Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

LucasFilm Ballblazer -Atari 5200
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 5200 Super System console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewLucasFilm Ballblazer for Atari 5200 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Ballblazer
Manufacturer: LucasFilm
Platform: Atari 5200
Release Date: 1984
Part #: CX5255
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: LucasFilm Ballblazer Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
LucasFilm Ballblazer Screenshot:
LucasFilm Ballblazer for Atari 5200 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Sports games on the early system were often uninspiring and way too visually abstract to be enjoyed. LucasFilm resolved this problem by inventing a new sport - Ballblazer - billing it as the most fastest and most competitive sport in the known universe. That's a lot to live up to for a football/soccer-like game between 2 Rotofoils (futuristic hovercrafts). However it was executed in an innovative manner well ahead of most games of the mid 80's.

Ballblazer introduced sound and music as an important part of game-play by using them to respond to game elements and offer feedback to the players. The music isn't on a loop like so many games of the time. It's created by an algorithm. Use of music that never repeats itself, responds to game-play, and gives the players status feedback is a first in the industry and loosely became coined, "Riffology". Good stuff!

LucasFilm Ballblazer for Atari 5200 rotofoil Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Ballblazer Story Arc

Your playing field is set on the surface of an artificial asteroid in a null-gravity nexus of the binary star system Kalaxon and Kalamar. Ballblazer has become the viewing pastime of everyone in the known galaxy - this isn't any MLS Soccer match - it's HUGE. In the year 3097 an Earthling has made it through all the qualifying rounds and holds the potential to be named Masterblazer.

The manual is a lot of fun as it explains the game, but also has mock interviews with Masterblasters and other celebrities - all fake, but lend well to the "sports" theme and gives the game a lively backstory.

Ballblazer Game-Play

You and your opponent (Player 2 or a bot) are strapped into Rotofoils which hover the field of play. You fight for control of the ball (aka: the plazmorb) and then try to put it through the moving goal posts. You'll get varying points depending on how far away from the goal you are. The goal posts move closer together as the score rises, so get your long range goals early on as the goal is larger.

You and your opponent trade control of the ball going from offense to defense as you try to score and then protect your goal. You'll hear a buzz when you are in range for scoring, but you have to make sure your rotosnapping has you facing the correct direction. It's can be easy to get turned around and lose track of your position.

All in all, I liked Ballblazer, but was always more impressed with the technology rather than the game itself. The music is great and the sound effects provide clues to aspects of the game play. the control is great considering the awful 5200 joysticks which react surprisingly well.

Atari 5200 Super System console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

LucasFilm Ballblazer

is a must have game for it's innovation and groundbreaking aspects. Not a game I play often, but it's a keeper. I'm not a fan of sports games especially when they seem to be hybrid mixes of sprots I don't care for individually ;)

Read about our Spaceship video game review rating system

« Return to Retro Video Game Reviews


Friends of 8-Bit Central Retro Gaming

Old School Junkie Australian Retro Gamer Retro Games Collector Retro Yak Lets Play with A3D Commodore Is Awesome DigiSpun Gamewise

More info about our Retro Gaming Friends & Link Exchange programs »


Printed: