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Zaxxon

From Sega Retro

n/a











Zaxxon Arcade Title.png
Zaxxon
Publisher: Sega,
Atari 2600
Coleco,
Apple II
Atari 8-bit Family
Dragon 32/64
TRS-80 TRS-80 Color Computer Datasoft,
MSX
Philips (EU), Pony Canyon (JP),
Commodore 64
TRS-80 Cogito,
ZX Spectrum
U.S. Gold
Developer:
Distributor:
Atari 8-bit Family
Callisto Computers (UK)
System(s): Sega Zaxxon hardware, SG-1000, Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit family, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, DOS, Dragon 32, Intellivision, MSX, TRS-80, TRS-80 CoCo, Virtual Console, ZX Spectrum
Genre: Shoot-'em-Up






























Release Date RRP Code
Arcade
JP
1982-01[1] ¥?  ?
Arcade
US
1982 $?  ?
Arcade
DE
198x  ?  ?
Atari 2600
US
1982 $?  ?
Atari 2600
EU
1982 £29.95[2][3]  ?
Atari 2600
BR
1982 $?  ?
Atari 5200
US
1984 $?  ?
ColecoVision
US
1982 $?  ?
ColecoVision
EU
1983 £29.95[4]  ?
Mattel Intellivision
US
1983 $?  ?
Mattel Intellivision
EU
1983 £?  ?


Commodore 64
US (Cartridge)
$39.95Media:Zaxxon C64 US PrintAd.jpg[5] ?
Commodore 64
UK (Cassette)
£9.95[6] ?
Commodore 64
UK (Disk)
£14.95[6] ?
ZX Spectrum
UK (Cassette)
£7.95[7][8] ?
Apple II
US
$39.95[9] ?
Atari 8-bit Family
US
$? ?
Atari 8-bit Family
UK (Cassette)
£14.95[10] ?
IBM PC compatibles
US
$? ?
MSX
JP
¥? ?
MSX
UK
£11.95[11] ?
Dragon 32/64
EU
€? ?
TRS-80 US $? 26-1956
TRS-80 Color Computer US $? ?



SG-1000
JP
¥4,300 G-1038
SG-1000
TW
NT$? B-038



Wii Virtual Console
JP (Arcade)
¥500 points ?
Wii Virtual Console
US (Arcade)
$800 points ?
Wii Virtual Console
EU (Arcade)
€500 points ?



Zaxxon (ザクソン) is an arcade shoot 'em up video game released by Sega. It is named after its groundbreaking use of axonometric projection (though more specifically, it uses isometric projection) and was released for bespoke arcade hardware in 1982.

Zaxxon was the first video game to use an isometric perspective, a graphical style which would see widespread use in the years which followed. It was an early attempt at adding three-dimensional depth to the shoot 'em up genre. The term "isometric perspective" was originally coined by Sega in reference to Zaxxon.[12]

Zaxxon stands as one of Sega's earliest video game successes, and is also notable for being the first arcade game to be advertised on US television, with a commercial being produced by Sega's then-owners Paramount Pictures for $150,000[13].

Gameplay

In Zaxxon, the player controls a starship which continuously moves towards the top right of the screen - a "diagonal" sidescroller, as opposed to the horizontal or vertical shooters more commonly seen. The basic idea is to shoot at and destroy enemies within a space fortress to rank up points, while avoiding obstacles and enemy fire.

What made Zaxxon unique at the time was the ability for the player to adjust the ship's height as well as move the craft left and right, essentially creating one of the first three-dimensional shooters (though the player can still only move in two dimensions, as he/she cannot stop the ship from moving forward). With this comes the task of navigating scenery - Zaxxon has levels which take part in space stations, and the player must duck and dive to avoid crashing into objects. Furthermore missiles can be launched upwards from the ground (similar to Scramble by Konami), and the player must obtain fuel to stay airbourne.

History

Legacy

Zaxxon stands as one of Sega's first big successes in the arcade video game market, and was subsequently brought to a plethora of home systems during the early 1980s, being one of the most widely ported Sega games in history. The hardware behind the game also went in to fuel other isometric arcade games, such as Congo Bongo and Future Spy.

The Atari 2600 and Intellivision versions of the game (published by Coleco) are the most radically different, opting for a third-person "behind the ship" view rather than an isometric one, presumably due to hardware limitations. It has been suggested, however, that Coleco purposely dumbed down these versions for competition purposes - their ColecoVision port was for many years the most accurate home copy of the game, however skipped a few levels due to cartridge restrictions (something later fixed with Zaxxon Super Game for Coleco's Adam computer).

For a while, Datasoft had the rights to computer cassette and disk versions of the game in North America and Europe, producing ports to the Apple II, Atari 8-bit computer line, Commodore 64 Dragon 32, TRS-80 and TRS-80 CoCo. Zaxxon was among the first licensed TRS-80 (and TRS-CoCo) video games to be released - up until this point few major video game developers supported either of Tandy's machines, so it was more common to see unofficial clones (and indeed many clones of Zaxxon would emerge in the following years, such as Zaksund and Z-89).

As well as Datasoft's version, another official port of Zaxxon produced for the Commodore 64 and released on cartridge. The cartridge version has more accurate visuals but is generally regarded as less playable. U.S. Gold also published versions of Zaxxon for the ZX Spectrum, while an MSX version was published by Pony Canyon (on cartridge) in Japan and by Philips (on cassette) in Europe. Also released was an IBM PC version in the "PC Booter" format. An Atari 5200 version similar to the Atari computers copy was also released.

Sega produced their own home port of the game for Japanese SG-1000s in 1985, however held back from bringing the game to more modern Sega platforms. Zaxxon was not seen again until a surprise appearance in the Sega Mega Drive Collection and Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection compilations, and in more recent times, the arcade version has been made available through the Wii's Virtual Console service.

As one of Sega's first success stories, Zaxxon was also turned into a board game by Milton Bradley in 1982. Bandai and Coleco also released VFD and LCD versions of the game, in the form of a tabletop Zaxxon, FL Zaxxon and a handheld Zaxxon. Curiously, Sega of America, through its blog, has erroneously laid claim to several other versions of Zaxxon - a homebrew Commodore Amiga version from 1995, and a version for the Dragon 32/64 computer (based on the TRS-80 CoCo version), whose legitimacy has yet to be verified.

Zaxxon was followed in the arcades by Super Zaxxon, which despite offering similar gameplay, was far less successful. Also created was Zaxxon 3D for the Sega Master System and Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 for the Sega 32X.

Production credits

Apple II version

Game Programming by: John Garcia
Assisted by: Jim Ratcliff
Graphic Artist: Kelly Day
Documentation: Jean Stedman

Commodore 64 version

C64 Version by Peter Adams

Magazine articles

Main article: Zaxxon/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

CVG UK 031.pdf

Atari 8-bit print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #31: "May 1984" (1984-04-16)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #32: "June 1984" (1984-05-16)[14]













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #33: "July 1984" (1984-06-16)[15]

CVG UK 022.pdfCVG UK 022.pdf

ColecoVision print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #22: "August 1983" (1983-07-16)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #25: "November 1983" (1983-10-16)[16]













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #26: "December 1983" (1983-11-16)[17]













  • TV Gamer (UK) #2: "Autumn 1983" (1983-xx-xx)[18]

CVG UK 035.pdf

Commodore 64 print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #35: "September 1984" (1984-08-16)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #36: "October 1984" (1984-09-16)[19]













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #37: "November 1984" (1984-xx-xx)[20]

CVG UK 035.pdf

Commodore 64 print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #35: "September 1984" (1984-08-16)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #36: "October 1984" (1984-09-16)[21]













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #37: "November 1984" (1984-xx-xx)[22]

CVG UK 038.pdf

Commodore 64 print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #38: "December 1984" (1984-xx-xx)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #39: "January 1985" (198x-xx-xx)[23]

CVG UK 040.pdf

Commodore 64 print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #40: "February 1985" (198x-xx-xx)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #41: "March 1985" (1985-xx-xx)[24]

