Superman (1979 video game)

For other Superman video games, see List of Superman video games.

Cover art
Developer(s) Atari
Publisher(s) Atari
Designer(s) John Dunn[1]
Platform(s) Atari 2600
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Superman is an action adventure game for the Atari 2600 designed by John Dunn and published by Atari, Inc. in 1978[3] or 1979.[2] It was one of the first single-player games for the system and one of the earliest licensed video games. Superman was built using the prototype code for Warren Robinett's Adventure, and ended up being published before Adventure was finished.[4]


The player(s) takes control of the DC Comics character Superman, who must repair the bridge destroyed by Lex Luthor, capture Luthor and his criminal underlings, enter a phonebooth to turn back into Clark Kent, then return to the Daily Planet in the shortest possible time. To slow Superman's progress, Kryptonite has been released by Luthor. If hit by Kryptonite, Superman loses his abilities to capture criminals and fly. To regain them, he must find and kiss Lois Lane.

Three of Superman's powers are used in this game: strength, X-ray vision, and flight.

The game can be played with two players. The player using the left joystick controller will have priority over the left and right movement of Superman, while the player using the right controller will have priority over up and down movement of Superman.

Superman is one of the earliest console games to feature a Pause option which could be activated by pressing the select switch on the Atari 2600.[5]


Superman was reviewed in April 1980 by Video magazine in its "Arcade Alley" column where it was highly praised as "usher[ing] in an exciting new era for home arcades". The reviewers suggested that "put simply, there's no other video game remotely similar to this one", comparing the graphics and gameplay as akin to "the complex simulations that have entertained computer freaks for the last decade or so". The game was predicted to be a hit among the "true arcade addicts" and to find a place in the "Video Arcade Hall of Fame".[6]:18 Covered again in Video's 1982 Guide to Electronic Games, Superman was praised for "surprisingly good graphics".[7]:52


  1. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. 1 2 Hanson, Christopher (2012). Mark J. P. Wolf, ed. Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-313-37936-9.
  3. Wolf, Mark J. P. (2008). The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to Playstation and Beyond. ABC-CLIO. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-313-33868-7.
  4. Machkovech, Sam (March 14, 2015). "Atari devs dissect Yars' Revenge, Adventure, Atari's woes". Ars Technica.
  5. Miller, Skyler. "Superman - Review - allgame". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  6. Kunkel, Bill; Laney, Frank (April 1980). "Arcade Alley: Faster Than A Bullet - Atari's Super Game". Video magazine. Reese Communications: 18, 76, and 77. ISSN 0147-8907.
  7. Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (November 1982). "Video's Guide to Electronic Games". Video magazine. Reese Communications. 6 (8): 47–56, 108. ISSN 0147-8907.

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