoming an instant hit. It was later distributed by DEC with all PDP1s and found itself installed at universities around the world. The result was a huge number of modified versions, many of these modifications can be found as user options in the Cinematronics version. Nuttings IComputer SpaceI and Ataris IOrbitI were based on the same concept, but these games were raster implementations instead of vector.PThe Vectorbeam version of this game is called ISpace WarI, not ISpace WarsI.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Space Wars Census

There are 14,848 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,512 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 164,983 machines (6,922 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 72 known instances of this machine owned by Space Wars collectors who are active members. Of these, 70 of them are original dedicated machines. 2 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 6 active VAPS members with a Space Wars machines for sale.

Wanted - Popular - There are 12 active VAPS members currently looking for Space Wars.

This game ranks a 23 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 22 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]



Cinematronics used a custom vector monitor. The monitor had a parallel interface and had digital to analog converters in the monitor cage.


Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 60; Color photo Price guide: No
  2. Arcade Fever Sellers (ISBN 0762409371) Page: 28; Color photo
  3. Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 60; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Dedicated

eBay Listings

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