The game was created and released by Midway in 1981, which would be later ported to several computer platforms and video game consoles.
At the very start of a game, a large Gorf robot appears at the top of the screen, which it moves very rapidly from one side to the other while spitting out invaders (as it is a bit of a Space Invaders clone). If a player is able to shoot the robot, it will continue distributing invaders. There are no bunkers like on Space Invaders, but rather a shield that covers a large area of the lower portion of the screen. