Last updated: June 30, 2000 1:00PM EST - Arcade section, added News, modified Space Duel

Space Duel (Atari, 1981)

Space Duel upright

    Atari produced many of the most popular arcade games in the early 1980's - Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command, Centipede to name a few. Space Duel was also a popular Atari game - my local Showbiz Pizza Palace had at least half a dozen. Space Duel is one of the first games I remember that allowed two players to play simultaneously. It is also special in that it's a "Color X-Y" game, meaning the monitor displayed everything using lines, in color. Tempest is another example of a Color X-Y game. All games produced today are known as "raster" games, again referring to the way the game graphics are rendered on the screen. Color X-Y game's monitors are hard to maintain, expecially now because of their age and the lack of new replacement monitors for them.

    I purchased my Space Duel from Ebay in 1999. It works perfectly, the monitor having been re-cappedbefore I received it. It's my first game, and was definately a learning experience!


    As with all my games from Ebay, I had the seller ship it to me using Forward Air. While each Forward Air has different rules for payment,they are generally all shipped on pallets and wrapped in 694 layers of shrink-wrap. Seeing as how they don't deliver from the depot to my apartment, I had to arrange to pick it up. I don't have a truck, so I decided to rent one. I tried to get a box truck with enough clearance inside to keep the game standing up - I was very paranoid about having the game on it's back, and possibly having something knocked loose or broken during transport. Looking back, I see I could simply have rented a normal pickup truck and hauled it home that way. Things to bring along: a pocket knife (to cut shrinkwrap from pallet if necessary), a furniture dolley (with treads on back for hauling up stairs), a pickup truck, and a few strong friends. Remember, lift with your legs, always make sure SOMEONE is holding the game, and if pulling up or down stairs be sure someone you don't like is under it. Large upright games weigh about 300lbs, mini-cabs around 200lbs, and cocktail games somewhere around 100-150lbs.

    Before throwing out all the packing materials, check carefully for keys. Better yet, ask the seller before you pick the game up if it ships with any keys. Most cabinets have at least 3 keyed locks - one for the coin door, one for the coin box, and one for the back panel of the game. It's unlikely a game shipped to you will need to be unlocked to get at most of the doors, however. My Space Duel came to me with the coin door lock missing, the coin box door still locked (no key) and the particle board around the back lock destroyed. The back was held on by screws, which I removed to access the power cord. As with all three games I've purchased using Ebay, they played well without any extra work, so when I plugged in Space Duel it worked like a champ.

Re-capped: A monitor has "capacitors" which go bad after awhile - these games have been around for 15-20 years after all - and need replacing. "Re-capping" is the term used to describe the act of replacing some or all of the capacitors on a monitor. This applies to X-Y, Color X-Y, and raster type monitors. Back to the top.

Paying Forward Air shipping: Each Forward Air terminal has it's own rules for when payment is due. Some allow the sender to force the buyer to pay the shipping costs at pickup, others ask the sender to pay the shipping costs up front. They have different categories of weight and costs, so a 220lb game may be charged the rate for shipping a 300lb game. Back to the top.

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