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Arcade title screen.

Developers Midway (Arcade)
Roklan (Home ports)
Publishers Midway (Arcade)
CBS Electronics (Home ports)
Systems Arcade
Atari 8-bit
Atari 2600
Atari 5200
BBC Micro
Commodore 64
Release Dates 1981 (arcade)
1982-1983 (Home ports)
Modes Single player
Single player only
(Atari 2600 and Commodore 64
Two players alternating
Media Cartridge
Floppy disc
ROM file

Gorf started out as a compilation arcade game with five mini-games included, all being fixed bottom of the screen shooters. The firing scheme was also unique at the time, with a "quark laser", which pressing the trigger on the joystick would cancel out the first shot and replace it with another one.

Gorf would be later ported to several computer platforms and video game consoles.


Astro Battles[]

At the very start of a game, a large Gorf robot appears at the top of the screen, which it moves very rapidly from one side to the other while spitting out invaders (as it is a bit of a Space Invaders clone). If a player is able to shoot the robot, it will continue distributing invaders. There are no bunkers like on Space Invaders, but rather a shield that covers a large area of the lower portion of the screen. Like with bunkers, though, invaders’ shots will poke holes in it. The shield disappears briefly with every shot the player takes.

Along with Gorf robots hopping across the screen, the U. F. O. from the original Space Invaders, as well as a second, differently-shaped bonus ship appears as well at times. Also, if a player’s ship gets destroyed with only two invaders (or less) left, the game will still advance to the next wave.

Laser Attack[]

This game featured ships that would fire a laser that would make a very long path down the screen, along with having other ships (and small Gorf robots) that would peel off from their formations and make an attack run at players. If the player did not destroy a ship before it reached the bottom of the screen it would reappear at the top. The ships would move individually peeling off from the formation, as well as the formation also moving very quickly at an angle to another area of the screen before pausing so the ships discharging the lasers could pause and fire a shot at the player.


This is a clone of Galaxian, where several rows of aliens would peel off from their formation and make a bombing run at the player's ship; if the player does not destroy an alien when it passes the player it will reappear at the top of the screen. There are fewer aliens during a wave than on the original, although there is the addition of the occasional Gorf robot appearing above the aliens.

Space Warp[]

This game involves shooting ships that come out of a black hole that fire at the player while moving at a circular motion around the screen, which their path becomes larger and larger with each successive rotation. A series of dots surrounding the black hole indicates how many ships are left.

Flag Ship[]

This is the final stage before the game starts over at a higher difficulty level. The player has to shoot through a shield first in order to begin attacking the flag ship. As the ship starts taking damage, pieces of debris fly off from the ship, which can destroy the player's ship upon contact, although the debris can be shot for points.


  • Move laser base–joystick
  • Fire–button

Additional Features[]

  • Gorf was one of the earlier games that talked. The player would also receive a rank, as each time a player made it through all five games their rank would increase.
  • The player could move their ship in eight directions, as well as being able to maneuver around the bottom few inches of the screen (unlike with just moving left and right on Space Invaders and Galaxian).
  • Players' ships would get destroyed by various enemy fire, craft, debris, and even the point values that briefly appeared onscreen on Laser Attack after enemy ships were destroyed.

Differences between versions/controls[]

All versions are missing the Galaxians game, since it would require a second license, as Namco originally made Galaxian.

Atari 2600[]

No saucers or bonus Gorf robots appear on Astro Battles, as well as a shield. The invaders also look different, as one row is made up of small Gorf robots. There are far fewer enemy ships on the Laser Attack wave, plus their attack patterns are different and they move a lot faster. On Space Warp, there is no indication as to how many enemy ships are left and the player’s shots cancel out the enemy shots, which also occurs with the Flag Ship, which also has no shield, nor any debris when the player starts shooting it to pieces. The player also can only move left and right on all screens, not up and down or diagonally, and the game is for one player only.


