Ballblazer: the simplest, fastest and most competitive sport in the
known universe. It grew from dark roots in ancient space war to
become king of all games among every lifeform within range of
Interstellar ethercasting, In exactly three minutes, Ballblazer can
make you a hero--or destroy a lifetime of dreams.
The year is 3097, and the place is a null-gravity nexus mid-space
in the binary star system Kalaxon and Kalamar. Moments from now, on
the face of an artificial asteroid, the final round of the
Interstellar Ballblazer Championship--the greatest tournament of all
time and space--will begin, and history will be made. For the first
time, a creature from the planet Earth has battled through countless
qualifying rounds and eleminations, enduring and then triumphing,
across vast parsecs, to win the right to compete for the honor of
his planet, and the ultimate title any being can posess:
Purple: You're playing the top screen. You have the ball, you're
coming up on the goalbeams, getting in position to score.
Orange: You're playing the bottom screen. You see your opponent
quickly approaching the Goalbeams with the ball.
Ballblazer: The Game
You're strapped in a Rotofoil. So is your opponent. The screen is
split so you each have your own view of the game. You see your
opponent's Rotofoil, Your opponent sees yours.
You face each other. One of you presses START and the ball is fired.
Go for it and get it before your opponent does. Now find the moving
goalposts and blast the ball through for a score. It's total speed,
power, and points--one on one until time runs out.
The one with the most points wins. It's easy to play--difficult to
master. But go to Step One and find out for yourself.
1) Insert the cartridge for Ballblazer in your Atari 5200 SuperSystem
as explained in your Owner's Guide, and turn on the system.
2) Plug controllers into jacks 1 and 2. Use controller 1 to play
the top screen.
3) Demo game: Press the 0 key to watch demonstration games between
Droids. Notice the split screen. Each half shows the view from
one of the Rotofoils. Press any key to stop the demonstration.
And remember: the Interstellar Ballblazer Conference strictly
forbids betting on Droid matches.
4) Select Game Options: First press the * key. One of these options
will flash: Top Player (Purple, left), Game Time (Middle), Bottom
Player (Orange, right).
5) Change The OPTION: Press the # key to choose Human, Droid 1
through Droid 9, or to change the game time from one minute to nine
6) Press START: The ball is fired into the middle of the Grid.
7) Push joystick forward: Look at your half of the screen and keep
moving forward until you reach the ball. Your ship will rotate if
the ball goes out of sight to the left or right. Just keep moving
forward and you'll get to it (Jack 1 controls the top of your
screen; jack 2 controls the bottom).
8) Take The Ball: Move forward--keep the ball in your view screen.
Rush up to it. Your Pullfield automatically captures the ball and
centers it in your viewscreen. Then your Rotofoil automatically
snaps around to face your goal. You'll hear a sound and the ball
will change to your color when you capture it.
9) Blast The Ball: Push any of your fire buttons.
10) Steal The Ball: Go after your opponent, moving in from the side.
When you hear a loud buzz, blast the ball away. Go after it--capture
11) Score: Find the Goalbeams. Line them up in your screen. Center.
Fire. And blast the ball through the Goalbeams.
12) Stop The Game: Press the PAUSE button, Press it again to resume.
13) Reset the Game: Press PAUSE, then RESET.
* Two meters high, with a footpad 2.5 meters in diameter.
* Mass=3000 kilograms
* Two-axis thrusters; cruising velocity = 50 meters/second
* Rotosnap: On-board computer automatically rotates Rotofoil 90
degrees to face ball. Rotofoil rotosnaps to face goal when you
capture the ball. (Sketch of Rotofoil)
* One square on Ballblazer grid = 5*5 Meters
* Ballblazer Grid = 55 squares (275 meters) * 21 Squares (105 Meters)
* Curvature of Grid: an object 2 meters high may be seen at distance
up to sixteen squares (80 meters)
* Electroboundary surrounds the Grid and keeps Plasmorb and
Rotofoils within Grid field.
* Pure energy, in visable range
* One set at each end of grid.
* Motion: approx. 5 meters/second.
* Initial Spacing: 12.5 meters
* Spacing shrinks each time goal is scored.
* Spacing after seven goals: 2.5 meters.
* Diameter = 5/8 meter
* Mass = 1000 kilograms
* Floats 2 meters above Grid
* Normal Color: Yellow
*Initial Velocity: 450-600 meters/second
Slan: Welcome ladies, gentlemen, and variants, to the final round of
Ballblazer 3097. I'm Slan Sterling, the Voice of the Void, and
ethercasting with me today is Arboster Kipling, one of the great
Masterblazers of recent times, now Governor of the Omega Colonies.
