90s Music Videos | Retro Games

Atari 1980

Battlezone was designed by Ed Rotberg of Atari and made use of both sophisticated (for the time) hardware and some very tidy code resulting in very smooth vector graphics. This was combined with an Atari "low-tec" classic of placing a red film on the top part of the screen giving the illusion of dual colour from a mono-chrome display.

The cabinet used dual joysticks and a periscope that created a highly immersive experience for the player.

The US military was so impressed they "asked" Atari to develop a modified version known as "Army Battle Zone" or ABZ. This was to be used as a gunnery trainer for the new Bradly Fighting Vehicle (in honor of General Omar Bradly), modifications included a number of extra buttons and a different control system. There was apparently a rebel faction within Atari which included Ed Rotberg who were less than happy about this turn of events.

Battlezone had two known prototype names before it was mass produced: Future Tank and Moon Tank. A prototype of a cocktail version was developed, including full glass top artwork and control panel. Only one is known to exist as it was not released for production. There is no color overlay for the cocktail version since the images needs to flip for the second player.