Omega Race is an arcade game programmed by Ron Haliburton and released in 1981 by Midway. It was the only arcade game with vector graphics Midway created.
Set in the year 2003, the game involves using a spaceship to destroy enemy droid ships. The player’s ship is controlled using a spinner to rotate the ship’s direction, a button for thrusting, and a button for firing lasers. The enemies that the player must destroy or avoid are drone ships, commander ships, two types of space mines, and shooting star ships. Extra ships were usually awarded at 40,000 and 100,000 points, but this default setting could be changed by the machine’s owner. Its gameplay has been compared to Asteroids, in that the game uses black and white vector graphics and the ship is moved using a thrust button. Unlike Asteroids, the ship wasn’t allowed to warp to the other side of the screen; it would bounce off an invisible barrier on the edges of the screen that would briefly appear when something hit it.
n 1982 the editors of Consumer Guide magazine published a book entitled How To Win At Video Games, which featured detailed strategies for nine of the most popular arcade games of the time. Omega Race was chosen as one such game, mostly due to its approachability. The book states that “any unskilled player can pop a quarter into the machine and stay up there for up to 20,000 points.” According to the book, more than 35,000 machines were created, with the average machine taking in $181.00 per week at the time of the book’s publication. Frequently, it was one of the top ten money-making arcade machines in any given week in that time period.