Company: Eclectek
Model #:
Jeff Milhorn
Year: 1985
Discovered in 2005


Psyclotron is a fast paced shooting game in the same vein as Robotron that was developed by former Atari programmer Jeff Milhorn.  Jeff had been putting the finishing touches on his unreleased Atari 8-Bit port of Sinistar when he left Atari and moved to New York to start his own company called Eclectek.  Psyclotron was to be Eclectek first game, but they never actually got around to releasing any games (1985 was a rough year for games in general, much less Atari 8-Bit games) and sadly Psyclotron never saw the light of day.


To say that Psyclotron is inspired by Robotron: 2084 would be an understatement.  On the surface, Psycoltron looks like a straight Robotron clone with a 'brain and mind' theme added, but if you look a little closer you can see that Psyclotron is actually very different from Robotron in many areas and actually borrows ideas from other games such as Asteroids and Quantum.  The main goal of the game is to keep the large brain in the center of the screen safe by preventing enemies from crashing into it.  To do this, player must move their blue blob around the screen and shoot enemy particles before they crash into the brain.  Sounds simple right?  Well there's actually a bit more to it than that.


There are actually several different types of enemies and objects that need to be dealt with in different ways.  For example the Orbs and Particles that bounce around the screen are actually harmless and should be picked up and absorbed by the player.  However if the Particles touch the Orbs they will join together and form a dangerous enemy that must be shot apart by the player.  Your blob shoots projectiles in a circular pattern which take a little getting used to.  These projectiles will only affect Orbs with Particles attached (blasting them apart) and Broken Bulbs (destroying them). 

Also floating around the screen are Light Bulbs that can either be collected for bonus points (if lit) or shot (if broken).  When all the Light Bulbs have either been collected or broken the blue boarder surrounding the screen disappears (the 'Frame of Mind').  Once this happens anything that reaches the edge of the screen will disappear and never been seen again.  This is a good way to get rid of enemies and to keep from being overwhelmed, but will cost you the Frame of Mind bonus if you let any enemies escape.  Rounding out the enemy list is the evil Blue Light Bulb which appears only on special stages that consist only of Light Bulbs.  These evil bulbs will actively seek out lit bulbs and break them.  These evil bulbs are invincible, but once all the bulbs have been broken they will disappear.

Blue Orb
Blue Orbs are harmless until they touch a particle.  Absorbing a Blue Orb is worth 100 points.
Gold Orb
Gold Orbs act like Blue Orbs and can join with them forming a new enemy that must be shot apart. Absorbing a Gold Orb is worth 100 points.
Like the Orbs, Particles themselves are harmless until they meet up.  Absorbing a Particle is worth 100 points.
Orb with Particle
Once a Blue or Gold Orb touches a Particle they join and become deadly to your brain.  They must be shot apart in order to be absorbed.  Touching an Orb with Particle will cause it to start moving faster.  Shooting an Orb With Particle apart is with 10 points.
Blue and Gold Orb
When a Blue and Gold Orb touch they form a new enemy that acts just like an Orb with Particle and must be shot apart.  These enemies can also join with particles forming even larger enemies.  Shooting a Blue and Gold Orb apart is worth 10 points.
Blue and Gold Orb with Particle
The ultimate form of enemy!  These form when a Blue Orb, Gold Orb, and Particle all meet.  While they're larger in size, they act exactly like any other Orb/Particle combo and must be shot apart before bieng absorbed.  Shooting them apart is worth 10 points.
Lit Bulb

Lit Light Bulbs appear in random locations at the start of each level.  Absorbing one of these bulbs is worth 500 Points.  Each extra bulb that you collect will increase the point multiplier up to x9 (500, 1000, 1500, 2000, etc).
Broken Bulb

If an enemy manages to touch a Lit Bulb it will turn into a Broken Bulb.  Broken Bulbs will slowly start moving towards the brain and will damage it if they hit.  Broken Bulbs must be shot and destroyed.  Doing so is worth 250 points.
Evil Bulb

These invincible evil blue light bulbs only appear on special 'Bulb Waves' which feature nothing but Light Bulbs.  Evil Bulbs seek out Lit Bulbs and turn them into Broken Bulbs.
Synapses appear randomly at the start of some levels and will repair your brain a bit if collected.  Synapses are worth 10,000 points if your brain already has damage or 50,000 points if there is no damage!


Each time a Broken Bulb or Orb with Particles manages to hit your brain, the brain will take damage.  After three hits the right side of your brain will go dark.  When this happens it means that your brain can only take one more hit before it's game over.  Thankfully there's a way to reverse some of this damage in the form of Synapses.  Synapses appear randomly at the start of stages and look like a small web.  Grabbing one of these will restore one hit point to your brain which has four hit points in total.


Psycoltron is one of the rare Atari 8-Bit games that features a simultaneous two player mode.  When a two player game is selected each player will control their own blob (helpfully labeled 1 and 2) and must cooperatively protect the brain.  Not only is this two player mode a blast to play, but it makes it easier to achieve higher scores.  Speaking of scores, there are two different types of bonuses the player can achieve in the game.  Each bonus is worth 1000 points x the current Experiment number (levels are referred to as experiments in this game).  The first is the Frame of Mind bonus.  This can be achieved by not letting any enemies escape off the sides of the screen, which is rather difficult past the first few levels.  The second bonus is the Mental Health bonus which can be achieved by not letting the brain get hit by any enemies.  You'd better be seeing this bonus a lot or you're not going to make it very far into the game.


There's really no way to ignore Robotrons influence on Psyclotron.  Light Bulbs = Humanoids, Broken Bulbs = Progs, Blue Light Blubs = Brains, Orbs = Grunts, etc.  Even the transition between levels is ripped from Robotron.  But Psyclotron manages to be something more than the Robotron clone with a fresh coat of pain thrown on it.  Psyclotron is actually a unique game in its own right and blends together various ideas from other games into a new experience.  One does have to wonder if Eclectek would have run into some serious legal issues from Williams (or Atari) if they had actually sold the game as there's no denying that it 'lovingly borrows' ides from Robotron.  As it stands Psyclotron is an extremely fun take on Robotron and should be on every gamers radar.

Version Cart Text Description
11/??/84 Psyclotron Game Program
Missing splash screen
Adds splash screen
Final Version?

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