Release 1983

Produced by Cheshire Engineering for Activision

Design/Program: David Rolfe


An impenetrable shield of light, 99 sectors deep, is encompassing the planet. You, alone, must cruise from beam to beam, casting lariats of laser bolts into white saucers, red zig bombs, yellow chirpers and more! The quest: to penetrate the shield and restore space exploration to the planet. You have the skill! You have the daring! You are Beamrider!


Beamrider was an original Intellivision game programmed at Cheshire Engineering under contract to Activision. Inspiration for the game came to David Rolfe one day as he was leaning back in his chair staring at the ceiling. Suddenly the receding grid of acoustical tiles became an outer space playing field.

Activision later released versions of Beamrider for Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and ColecoVision.

PLAYING TIPS: From designer Dave Rolfe in the Beamrider instruction manual:

"Greetings from sector 26 and moving! If you want to make it to the outer sectors, pay attention to these tips.

"First of all, don't hold down the disc. Maintain precise control by learning to TAP the disc to move a single beam at a time. And stay near the center beams so you won't get boxed into a corner with nowhere to run.

"Zap the white enemy saucers as early in their approach as possible. And check this out: You can hit them when they're slightly off the beam, before they can drop their missiles.

"When you see a yellow rejuvenator, don't abandon all caution as you move to catch it, or you'll likely wreck your ship. If an invulnerable object is blocking it, you can use a torpedo to blast it out of the way. Then, catch the rejuvenator. But remember, you only have three torpedoes and they're your only weapon against the Sector Sentinel.

"And while we're on the subject, when the Sentinel is about to approach, don't sit on the beam you plan to shoot from. Green Blockers will swarm onto it immediately! Instead, wait on a beam you're not going to shoot from (like the one nearest the Sentinel's first sighting). As soon as the Blockers are 'locked' onto that beam, zip over to an unblockedbeam and torpedo the ship.

"Last, but not least, take time to notice the enemy attack movements. They generally follow a pattern of motion that allows you to anticipate many of their moves."

FUN FACT: The Activision instruction booklets included playing tips signed by the programmer. David Rolfe wasn't sure he wanted his signature in the hands of hundreds of thousands of video game players, so he had another programmer sign his name in the Beamrider booklet.

AWARDS: Video Review magazine named Beamrider "Best Cartridge Game of the Year" in its April 1984 issue. It quoted its earlier review (12/83) by Ken Uston: "Beamrider is a space shoot-out - but not your ordinary space shoot-out....The torpedoes give such an authentic 3D feeling that they're a joy to launch just to watch them progress into space. The Gargon explosion is noisy, colorful and fun just to observe. It takes a while to get hooked on Beamrider, but the addiction will eventually set in among space shooters. Beamrider has found a niche."

FUN FACT: Players who sent a photo to Activision showing a score over 60,000 on level 20 or above received an "Activision Beamriders" emblem.