Cannon Fighter

Genre, ,
Released5th June 2008

All code by Richard Davey

Graphics and Sound from the original game, repixelled and resampled by Richard Davey



The first home computer my parents ever bought was an 8-bit Toshiba MSX (HX-10 model). This was back in the early 1980s when I was a little kid. They knew nothing about computers, and to this day I’m still not sure why they bought an MSX (all the other kids had Spectrums!). Anyway we had an MSX and it lived downstairs in the lounge. I would get up extra early so I could creep down and load-up games before school and at weekends. One of those games was Cannon Fighter.

I’m not sure why I loved it so much. I mean even for the time it was released it was hardly innovative or cutting edge. But it was a game true to itself, it knew what it was about – just stop those bloody tanks! and I admired that. Then a few months ago I spotted a copy on eBay, and snapped it up. I figured that it ought to be preserved, but rather than a total overhaul I wanted to create a pixel accurate remake, and this is the end result.

Read the chat about this game on


  • I just really like it. I know that it won’t hold the same resonance for probably anyone else out there, but that’s ok. I don’t care. The enjoyment was in the coding and seeing it come to life in my web browser
  • All of the 4 stages are in there
  • The complete “base capture” animation sequence is in there
  • The super tanks are tricky, but not impossible to hit!
  • It’s still a challenging little bastard! Sorts out the gaming men from the boys 😉


  • Graphically it’s pixel perfect, which isn’t going to help with ratings as it spreads around the web :)
  • It’s fiendishly difficult on the later levels
  • Some people will dismiss it probably based on the title page alone, or 6 seconds worth of play. Which is a shame, but hey, I wrote this game for me, not them

Development Trivia

I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to hit the plane in the original game. I have tried and tried (both back in 1989 as a kid, and now under emulation) and I just can’t manage it. So I’ve made that part of this remake much easier.

The original game features this really annoying noise when the plane flies across (which is pretty much all the time). I just didn’t want to keep that element, so dropped it.

The original also had quite dodgy collision detection, a lot of times you’d so totally hit the tank and it just wouldn’t explode. My version is far more forgiving. As a side-effect I have not kept true to the “enemy waves”, they’re a little more intense in my version.

The original game paused whenever you hit a super tank with the message “BONUS 1000” across the screen. This was extremely frustrating! So sorry, but I dropped that too :)

All-in this game took around 5 evenings to complete. I spent ages on the cannon shot math, figuring out the angle and velocity, etc. then one night realised I could do the whole thing with a simple bezier curve and had it up and running within minutes in 3 lines of code. Annoying, but such is development life!

I still think the MSX computer rocks! Having the built-in cartridge port was inspired, and all the great Konami games you could get just blew me away at the time (Antartic Adventure, Athletic Land, Sky Jaguar, etc). Ahh, nostalgia… you are a funny beast.

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