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Scramble (スクランブル Sukuranburu?) is a 1981 horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game. It was developed by Konami, and manufactured and distributed by Stern in North America.


The player controls an aircraft, referred to in the game as a "Jet," and has to guide it across a scrolling terrain, battling obstacles along the way. The ship is armed with a forward-firing weapon, and bombs; each weapon has its own button. The player must avoid colliding with the terrain and other enemies, while simultaneously maintain its limited fuel supply, which diminishes over time. More fuel can be acquired by destroying fuel tanks in the game.

The game is divided into six sections, each with a different style of terrain and different obstacles. There is no intermission between each section; the game simply scrolls into the new terrain. Points are awarded based upon the number of seconds of being alive, and on destroying enemies and fuel tanks. In the final section, the player must destroy a "base". Once this has been accomplished, a flag denoting a completed mission is posted at the bottom right of the screen. The game then continues by returning you to the first section once more, with a slight increase in difficulty.



Scramble was cloned to many of the computer systems and game consoles of the time. Its direct sequel was the helicopter arcade game Super Cobra, and the somewhat modified Fort Apocalypse. Scramble inspired other arcade shooters based on similar graphics style and game play elements—notably, Cosmic Avenger.

An updated version of Scramble is available in Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced by inputting the Konami Code in the game's title screen. This version allows three different ships to be chosen: the Renegade, the Shori, and the Gunslinger. The only differences among the ships besides their appearance are the shots they fire. The Renegade's shots are the same as in the original Scramble, the Shori has rapid-fire capabilities triggered by holding down the fire button, and the Gunslinger's shots can pierce through enemies, meaning they can be used for multiple hits with a single shot.

According to the Nintendo Game Boy Advance Gradius Galaxies intro and the Gradius Breakdown DVD included with Gradius V, Scramble is considered the first in the Gradius series.

However, the Gradius Portable Guidebook issued a few years after by Konami lists Scramble as part of their shooting history, and the Gradius games are now listed separately.

Scramble was included on Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits in 1999. Scramble joined the Xbox Live Arcade library for the Xbox 360 on September 13, 2006, its release having been delayed from September 6, 2006 due to bugs. Scramble was also included in the Arcade Archives on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Scramble made the list of Top 100 arcade games in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition.

Legal history

Scramble was the subject of an important court case in the field of Intellectual Property, specifically copyrights. In Stern Electronics, Inc. v. Kaufman, 669 F.2d 852, the Second Circuit held that Stern could copyright the images and sounds in the game, not just the source code that produced them.[1]

Notes and references

  1. Gradius Portable Official Guide. Konami. 2006. ISBN 4-86155-111-0
  2. Case: Stern Elec. v. Kaufman (2nd Cir. 1982) Patent Arcade. Retrieved on 2006-09-16.



  • On December 07, 2006 Konami released a Konami Live! Online Game Controller - Arcade Collection where when plugged into a PC the game could be played through a web application along with other games such as Contra, Gyruss, Time Pilot and Yie Ar Kung Fu.

External links

Gradius video games
Gradius series GradiusGradius IIGradius IIIGradius GaidenGradius IV: FukkatsuGradius GalaxiesGradius VGradius ReBirthGradius: The Interstellar AssaultGradius NEOGradius NEO Imperial
Spin-offs Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3Nemesis (Game Boy)Cosmic WarsSolar Assault
Parody games ParodiusParodius Da!Gokujō Parodius!Jikkyō Oshaberi ParodiusSexy ParodiusParo WarsOtomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius Excellent
Other games ScrambleThunder CrossThunder Cross IISpace ManbowForce Gear
Pachislot Gradius: The SlotCR Parodius Da! EXGokuraku Parodius!
Cancelled Vic ViperGradius ArcSalamander HD Remaster