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Defend Spectar City

The success of Gremlin’s Head-On in 1979 turned the industry’s attention toward maze games.  In 1980 new maze games included Pacman, Rally-X, and Berzerk, as well as Targ, by Exidy.

Exidy, the manufacturer of Targ, never had the monetary resources of larger manufacturers like Atari or Bally/Midway. However, Targ was quite a success for them and a sequel, Spectar, was released in 1981. My Spectar game, was probably one of the first released, since it is in a white Targ cabinet, but has the Spectar side art. Since it is serial #4757, my guess is somewhere around 4700 Targ machines were manufactured.




Described by the game cabinet as "The Crystal City", Targ’s only maze is a simple 9 by 9 yellow grid of buildings. The player, controls a “Wummel”, which maneuvers through the maze trying to shoot enemies and avoid collisions.

The Wummel’s primary enemy consists of “Targs”, represented on the screen as red arrows.  Their only mode of attack is ramming the player’s ship. While they can’t fire these ships are quite smart and aggressive. They avoid being in front of the player’s ship and enjoy chasing it. When a Targ is shot the player gains 10 points times the current round number.

Occasionally, a small cyan-colored "Spectar Smuggler" will appear and a siren sound will be heard. Like the Targs, this enemy’s only attack is ramming the player’s ship. It also seems to be less aggressive than the Targ ships. Shooting this ship is worth a random amount between 100 and 500 points.

When all the Targs have been destroyed in a round, a bonus of 1000x the level number is awarded to the player and the next round begins. If the player takes too long to clear the board, the speed of the Targ ships increase - eventually traveling faster than the player's Wummel. Their speed increases faster in later rounds of the game.

Home Versions:

Atari 2600 - Targ (prototype)

Targ never had a home version officially released. CBS Electronics did license and program a version for the Atari 2600. The video game crash sealed its fate, and it wasn't released until recently as a prototype. The program CBS developed was released with changed graphics under the name "Universal Chaos" by Telegames.

Atari 2600 - Targ

Apple ][ - Crossfire

Crossfire was a popular game for the Apple ][ computer based on Targ. Published by Sierra Online, it used the Targ game play as a starting point and added bonus items, firing enemies, and the ability to fire in four directions.

Apple 2 - Crossfire


Targ consists of three boards, the motherboard, a sound PCB, and a color adapter PCB. The motherboard and sound board are attached via a series of pins on the motherboard, while the motherboard and color adapter PCB are attached via a 14-pin DIP ribbon cable.

Targ was programmed for the 6502 CPU, the same chip used in Apple  II series of computers and many other arcade games of this era. The game program consists of five 2716 EPROMs for a total size of 10k. An additional 1k 2708 EPROM is used for the game's Moving Objects Image Storage (sprites). These are used to represent the player's ship and it's missile.

The sounds in the game are made by a series of discrete circuits on the sound board.

Spectar and Targ boards, while similar, are not convertible simply by a ROM swap (As described by KLOV). Among the differences:

  • There are not enough sockets for Spectar's additional EPROMs.
  • The proms are different between the games.
  • The sound boards are different.
  • The color adapter PCBs are different - but are similar enough that they could be converted between the two games.

The games do, however, share the same pinout and can be swapped at will into each other's cabinets.

Motherboard Picture (click for larger image):

Targ PCB

Board Revisions:

Targ motherboards were released as:

These earlier boards contain many wire patches on the back. They use a single 2708(+5v,-5v,+12v) for a character ROM. They also utilize TMS2716 program ROMs which unlike regular 2716 EPROMs required three voltages to operate.

These later boards have integrated the wire patches into the traces on the board. They utilize regular one voltage (+5) 2716 EPROMs for their program ROMs. They still use a single 2708, a three voltage EPROM, for a character ROM.

Spectar motherboards were released as REV. C.


Targ is fully emulated in MAME. There are a few small tweaks that still need to be made. For Targ, the text color should be a light blue rather than white. In Spectar the player's ship and the enemy ship that doesn't fire should be yellow. The text is white in Spectar. The sound of the player shooting is different in Spectar than in Targ.

ROMs Download:

Thanks to the kind generosity of H.R. Kaufmann, president of Xidy, the original ROM images for Targ have been made available for free, non-commercial use. You can download them here.


How to Master the Video Games

Targ Inspired:

Armored Car (Stern)

Targ Technical Information & Repair Tips:

Targ Test ROM
Targ Subroutines Documentation
Targ Dip Shunts Info
Targ & Spectar Color Adapter Board Troubleshooting

Targ Products in Development:

Targ Freeplay


Exidy Targ Manual 1.0 Exidy Targ Manual 1.1

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