Ballblazer: the simplest, fastest, and most competitive sport in the known
universe. It grew from dark roots in ancient space wars to become king of
all games among every lifeform within range of Interstellar Ethercast. 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 of Kalaxon and Kalamar. Minutes from now, on the
luminous surface 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 the countless
qualifying rounds and eliminations, enduring and then triumphing, across
vast parsecs, to win the right to compete for Earth's honor and the
ultimate title any being can possess: Masterblazer.
The final round is about to begin and the competitor from Earth is YOU.
Three Minutes, Two Players, One Victor!
As a young tyro, you were required to master the Ballblazer prep
procedure before you were allowed to go into competition. You perform
this procedure now, readying your equipment, setting the game length,
and sizing up your opponent.
1. Connect your controls. For one player, plug a joystick into the left
controller port. For two players, plug a second joystick into the
right controller port. Player 1 (left joystick) plays the upper
screen; player 2 (right joystick) plays the lower screen.
2. Ready the Rotofoil. Insert the Ballblazer cartridge into the
3. Turn on all systems. Switch on your TV, then press the [Power] key to
turn on the console. Demonstration play automatically begins. Each
player combination of humans and droids is demonstrated at random for
4. To play the regulation two-player (two-human), three-minute game,
press the left joystick's fire button. To select other player and game
length combinations, press [Select]. The designation for player 1 will
flash. Move your joystick up and down to choose the HUMAN or a DROID
level. Droid9 is the most skilled of the computer-controlled opponents,
and Droid1 is the least skilled. Typically you would leave player 1 at
HUMAN, for yourself.
5. Move your joystick to the right to select game length. The numbers at
the center of the band will flash. Move your joystick up and down to
choose from one- to nine-minute games.
6. Move your joystick to the right again to designate player 2. Your
opponent will be HUMAN if you have a second player. Or move your
joystick up and down to choose a DROID level.
7. Press [Select] again to watch random demonstrations for one minute.
8. Press the left joystick's fire button. to start the game.
9. Press [Reset] at any time to restart the game with the same options you
10. During play, press [Pause] to pause a game; press it again to resume
Playing the Game
Before boarding your Rotofoil, you take a moment to look over one of the
most beautiful and exciting sights in the universe: the Grid (the
Ballblazer playing field). Ah, the Grid -- 1155 squares surrounded by an
Electroboundary that keeps players and ball within bounds. Soon it'll be
you out there racing after the Plasmorb, Ethercast for all the universe to
see. Right now the pairs of Goalbeams at the end of the Grid look like an
easy shot, but when the game starts they begin moving at 5 meters per
second and the distance between them shrinks.
You tense for action as the "Song of the Grid" plays through the
headphones in your helmet. This song, created from the musical
contributions of Masterblazers of old, sets the pace for the game by
capturing the urgency and thrill of the action. Meditating on it sharpens
your competitive edge and excites the fans to a frenzy.
As you strap yourself into your Rotofoil you recite to yourself the basic
rules of the game as you learned them from the official Interstellar
Ballblazer Competition Handbook:
"Each player must compete in a regulation Rotofoil. These Rotofoils,
designed after cruisers used in ancient deep space dogfights, travel at
speeds of up to 50 meters per second. Each Rotofoil must be outfitted with
* A joystick control for navigating the Grid and blasting the Plasmorb. To
navigate, the player moves the handle in the direction of intended
travel. If in possession of the Plasmorb, the player presses the fire
button to activate the Pushfield and launch the Plasmorb.
* A Rotosnap computer that automatically rotates (or Rotosnaps) the
Rotofoil 90 degrees to face the Plasmorb (or the Goalbeams if the player
already has the Plasmorb).
* A forcefield that completely surrounds the Rotofoil. When traveling
without the Plasmorb the forcefield is a Bumpfield that withstand
collisions with other objects. When a player is within a few meters of
the Plasmorb, the forcefield becomes a Pullfield that automatically
captures the ball and centers it towards the goal. When a player in
possession of the Plasmorb presses the fire button, the forcefield
becomes a Pushfield that launches the ball.
"The game officially begins when the timer starts. Players begin by moving
downfield until they locate the Plasmorb and attempt to capture it.
"Players score points each time they blast the Plasmorb between the
Goalbeams. To score maximum points, players blast the Plasmorb between
Goalbeams that have disappeared over the horizon on the opposite end of
the Grid. This is called an Over-The-Horizon (OTH) Shot.
"A player may attempt to steal the Plasmorb by rushing up beside the
opponent, blasting the Plasmorb away, and going after it."
Viewing Game Action
New fans sometimes ask for pointers on viewing the action. The Interstellar
Ballblazer Combination Program includes the following information on
viewing the game.
"In the following illustration, two players in Rotofoils are facing each
other. In the top screen, you are looking out of the cockpit window at your
opponent's Rotofoil and the ball.
"In the bottom screen, your opponent is looking out at your Rotofoil, the
Plasmorb, and the Goalbeams. Your opponent has the ball and is heading
towards the goal, but you are blocking the line of fire. Your opponent has
three points, and you have seven. There are two minutes and 11.5 seconds
left in the game."
As you moved up through the elimination games you caught the attention of
the famous Masterblazer Arboster Kipling. Arboster was so impressed with
your steady nerves, timing, and devotion to the game he decided to
personally supervise your advanced training. In the last training session
before the Championship he gave you his most valuable tips:
"Listen kid, you're pretty good for a human. You've got a real shot at the
title if you keep in mind a few little tricks.
"First, try to make your goals early in the game before the distance
between the Goalbeams begins to shrink.
"Your OTH Shots will be more successful if you take aim and blast the ball
just before the Goalbeams disappear over the horizon.
"Sometimes you might find yourself too close to the Electroboundary for a
high-scoring OTH Shot. If you do, just blast yourself backwards and catch
the ball on the rebound.
"To shake off an opponent who's tailing you closely for the ball, make sure
the opponent's Rotofoil is directly behind you, then blast the Plasmorb.
The force will send your opponent backwards and the ball ahead so you can
get to it first.
"Here's a real classic -- the block. Simply position yourself between the
Plasmorb and the Goalbeams. This will block all but the trickiest angle
"I guess you're thanking me now for all the practice I put you through. Of
course, you got the most out of every practice session by shooting at the
Electroboundary just outside the Goalbeams. That way you got in a lot of
shots without going through the whole goal-scoring sequence.
"And all those Droid demo games I made you watch gave you a chance to study
technique, especially Plasmorb stealing. You've got it down now, getting in
real close until the buzz of your opponent's Rotofoil is loudest and you
have the power to blast the Plasmorb as far as possible. We pros call it
'maxing the buzz.'
"Oh, and don't let the Rotosnaps disorient you. Listen for the snap when
you rotate so you can keep your sense of direction.
"Let's see. Anything else? Oh yeah. Nobody ever scored any points by
sitting still. Keep moving!
"Well, I guess that's it. When it's all over I hope it's the other guy's
Rotofoil I see spinning out in defeat. Go get 'em, kid."
The official Interstellar Ballblazer Competition Handbook states the
following about scoring:
"A player scores by blasting the Plasmorb between the Goalbeams. Goals made
when the Goalbeams have disappeared behind the horizon (OTH Shots) score 3
points. Goals made closer to the Goalbeams score 2 points. Close-in goals
score 1 point.
"The total score (the combined points of both players) cannot exceed 10
points for each game.
"A player scoring 10 consecutive points wins the game in a shut-out.
Otherwise, the player with the most points (score circles filled in with a
player's color) at the end of the game period wins. In the event of a tie
the game goes into overtime and the next player to score wins.
"When all score circles are filled, a player can steal points by scoring
more goals. For example, if Droid5 scores the first 9 points and the human
scores the next 6 points, the human wins 6 to 4."
Ballblazer was created by the Lucasfilm Games Division: David Levine
(Project Leader), concept, design and programming; Peter Langston (Games
Group Leader), design and programming; David Riordan and Garry Hare of
Search and Design, design. Contributions and support Charlie Kellner,
Gary Winnick, and David Fox. Special thanks to George Lucas.
ATARI, the ATARI logo, and 7800 are trademarks or registered trademarks of
Atari Corporation. Arboster Kipling, Ballblazer, Bumpfield, Droid,
Electroboundary, Ethercast, Goalbeams, Grid, Interstellar Ballblazer
Championship, Kalamar, Kalaxon, Lucasfilm Games, Masterblazer,
Over-the-Horizon (OTH) Shot, Plasmorb, Pullfield, Pushfield, Rotofoil,
Rotosnap, Song of the Grid, and all other character names and elements of
the game fantasy are trademarks and (C) 1985, 1987 of Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL);
all rights reserved. Atari Corporation, authorized user.
Copyright (C) 1987, Atari Corporation
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
All rights reserved.
Printed in Hong Kong C300018-015 Rev. A B.T.5.1988
This document obtained from the History of Home Video Games Homepage, ©1997-1998 by Greg Chance