Are You Ready For Some Atari 8-bit Superman III Prototype Footage?
Image courtesy of Atari Protos.Com

Are You Ready For Some Atari 8-bit Superman III Prototype Footage?

Image courtesy of Atari Protos.Com
Image courtesy of Atari Protos.Com

Watching Superman III at the 62 Drive-In back in my youth was an interesting experience. I was a huge Richard Pryor fan thanks to my Father but I was tasked with watching him become increasingly bored by the movie itself and there is one thing my parental unit despises above all else…and that is video games. So towards the end of the film when the villanious Ross (Robert Vaughn) and Vera (Annie Ross) Webster try to kill Superman by playing a video game, well, he totally checked out. He left the car and stayed in the concession stand for the rest of the movie.

Even during intermission when he returned and I tried to tell him what he had missed he wouldn’t hear it.

So for my Father it’s probably a good thing that Atari’s Superman III was never released for the Atari 400 and 800 because if it had, watching me play the game might have sent him over the deep end.

Via Scottith Games

Scottith Games includes this bit of text with the video:

“From programmer Dave Comstock’s interview with RetroGaming Radio at CGE2K5: “The 3 programmers involved with the game all got read the script before the movie was released, since Warner wanted a 400/800 game tie-in. One of the parts of the movie is a very nasty computer complex that’s built that shoots out energy pulses to zap energy from cities, causing blackouts in cities all around the U.S. Reading this, it was a little hard to figure out what it was going to look like, so (not having a movie to look at) we took a bunch of liberties. We created a computer in the center of the screen and basically did a 360 degree Missile Command, with a scrolling (3×3) screen, an evil computer in the center, and cities on each side. The computer sends out energy pulses and Superman has to stop them. By this time in its development, the movie has tanked and there’s not much pressure to get the game out, so Atari decides to hold a focus group; however, it didn’t test very well (people found it hard to control) and Atari decided to pull the plug on it. The game probably could have been tuned a little bit, but the other problem was there’s not much variety. I had ideas for spicing it up, but they never got implemented.”

The theme music by Brad Fuller is odd in that it’s not the same as the famous score by John Williams. It starts off the same way for the first half, but the second half sounds like Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the movie Star Trek: The Motion picture (which was later used for the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation). The game music was later reused for Atari’s Final Legacy game.”

I don’t know, my friends. It looks like it was kind of fun to me and I do very much like the idea of a 360 degree Missile Command game. A big thanks to Atari Protos.Com for the 5200 mock-up artwork you see up top.


Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Looks pretty good to me. Considering the fun I had on the Atari 2600 version, I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed this – not that I had an Atari 400 at the time.

  2. Like many Atari games, I have no idea what’s going on.

  3. I would have played this. That 8 bit Superman flying around would have had my younger self playing that game day and night.

    However, this game needs stages or different boards. Does look boring and confusing.

    Shame the designers didn’t have anything to go by, reference wise.

    Like your father, I would have left the theater too, but not because of the video game sequence. The whole movie was just awful.

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