Jump to content

HSC02, Round 7: Gorf / Nuke the #%@$*&!


Recommended Posts

Season 2, Round 8 of the Astrocade High Score Club will last about two and a half weeks. This round ends on Sunday, July 30'th at 10pm MST. The main game is the arcade game Gorf, which uses the Astrocade chipset. The BASIC bonus program is called Nuke the #%@$*&!!, released in 1982, by Jay Fenton. This is a 1982 B-Side to Life, a "game" which was originally released on tape.


We're playing Gorf because it gives us a glimpse of what could have been had Bally stuck with the Bally Arcade system. Maybe if the original Bally Arcade console systems didn't overheat from their initial release, then Bally would have added more memory and supported the hi-res ("commercial") mode that is built into the Astrocade's chipset. Perhaps this would have been called the Super Bally Arcade and released in 1981 once the price of RAM dropped. I guess we'll never know, for in 1981 Astrovision, Inc. released the Astrocade in the same configuration as its original January 1978 release by Bally. What did we really miss out on? We'll never know.




Gorf is an arcade game released in 1981. It was programmed by Jay Fenton, who (among many other arcade games and Astrocade projects) programmed Bally BASIC and "AstroBASIC" for the Astrocade. I will be playing Gorf using the MAME emulator. If anyone knows of any classic arcade collections that contain Gorf, then let me know and I'll add information about it here.


Here are a few screenshots of Gorf. Some of these screenshots include the bezel overlay, which is actually nearly-required to play the game, as there is analog feedback that lights up part of the bezel to tell the player which rank they have reached:









Here is a zip file that includes all of the files needed to play Gorf on any version of MAME that doesn't emulate the Vortex voice synthesizer. I think that this means any version of MAME that is pre-version 0.181. Just place the files in the three appropriate directories in MAME (artwork, roms, and samples):


Gorf (MAME).zip


The upright version of the Gorf game looked like this:




Here is a close-up of the game's marquee:




The front of the arcade flyer for Gorf looked like this:




Gorf uses a non-standard joystick. It looks like this:




I have a little experience playing the arcade version of Gorf. This arcade joystick made my index finger tired, so I'm glad that I'll be playing the game in MAME using either an Atari CX40 joystick or the Edladdin Supreme 7800 joystick.


I'm not overly familiar with Gorf, so I'm relying on background information from its Wikipedia page, which you can read in its entirety here:




I've excerpted some of the key points and paragraphs from Gorf's Wikipedia entry:


"Gorf is an arcade game released in 1981 by Midway Mfg., whose name was advertised as an acronym for "Galactic Orbiting Robot Force". It is a multiple-mission fixed shooter with five distinct modes of play, essentially making it five games in one. It is well known for its use of synthesized speech, a new feature at the time. [...]


"The player controls a spaceship that can move left, right, up and down around the lower third of the screen. The ship can fire a single shot (called a "quark laser" in this game), which travels vertically up the screen. Unlike similar games, where the player cannot fire again until the existing shot has disappeared, the player can choose to fire another shot at any time; if the previous shot is still on screen, it disappears.


"Gorf consists of five distinct "missions", each with its own patterns of enemies. The central goal of each mission is to destroy all enemies in that wave, which takes the player to the next mission. Successfully completing all five missions will increase the player's rank and loop back to the first mission, where play continues on a higher difficulty level. The game continues until the player loses all their lives. The player can advance through the ranks of Space Cadet, Space Captain, Space Colonel, Space General, Space Warrior, and Space Avenger, with a higher difficulty level at each rank. Along the way, a robotic voice heckles and threatens the player, often calling the player by their current rank (for example, "Some galactic defender you are, Space Cadet!"). Some versions also display the player's current rank via a series of lit panels in the cabinet."


The five different screens in Gorf are:

  • Astro Battles
  • Laser Attack
  • Galaxians
  • Space Warp
  • Flag Ship
You can read more about the Gorf arcade game at the Arcade Museum website:




The newer versions of MAME don't use the prerecorded voice samples, and instead emulate the Vortex voice chip that was included with the game. I prefer to play the game using my slightly-older version of the emulator (MAME 0.177). If you have trouble emulating the game, then try reading this thread on AtariAge:




There are quite a few fun-to-watch video for Gorf, both using real hardware and emulation. Here is a selection of a few that I've browsed:


"John's Arcade Game Reviews & Tech" has a video called "GORF Arcade Game Review - Bally/Midway 1981 - John's Arcade on the Road!" The video allows you to hear the digitized speech and see how a real machine functions:



Here is a video by "gan9e" called "GORF 1981 HD." This shows Gorf running in MAME, with speech and with the bezel overlay. This is how it looks when I play the game in MAME:



"bill heatherly" has a short video that does a good job of capturing the voice in the game. This video is called "Gorf Video Arcade Game:"



This video, by "Gaming History Source," shows the arcade game and various different home conversions of the game. The video is called "Let's Compare ( Gorf ):"



Midway sold a 28-page manual called Gorf Combat Manual for $1.95. It gives many hints on how to play the game. I've never seen another manual like this before for an arcade game. I'm also not sure where this manual was available for sale. The manual has been scanned and is available here:




Gorf (Options):


There is only one option for Gorf: start the game with three lives. You can insert additional quarters to start the game with more lives, but please don't do that for this round.


