Atari’s Warlords is considered one of the best competitive video game titles of all time. Warlords is a simple game that took Atari’s early games Quadrapong and Breakout and greatly improved upon them. By taking the multi-player paddle premise and spinning the concept by mashing-up Dungeons & Dragons with Arthurian legend, Atari created a classic still beloved almost four decades later.

Originally codenamed Castles & Kings, the title was changed to Warlords when unleashed in arcades. Similar to Atari’s other ball and paddle games, Warlords implements the use of spinner dials to break bricks.

The game’s objective is clear cut; protect your own castle while deflect- ing fireballs toward opposing adver- saries’ castle walls to obliterate them. The game begins with a winged red and yellow dragon flying onto the playfield. It hurls a fireball from its mouth that immediately starts breaking down the fortresses one by one, brick by brick. Each castle is controlled by a human king, or a computer controlled Black Knight. Castles can be defended by controlling a moving shield to repel oncoming attacks. It is also possible to capture an incoming projectile and aggressively catapult a more destructive spinning fireball back at rival foes. Up to four fireballs can ricochet around the arena at once, making for quite a bit of chaos!

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Michael Thomasson Michael Thomasson (63 Posts)

Michael Thomasson is one of the most widely respected videogame historians in the field today. He currently teaches college level videogame history, design, and graphics courses. For television, Michael conducted research for MTV's videogame related program Video MODS. In print, he authored Downright Bizarre Games, and has contributed to nearly a dozen gaming texts. Michael’s historical columns have been distributed in newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has written business plans for several vendors and managed a dozen game-related retail stores spanning three decades. Michael consults for multiple video game and computer museums and has worked on nearly a hundred game titles on Atari, Coleco, Sega and other console platforms. In 2014, The Guinness Book of World Records declared that Thomasson had “The Largest Videogame Collection” in the world. His businesses sponsor gaming tradeshows and expos across the US and Canada.  Visit