Sunday 29 January 2012

Satellite Attack - Philips Videopac G7000 (aka UFO! - Magnavox Odyssey2) - 1981

The graphics are...let's be honest....crap
Ah, the Philips Videopac G7000 (known as the Magnavox Odyssey² in the States).  My mate Colin had one of these back in the early 80’s.  I’d never seen one before and I’ve never seen one since.  I can remember he had a pacman clone and some standard shoot ‘em fare but the most memorable title and still good fun today is Satellite Attack.

With a glance at the screenshots you may think this is an Asteroids clone but the mechanics of the game are totally different. Firstly your spaceship can fly in the standard eight directions; there is no turn/thrust and no inertia. Your shield is permanently on and I use this as the main means of destroying (I assume judging by the title) the satellites. You also have a gun but this is a bit awkward to aim – more on this later. Instead of breaking up when hit, these satellites send out projectiles in three directions which will then destroy anything they hit.  You can get a nice chain effect going when the screen is getting full.  There are two types of satellites, or spinning X’s as they look like.  The slower spinning ones just drift around, the faster spinning ones home in on you. You also get another spaceship occasionally flying across shooting at you.

As I said, the main means of dispatching the enemy is ramming them.  This disables your shield and you need to wait a couple of seconds for it to restore.  Your shield is a circle of flashing dots around your ship. One of the dots is white to signify the direction your gun shoots and I finally figured out it’s mechanics after nearly thirty years!  As you move the dot moves slowly clockwise around your ship until it points in the direction you are travelling, by which time you are normally either at the edge of the playing field or what you wanted to shoot has moved.  I just use the gun to take pot shots at what it is vaguely pointing at.  You need to be careful with this as shooting also disables your shield for a couple of seconds.

Don’t expect to be racking up thousands of points in this game either.  The slow spinning satellites are worth a whole 1 point, the faster ones a whopping 3 points.  You also only get one life so games can be quite short.

The graphics are understandably blocky but are smooth and the shield flashes so didn't show up in the screenshots.  The sound to be honest is a tad annoying after a while but it’s a fun little game I recommend everyone at least tries.

The white diagonal thing is a laser fired by the blue thing. The cross things are satellites.


  1. This game sattelite attck is also my most favourite games of all times. I played it for hours. it had a relaxed continiouance of playing as long as one stayd tuned. a game could take forever collecting more and more points. I forgotten my highscore but I still get warm feelings when hearing the sounds and seeing the images. I hope one day to find a good emulator or original G7000 with this game. Thanks for the webpage

  2. Thanks for the comment Jan. I use the O2EM emulator for the G7000 (there's a link on the right). It's command line but quite easy to get going. I programmed in my joypad and it's the next best thing to a real machine.

  3. I loved this game as a kid. I played it for hours and hours. It was one of the best games for a pretty crappy platform. I had the G7000 from a family friend who worked for Phillips. It was my dad's cheapskate way of avoiding buying an Atari which all the cool kids had.

    Munchkin was the name of the Pacman game. The baseball game was one of the best 2 player sport games I ever played. Another good game was Gunfighter. This was like Combat on the Atari but with wiggly-legged cowboys.

    Fabulous site; keep up the great work. Found you while reminiscing about Knight Lore on the Speccy!

    1. Hi Jonathan and thanks for jogging my memory with Munchkin. The other game I couldn't remember when I wrote this was Cosmic Conflict. Gunfighter rings a bell but doesn't stick in my memory like the others, and my mate didn't have any baseball games that I remember.

      IMO Satellite Attack at least equals anything on the Atari (though hindsight is a wonderful thing).

  4. Wow you were the other person who had a Videopac besides me, ha ha! I had one in Spain too back in the day. Eventually games for it became quite sophisticated, I had two that came with tabletop games, had to go to London to get them. By the way, goood work with this blog, makes me feel nostalgic and old...