Gorf (Scoring):


Up to ten points are awarded for playing Gorf. We are playing for the highest score.



Nuke the #%@$*&!!


The BASIC bonus "game" is Nuke the #%@$*&!! by Jay Fenton.




This was released in 1982 on a tape as the "B-Side" to the game Life.







George Moses sold Jay's Life program. Advertisements for Life are here included in the October and December Arcadian newsletter:


Arcadian 4, no. 12 (Oct. 07, 1982): 122.

Arcadian 5, no. 2 (Dec. 3, 1982): 35.


Here is what the ad says about Life (and "Nuke"):


"Sure, you've seen Life games before. A BASIC program was published in a magazine a year or two ago. It took 5 or 10 minutes per generation! Well, how about one generation per second? Yup!!! Jay Fenton, the guy who wrote Bally BASIC, Gunfight, Scribbling, Calculator and Gorf has revved-up you Z-80 processor to give you a full screen scan and a new LIFE generation each second! Put some LIFE in your Arcade (and give some spending money to Jay Fenton to keep him in "programming mode!"). Buy Life and get Nuke the !$&! free!"


The 12 pages of instructions for Nuke the #%@$*&!! and Life are available at BallyAlley.com:




The twelve-page manual has ten pages devoted to Life, and just one page devoted to the "B-Side." Here is a picture of the one page of short instructions for this round's bonus "game:"




I've OCRed the short instructions for Nuke the #%@$*&!!:



© Jay Fenton, 1982


Nuke the @%$* will automatically start after loading with the command:




Use hand control trigger one to drop the bomb and to "speed up" the program. (Pulling the trigger will shorten the wait period for the title and score frames.)


After Arcade power-up you should RESET without BASIC inserted before loading Nuke the @<%$?. This will set the alternate color map registers which are used to display a "fallout" pattern.


The object of this game is prevent nuclear war by showing the emptiness of life even if you win the battle, because you have no human organisms left to share the victory with. So, if no nuclear war breaks out in the next five years, please give the credit to this program and its creator, Jay Fenton.


In the meantime, have fun and remember... aim for the nuclear power plant for the most devastation for your bomb dollar!!!


You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Nuke the #%@$*&!! here:





Bonus Points


There are many bonus points available this round for both games.

  • Gorf (1 Point) - Video Review - Unlike most games we play, there are scores of videos for Gorf. Still, as always, anyone who makes a video review of Gorf will get a bonus point.
  • Gorf (1 Point) - Highest Rank - The player who reaches the highest rank among us players will receive one bonus point (i.e. you don't have to earn the rank of "Space Avenger" to get a bonus point-- just the highest among us players).
  • Gorf (1 Point) - Play Home Versions - Gorf was released for many home systems in the early 1980s, but never for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. Anyone who plays home computer/console versions of Gorf from the 1980s will be awarded one bonus per version that you play. Some suggestions of versions of Gorf that you can play are for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200/Atari 8-Bit, Commodore 64 and any of the many other systems that this game was released on. If you like emulating other systems, then there are a ton of points that can be earned here. To keep this semi-fair, the maximum amount of points that can be earned for playing other versions of Gorf is five points!
  • Nuke the #%@$*&!! (1 Point) - Playing Nuke the #%@$*&!!
  • Nuke the #%@$*&!! (1 Point) - Secret bonus point - I'm not saying how to earn this bonus point. Try playing the game in a number of different ways to see the ending of the game. Post screenshots of what you find. To be fair, I don't qualify for this point.
  • Nuke the #%@$*&!! (1 Point) - Video Review - Anyone who makes a video review of Nuke the #%@$*&!! will get a bonus point.


Nuke the #%@$*&!! isn't much of a game. It's not meant to be one; it's more of a political statement. I didn't miss the irony of the distribution of Nuke the #%@$*&!!. This game, which could have just as easily called Death to Them All!, is on the opposite side of a tape on which the main game is called Life. The game "Nuke" is everything that Life is not.


