Zaxxon (ザクソン) is a 1982 isometric shooter arcade game
developed and released by Sega. Some sources claim that
Japanese electronics company
Ikegami Tsushinki also worked on the
development of Zaxxon. The game gives the player the experience of
flying a fighter craft through a fortress while shooting at enemy
entities (missiles, enemy gunfire, etc.) The object of the game is to
hit as many targets as possible without being shot down or running out
of fuel—which can be replenished, paradoxically, by blowing up fuel
At the time of its release,
Zaxxon was unique as it was the first game
to employ axonometric projection, which lent its name to the game
(AXXON from AXONometric projection). The type of axonometric
projection is isometric projection: this effect simulated three
dimensions from a third-person viewpoint. It was also one of the first
video games to display shadows, to indicate the ship's altitude above
the surface; the game also employed an altitude meter, allowing
the player to control how high or low the ship is above the
surface. It was also the first arcade game to be advertised on
television, with a commercial produced by
Paramount Pictures for
The world record on
Zaxxon is 4,680,740 points scored by Vernon
Kalanikaus of Lā'ie, Hawai'i, on March 15, 1982, according to the
Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard.
A bootleg of the game was released in the arcades in 1982 called
5 In popular culture
6 Similar games
8 External links
Between 1982 and 1985,
Zaxxon was ported to IBM PC compatibles (as a
booter), Amiga 1000, Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, Atari 2600, Atari
5200, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Dragon 32, ColecoVision,
TRS-80 Color Computer
TRS-80 Color Computer and Model I.
Atari 2600 and
Intellivision ports were noticeably different
because they used a 3rd-person, behind-the-ship 3D perspective instead
of the isometric graphics of the other versions. The ColecoVision
version, designed by
Coleco staffer Lawrence Schick, was the first
home version to use the isometric graphics.
Coleco released a table top version of
Zaxxon with a
double-panel VFD screen. Bandai released 2
one VFD table top for the European and Japanese market, and an LCD
card game sold worldwide.
Zaxxon games were included as bonuses on the
Collection for Sony's
PlayStation 2 and PSP consoles. The original
Zaxxon is the game included on the PS2, and Super
Zaxxon is the one
available on the PSP.
Zaxxon was also included as an unlockable arcade
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the
Xbox 360 and
The arcade version was released on the
Virtual Console in Japan on
December 15, 2009, the PAL region on March 5, 2010 and North
America on April 12, 2010.
Unauthorized adaptations of the game were published for the TI 99/4A
Amstrad CPC (as Zaxx),
BBC Micro (as Fortress) (1984),
TRS-80 Color Computer
TRS-80 Color Computer (as Zakssund, 1983).
Hostile All Terrain Encounter (H.A.T.E.)
Hostile All Terrain Encounter (H.A.T.E.) is a
Zaxxon clone developed
Vortex Software for several 8-bit and 16-bit computers and
Gremlin Graphics in 1989.
39 / 40 (MSX)
9 / 10 (ColecoVision)
Home Computing Weekly
8 / 10 (TRS-80)
Arcade Awards (1982)
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Coin-Op Game (Certificate of Merit)
Arcade Awards (1983)
Videogame of the Year (Certificate of Merit)
Arkie Awards (1984)
Stand-Alone Game of the Year, Computer
Game of the Year (Certificate
Hall of Fame
Video Games in 1983 called the
ColecoVision version of
Zaxxon a "coup
for this new system". Video magazine also praised the ColecoVision
version in its "Arcade Alley" column, describing it as "one of the
most thrilling games available", and noting in passing that the only
"serious criticism" of the arcade original was that "many players felt
they needed flying lessons to have even a ghost of a chance of
performing well".:26 Softline in 1983 called the Atari 8-bit
version "a superb three-dimensional computer game ... Not since
Choplifter has a game looked so impressive". The magazine also liked
the graphics of the
Apple II and
TRS-80 versions despite those
computers' hardware limitations, and predicted that
Zaxxon would be a
"long-lived bestseller". In 1984 the magazine's readers named the
game the fifth most-popular Apple program, the worst Apple program,
and third-worst Atari program of 1983. K-Power rated the Color
Computer version with 8 points out of 10. The magazine praised its
"excellent three-dimensional graphics", and concluded that "
a game that can't be praised enough".
II Computing listed
Zaxxon fourth on its list of top
Apple II games as
of late 1985, based on sales and market-share data.
Zaxxon spawned an arcade sequel: Super Zaxxon. The color scheme is
different, the player's ship flies faster (making the game more
difficult), and the robot at the end of the second fortress is
replaced by a dragon. It did not do as well as the original.
Milton Bradley made a
Zaxxon board game.
Zaxxon 3-D was released for the
Sega Master System. This
console variation made use of its
3-D glasses add-on for extra depth
perception. As with the
Atari 2600 and
Intellivision ports, it was
forward-scrolling rather than isometric.
Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000
Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 was released for the
Sega 32X in 1995. It is
Zaxxon game to incorporate polygon graphics. The game bore
Zaxxon brand only in the United States, as the Japanese version
was named Parasquad and the European version was named Motherbase.
U.S. gaming critics generally remarked that the game was not similar
Zaxxon to justify the use of the brand.
Zaxxon was shown at 'The Art of Video Games' exhibition at the
A direct sequel,
Zaxxon Escape, was released on October 4, 2012 for
Apple and Android devices. The game was criticized for having little
resemblance to the original.
In popular culture
A home video game console port of
Zaxxon was shown in the music video
for the New Order track "Blue Monday".
Zaxxon was a featured plot device of the 1986 independent feature film
Zaxxon makes an appearance in
The Powers of Matthew Star
The Powers of Matthew Star episode
In the horror film Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Tommy Jarvis
was playing "Zaxxon" while wearing one of his home made masks.
