Destroyer (1977)

by Christopher
4 minutes read


Destroyer (1977): A Timeless Arcade Classic


In the annals of arcade gaming history, Destroyer (1977) stands as a timeless masterpiece, captivating players with its simple yet addictive gameplay, challenging depth, and nostalgic charm. Developed and published by Atari, Inc., Destroyer was an instant hit upon its release, and its legacy continues to endure among retro gaming enthusiasts today.

Gameplay: Sink or be Sunk

Destroyer is a single-player arcade game that pits you against a relentless onslaught of submarines. The playfield is divided into two sections: the surface, represented by a wavy line, and the depths below, where the submarines lurk. Your ship moves continuously across the surface, and your goal is to sink or destroy as many submarines as possible before the time expires.

To sink a submarine, you must first set the target depth using a dial control. The target depth is displayed as a dashed line on the screen. Once the depth is set, push the dial control to drop a depth charge. The speed of your ship is controlled using a speed lever control.

Timing is crucial in Destroyer. If you drop a depth charge too early or too late, it will miss the submarine and explode harmlessly, earning you a low-pitched “boom.” However, if you drop a depth charge at the right moment, it will hit the submarine and trigger an explosion sequence, accompanied by a satisfyingly loud “BOOM!” Successful hits are rewarded with points, and the goal is to accumulate as many points as possible before the timer runs out.

Strategy and Skill

While the gameplay of Destroyer may seem straightforward, it requires a combination of strategy and skill to master. The submarines move at varying speeds and depths, and you must constantly adjust your target depth and ship speed to stay on their tail.

One key strategy is to anticipate the movement of the submarines. By observing their patterns, you can predict their trajectory and drop depth charges accordingly. Another important skill is to control the speed of your ship. Moving too slowly will make it difficult to catch up to the submarines, while moving too quickly can cause you to overshoot your target.

Legacy and Impact

Destroyer was a groundbreaking arcade game that left an indelible mark on the industry. Its simple yet addictive gameplay, challenging depth, and nostalgic charm have made it a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts. Destroyer’s success also paved the way for a number of sequels and spin-offs, including Destroyer II (1979) and Sea Wolf (1976).

Technical Details

  • Developer and Publisher: Atari, Inc.
  • Release Date: 1977
  • Genre: Arcade, Submarine Combat
  • Platform: Arcade
  • Controls: Dial control for target depth, speed lever control for ship speed
  • Display: Black and white CRT monitor
  • Sound: Monophonic speaker

Critical Reception and Awards

Destroyer was met with critical acclaim upon its release. It was praised for its innovative gameplay, challenging difficulty, and addictive nature. Destroyer was also a commercial success, selling over 10,000 arcade cabinets worldwide.

Cultural Impact

Destroyer has had a lasting impact on popular culture. It has been referenced in numerous films, television shows, and video games. The game’s distinctive sound effects and gameplay have also been used in various forms of media, including music and advertising.


Destroyer (1977) is a timeless arcade classic that continues to captivate gamers of all ages. Its simple yet addictive gameplay, challenging depth, and nostalgic charm have made it a beloved favorite among retro gaming enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the world of classic arcade games, Destroyer is a must-play experience that will provide hours of thrilling submarine combat action.

Review Score


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More