Nuke the #%@$*&!! gives us an interesting glimpse into the human condition: do we want to play a "game" in which, with the push of the trigger button, we can kill millions of people? In this "game," we're not out to save the Earth from invaders from space. No, it's simply "us against them," and we just might be the bad guys. Can we handle that? Will you drop your one bomb, or will you allow yourself to be ridiculed for being weak and flying over the city without releasing death to millions of people?


Post your scores as you play Gorf over the next couple of weeks. If anyone finds any tips while playing these games, then please share them.


In the next round, we'll be back to playing a regular Astrocade game on cartridge. For now, enjoy playing a classic arcade game that's got a touch of the Astrocade inside of it. Have fun!



Edited by ballyalley
Ignore the name of this post-- yes, this is round 8, NOT round 7. I wish I could change the post's title.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was very disappointed when I learned you meant the arcade game [Gorf] and not a new homebrew or long-lost prototype that came out unbeknownst to anybody. :-D


Sorry to get your hopes up... but you're not that far off. Steve ("Gorfian") was working on an Astrocade home port of Gorf. I think that this was in the early-to-mid 2000s. Screenshots (which might just be placeholders-- I'm not sure if development even began) are available here:




Here are the screenshots from Ballyalley.com:

Gorf - Mission 1: Astro Battles




Gorf - Mission 2: Laser Attack




Gorf - Mission 3: Galaxians




Gorf - Mission 5: Flagship




So, who knows, maybe someday there will be a home version of Gorf for the Astrocade! It will have to all fit in 8KB though, unless a bankswitched cartridge is used. That would be really tough to do!





  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my original post for this round of the HSC, I mentioned that Midway sold a 28-page Gorf Combat Manual for $1.95. I wasn't sure where this manual was available for sale, so after some searching of the Internet I did find just one mention of where a person could buy it. The a news item announcing the manual was printed in the June 6, 1981 issue of Cash Box: The International Music Record Weekly. The cover of that issue looks like this:




You can read the short news item here (or read the transcription here below):




The cover of the Gorf Combat Manual looks like this:




Here is the transcription of the announcement:


Gorf Manual Is Now Available For Video Enthusiasts

"The growing legions of Gorf players may now purchase combat manuals to help In mastering this popular Midway video game and also earn classification in the Interstellar Defense Forces.

"The Gorf Combat Manual contains historical data, tactical information and strategy tips which are geared to assist the player in conquering the Evil Gorfian Empire. The game theme involves a series of missions in which the player must repel Gorfian robot attacks and launch a counterattack to destroy the enemy Flag Ship.

"Throughout the process the player is constantly taunted by such phrases from the Gorf leader as "Prepare yourself for annihilation" ... "Survival is Impossible" ... and others.

"As a further means of generating full involvement in the entire game concept, players are invited to join the ISDF Pilots Association and qualify for membership cards.

"The cover price of the manual is $1.95 and it is available through Midway's distributor network. Further details may be obtained by contacting factory distributors or the Midway command headquarters at 10750 W. Grand Ave., Franklin Park, Ill. 60131.

"Kathy Novak of Midway's marketing services department has already received several inquiries resulting from a mid-May distributor mailing. Samples of the manual are being included In the cash boxes of all Gorfs currently in production."



Again, you can view jpg images of all pages of this manual here:




I wonder if Midway (or other arcade game manufactures) made player manuals like this for other games? It seems highly unlikely to me that many players in 1981 would have had the opportunity to buy this helpful manual.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have taken the 28 jpg images that made up the GORF Combat Manual and combined them into an OCRed pdf, which I'm including here:


Gorf Combat Manual (1981)(Midway).pdf


I've printed the manual on my laser printer and increased each page to take a full 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper-- it's a really cool manual, completely worth the $1.95 it cost in 1981.


I've include many selected highlights from the GORF Combat Manual in this post. I was only going to include the section titled "Space Fantasy Missions," but once I included that, I just kept on going. I think that I've included about 75% of the manual's text, but only a couple of its pictures (and no screenshots). Here is the manual (I have some additional comments of my own below what I've included here):



A Letter from ISDF


TO: ISDF Pilots
FROM: Interstellar Space Defense Force Command

This manual has been prepared to better acquaint ISDF pilots with the Gorfian enemy. Careful study of this information will enhance mission effectiveness.

Information of the diabolical enemy is incomplete and any observations of Gorfian activity that would improve or correct this manual should be transmitted to ISDF intelligence.

This material is ISDF classified under Category 2.



1 or 2 Player Full Color Video Game... that TALKS!

The Incomparable Multi-Mission Space Challenge

GORF Credits:

GORF is a product of MIDWAY MFG. CO., a major manufacturer and creator in the coin-operated amusement industry. MIDWAY MFG. CO. is a division of the BALLY MANUFACTURING CORPORATION.

