Original System: Atari 400/800

One of the most famous games of the early 1980's, Choplifter! (note that exclamation mark) needs no introduction.  While Broderbund published the game for all home computers at the time (although they later farmed ports out to other companies), they did not publish for home game systems like the Atari 5200.  Therefore Atari decided to publish Choplifter! themselves for the Atari 5200 in early 1984.  Atari didn't reinvent the wheel however, instead they simply took Broderbund's Atari 400/800 version and made a few minor modifications.  Interestingly Atari eventually decided to create an entirely new port of Choplifter! (courtesy of Sculptured Software) when they released it for their Atari XE line of computers.

The Atari 5200 port of Choplifter! is very similar to the original Atari 400/800 version with a few minor exceptions.  First the text Broderbund Software Presents has been removed from the status display area for obvious reasons.  Second the status display area has been redesigned bit to remove the 3-D looking box and make it one long bar.  Third, the Atari 5200 version added a demo to the game which was missing from the original Atari 400/800 port.  This was probably because almost all Atari 5200 games at the time had gameplay demos per Atari policy.

The biggest change overall however is to the controls.  Since the original Apple II version of the game supported a two button joystick the controls were designed so that one button fired and one button changed the direction of your helicopter.  When Choplifter! was ported to systems with only one button the controls were updated to that the player had to hold down the fire button to change directions.  This is how the Atari 400/800 version works, but since the Atari 5200 controller has two fire buttons it reverts back to the original two button control scheme.


Atari 400/800

Atari 5200



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