Gyruss is a classic video game that was launched in 1983 by Konami. It was lisenced to Centuri for U.S. distribution (and was also bootlegged as "Venus"). The original was programmed by Toshio Arima,
designed by Yoshiki Okamoto with
character design by Hideki Ooyama, and
sound by Mashahiro Inoue (names are given first, surname last). Shortly after coming to Konami, Okamoto designed Time Pilot. After this success he created Gyruss, but Konami's first mistake was timing. After the video game boom (Space Invaders, Pacman, Frogger, Defender, Donkey Kong) in the late 70s, early 80s there was a midterm slump. Despite being well-loved by players, Gyruss' sales to arcades did not surpass Time Pilot. Because he had joined at an entry level, graphic design position but was responsible for these successful titles, Okamoto asked for a raise, or he would quit. The next day, when he showed up for work he was fired. Konami's second mistake was letting him go: Okamoto is now executive producer at Capcom, where he has designed Sonson, Gunsmoke, 1942, 1943, Sidearms, and was project leader for Final Fight and Street Fighter II and all its sequels, spinoffs, and tie-ins (which for better or worse altered the contents of arcades forever). He was also executive producer for the recent Resident Evil movie.
Three billion miles is a long way from home. But there's
no shorter route from outer Neptune to Earth. As if that weren't enough . . . it's got to be a shoot-out all the way.
You alone in your rapid-firing spaceship, swirling in
a circular flight pattern . . . orbiting to the right . . .
arcing to the left . . . trying to mow down wave after wave
of enemy plane formations, rocketing meteors and run-away satellites. Stops at Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and
Mars will mark your progression towards Earth. Each
one's a short visit, though. Then it's off again to the next planet -- and the next wave of enemies. Reach Earth
in one piece and maybe you'll think twice about leaving
home. Then again . . . maybe not!
excerpt from the manual (Atari 2600 version)
The original arcade game by Yoshiki Okamoto, released in 1983, sported a combination 6809 and Z80 processor architecture, and an array of five AY-8910's (capable of playing 15 simultaneous squarewave voices at once) to pump out Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" with a catchy drum beat. Other versions include: Parker Brothers' Gyruss for the Atari 2600 (#PB5080) and Atari 5200, and for the Colecovision (#9980, 1984). They also released an excellent (i.e. faithful) version of Gyruss on cartridge for the Commodore 64, and one for the Atari 800. Later, Ultra Games (distributed through Konami) released a version of Gyruss for the NES console in 1988 (this version includes graphics updates, music and sound updates, challenge updates, and you beat waves and bosses all the way to the sun).
The game itself is played by hurtling toward Earth in essentially a straight line. To avoid asteroids, satellites, and enemy spacecraft you can corkscrew around your central flight path. As a result, it appears that stars are spewing from the center of the screen, and your ship circles around the outer edge. When you fire, the shots dissappear into the distance at the center of the screen. Each enemy ship takes one hit to destroy while they stream in from behind or venture in from long range to attack. When a satellite approaches, it will keep pace with you for a limited time and then pass on. Destroying the center of three satellites will double your fire power, so don't pass them up.
The progression of the game follows a simple pattern: you start three warps out from Neptune. When you destroy a wave of enemy fighters you progress one warp at a time until you reach a planet. At that point you play a chance stage where fighters stream in and you must destroy the entire run for bonus points. During this phase the enemy craft don't attack. Upon completing the chance stage it's another three warps to the next planet. Play continues like this until you reach Earth, at which point the cycle begins anew three warps from Neptune, however the play is more difficult (the enemy's attack more often and shoot more often, asteroids stream by more frequently). The score count continues as you blast enemies and score shots on asteroids and satellites until it hits 999,999 points, then rolls over to 0 again. The top scorer on the Twin Galaxies Scoreboard is Anthony Fodrizio at a score of 41,090,450 (confirmed by referee on a standup arcade machine).
Gyruss Service Manual at http://www.io.com/~adastra/rancourt/gyruss/arcman.txt
Twin Galaxies Scoreboard for Gyruss is at
Various Gyruss fan sites