Executive Producer: Dave Nutting
Game Concept/Design: Dave Nutting

Jay Fenton
Video Programming: Jay Fenton
Audio Programming: Scot Norris
Added Program Support: Rick Frankel

Bob Ogden
Electronics Design: Jeff Frederickson

Dave Otto


Space Fantasy Missions

A unique sight and sound adventure for special pilots enlisted in the Interstellar Defense Forces for a challenging voyage against the Gorfian Empire.

In a series of missions the pilot's assignment is to repel the Gorfian robot attacks and launch a counterattack to ultimately destroy the enemy Flag Ship.

Throughout the missions, the GORF leader speaks and taunts pilots with phrases like: "Prepare yourself for annihilation." ...... "Survival is impossible." ..... "Some galactic defender you are-- ha! ha! ha!" ...... "My Gorfian robots are unbeatable." ..... "Good try Space Cadet." .... "Too bad Space Cadet." -- and more!

Pilots who can complete five basic missions are rewarded with promotions and continuous action against the Gorfian Empire.


ISDF Mission Briefing

The evil Gorfian robot empire has attacked. Your assignment is to repel the invasion and launch a counterattack. You will engage various hostile spacecraft as you journey toward a dramatic confrontation with the enemy Flag Ship.


ISDF Structure

The Interstellar Space Defense Force was commissioned by act of the Interstellar Congress in 3192.23 to defend the Union from external threats. It has evolved into a highly efficient fighting force, which has proved equal to all challenges.

The ISDF is organized in small autonomous units, with central coordination. Our philosophy is to encourage individual initiative within a framework of mutual support.

As an ISDF recruit, you start at the rank of Space Cadet. As you gain skill and experience you will be promoted.

When conversing with your fellow officers, address them using the highest rank they have attained during their lifetime.

When you first attain a higher rank, enter the date and score in the appropriate space on the Promotion Schedule.

SPACE WARRIOR and SPACE AVENGER are special honorary ranks which are recognized throughout the universe as having great distinction.

When you are already a SPACE AVENGER, and you complete more than 30 missions, you may add stars- one star for 31-35 missions, two stars for 36-40, and so on.

If you believe your rank or score is a record achievement, inform ISDF intelligence. We will require some form of verification. Acceptable methods would include affidavits from witnesses, screen photographs, or press clippings. We will acknowledge your report and if superlative, publicize it.

Gorfian History

The Gorfs are the legacy of the organic life forms of DAOT. These aliens were a particularly warlike strain whose ultimate weapons were robot warriors. The development, production, command and control of these forces was totally automated. DAOT was denuded of organic life by a massive attack by RESAR about 3,000 years ago. The radiation levels that eradicated the Daotians had no effect on their robots, which went on to win the war. These robots evolved into the Gorfian Empire as we know it today, inheriting the warlike tendencies of their creators.

The Empire is sustained by rapacious consumption of resources, particularly silicone and metallic elements. For this reason they attack our planet, to seize our sand and coins.

The Gorfian Empire is a totalitarian state with a rigid class structure. The highest levels are occupied by the Gorfs themselves. Gorfs descended from a command and control robot designed to operate on planetary surfaces as well as in space. Although they look like cute little jumping beans, they are extremely dangerous!

Gorfian Strategy & Tactics

Gorfs communicate with each other telepathically. Collectively they form a high intelligence which rules the Empire. Sometimes this intelligence penetrates our communication system with taunts and insults.

The lower ranks are filled by a variety of special purpose warrior robots. They can be categorized by mission: invasion, invasion support, fighter, defensive fighter, or command and control. All robots are programmed to sacrifice themselves without reservation to destroy their enemy.

The basic Gorfian strategy is to attack in overwhelming numbers. Individual robots are viewed as expendable. Their intention is to overload their opponent's defenses with a flurry of activity, trapping him in lethal fire.

The essence of Gorfian tactical doctrine is random attack. Through unpredictable behavior they wish to thwart rational countermeasures. This pseudo-random behavior occurs within a larger rational context, which when understood, allows the ISDF pilot to anticipate trouble. We will discuss Gorfian tactics in greater detail in the mission scenarios.


Astro Battles

Standard Gorfian doctrine for planet invasion specifies that special purpose invasion Droids be deployed in an attack matrix in the atmosphere. These Droids are dropped from a Gorf (carrier type) flying above the invasion area. The invasion is supported by various command and supply ships (Gorfs and UFOs) which fly above the invasion front.

Your ship is vectored into position as the Gorf makes its approach. By skillful shooting you can destroy the Gorf and some of the matrix invaders before the rack is formed. The attack matrix, once formed, begins its descent.

