Gorf: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Gorf, which is actually an acronym for ‘Galactic Orbiting Robot Force,’ was the first arcade game in history to feature five different distinct titles. Gorf is also the name of the most powerful enemy in the game. Developed by Dave Nutting Associates, publishing rights were purchased by Midway Games in 1981.

Jamie Fenton is created as being the lead programmer for Gorf. Dave Nutting and Jay Fenton also designed this title. The hardware was designed by Dave Otto and Jeff Frederickson, while audio was developed by Scot Norris. Additional programming was provided by Bob Ogden and Rick Frankel.

One sequel to Gorf, Ms. Gorf, was created in 1982, but it never made it to the production process. A modified version of Gorf was made for home ports, mainly because of a legal dispute between the makers of the game. As a result, only four out of the five main missions appear in most ports. Gorf was ported to the ColecoVision, XZ Spectrum, Atari 2600 and several other popular gaming computers and home gaming systems.

When Gorf was first created, programmers and developers had intended for it to be directly related to ‘Star Trek – The Motion Picture.’ Unfortunately, the makers of Gorf eventually found that it would be too difficult to make a game version of the movie. Instead, a unique storyline was developed for Gorf, but the outer space theme remained intact.

Gorf can be played by one or two players.


Game Play Overview

In Gorf, players operate a spacecraft named the FS-15 Interstellar Space Fighter. This ship can fire a gun and move up and down, left and right, or any combination of directions. Your goal is to stop Gorf and his minions from destroying the earth. There are six different types of enemies that will attack, and all come equipped with a different set of skills.

Gorf himself makes numerous appearances during the game, but players will rarely have the opportunity to battle him. Laser ships attack very aggressively, and their shots are capable of decimating the player ship on contact. Astro invaders work in groups, and become increasing fast in speed as they are killed off. The final Astro invader of each group will move around very quickly, making it difficult for players to destroy it.

The mothership is the main enemy on the final stage of Gorf. This enemy only has one vulnerable point, which is located directly underneath of the ship. As players fight the mothership, it will slowly move downward, making it hard to escape its attacks.

Galaxians frequently launch synchronized and well planned out attacks. Even though they are small in size, they compensate by attacking in formations. They move quickly and with great force. While Galaxians have the ability to fire, they are most dangerous because they physically crash into the player ship if not stopped or avoided in time.

War ships close in on the player ship and bomb it mercilessly. You will need to shoot them as quickly as possible in order to avoid losing a turn. These opponents only appear during warps.

Battle saucers come in two sizes, large and small. They make things confusing for players because they attack from opposite ends of the screen, moving in two separate patterns. Lastly, laser ships accompany Gorf and attack ferociously,

Points are earned by completing missions and defeating enemies. Depending on the level, a different amount of points are given when each specific type of opponent is destroyed. During the first stage, the Astro Battle Mission, Astro invaders are worth 50, 60, 80 or 100 points. Defeating Gorf will earn you between 250 and 300 points. Battle saucers are worth 100 or 200 points.

During the Laser Attack mission, players earn 300 points for each laser ship destroyed and 100 points for killing Gorf and his escorts. Enemies killed in the Galaxian mission have several different assigned point values. Gorf and the Galaxian mothership are wroth 300 points. Any Galaxian eliminated while still situated within a formation is valued at 50 points each. Red Galaxians have the highest value, which is 100 points. Yellow, blue and red Galaxians are worth 60, 80 and 100 points, respectively.

Points given for the Space Warp mission are set. No matter which enemy is killed, players will always get 250 points. The Flag Ship mission is the last level in the game. When the mothership is blown up, players get 1,000 points. Simply hitting the virtually impenetrable mothership with a shot will yield players 20 points. Destroying a piece of the mothership that has broken off results in 150 points earned. When one of the smaller Gorf escort ships is annihilated, players get 50 points.

Special Features

Throughout the game, a secondary enemy group consisting of robot versions of Gorf will appear and attack. These opponents can be killed easily, earning players an extra 300 points.


Astro invaders – Appearing only on select levels, Astro invaders always appear in groups. They can be orange, red or green.

War ships – These small blue and yellow attack ships only come out when the player ship is in the midst of a warp. They drop bombs on the player ship, making them quite dangerous.

Mothership – When the mothership is eliminated on the last stage, Gorf is won. This large spacecraft can only be defeated one way; with a shot to the underside of the ship.

FS-15 Interstellar Space Fighter – Players can move the FS-15 Interstellar Space Fighter around the screen and shoot its weapon.

