Millipede (video game)

Millipede (stylized millipede in western releases and Milli-Pede in Japan) is fixed shooter released in arcades by Atari, Inc. in 1982. It is the sequel to the arcade game Centipede with more gameplay variety and a wider array of insects than the original. The objective is to score as many points as possible by destroying all segments of the millipede as it moves toward the bottom of the screen, as well as eliminating or avoiding other enemies. The game is played with a trackball and a single fire button which can be held down for rapid-fire.

Millipede Poster.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Atari, Inc.
Publisher(s)Atari, Inc.
Namco (Japan)
Designer(s)Ed Logg
Programmer(s)Atari 8-bit
Steve Crandall[1]
Atari 2600
Dave Staugas[1]
SeriesCentipede Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, NES
Release1982: Arcade
1984: Atari 8-bit, 2600
1986: Atari ST
1988: NES
Genre(s)Fixed shooter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players alternating turns
CabinetUpright, cocktail
CPU1 × 6502 @ 1.512 MHz
Sound2 × POKEY @ 1.512 MHz
DisplayRaster, 240 × 256, vertical, palette colors 32

Millipede was initially ported to the Atari 8-bit family and Atari 2600, then later to the Atari ST and Nintendo Entertainment System.


Gameplay screenshot

In this sequel to Centipede, the player no longer takes the role of the Bug Blaster from the previous game, but instead takes the role of an elf called the Archer. The object of the game is to destroy a millipede that advances downward from the top of the screen. The millipede travels horizontally until it either hits an obstacle or reaches the edge of the screen, after which it drops one row and reverses direction. Once it enters the player's gray maneuvering area, it stays there and extra heads appear at intervals until both they and the millipede are destroyed. Shooting a body segment splits the millipede in two, with the rear portion sprouting its own head. A collision with any enemy costs the player one life.

Differences from CentipedeEdit

  • According to the game's arcade flyer and instruction manual, the game involves a storyline involving the supposed player character, the "Archer", to defend his mushroom forest from the onslaught of gigantic insect monsters using his "magic arrows".
  • The millipede moves faster and its "head" segment is more difficult to hit than in Centipede.
  • Earwigs replace scorpions from Centipede, making mushrooms poisonous so that the millipede will charge straight to the bottom of the screen after touching them. In the NES version, they do not poison the mushrooms.
  • Bees replace fleas from Centipede, leaving mushrooms in a vertical line and requiring two shots to destroy.
  • Spiders behave the same way as in Centipede, moving in zig-zag pattern across the player area and eating mushrooms. Multiple spiders can appear at the same time on higher levels.
  • Inchworms move horizontally across the screen and slow all enemies for a short period of time when hit.
  • Ladybugs crawl around the player area for a while, then climb up and leave the screen, turning any mushrooms they touch into indestructible flowers. When hit, all mushrooms on the screen scroll down one row.
  • Dragonflies drop mushrooms while zigzagging down, and can be destroyed with a single shot.
  • Mosquitoes bounce off the sides of the screen as they descend diagonally. When hit, all mushrooms on the screen scroll up one row.
  • Bombs (labeled "DDT") can be triggered with one shot, destroying all enemies and mushrooms within the blast radius. Whenever the mushrooms scroll down, a new bomb is added at the top of the screen. Up to four bombs can be in play at one time. The player scores points for shooting the bomb itself, and every enemy destroyed in the blast are worth three times the normal points.

All flowers and poisoned or partially destroyed mushrooms revert to normal, whole mushrooms and score points during the process when the player loses a life.

At regular intervals, the player enters a bonus level with a swarm of enemies (bees, dragonflies, etc.) instead of the usual millipede. Each enemy awards increasing points, up to a maximum of 1,000 points per enemy. The attack ends when either the entire swarm has passed or the player loses a life. Also, at intervals new mushrooms will grow on the field while others disappear, in a pattern similar to Conway's Game of Life.

Players can whether to play at an advanced level, starting with a score that is a multiple of the number of points needed to earn an extra life (by default, 15,000). The gameplay is generally much more advanced than it would be had the player started with a score of 0 and worked their way up to that point level. The maximum advanced level allowed is a function of the preceding player's score, and games started at an advanced level where the player did not earn at least one extra life are not eligible for the high scoreboard.


Millipede was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit family, Atari ST, and later the Nintendo Entertainment System. A version for the Family Computer was developed and published by HAL Laboratory, known as Milli-Pede: Kyodai Konchū no Gyakushū, later renamed to Millipede: Super Arcade Hit! for its 1988 US NES release.

A port for the Atari 5200, identical to the Atari 8-bit computer version, was ready in 1984, but was not published.


An upright cabinet

In 1995 Millipede was released together with Centipede on the Game Boy under the title Arcade Classic No. 2: Centipede / Millipede.

In 1997, it was included in Arcade's Greatest Hits: The Atari Collection 2 for the PlayStation.

In 2005, Millipede was combined with Super Breakout and Lunar Lander for the Game Boy Advance

Both the arcade and Atari 2600 versions of the game were re-released as part of the 2005 Atari Anthology for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. It was also made available along with Centipede on the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on May 2, 2007.

In 2018, it was included as one of the playable games in the Centipede At Home Arcade Cabinet produced by Arcade1up, and was sold at retailers including Walmart and Gamestop.[citation needed]

High scoresEdit

Donald Hayes, of New Hampshire, USA, scored a world record 10,627,331 points playing Millipede on December 26, 2004.[2] Mr Hayes released a one and two DVD disc set documenting his high score. It was sold in limited quantities.

The highest Millipede score played under tournament settings is 495,126 points, also by Hayes.[3]

In the default high-scores table of the arcade, the initials "FXL" and "ED" refer to "Ed Logg" (designing and programming) and "Franz Lanzinger" (who helped a bit in designing and testing).[4]


  1. ^ a b Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. ^ "Twin Galaxies' Marathon Millipede High Score Rankings". Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Retro Gamer issue 76, page 27 (Q&A)

External linksEdit