We haven't talked since you purchased the Omega Colonies with
your Tournament purse. How is it owning a planetary system?
Arboster: Slan, it definitely beats working. On the other hand,
there are times I'd like to be back in a Rotofoil, working the
grids like any other blazer.
Slan: Arboster, this is the first time an Earthling has made the
final round of the Interstellar. What are his chances?
Arboster: Frankly, I think he's in trouble. These Terrans are a
young species--they were barely out of their atmosphere when the
game was invented.
Slan: Which Was Then?
Arboster: Centuries ago, Slan, at the end of the Great Madness--back
when there was still war. For deep space dogfights, you had to
maneuver your vehicle under the incredible g-forces of close
combat--reverse thrust instantly, sustaining plasma-torpedo blasts
on your energy shield, that sort of thing. The g-forces during
space combat would snap your neck like a toothpick.
Slan: And so a new breed arose, right? The thick necks, the
shortened synaptic connections, the triple-walled lungs.
Arboster: Exactly. Part of it was old-fashioned genetic
engineering, of course. But Ballblazing developed from actual
military training exercises. They used vehicles like our Rotofoils,
and forcefields to simulate sudden changes in direction and
acceleration. Deadly stuff. They busted up ten recruits for every
one that saw action in space. Praise Mind, the Great Madness is
behind us, and what we have left is the finest sport of all time.
Slan: Is it true that a Masterblaster such as yourself has the most
highly evolved nervous system of any creature in the galaxy?
Arboster: Oh, gee, Slan, I don't know about that. The Scylliac
venom hunters on Trogon--the guys whgo actually grab the fangs--
those are pretty fast boys.
Slan: Modesty aside, Arboster...
Arboster: (Deep Sigh) Well, Slan, Ballblazing isn't just a sport.
It's deep discipline for the nervous system. When the on-board
computer rotosnaps you ninety degrees, just keeping a clear head can
be the toughest part of it all. But it's worth it. Once you have
the pace of Ballblazing, dealing with the rest of the galaxy seems
Slan: Excuse me, Arboster. Here are the two Rotofoils now, vectoring
onto the field. Crockett, from Earth, is in purple, and Xarta,
representing the Minotaur System, is in orange. In the background
we're hearing the traditional "Song of the Grid." That's
auto-improvised, of course...
Crockett on Forcefields:
Any Blazer who doesn't understand forcefields doesn't understand
the game. Imagine that your Rotofoil is surrounded by a big pillow
of energy--that's your Bumpfield, and objects, like other Rotofoils,
bounce off it.
When the Plasmorb gets close--about seven and a half meters--your
Pullfield is activated and captures the ball. Of course, this is a
/smart/ forcefield--it centers the ball on the goal side, as your
Rotofoil snaps around to face it. Then you're ready to make a charge
downgrid and make a goal.
Finally, you activate your Pushfield with the fire buttons. It's as
if the big energy pillow is suddenly pushing out. It only works
when the Plasmorb is within ten meters. You can tell when the ball
is close enough to use the Pushfield by listening for the buzz.
Arboster: Based on the contributions of former Masterblasters, It is
really an honor to hear my own melody in there among those of the
Slan: The musical essence of Masterblasters of old is heard, as each
Rotofoil takes its place, ready for the first face-off. And the two
best Ballblazers in the galaxy are starting down the grid,
meditating on the "Song," waiting. Xarta attracted some attention
coming up through the preliminaries, didn't he?
Arboster: Sure he did. The scaly Minotaur can shut out a Level 9
droid in less than a minute, But beating a Droid doesn't mean you
can beat a human. Wherever you go, there's one regulation
Ballblazer game--three minutes, two players, one victor.
Slan: Stirring words, Arboster--and here we go! The Plasmorb blasts
in from our left, and both Xarta and Crockett are already
accelerating downfield. Each had full stick forward even before the
Arboster: All these boys are hearing now is that freeball rhythm,
Slan: All right! Crockett's Rotofoil has captured the orb in its
Pullfield and now he's veering right, heading for the goal,
trying to get around Xarta.
Arboster: The goal is moving, of course, in the same direction the
ball is fired.
Slan: There you go. Crockett's sighted the goal but he's reversing
direction, backing up, faking out Xarta. He's back to where the
goalbeams must have already disappeared over the horizon--but he
blasts anyway, That's it! Three points for the Earthling with an
early over-the-horizon shot!
Arboster: And you do want to get those OTH shots in early, Slan,
before the goal begins to shrink.
Slan: Arboster, you're often credited with perfecting the OTH
Arboster: Somebody had to.
Slan: OK. Here we go, second face-off, the ball blasts from the
right this time, with Xarta out in front. The Minotaur has it--
and his Rotofoil rotates to face the goal.