Galaxians - Galaxians come in multiple colors, and they prefer to attack players while arranged in large formations. They always attack in a downward direction, sending bullets flying.

Battle saucers – These red colored space ships come in two varieties, working as a team to disorient players. Always aim for the battle saucer closest to you first.

Gorf – Gorf is the general of the Gorf army, and he is the force that sends opponents to do battle with players. However, it is the mothership that must be eliminated in order to beat the game.

Laser ships – Groups of laser ships move and shoot fast. Take them down as soon as you can, and move out of their way when they attack in groups.

How to Play Gorf

Each stage in Gorf is distinct, requiring a different approach from players every time they reach a new level. In actuality, the makers of the Gorf designed the game this way intentionally. Backgrounds and enemies will change frequently, but the players’ orientation on the screen will remain fixed.

Only one bullet can be on the screen at any given time, which will make it more difficult for you to defend yourself against an onslaught of foes. Move the position of the player ship often in order to ward off aggressive attacks.

Level 1 – Astro Battle Mission
This is the only level where players will meet enemy forces in the air rather than outer space. A formation of space invaders will appear toward the top of the screen while the player ship will stay toward the bottom. In between the player and his enemies will be an arching barrier. This barrier will only protect you temporarily as bullets from space invaders gradually chip it away.

In addition, this barrier will prevent your bullets from being effective. As soon as you see gaps within this barrier, you will be able to start firing. Try staying below the areas of the barrier that are still active in order to keep your enemies from hitting you. Eventually, the barrier will be completely eliminated. At this point, most of the space invaders should have been killed off. Destroy all of the space invaders as well as the Gorf robot that appears in order to move on.

Level 2 – Laser Attack Mission
Now set in space, players will be met by two separate groups of opponents. Although there will be fewer enemies to defeat, they will also act more aggressively. Laser ships have weapons that fire elongated laser beams. These beams can take up as much as 1/3 of the screen, so it will not be easy to avoid them.

As some of your enemies shoot at the player ship, others will break ranks and dive at you like a kamikaze. The best way to approach this board is to kill off the laser ships located at the bottom of each group, then pick off the rest of your enemies one by one. If you move quickly and choose each one of your shots wisely, you will make it to level 3 without losing any lives.

Level 3 – Galaxian Mission
Level 3 appears to be a replicate of the game Galaxian. A formation of bug-like enemies will be situated at the very top of the screen. They will shoot at you randomly, while simultaneously attacking you like the previous group of enemies did. The enemies on the outer edges of the formation are most dangerous because they will be the ones diving at you.

Any enemy that breaks ranks to attack and is not destroyed will eventually fly back to the top of the screen and return to its original position. Since the FS-15 Interstellar Fighter has severe firing limitations, you will spend most of your time evading your foes. Destroy all of the Galaxians to make it to the next round.

Level 4 – Space Warp Mission
The setting within this stage will consist entirely of a fast-paced warp through space. As the FS-15 Interstellar Fighter moves rapidly, enemies will also come onto the screen at a blinding rate. A small ring of blue circles will remain in the center of the screen. This is also where all of your opponents will generate.

As you get closer to Gorf’s fighters, they will attack or move in order to confuse you. Their bullets might move at an extremely slow rate, or they can come very fast. You will need to orient the ship within this space warp effectively in order to move away from shots and enemies. A total of 12 warp ships will attack on this stage.

Level 5 – Flag Ship Mission
The last stage in Gorf, the Flag Ship mission, features relatively few enemies. Besides the mothership, you will also have to fight a smaller escort. As you attack the mothership, small pieces of it will break off. Shoot the debris in order to earn points and avoid losing a turn. Kill off the escort quickly so that you can focus on your main enemy. The mothership will attempt to smother you by slowly lowering itself down on you. As it gets closer, aim for a small opening within the underside of the ship. This is the only way to destroy the mothership.

Beyond Level 5
Players that are able to complete level 5 will go back to the start of the game, albeit at a higher level. This process will repeat again and again until you lose all of your turns.

Hints and Tips
- Remember that you can only fire one bullet at a time. Players that attempt to fire more than once will see all of their shots disappear. However, you can also use this limitation to your advantage by shooting rapidly in order to determine the best line of fire. After you have an enemy in your sights, you can send one definitive shot and destroy it efficiently.

- More points are earned when enemies are killed while they are still within formation. Do not put the player ship in danger in an attempt to earn a higher score, but do shoot any easy target while it is within a group.


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