Their primary attack weapons are small anti-matter gravity bombs. These have the effect of locally disrupting defense force fields and are, of course, fatal to spacecraft.

Our defense system consists of a sub-quark matrix energy field. This will neutralize all bombs that strike an undisrupted area. The Defense Shield is deactivated whenever your QP laser fires. Caution should be exercised to prevent being hit by bombs. This effect can be used to advantage when the matrix is at the other side of the field, to preserve the Defense Shield.

It is recommended that the matrix be attacked from the edges. By destroying columns of invaders, the rate of descent is reduced, giving more time to avoid the bombs and repel the invasion. If the invaders land on our planet your ship will be destroyed, but if spares are available, you will continue into space. When up against a Space Captain or above, the matrix will be deployed at a lower altitude. The bombing rate will also increase.

At completion of this mission, you will lift off our home planet and enter space. Your ship will make the transition through hyper-space to the next mission.


Laser Attack

The outer orbital zone above the invasion area is patrolled by attack fighters. They act as the first line of defense against our counter-attack. We leave hyperspace to engage them.

This force is generally organized in formations of 5 ships: an anti-particle Laser ship, 3 Kamikaze ships and a Gorf. As a unit they can maneuver very rapidly. The Kamikaze ships and Gorfs will try to ram you, while the Laser ships aim to pin you down with a Laser Beam.

Recommended strategy is to destroy the Laser ships as soon as possible, as the Kamikazes and Gorfs are easier to destroy. The Kamikazes do become more vicious when both Laser ships are destroyed, so be wary!

The Laser ships alternate between maneuvering and firing. The best time to attack them is when they just begin to fire. Be certain that you can move away before the Beam hits you!

Kamikazes and Gorfs should be destroyed at maximum possible range, especially when they power dive. At close range it is possible to fly into an explosion; a deadly error.

In later missions, the formations will move about more rapidly, and the Kamikazes will accelerate as they dive.


We are now in deep space, approaching the defense perimeter of the Gorfian Robot Empire. Our intrusion is met by the deployment of a fighter matrix. These robots are similar to those used in the GALAXIAN wars. They will move back and forth in formation, launching attack runs using anti-photon bombs.

The fighter matrix has four levels; the highest occupied by two Leader robot ships. Immediately below are the Escort robots. Several Escorts will accompany a Leader in making formation attack runs.

Below the Escorts are the Heavy Bombers. These robots drop 3 bombs during each run, while all others drop 2. The lowest level, called Phasor Fodder, acts as a shield for those above. Bombers and Phasor Fodder attack individually, and only from the edges of the formation. One way of reducing the intensity of attack is to leave one Bomber or Fodder robot at each edge, and destroy the formation from the inside out.

All robots will try to ram you, as well as bomb you. You must exploit our superior mobility to survive.

During the final phase of battle the robots will make continuous attack runs. They will release their bombs at higher altitude and in greater numbers.

Robots destroyed in mid-space score higher than those destroyed in formation.

As in ASTRO BATTLES, we have the advantages of being able to fire while the robots are being deployed. For extra points try to hit them before they settle in. You can blast through a column to expose a Leader ship or trim the formation edges as suggested above.

This mission grows harder by increasing the frequency of attack and reducing the threshold at which continuous attack begins.

Space Warp

We drive on into Gorfian territory, drawing near the enemy Flag Ship. The Flag Ship protects itself by generating a Space Warp. Until recently this prevented us from making contact.

Our improved technology allows us to penetrate and fight within space warps. The Flag Ship will try to stop us here by launching Space Warp Fighters at us.

Space Warp Fighters are among the most sophisticated Gorfian weapons. They fly spiral courses and possess very accurate sub-quark torpedo launchers. These Torps are aimed directly at you and close in on your ship in 2 seconds or less.

Torps can be launched from any altitude, including positions below you. Some spiral courses can result in mid-warp collision with your ship.

If a Fighter escapes, it will not return to haunt you. You can complete this mission using only defensive tactics. Offensive attack is recommended however, to gain points and reduce the number of Torps to avoid.

Fighters are easiest to destroy when they first emerge. They are moving slower and the spiral is tighter. Get as close as possible to the Center for minimum firing time. If you miss, back off to gain room. Aim to intercept the spiral path tangent to its sides.

At mission 9 and above, the number of Fighters launched is increased, the spiral velocity doubles, and the Torps move faster.


Flag Ship

We now confront the Flag Ship; it is very different from the robots we have fought before and calls for a new set of tactics.

The Flag Ship is constructed of superdense neutronium. Power is provided by a large quark fusion reactor. Armament consists of a sub-quark Fireball launcher and a protective Force Field. Unlike force fields of our technology, they can shoot through from their side without deactivation. In advanced missions the Flag Ship will be accompanied by several Gorfs. It will also launch Fireballs at a faster rate.