Zaxxon was seen numerous times in a video gamed-themed storyline of
Remington Steele episode "Steele Waters Run Deep".
NPR podcast "Pop Culture Happy Hour" holds its hosts to the
Zaxxon Rule," wherein they are forbidden to bring up topics which are
unrelatable to the audience, such as events in one's personal life.
In the "Home Improvement" episode "Up Your Alley" Brad and Randy
Taylor get into a fight with a bully while playing "Zaxxon."
Future Spy was created by
Sega in 1984. This game uses the same
Zaxxon and has very similar game play but with a more
realistic military theme.
Viewpoint was released by Sammy in 1992 for the Neo-Geo system. This
game features the same 3/4 view perspective and similar gameplay as
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Zaxxon (ColecoVision) at AllGame
^ a b
Zaxxon (Atari 5200) at AllGame
^ a b
Zaxxon (Intellivision) at AllGame
^ a b
Zaxxon (Atari VCS) at AllGame
^ a b
Zaxxon (Apple II) at AllGame
^ a b
Zaxxon (Atari 400/800/XL/XE) at AllGame
^ a b
Zaxxon (Commodore 64/128) at AllGame
^ Gamer's High Futabasha Super Mook (in Japanese). Tokyo: Futabasha.
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2014-02-22. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
^ "ザクソン3D （マスターシステム） まとめ
[セガ・マークIII] / ファミ通.com". Famitsu.com. 2014-02-22.
^ a b December 2009 releases in Japan
Ikegami Tsushinki - Game Developer Research Institute
Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine. Thinking a bit about
Donkey Kong, accessed 2009-02-01
^ It started from Pong (それは『ポン』から始まった :
アーケードTVゲームの成り立ち, sore wa pon kara hajimatta:
ākēdo terebi gēmu no naritachi), Masumi Akagi (赤木真澄, Akagi
Masumi), Amusement Tsūshinsha (アミューズメント通信社,
Amyūzumento Tsūshinsha), 2005, ISBN 4-9902512-0-2.
Zaxxon from the
Killer List of Videogames (KLOV)
^ Bernard Perron & Mark J. P. Wolf (2008), Video game theory
reader two, p. 158, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-96282-X
^ Chris Melissinos; Elizabeth Broun (2012). The Art of Video Games:
From Pac-Man to Mass Effect. Welcome Books. pp. 28–9.
ISBN 159962110X. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
^ Mark J. P. Wolf (2008), The video game explosion: a history from
PONG to Playstation and beyond, p. xviii, ABC-CLIO,
^ Harmetz, Aljean (July 3, 1982). "Movie Themes Come To Video Games".
Star-News. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
Zaxxon entry from TwinGalaxies.com
^ Jackson entry from CAESAR (Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software -
the Absolute Reference)
^ InfoWorld Jan. 1983
^ Announcement of Handheld
Electronic Games Magazine July 1983
Zaxxon from handheldmuseum.com
^ Boyle, L. Curtis. "Zaksund". NitrOS9. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
Zaxxon (Arcade) at AllGame
^ "CVG Magazine Issue 044". Archive.org. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
^ "The HotSeat : Review of New Products" (PDF). Digitpress.com.
1982-11-21. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
^ "Spectrum Software Reviews". Home Computing Weekly. No. 52. 6
March 1984. p. 8. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
^ a b Lentvorski, Andrew Jr. (February 1984). "Zaxxon". K-Power.
p. 59. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
^ "Le site des anciennes revues informatiques".
Abandonware-magazines.org. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
^ "Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Coin-Op Game". Electronic Games.
Vol. 1 no. 11. January 1983. p. 35. Retrieved 11
^ "Videogame of the Year". Electronic Games. Vol. 2 no. 23.
January 1984. p. 67. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
^ "1985 Arkie Awards". Electronic Games. Vol. 3 no. 35.
January 1985. pp. 28–9. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
^ "Hall of Fame Winners". Electronic Games. Vol. 3 no. 35.
January 1985. pp. 58–59 . Retrieved 11 February 2012.
^ Wiswell, Phil (March 1983). "New Games From Well-Known Names". Video
Games. p. 69. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (April 1983). "Arcade Alley: Zaxxon,
Turbo, and Two for Apple II". Video. Vol. 7 no. 1. Reese
Communications. pp. 26, 28–29. ISSN 0147-8907.
^ Bang, Derrick; Shore, Howard A. (July–August 1983). "Zaxxon".
Softline. pp. 22–23. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
^ "The Best and the Rest". St.Game. Mar–Apr 1984. p. 49.
Retrieved 28 July 2014.
^ Ciraolo, Michael (Oct–Nov 1985). "Top Software / A List of
Favorites". II Computing. p. 51. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
Zaxxon from the Great Game Database (GGDb)
Zaxxon at BoardGameGeek
^ "ProReview: Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000". GamePro. No. 82. IDG.
July 1995. p. 46.
^ "Review Crew: Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000". Electronic Gaming Monthly.
No. 71. Ziff Davis. June 1995. p. 36.
^ Choney, Suzanne. "80 video games head for
Smithsonian art exhibit".
NBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
Zaxxon Escape' Review - Hardly A Resemblance (Review)".
TouchArcade.com. 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
^ Future Spy from the KLOV
^ Viewpoint from the KLOV
Zaxxon at MobyGames
Zaxxon at SpectrumComputing.co.uk
The MS-DOS version of
Zaxxon can be played for free in the
browser at the Internet Archive
High Score Rankings for
Zaxxon from Twin Galaxies
Zaxxon for Virtual Con