Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Sinistar (revision 3)

Sinistar (c) 02/1983 Williams.


Main CPU : M6809 (@ 1 Mhz)

Sound CPU : M6808 (@ 894.75 Khz)

Sound Chips : DAC, HC55516 (@ 894.75 Khz)

Screen orientation : Vertical

Video resolution : 240 x 292 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz

Palette colors : 16

Players : 2

Control : 8-way joystick

Buttons : 2

=> [1] FIRE, [2] SINIBOMB


This game was originally going to be called "Juggernaut", then "Darkstar". The prototype version called Sinistar is a machine that was displayed at the 11/1982 AMOA show in Las Vegas. The revision 2 was the most common version of the game.

The game is jokingly referred to as 'Opie-Star' at Williams' offices, because Sinistar's 'Run, Coward!' taunt sounded like he's saying 'Ron Howard' (acclaimed actor and director).

Sinistar's phrases :

'Beware I live'

'I hunger'

'I hunger coward'

'Beware coward'

'Run coward'

'Run run run'

'I am Sinistar'

A Sinistar unit appears in the 1983 movie 'WarGames'.

A Sinistar machine was shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.



* The Sinistar logo in the attract mode uses a Rocky-Horror-esque 'dripping blood' font.

* The letter 'T' shows up behind the 'dripping blood' logo, possibly part of the trademark?.

* The Sinistar death sequence sometimes occurs offscreen.

* There seem to be more crystals per planetoid than in the release revision.

* Missing the 'set attract mode message' option in the game adjustments screen.

* High score entry uses fire to advance to the next character, rather than the joystick.

* Warping to the next level can occur in any direction, not just upper-right.

* Sinistar's 'roar' occurs multiple times in rapid succession, cutting off each time he is hit by a sinibomb.

* When a player's ship is destroyed by the Sinistar, it explodes rather than spinning out first.

* After defeating Sinistar, his face outline doesn't appear in the center of the screen.

* You can set the extra ship points AND extra ship point factors to ZERO. As soon as you get a point, the game program gets caught in an infinite loop. You'll also hear an EXTENDED extra ship noise. You can break the loop by hitting advance and looking at ALL the extra ships you just received.

* Stuff (like the Sini-bombs, warriors and even the Sinistar himself (if it has a gender)) doesn't travel well from scanner to playfield and these objects can make quick second passes and sometimes even just skip the playfield all together.

* Survivors Today Has the following initials when tables are cleared : YYY XYS MAA AAA AAA AAA BDG MAA AAA AAA ABC EJS MAA AAA AAA RED HPG MAA AAA AAB CFL XYS MAA AAA AAB DGN DBG MAA AAA BCE.

* Scores start at 19045 and are listed with the following algorithm (-265, -365, -265, repeat).


* The Survivors Today has the following initials : N-F KJF KAG FRG YAK JJK KFL PJM DOC JLM E-Z =M= TIM JRN TOM PFZ RTP BFD MBS MRS EJS STU WIT MOM FAC GOD KAY HEC SAM KYD (Note : They keep the same order, but rotate position every time the machine is reset).

* Added 'Set Attract mode message' option in the game adjustments menu.


* Latest revision.

* Some bugs fixed.


Planetoid : 5 points.

Worker : 150 points.

Crystal : 200 points.

Warrior : 500 points.

Sinistar Piece : 500 points.

Destroying Sinistar : 15,000 points.


* Programming Credits And Williams message :

1) Set lives to 1 (This is optional, it merely saves time).

2) Insert one credit.

3) Bump into a Planetoid (rock).

4) Push the fire button seven times.

5) Avoid Planetoids and Workers, don't fire at anything and get shot by a Warrior. If you set lives to 1, the game will now be over. If not, lose all lives in this manner until the game ends.

6) Enter initials.

7) Press the 2 Player button 3 times, then insert one coin and start a new 1 Player game.

8) Don't move or fire, just push the Sinibomb button once.

There are now two messages which can be displayed for the credits :

9) Insert 3 coins, then push the Sinibomb button again. The 'crossword' credits should now be displayed.

* For the Williams Electronics message :

10) Simply end the game by getting shot without hitting a Planetoid or firing, then push the 1 Player button to display the message.

* 255 Lives Trick : This little trick is harder than the game itself, but worth it if you pull it off. On your last man, make sure a warrior fires at you just as Sinistar sucks you in. As the Sinistar sucks you in, you will lose your last man, but when the warrior's bullet hits you, you will have one less than zero ships.

Note : The warriors stop shooting as soon as you are 'caught' by Sinistar. The game was programmed this way, to prevent you from dying twice. Since you are trying to die twice, you have to let a warrior shoot at you, before you get sucked in, then hope that the shot hits you after you have been sucked in. This is very tricky.

Note 2 : 8-bit processors can only handle values from 0-255, for a total of 256 values. Therefore, 'one less than zero ships' will roll around to 255.


Project leader and co-designer : Noah Falstein (N-F)

Lead programmer : Sam Dicker (SAM)

Programmers : Robert J. Mical, Richard A. Witt (WIT)

Original design and storyline : John Newcommer (JRN)

Artwork / graphics : Jack E. Haeger

Sound effects by : Michael Metz (E-Z)

Hardware designers : Rich Grande, Greg Wepner

Mechanical : Leo Ludzia, Gary Berge

Tech. support by : John Meissen (JLM)


* Consoles :

Atari 2600 (1984) : was a prototype only. It was never released.

Nintendo Super Famicom (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Sega Mega Drive (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Sega Saturn (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Sony PlayStation (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Nintendo 64 (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume I")

Sega Dreamcast (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Vol. 1")

Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits")

Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

Nintendo GameCube (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

Microsoft XBOX (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

Sony PSP (2005, "Midway Arcade Treasures - Extended Play")

* Computers :

Tandy Color Computer 3 (1989, "Sinistaar")

PC [MS-DOS] (1995, "Williams Arcade Classics")

PC [MS Windows] (1996, "Williams Arcade Classics")

PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2004, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

* Others :

Palm OS ("Midway Arcade Classic")

Tiger Game.Com ("Arcade Classics")