CVG UK 036.pdf

Atari 8-bit/Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #36: "October 1984" (1984-09-16)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #37: "November 1984" (1984-xx-xx)[25]

CVG UK 038.pdf

Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #38: "December 1984" (1984-xx-xx)

CVG UK 038.pdf

Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #38: "December 1984" (1984-xx-xx)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #39: "January 1985" (198x-xx-xx)[26]

CVG UK 039.pdf

Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #39: "January 1985" (198x-xx-xx)

CVG UK 040.pdf

Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #40: "February 1985" (198x-xx-xx)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #41: "March 1985" (1985-xx-xx)[27]













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #42: "April 1985" (1985-xx-xx)[28]













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #43: "May 1985" (1985-xx-xx)[29]

CVG UK 044.pdfCVG UK 044.pdf

Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #44: "June 1985" (1985-05-16)
also published in:













  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #45: "July 1985" (1985-06-16)[30]

CVG UK 047.pdfCVG UK 047.pdf

Atari/Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in














Computer & Video Games (UK) #47: "September 1985" (1985-08-16)

Photos

Physical scans

Arcade version

Zaxxon hardware, US
Zaxxon Arcade US Marquee.jpg
Zaxxon Arcade US Manual.pdf
Manual
Zaxxon hardware, FR
Zaxxon hardware, DE
Zaxxon Arcade DE Marquee.jpg
Zaxxon Arcade DE ControlPanel.jpg

SG-1000 version

SG-1000, JP
Zaxxon SG-1000 JP Top.jpg
Zaxxon SG1000 JP Box Back.jpgZaxxon SG-1000 JP Spine.jpgZaxxon SG1000 JP Box Front.jpgZaxxon SG-1000 JP Spine2.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon SG-1000 JP Carttop.jpg
Zaxxon SG1000 JP Cart.jpg
Cart
ZaxxonSGJPManual.pdf
Manual
SG-1000, TW

Apple II version

Apple II, US
Zaxxon AppleII US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon AppleII US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon AppleII US Manual.pdf
Manual
Apple II, US (alt)
Zaxxon AppleII US Box Front Alt.jpg
Cover

Atari 2600 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
70 №32, p52-53[31]
Atari 2600
70
Based on
1 review

Atari 2600, US
Zaxxon Atari2600 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari2600 US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 US Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, EU

Zaxxon Atari2600 EU CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, UK
Zaxxon 2600 UK Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon 2600 UK Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 UK CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, FR
Zaxxon 2600 FR Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon 2600 FR Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 DE CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, DE

Zaxxon Atari2600 DE CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, DE (alt)

Atari 2600, CA
Zaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Cart1.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon Atari2600 CA Coleco Cart2.jpg
Alternative cart
Atari 2600, BR (Tron)

Zaxxon Atari2600 BR Tron Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, BR (Intellivision)

Zaxxon Atari2600 BR Intellivision Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 2600, BR (Dynacom)

Zaxxon Atari2600 BR Dynacom Cart Back.jpgZaxxon Atari2600 BR Dynacom Cart.jpg
Cart

Atari 5200 version

Atari 5200, US
Zaxxon Atari5200 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari5200 US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari5200 US Cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon 5200 us manual.pdf
Manual

Atari 8-bit Family version

Atari 8-bit family, US (cartridge)
Zaxxon A8B US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari8bit US Cart.jpg
Cart
Atari 8-bit family, US (cassette)
Zaxxon Atari8bit US Datasoft Cassette Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari8bit US Datasoft Cassette Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari8bit US Datasoft Cassette.jpg
Cassette
Atari 8-bit family, US (cassette) (alt)
Zaxxon Atari8bit US Datasoft Alt Casette Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Atari8bit US Datasoft Alt Cassette Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Atari8bit US Datasoft Cassette.jpg
Cassette
Atari 8-bit family, US (disk)
Zaxxon A8B US Box Front Disk.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon A8B US Disk.jpg
Disk
Atari 8-bit family, UK (cassette)
Zaxxon Atari8bit UK Datasoft Box Back.jpgZaxxon Atari8bit UK Datasoft Box Front.jpg
Cover
Atari 8-bit family, FR (cassette)
Zaxxon A8B FR Box Cassette.jpg
Cover

