The player(s) controls a space ship in a space field with only the sun, their opponent's ship, and an occasional asteroid to contend with. The opponent's ship is equally matched to the player's, as it is their mission to destroy the opponent's ship as many times as possible. Both players have similar maneuverability, speed, defense and attack capabilities. Players may fire lasers, thrust or enter hyperspace; however, defense usage is limited and can be depleted. Both ships can be disabled and still cause damage before they are completely destroyed, although thrusting directly into the sun will completely destroy either ship.
A player can choose between going against the computer or another player only.
- Choose between one or two players-button one
- Choose difficulty (ship/laser speed/sun's gravity)-button two
- Rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise-joystick or D-pad
- Hyperspace-button two
- Thrust-button three
- Fire-button four
- Destroy opponent's ship-1 point
- Space Wars is based on a computer game made for the PDP-1 at MIT.
- Space Wars was ported to the Vectrex in 1982; however, the original Cinematronics arcade game was released in 1977. There are mostly only a few minor differences between this port and the original, as the arcade screen/playfield was substantially larger. A brief musical piece plays on this port whenever the player destroys another, which was not on the original, and the game ends after 10 hits are scored total on this version; in the arcade original, a player had to deposit more coins or tokens in order to increase their playing time.
- Space Wars is one of the 12 original games released worldwide including the USA, Europe and Japan.