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This page is dedicated to all those who appreciate the quality and effort put into the building and programming of Sinistar, my favorite arcade game of all time. Here you will find information on how to fix and get around simple problems found in the classic game.

[ Sinistar is Now in Scanner Range ]

I am the owner of a very unique Sinistar - An AMOA Sinistar. (Thanks Derek.) [Cabinet #618681]. It was purchased at an auction in Connecticut in 1994 for $40, not working. All it needed was a new Power Supply, some lamps, a little TLC, and a new home. The cabinet is in cherry condition - no cigarette burns, no scratches on the side art, high gloss side art. It actually cost me more to repair and get home than it did to buy. Actually, at least one other Sinistar with this ROM set exists. I personally do not know where. I saw a lot of Sinistar boards for auction on E-Bay in the late summer/early fall of 1999, and in that lot was a ROM board with this ROM set installed. They are out there.

[ Blast Crystals off Planetoids ]

So what makes this Sinistar so special?? Well, first of all, it's mine. :). Secondly, it has an extremely rare ROM set in it which the programmers of Sinistar beleive to have been created for the 1983 AMOA Trade Show in Las Vega$. The programmers of the game beleive this to be so. You can read their email HERE. You can obtain images of these ROMs at E-Glide's Sinistar Home Page.

 [Firing Does Not Effect the Mighty Sinistar ]

This AMOA ROM set has chips whose serial numbers range from 16-3004-12 to 16-3004-22. Here are some differences in play from the common version.

  • No "Set Attract Mode Message" Capability in the operator settings menu.
  • FIRE makes high score letter entry instead of JOY-Move Right.
  • Sinistar raps his roar (re-starts) during a multi sini-bomb attack.
  • Sini-site crystal density per planetoid is greater.
  • The Sinistar may explode off-screen.
  • The player's ship doesn't spin out when eaten by the Sinistar - it just explodes. As a result, the 255 live trick is not possible with this ROM set.
  • Warping between zones is not always upper-right. You can warp in any direction - the direction you are facing when the Battle Computer engages the Warp Engines.
  • Enemies can wrap the visible playing field to take a second quick pass (bug??).
  • You are able to set the extra ship and extra ship bonus factors at zero, effectively putting the program in a loop to give you infinite lives (the games locks up - and you get an extended *extra ship* sound. Hitting ADVANCE will bring you to the bookeeping totals, and you can see all the free ships awarded.)
  • In attract mode, the word SINISTAR is displayed in big red letters in the shape of the word on the marquee. (See the top of this page.) (Much cooler than the standard attract mode display, in my opinion.)
  • During the tests for Sound, two sounds are not present. The common version of Sinistar has only four sounds (The SOUND LINE X jumps over two digits - I forget which). This set has six sounds, but two of them are silence.
  • Sinistar always enters the visible playfield with his mouth closed, regardless of whether he is speaking or not. (He should enter the playfield with an open mouth if he is speaking or roaring at the time.)

[ Run ]


The gameplay of Sinistar is quite simple. You are the lone pilot of a very agile ship. Your two objectives: Surviuve and save the universe. How do you accomplish this task? Well, you have been ordered to travel through various sectors in the universe. Some evil force has planted gravity wells in each of these secotrs. It is these wells which are responsible for the construction of a Sinistar.

Your enemies are Workers and Warriors. It is the job of the workers to gather sini-site crystals, carry them to the gravity well, and then sacrifice thier lives like lemmings to become a piece of the Sinistar. Once twenty workers have sacrificed their lives, the Sinistar is built, and lives. Sinistar will destroy all who stand in its way - namely you. You have two choices - prevent the Sinistar from being built, or destroy it after it is constructed.

To destroy the Sinistar, you must use Sini-bombs. And where do you get sini-bombs?? You get them by mining nearby planetoids and harvesting the crystals which are shaken loose from the planetoids surface as you fire at them. Be careful, though, workers use these same crystals to build the Sinistar. Treacherous Warriors will try to stop you by shooting at you. Don't let them gather nearby in large quantities.

You can delay the completion of the Sinistar by bombarding it with Sini-bombs while it is under construction. After it is built, it will take thirteen hits to defeat him. Once defeated, your guidance computer will catapault you to the next sector (or zone). The destruction of a Sinistar in a zone destroys the gravity well, and the workers in this zone can no longer construct such an evil device.

Choose your strategy wisely. Do you keep the Sinistar at bay by bombing it while its under-construction? Or do you allow the thing to be built, then defeat it, and then move on??

Sinistar Cocktail??

Was there ever a Sinistar Cocktail Machine made?? Well, I gave this some though after emulating my ROM images (with Retrocade and MAME) and performing a switch test. It would seem that under emulation, a second set of switches closes (FIRE 1 and 2, SINIBOMB 1 and 2, Joystick 1 and 2). However, when I perform the same test on my upright, only the Player 1 set of switches closes. Then I thought about the mega-interface board, and thought there were a second set of unused inputs on it. Sure enough, there is a second set of inputs. I didn't have the guts to begin closing circuits on my upright to see what happens during a switch test, but it would seem that this second set of inputs could have been created for a cocktail version of the game.

So, was there a Cocktail Sinistar? I don't think so. Were there plans for a Cocktail Sinistar? Maybe. Could we make one? Probably. The obstacles which need to be overcome are flipping the screen and disbaling the second set of controls while the other player is up.

I have also heard that Williams ofered Sinistar in a Red Duramold Cabinet. This is something I'd LOVE to see personally and play. I know they made a Duramold Bubbles, and a Duramold Blaster, but I have only read about the Duramold Sinistar until just recently. Again, on E-Bay, someone in Canada aucrtioned a Duramold Sinistar in a black cabinet. Pictures of it are available at the spies archive.

Are you a Star Worshiper??

Do you also have your own Star worshiping device? Then I suggest you join the Video Arcade Preservation Society. This is a "Who's who" of video game collectors. You can also find other useful information there, like the Killer List of Video Games, and dates for upcoming auctions.

This is a project in work, so please be forgiving if stuff you want is not here. I may provide scans of Drawings - it'll depend on legibility and file size in the future.

The Sini-Library

We do have some pinouts for Sinistar. It should be noted, however, that my upright Sinistar has no +5VDC to the sound board. My machine has only -12, 0, and +12 VDC.

I have also come across a hack so that your 4116 RAM on your Main PCB can be replaced with 4164 RAMs, which are found in old PC's. I have been told that the 4164 RAMs also run cooler. This hack works with all classic Williams Boards.


Try these links on for size, coward!

My Sinistar Photo Gallery.

Click on one of the images below to see a larger picture of my Sinistar.

A adobicized version (pdf) of the Sinstar Manual can no longer be found at