ColecoVision version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
90 №8, p6[32]
90 №3
83 №5/83, p25-27
100 №6, p36-37, [1]
ColecoVision
91
Based on
4 reviews

ColecoVision, US
Zaxxon ColecoVision US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon ColecoVision US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon coleco us cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon coleco us manual.pdf
Manual
ColecoVision, EU
Zaxxon ColecoVision EU Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon ColecoVision EU Cart Top.jpg
Zaxxon ColecoVision EU Cart Back.jpgZaxxon ColecoVision EU Cart.jpg
Cart
Zaxxon coleco eu manual.pdf
Manual
ColecoVision, UK
Zaxxon ColecoVision UK Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon ColecoVision UK Cart.jpg
Cart
ColecoVision, FR
Zaxxon ColecoVision FR Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon ColecoVision FR Box.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon ColecoVision FR CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
ColecoVision, DE
Zaxxon Coleco DE Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Coleco DE Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Coleco DE Cart Back.jpgZaxxon Coleco DE Cart.jpg
Cart
ColecoVision, CA

ColecoVision, AU
Zaxxon ColecoVision AU Box.jpg
Cover

Commodore 64 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №15, p67
87 №33, p50[33]
Commodore 64
84
Based on
2 reviews

Commodore 64, US (cartridge)
Zaxxon C64 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon C64 US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon C64 US Cart.jpg
Cart
Commodore 64, US (disk)
Zaxxon C64 US Box Back Disk.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon C64 US Box Front Disk.jpg
Cover
Commodore 64, US
(disk) (Thunder Mountain)
Zaxxon C64 US Box Back Disk TM.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon C64 US Box Front Disk TM.jpg
Cover
Commodore 64, UK (cassette)
Zaxxon C64 EU Box.jpg
Cover
Commodore 64, UK (disk)
Zaxxon C64 EU Box Back Disk.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon C64 EU Box Front Disk.jpg
Cover

DOS version

DOS, US

Dragon 32 version

Dragon 32, EU

Intellivision version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
20 №9
67 №2/84, p28-29
Mattel Intellivision
44
Based on
2 reviews

Intellivision, US
Zaxxon Intellivision US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon Intellivision US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon Intellivision US Cart.jpg
Cart
Intellivision, EU
Zaxxon Intellivision EU Box Front.jpg
Cover
Intellivision, UK

Zaxxon Intellivision UK CBS Cart.jpg
Cart
Intellivision, DE

MSX version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
98 №44, p21[11]
MSX
98
Based on
1 review

MSX, EU
Zaxxon MSX EU Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon MSX Box.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon MSX EU Tape.jpg
Cassette
MSX, JP
Zaxxon MSX JP Box Front Cart.jpg
Cover

TRS-80 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №1, p59-60
TRS-80 80
Based on
1 review

TRS-80, US (cassette)

TRS-80, US (disk)
Zaxxon TRS80 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngZaxxon TRS80 US Box.jpg
Cover
Zaxxon TRS80 US Disk.jpg
Disk

TRS-80 CoCo version

TRS-80 CoCo, US
Zaxxon TRS80CoCo US Box.jpg
Cover

ZX Spectrum version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №52, p8
80 №23, p61, [2]
ZX Spectrum
80
Based on
2 reviews

ZX Spectrum, UK
Zaxxon Spectrum EU Box.jpg
Cover

External links

References


Games in the Zaxxon Series
Zaxxon (1982) | Super Zaxxon (1982) | Zaxxon Super Game (1984) | Zaxxon 3D (1987) | Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (1995) | Zaxxon Escape (2012)
Others
Zaxxon (LCD) (1982) | FL Zaxxon (1982) | Zaxxon (tabletop) (1982) | Zaxxon (board game) (1982) | The Official How to Win at Zaxxon (1982)