Empire Strikes Back

Empire Strikes Back Arcade Game

Empire Strikes Back, based on the Star Wars movie by the same name, was released in 1985 by Atari.  It was another vector graphic game, and a sequel to the 1983 Atari game called Star Wars.  The Return of the Jedi game was released in 1984.  The Empire Strikes Back arcade game followed the battle sequence story lines of the original movie, such as the search for Imperial probe droids, flying a Snowspeeder (with cables) to take down AT-AT and AT-ST Walkers, fighting Tie Fighters in the Millennium Falcon, and escaping an asteroid field.  During each stage, the player can collect letters to spell the word “Jedi”, which would cause all enemy shots to disappear.

Empire Strikes Back Arcade Game Cabinet

Because the game was not as novel as its 1983 predecessor, it was not as successful.  In addition, like many games, Empire Strikes Back was a conversion upgrade to the original Star Wars game.  In other words, a computer board switch, new stickers on the outside of the unit, and you had a new game.  The problem was that many arcades were reluctant to upgrade a machine that was making them money for one they were not sure about.  For that reason, the Empire Strikes Back was much rarer.  Although there were home versions of this game, they were mostly relegated to more processor powerful systems like the Commodore 64 and Amiga.