Neutronium ships are difficult to destroy. A blast that would destroy a conventional robot will only dislodge a chunk of neutronium. These chunks represent a serious mid-space collision hazard. Points are awarded if you blast one in flight. During missions 15 and beyond these chunks will have higher velocity.

The only way to destroy the Flag Ship is to hit its internal power reactor. This can be done by chipping through the neutronium beneath with repeated shots. It is reported that there is a small Reactor Vent near the center through which a skillful pilot can hit the reactor with one shot.

Recommended strategy is to first create large voids in the Force Field with repeated shots. Observe the rate and direction of fire from the Flag Ship, and when clear, shoot for the reactor. It is important to hit the reactor as soon as possible, since the firing rate intensifies overtime.

When the reactor is hit, an unstable reaction will ensue. This culminates in a violent explosion which will generate an unstable space warp, scattering the neutronium

You have accomplished your mission and will receive a field promotion for your skill and bravery. This is a moment to savor, for soon the battle will begin again.

Note: A bonus ship will be awarded to pilots honoring their promotion from Space Cadet to Space Captain.

ISDF Membership I.D.

As a volunteer pilot, active in the fight against the diabolical Gorfian Robot Empire, you will receive your proper respect and identification with this card:



It entitles you to receive all bulletins and rankings of other pilots everywhere on this planet.

Please complete the front of the card with your name and other pertinent information required.

On the other side of the card is a handy form to record your rank, scores and dates of your achievements which you can display to your fellow pilots and officers.

We commend you for your participation in this important mission challenge.

To get your card, write to ISDF Command Headquarters.


That's a large chunk of the GORF Combat Manual. I had no idea that GORF had such an established backstory. To really get the feeling of the manual, you should read the whole document, which has additional information. It's also fun to look at the screenshots and pictures that are included in the manual. It seems that you really could send away for this ISDF Pilots Association card, as an address was included (which I didn't include here). I wonder if anyone who sent away for it still has their card? Also, the ISDF Structure section of the manual infers that you could send Midway your high scores, and it they were good enough, they would publicize them. That's really cool!



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On Friday of last week, my friend Chris and I played the arcade version of GORF and we also emulated several versions of the game on various home consoles and computers. Here is a look at the first one that I played this evening (which I couldn't get to start when Chris was here).


I gave GORF a try using the Vic-20. It looks like this:




I imagine that an Astrocade version of GORF may have had a similar resolution as the Vic-20 version of this game. I emulated the Vic-20 with the VICE 2.4 emulator in Windows 7. Here is my best score after two tries of this game:


GORF (Vic-20): 3,270




Remember, we're not playing for high score scores on the alternate versions of the game. You get a bonus point for just trying non-arcade versions of the game. Still give the other versions at least a few tries. I managed to get to the Warp level.


Here are the front and back of the box for the Vic-20 version of GORF:




Here is what the cartridge looks like:




If you're interested, here is the manual for the Vic-20 version of the game:




Here are a few comments on GORF for the Vic-20 that I noticed in my small bit of playtime with the game. The enemy's shots can sometimes miss you when they really should have hit you: that's great! But, to offset that advantage, the shots of the baddies can also hit you when they actually should have missed you; that's not great! This game looks pretty chunky!


If you want to see a video of GORF in action on Commodore's "wonder computer," then never fear; here is a video from YouTube:



Last week I played the Commodore 64, Colecovision and Atari 8-bit home computer versions of GORF. All of them were interesting to compare to the arcade version of the same game. I'll post my pictures of playing those versions in the next couple of days. Yeah, and I still need to post a score for the arcade version of GORF.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not any good at any version of GORF, but I do enjoy the game. Here is my best score (so far) for the arcade version of GORF:


GORF - 10,260 (Arcade, Wave 8)




When I played this in MAME today, I turned my 4:3 monitor sideways and enjoyed GORF in the way it was meant to be played: vertically! Having the correct monitor orientation didn't help my score at all, but it was fun to play it full-screen.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played another two different versions of GORF this evening.


First up, we have a prototype version for the Commodore MAX system. What, you've never heard of that "computer?" I'm not surprised. This rare system used the same hardware as the Commodore 64, but only had 2KB of RAM and 0.5KB of "color memory" (which, I think, is screen RAM). The MAX looked like this:




It looks very cool, right? I knew this system existed, because it was mentioned in passing the the Commodore 64 User's Manual. Even though I kept my eyes open for a Commodore Max in the 1990s when I went to thrift stores all the time, I never saw one of these units for sale. Even to this day, I've only seen the MAX in pictures on the Internet; never in person.


Here is a picture of GORF on the MAX:




The MAX version of GORF doesn't seem to be quite done-- or at least it's not play tested much. On the first screen, the enemies all return if you don't pass the level. That is, even if you only have one invader left to destroy on level one, if you lose a life, then it's like you never shot any baddies at all. Also, nearly as soon as you get to level 2, your get hit by the baddies which move in two large groups. I never managed to pass stage 2 on the MAX system; it just wasn't worth my time.


If you want to know more about the MAX, then you can read about it here:




The Commodore 64 version of the GORF is much better than the MAX version, plus it also supports the rare Commodore Magic Voice, which was an early voice synthesizer for the C64. Here is the game's box cover:




Here are two screenshots for the Commodore 64 versions of the game:




If you're interested in hearing the C64 version of the game talk (which can't be emulated), then check out Bill Loguidice's video of GORF using the optional Magic Voice add-on unit:


(Thanks for making this video, Bill!)


I've noticed that the scoring between GORF varies widely between the different game platforms. The C64 version of the game seems too easy, as I reached wave seven on my first try. I'm no longer keeping track of my scores on any system but the arcade version of GORF.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've played the Atari 8-bit home computer version of GORF; it's quite good. It's not nearly as colorful as the Commodore 64 version (the sprites are monochrome on the Atari version), but I think it plays a much better game than on the C64.


Check out the manual cover for GORF from Roklan:




Notice anything familiar about this cover? Yeah, that's right; it looks nearly identical to the layout of the game manual releases from Astrocade, Inc.


Here are two screenshots of GORF on the Atari home computer:




I couldn't get very far in this game on my few tries with it this evening. My high score, which I wouldn't mention at all (because its so low) is an appealing number for us classic gaming fans. Look at my score and what does it make you think of right now? That's right... the Atari 2600!


If you're curious to see GORF in action on the Atari home computer, then here is a good video showing the game's excellent gameplay.



There are some oddities about the Atari 8-Bit version of GORF. The biggest one is that your bullets don't shot through the shield on the 1st (and 4th?) level of the game. Instead, the shield disappears while your holding down the button. It takes a little getting used to at first, but I like this play mechanic.


The Atari 5200 version of GORF is identical to this version, except that it was released by CBS Electronics and supports the 5200's analog controller. If it controls as poorly as other games that use the 5200 stock controller... .then it's probably awful.


All of these home conversions of GORF use a horizontal layout rather than the arcade game's original vertical layout. It changes the game's dynamics quite a bit, but it still works to some degree, but just not as well as the original game.


I'd still like to try the Atari Jaguar 2006 homebrew release of this game. It's no longer available, and the CD image wasn't made freely available due to issues with Midway.


I'm done playing home conversions of GORF, but there are still a few out there worth playing. Anyone interested in trying the Colecovision or Atari 2600 versions of this game? Does anyone participating in the HSC actually own the Jaguar version of the game?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made a short video review for Nuke the @%$* and posted it to YouTube. You can watch it here:



This is the first time, in a few rounds, where I have managed to create a video and post it before the round was completed. I still have to edit and post my two videos from the previous round to this one: Conan the Barbarian and The Crown of Zeus.


Making these videos is fun, but editing them is my least favorite part. It's not too time-consuming, but it's kind of boring. I got over being a perfectionist about the video quality, which is lucky for me, as these videos are created using a digital camera and not a direct-connect, better-looking method such as S-video in use with a video capture device. I edit them sparsely, which makes this a little easier for me.


I may make a video for GORF using the MAME emulator, but I'm not sure. There are already plenty of GORF videos out there; I'm not sure what I could add to this already overcrowded arcade gaming area. If I can figure-out anything unique or, at least, interesting to say about GORF, then perhaps I'll make a video tomorrow... if I can figure-out how.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played another version of GORF this evening, this time I played it on the Atari 2600 using the Stella emulator. GORF for the Atari VCS was programmed by Alex Leavens and Joe Gaucher. It was released in 1982 by CBS Electronics. The game does contains four screens. The first screen looks like this:



Here is the box art for this game:




I found a pretty cool ad in both German and French for GORF, but there doesn't appear to be an English version of the advertisement. From this ad, it looks like CBS had deep pockets! For instance, if you look at the box and ad, you'll notice that they're not the same picture. It almost looks like ship in the ad is using a model. Here is the French version of the ad:



AtariMania.com has a picture of a medal that you could win, but I'm not sure how a player entered the contest, as it's not mentioned in the game's manual or anywhere else that I could find. I guess if you were good enough, then you could earn this award (if you could figure-out where to send the screenshot of your score):



I only played a couple of full games of the Atari 2600 version. My high score was 4,400 points.




If you're interested in knowing more about the Atari 2600 version of GORF, then here is a good review of the game:



GORF on the Atari 2600 has a few issues, besides missing the Galaxians level (which all classic-era home ports are missing), there is an important part to the game that the Atari could have easily have done-- but for some reason it's completely absent from the game: you can't move you ship up and down at all, you can only move it side to side. That really take a lot away from the game. Also, I only made it to the Flagship once out of my two full games, but I destroyed it with one shot. I'm not sure if I got extremely lucky, or if the Flagship is really just that easy to destroy on the default skill level.


You know, while all of these versions of GORF are very similar to one another, all of them have enough differences from each other (and the arcade game), that they're each playable in their own right. So, if you haven't played any other version of GORF yet, then pull a chair up to a classic game system and play some version of this game. Or, like me... just use an emulator; you'll still have fun!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just tried out the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 versions of Gorf. On the Atari 2600, the gameplay is definitely simplified a lot from the arcade. Still, I'd say the sprites look pretty good, and it plays well.






The Atari 5200 is able to do a much more faithful conversion, with features like the shield in the first stage.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found a ROM of the Jaguar version, but I didn't manage to get it running in an emulator. The Virtual Jaguar page claims it's supported, but I decided to stop trying after reading about all the efforts cryptoboy went to emulate it without success.




But that did lead me to this cool Gorf comparison video.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found a ROM of the Jaguar version, but I didn't manage to get it running in an emulator. The Virtual Jaguar page claims it's supported, but I decided to stop trying after reading about all the efforts cryptoboy went to emulate it without success.

I have a real Jaguar and CD unit for the system. I've used it to run burned CDs before, as there are some really good freely distributable homebrew games. The Jag's CD system isn't copy protected, so you can have it run a burned CD of a commercial game (if you find the CDs). But, honestly, of the 13 commercial CD games that were released for the unit, most games are better on other systems. There are a few Jaguar exclusive games that I've owned, but nothing that stands out to me. I guess Hover Strike is a coveted exclusive, but that isn't the kind of game that I like much.


The beauty of the Jaguar unit is that there is a somewhat lively homebrew scene that uses the CD as a cheap alternative to cartridges. A few people seem to relish porting Atari ST games to the Jaguar. These games don't take advantage of the Jaguar's extended palette and other resources (these ST ports look identical to the original versions), but it's nice that the Jaguar's game library has a chance to be built-up in this manner.


As for me, there are a few reasons to own a Jaguar. You'll hear people say that Tempest 2000 is the only reason to own a Jaguar, but I don't concur with that idea. Tempest 2000 is certainly one of the best games on that system (maybe even from the era), but there are other stand-outs. For instance, the Jaguar has the superior versions of Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure and Zool 2, but those aren't exactly go-to games for most players. Other great Jaguar games are Alien vs. Predator, DOOM, Flashback, Iron Soldier, Rayman and Wolfenstein 3D (all of which I owned when they were first released) As you can see, none of these aforementioned games are system exclusives, but all of them were the best way to play these games on a console when they were released.


that did lead me to this cool Gorf comparison video.

That is a cool video. Some of those versions of GORF are public domain ports-- but it's a fun video to watch to get an idea of how popular the game has remained over the years.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm quite impressed by the Gameboy Advance homebrew. It even has digitized voices.


That looks quite impressive-- although I think everything might be too tiny to see on an actual GBA screen. The hardware of the GBA and the SNES are supposed to be similar. Does a version of this game exist for the SNES?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't believe I managed to get my video review of GORF finished and uploaded before the round ended! This is, by far, my favorite video that I've made and uploaded to YouTube. I learned a lot about how to make videos this time-- but it took me a long time to get it right. This review is about 54 minutes long, which happens to also be my longest review.


You can watch the video here:



This review includes about ten minutes of gameplay using the MAME emulator. The beginning of the review shows some pictures of the game, game flyers and other related material. The majority of this video focuses on the game's background as included in the "GORF Combat manual" that was sold for $1.95 and available from Midway.


I hope you have fun watching this review!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did not get to play in this game until the last day, but what a last day it has been. I played several versions of the game. I'm pretty terrible at it, but still really like it. I played the Amiga, Atari 2600, Atari 800 XL, Coleco vision, and Commodore 64 versions of this game. I had some issues run in the amiga version due to it being pal. I found that version to be pretty lousy for what the system is capable of, but I think it was kind of a homebrew release. The Coleco version of it was by far the easiest, and I found the Atari eight bit version of it to be very challenging. I sure Adam's opinion about the Commodore 64 version been kind of goofy. If I had played the Coleco version on a higher difficulty level I think that probably would have been the best one. I tried to play the nuclear game, but my Bally just wasn't having it. Picture attached.









Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...