Arboster: Sign of a good player here is not losing his orientation
Rotosnap. Move forward, forward...
Slan: But Crockett is catching up alongside him now--part of the
Minotaur's Rotofoil power goes into that activated Pullfield. But
Crockett's not using his Pushfield yet.
Arboster: Good play You want to get in close, really hear that
electromagnetic buzz in your helmet before you blast. "Max the
buzz," is what we teach the nestlings on my planets.
Slan: All right. Crockett blasts the ball away from the Minotaur,
but Xarta recovers. Crockett is blocking but--there it is! Straight
past the Earthling, into the goal, two points for Xarta.
Arboster: Classic goal defense there by the Earthling--stay
between your goal and the opponent. But it's no match for a good
Slan: Arboster, we've seen some quick scoring here today.
Arboster: That's right. These boys have been competing since age
twelve. This is the Terran's chance to make a big splash in the
galaxy, so a lot is riding on young Crockett.
Slan: And here goes the third faceoff. Ball in from the right
this time, the Rotofoils race down, and Crockett is there a
microsecond before Xarta--but he doesn't immediately capture
the ball. He's...
Arboster: What we're seeing here is some fine Pushfield
dribbling, Crockett know that if he captures the ball he'll lose
power, so he's keeping his Pushfield activated. Each time he
gets near the ball, the Pushfield bounces it forward. Fine
control there, by the Earthling. But he has to capture the ball
Slan: There--he captures, swings the ball to the left of his
field view and blasts--
Arboster: --and misses. The ball bounces off the electroboundary
and to the left of the Goalbeam. Xarta accelerates, captures...
Slan: Crockett is already moving back. He's going to try a block
midfield, but Xarta is out ahead.
Arboster: The Earthling has the right idea--the key to active
defense is to keep moving, keep moving...
Slan: Incredible! Xarta makes an angle shot, the orb bounces off
the electroboundary and back into the Grid. He maneuvers around the
Earthling, captures the ball directly in front of the goal--
Arboster: --blast! blast!--
Slan: --and that's it! The horizon flashes with the scoring
electomagnetic pulse, and that's another point for the Minotaur.
Arboster: That score looks close, but I think it's obvious that
we're seeing an outclassed player here. I'd wager to say that a
few hundred million hearts are sinking on Earth now.
As indeed there are. For the next two minutes, billons of
Earthlings, scattered throughout their tiny solar system, hang on
every word of the distant ethercast, hopes rising, then dimming, as
face-off after face-of, Xarta from the Minotaur system holds the
Terran to a handful of points.
Crockett on Offense:
Offense is ball control--learning the ways of the Plasmorb. At the
face-off, have your stick forward, move out and capture the
Plasmorb--it'll change to your color, and you'll rotosnap to face
the goal. Don't blast the instant you capture the ball. Wait for
the Rotosnap, get oriented, then head for the Goalbeams--they'll
be moving in the same direction the ball was blasted in.
Watch your screen. When the Plasmorb is aimed between the
Goalbeams, blast. If you're in close, you get one point. Farther
back, two. And if you can't actually see the Goalbeams--you get
three. The Goalbeams narrow after each score, so go for two- and
three-pointers first. If you get ten points, it's a shutout.
Otherwise, the winner has the highest score at the end of the game
period. If you're tied, you go into overtime, and the next score
Once you get the feel of it, try some angle shots. Let the Plasmorb
swing to one side of the viewscreen, then blast--it will go in that
direction. To get around a blocker, use an angle shot off the wall.
Bounce the ball off the electroboundary, past your oppponent's
Rotofoil, then rush forward and capture it again.
When you get good, try Pushfield dribbling. Keep your firebutton
down as you approach the Plasmorb. Instead of catching it in your
Pullfield--which uses 25% of your energy--just nudge the Plasmorb
along in front of you. Then capture it when you want to blast a
Now with fewer than fifteen seconds remaining, the Terran Crockett
is behind nine to one and the face off begins.
Slan: And here we go with the last face-off; the clock is running,
the orb blasts in from the right. Look at that Earthling move!
Arboster: He's captured the ball and rushes the goal--but pulls
back--catching Xarta by surprise.
Slan: And there are the first notes of the final countdown...
Arboster: It's an impossible long shot...
Slan: Incredible! He made it! The horizon is flashing, the clock
stops with just 2.5 seconds to run...three points for the Terran
pushes his score back to four points against Xarta's six.
Crockett on Defense:
Even the best Blazer doesn't have the ball all the time. When you
don't, you're on defense and you've got two choices: buzz-blasting
If you're chasing downgrid, don't get directly behind him--jam in
from the side to buzz-blast the ball away. Then you've got to grab
that free-ball for yourself.
