Developer George Pelonis
Publisher FURY
Release Date 2011
Genre Action
Mode Single player only
Media Cartridge
Related title Sundance: Dark of the Sun


Sundance was a little seen arcade game where players either captured or destroyed suns that bounced in between two grids.

The Vectrex release is a port of the arcade game, although with several enhancements and minor changes.


Each game starts off with two 9 x 9 grids taking their respected places – one at the top, the other at the bottom of the screen – and the player uses the bottom grid to catch any runaway suns that appear from the top in a one player game. The player must open a black hole in the bottom grid in order to capture a sun; if they fail to catch it, the sun will bounce back upwards and the two grids will move closer together, giving the player less time to respond to any suns. If the grids come close enough to touch each other then the game ends.

The player can also shoot a sun to destroy it with a nova, rather than catch it. These can only be fired off when a black hole is open. If the player misses a sun, the nova will bounce in between the two grids until it either collides with a sun or the player opens up another black hole in their grid and catches the nova, which they can then fire it off again. Only one nova can appear onscreen at a time.

(Note: in game one on the one player version, there are no novas.)

Game variationsEdit

For the solitary player, game one is the training mode, with only one sun appearing at a time, although the player has no novas that they can fire. Game two is the intermediate level, with two suns, and game three is the expert variation, with three suns appearing at once.

For two player games, player two takes control of the top grid, as these variations are for two player simultaneous play. Game one (entitled Sun War) has two suns and the ability to fire novas (as do all two player games); whoever scores 50 points first is the winner. Suns can also start from the bottom of the screen and travel upwards (unlike all single player variations where suns appear at the top only and work their way down). A player can also absorb the other’s nova by catching it with a black hole.

Sun War II, the intermediate level, has three onscreen suns, as does the expert level of Dark War, although the grids are totally invisible, save for when a black hole is activated, which is all that appears onscreen.

Whichever player scores 100 points first on the latter two variations is the winner.

Differences between versionsEdit

The arcade original had a nine button keypad, plus pressing any of the buttons would automatically open a black hole (whereas the Vectrex version takes two actions at the same time for the same function). The game was also timed and grids did not move closer together during gameplay on a single player game, but rather after a round. The original also didn’t have three different games per player setup, bonuses were awarded after a round, plus the animation was slightly different with the approaching suns (i. e. even the big suns would start out small, then grow in size, whereas the big suns on the Vectrex version start out big and stay that way).


Capture or destroy sun–1 point

Controls, title screenEdit

  • Calibrate graphics (if needed)–joystick or D-pad
  • Exit to menu screen–button 4

(player/game selection screen)Edit

  • Choose number of players–button 1
  • Choose game number–buttons 2 and 3
  • Start game–button 4


  • Choose grid area for black hole placement–joystick or D-pad
  • Open black hole–button 4 (while holding down position on joystick or D-pad)
  • Fire nova–button 3 while black hole is open (Note: this option is not available on game 1 on the single player mode)
(return to title screen after game)Edit

Any button


  • The original arcade game was hardly seen, due to the monitor being treated with a defective coating that caused most games to short out the instant they were powered on[1]. Very few are known to exist today.
  • The Artificial Owl web site, which documents abandoned places, has an article about the Little Sweden abandoned restaurant in California. One of the photos in its gallery shows a Sundance cab. Someone traveled to the Little Sweden property and stole the game[2] at some point.
  • Only 150 copies of the Vectrex version were made, which the owner’s cartridge number appears on the bootup screen.
  • Before the game starts up, not only will the title screen appear first, but it can also act as a calibration screen as well. It has an onscreen graphic (resembling a Ring of Fire from I, Cyborg) that can be moved in case the player’s Vectrex does not display the game properly (suns could appear to the left or right of black holes and/or bounce off grids either too early or too late). The onscreen graphic just simply needs to be placed in the center of the word “Sundance” for the graphics to work properly.
  • Those that preordered the game received a free Sundance patch included with their order.
  • There was also the special edition of Sundance: Dark of the Sun released (only three copies made), containing the bonus game of Dark of the Sun, with vanishing suns, six game settings (invisible grids, difficulty settings) and sound effects like the arcade original. The cartridge came in a red case with a hinged magnetic closure on the box and two patches were included[3]. A fourth copy, #000 was sold later with different packaging (owned by Grant in Winnipeg).
  • A third version of Sundance was also auctioned on ebay. This version was called Sundance: Matrix, of which only one was produced to closer emulate the arcade version. The ROM was designed to work exclusively with a special 10 button controller. Each of the 9 buttons arranged in a rectangular pattern corresponds to a portion of the 3x3 grid in the game plus an action button.

Links Edit



  1. History of Cinematronics page.
  2. Rotheblog posting.
  3. Ebay posting.
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