Atari Star Wars: Ultimate Arcade Game Based On The Franchise

Star Wars, the arcade video game may have just celebrated its 34th anniversary, but did you know how much it cost to make and what George Lucas thought of the game?

The Star Wars franchise has been going from strength to strength for 40 years and there is no sign of its star power going supernova. Atari may have waited a few years to make their awesome vector based coin-op game on the great franchise, but it was definitely worth the wait.

Released amid the American video games crash, Atari’s Star Wars (1983) was a godsend for operators and players alike. With its distinct sit-down cockpit and upright versions invading amusement centres, Atari’s Coin-Op division created a buffer from the wreckage of the industry around it. Starting out as Warp Speed, Atari’s Mike Hally quickly changed the game title to Star Wars once Atari secured the license – and the rest as they say, is history.

Looking at the Atari Star Wars bill of materials, it is unbelievable to fathom that the arcade unit cost was a mere USD$1,249 back in 1983, which is (approx.) USD$3,090 in today’s money, which is still damn cheap! The arcade version was given the seal of approval from Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas with a plaque that reads, “A special thanks for creating THE FORCE behind so much fun”. Once inside the cockpit, Lucas was smitten and the game went gangbusters, selling thousands of units, making Atari (or more accurately, Time Warner) a ton of money!

The FORCE will always be with Atari’s classic coin-op. Always!

Atari Star Wars – cockpit concept sketch (source: arcade blogger)

The bill of material! (source: atarigames.com)

Cockpit prototype (source: atarigames.com)

The finished product! She is (still) a beaut!

Atari execs watch in anticipation as George Lucas takes a test fly! He likes it! (source: video-game-ephemera)

George getting some game play pointers from Atari’s Don Osborne (source: arcade blogger)

Our preferred arcade flyer (via: the arcade flyer archive)