You know you're within blasting range when you hear the buzz. The
closer you are, the louder the buzz, the better the blast.
The toughest part of buzz-blasting is knowing when you've
rotosnapped to face the ball. Keep rotosnapping back and forth and
listen for the sound of the rotosnap--that's how you know you've
changed direction. Then when you overtake your opponent, you've
got to remember which side you're on. It's easier to just do it,
than try to talk about it.
Blocking is a tougher kind of defense--at least for tyros. It means
situating yourself between the goal and the opponent. Keep him
centered in your viewscreen. I usually know telepathically what the
view is from my opponent's rotofoil. And I try to keep myself right
between his goalbeams. You can do it, too.
Arboster: Slan, we're seeing history here. One more point and the
score goes to five all. Then the game could go into sudden death
Slan: Face-off, the Rotofoils in front of their goals, the orb
blasts in--600 meters per second--the Terran rushes and...
Arboster: One second, Xarta has captured the orb. He's backing up,
Slan: And that's it! The clock hits zero, the Terran's Rotofoil
spins out in the traditional loser's penance, the atmosphere over
the asteroid glows with the orange color of the victor from
Arboster: One remarkable contest, Slan. I think...
Slan: Wait one microsecond. Xarta has remained on the Grid, to
accompany the Terran Rotofoil off the field. It's a gesture I
don't think we've seen in this tournament for centuries! Arboster?
Arboster: It's a brand-new Masterblaster's tribute to an up-and-
coming species, Slan. I'd say that we're going to be hearing more
about Earthlings. A few millenia from now, these Terrans are likely
to be real contenders.
Slan: Thank you, Arboster Kipling. This is Slan Sterling, Voice of
the Void, returning you to your local ethercast. We'll see you here,
next solar cycle, same place, same game. In fact, the only game:
Ballblazer. Three minutes, two players, one victor!
Interview with Xarta
S: An incredible match, Xarta.
X: Great Mind, I'm a wreck. Where in the void did this Terran come
S: Little G-class star, nothing fancy, just off the Main Sequence.
X: What a Blazer. His neurons must fire at warp-speed.
S: But not quite fast enough. Xarta, by Tournament law, you're now
retired. Care to pass on a few tips to Blazers on the way up?
X: As long as it doesn't get back to the Earthlings.
S: Of course.
X: OK. Here's an old Minotaur trick for over-the-horizon shots.
Shoot when you can still just make out the Goalbeams. The reaction
of the blast knocks you back, over the horizon--and the score is
based on your position when the Plasmorb actually passes through
the goal. Best trick in the galaxy for turning two points into
S: How about the way you escaped the Earthling in the second minute?
X: Simple. I'm moving downgrid with the ball, and I know he's right
behind me. I can almost see his viewing screen, with me right in the
middle of it. So I blast. The ball goes forward and I recoil back
right into him, blasting him back to I can get to the ball first.
S: Anything for close-in goal play?
X: Here's one I learned from Arboster. If you have the Plasmorb,
but you're up against the boundary and need to move back to shoot,
hold your stick forward and blast--you'll blast back to three-point
range, and you can catch the ball on the rebound.
S: How about for the tyros, just starting out?
X: Go out on the Grid, and practice aiming just outside the
Goalbeams. The Plasmorb bounces back, instead of going through the
whole goal sequence. You get more practice in a short time.
S: Anything else?
X: Yeah. Stay away from Earthlings. Something tells me those guys
are really gonna be trouble.
Masterblazer logo, Interstellar Ballblazer Conference.
Ballblazer was created by the Lucasfilm Computer Division Games
Group. David Levine created the concept, directed the project, and
designed and implemented the screen graphics, physical dynamics,
control structures, and mainline program. Peter Langston, the Games
Group Leader, designed and implemented the sound effects and
practice Droid intelligence, composed and programmed the music,
and helped devise the game-play mechanisms and strategy. David
Riordan and Garry Hare of Search and Design contributed game
design elements and game rules. Charlie Kellner helped
conceptualize game dynamics. Ideas and support were provided by
other members of the Games Group: David Fox provided aesthetic
support and Gary Winnick contributed to the Rotofoil design. Special
thanks to George Lucas.
(Screen shot inserted)
The screen is split so you each have your own view of the game (1).
You're got the top screen, so you see your opponent's orange
Rotofoil (2). Your opponent sees your purple Rotofoil (3). There's
only a half second left (4). The score is four to three with your
opponent in the lead (5). Your opponent has the ball and is quickly
approaching the Goalbeams (6). But you're blocking the line of fire.
Typed by Dan Reinholtz
For Atari Gaming Headquarters