  • Start game–joystick button or Game Reset switch
  • Move laser base–joystick (left/right only)
  • Fire–button

Atari 5200[]

Players can choose from several different skill levels and a game starts with five lives. The second UFO in Astro Battles is a lot larger than on the arcade original. The shield on that round also doesn't allow players shots to go through, with the infamous 5200 controller, the player's ship darts around the screen very quickly and is hard to control, plus the game will skip to the Laser Attack stage if there are several more invaders left (on the original arcade game, the stage would end if there were only like two invaders left). In the Flag Ship stage, its fireball trajectory differs, as most of the time they start out being launched at an angle, then end up heading straight down.

Controls, options[]

  • Choose number of players–# key
  • Choose higher starting level–* key
  • Start–start key or either bottom two buttons
  • Move laser base–joystick
  • Fire–bottom two buttons?
  • Pause game–pause key

Atari 8-bit[]

During Laser Attack, the ships dive-bomb faster and have slightly different patterns (as sometimes they dive in a straight line, which they do not dive in a straight pattern in any of the other versions).

BBC Micro[]

The player’s ship can only move left and right on all games. The first wave is called Space Invaders, which the invaders suddenly appear, with no Gorf robot putting them in place first. The invaders also look different, move independently (rather as one formation as on all other versions) and they are spaced out differently.

On Laser Attack, the attack patterns are different, there are no long-range lasers fired during the first round, and many of the ships stay still without attacking.

The Black Hole wave was rename to Firebird, which has no onscreen indication on how many ships are left.

Controls, options[]

  • Start game–spacebar or return key
  • Further instructions–return on title screen
  • Move left–joystick or caps lock key
  • Move right–joystick or ctrl key
  • Fire–return key


This version has four selectable skill levels, along with many minor differences per mini-game, such as the bonus Space Invaders saucer appears on all screens (other than just the Astro Battles wave like on the original), minus the Flag Ship screen, plus Astro Battles was slightly renamed to Astro Battle, the invaders look totally different, they just appear by themselves during the start of the wave, they are not distributed by a Gorf robot at the beginning, and the last remaining invader doesn't move very fast.

Far fewer enemies appear during the first time around on Laser Attack, no point values emerge after ships have been hit, and the non-firing ships have different attack patterns as compared with the original. There are also fewer ships on Space Warp, and the Flag Ship is a lot smaller as compared to the original, debris won't fly off of it when hit and its shots can be destroyed, unlike with other versions of the game. The rank appears onscreen once the player makes it through all four stages as well.

Commodore 64[]

This version is pretty close to the arcade original, although various onscreen stats are shown during the game (such as the mission number the player is currently on and their rank). There is also almost no pause whatsoever whenever one stage is finished, as it will immediately jump to the next one. No point amounts appear during the Laser Attack stage after a ship has been shot (along with point values not being shown during the Flag Ship stage either), plus the ships are also a bit larger as compared with the arcade original and the game is for one player only.

Controls, title screen[]

  • Start game--joystick button
  • Move ship--joystick
  • Fire--button


The player’s laser base is much larger. In between each wave, a brief status screen appears that gives the high score and tells of the name of the next upcoming wave.

During Astro Battles, the Gorf robots come out much more often than on any other version. On Laser Attack, the flight patterns are different (the ships and Gorf robots mostly dive-bomb as an entire group at once) and is glitchy with the way the enemies jump around on the screen.

Pirated versions[]

Polygram made a version of Gorf for the Atari 2600 for the South America market. H. E. S. released a compilation cartridge entitled Mega Fun Pak in Australia, which it is assumed that one of the games on the cart titled Battles of Gorf is Gorf.


Shot from Joysticks with Gorf (right).

Joysticks was an R-rated American comedic movie released in 1983, which was about a fictional small town game room (known as Bailey's Video Arcade) where a local businessman is intent on getting it shut down. Near the end of the movie, the local mayor of the town is shown playing a game of Gorf. He asks the businessman for more tokens and tells him to shut up when he starts complaining about the arcade, stating that it's a great place.


This article was featured from September - October, 2020.