Platforms: Apple II, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, IBM PC/Compatibles, ZX Spectrum


Main Genre:
Featured Vehicles:


IBM PC version of Battlezone
IBM PC version of Battlezone
Battlezone is a first-person tank game first released in arcades by Atari in November 1980; it was later ported to numerous home computers and game consoles. In the game players control a tank with the goal of earning as many points as possible by destroying the enemy tanks, missiles, and flying saucers that continuously appear.


Battlezone takes place on a large, flat plane; there are a number of obstacles (blocks and pyramids) scattered throughout and mountains on the horizon (complete with an erupting volcano). Enemies appear somewhere in the battlefield one at a time; with the help of a radar display located at the top of the screen, players need to seek out and destroy enemies before being shot themselves. Players can only have one shot on the playfield at a time, so timing and careful aim can be crucial.

The enemies encountered in Battlezone are as follows:
  • Tank: The most common type of opponent, tanks move slightly slower than the player's tank. 1,000 points are awarded for destroying a tank.
  • Missile: Missiles appear from the sky and then zig-zag their way toward's the player; they need to be shot before impact with the player's tank. 2,000 points are awarded for destroying a missile.
  • Supertank: Similar to tanks, however Supertanks can move at the same speed as the player. 3,000 points are awarded for destroying a Supertank.
  • Saucer: Saucers don't attack the player, don't appear on the radar, and always remain at a distance. 5,000 points are awarded for destroying a saucer.
Players never need to fight more than one opponent at a time; the exception is the saucers which do appear at the same time as another enemy; they don't attack, but attempt to distract the player from the real target. The various geometric obstacles are indestructible and also block tank movement; however, since they can't be destroyed by both the player and enemy tanks obstacles can potentially be useful as a shield. Bonus tanks are awarded for reaching certain point thresholds (the amount of points needed can vary depending on the version of the game and the game settings). Battlezone doesn't have formal levels, but as players successfully destroy opponents the game increases in speed and difficulty.

Graphical Variations

The original arcade version of Battlezone used a black & white vector monitor; some parts of the monitor had cellophane overlays to simulate a limited amount of color. Most home conversions of the game attempted to recreate the wireframe appearance of the original within the limitations of the system, however some versions made more drastic changes. The Atari 2600 version changes the first person perspective to a third person view from just above the tank as well as adds a lot more color. The Atari ST version actually emulates some of the original arcade code, however it also enhances the graphics with backgrounds that have solid colors and additional detail while maintaining the wireframe appearance for tanks and other enemies.
Battlezone Tank Drawing


Platform: Arcade
Programmed by: Ed Rotberg
Project Leader: Morgan Hoff
Electrical Engineer: Jed Margolin
Vector Graphics Generator by: Howard Delman
Artwork and Enemy Tank Models: Roger Hector
Erupting Volcano Code by: Owen Rubin
Platform: Atari 2600
Programmed by: Mike Feinstein
Cover artwork by: Chris Kenyon
Platform: Atari 8-bit
XE version of BattleZone was prepared by: Ken Rose
Platform: ZX Spectrum
Conversion by: Bill Witts


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version
Upright Cabinet
Arcade Version
Caberet/Mini Cabinet Version


Instruction Manual
Apple II
Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
North American Release
Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
European Release
Instruction Manual
Atari 8-bit
Instruction Manual
Atari ST
Instruction Manual
Commodore VIC-20
Instruction Manual
IBM PC/Compatibles


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Battlezone has appeared in.
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Arcade Flyers
Magazine Advertisements

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles:

Game Features

This game has been tagged with the following features: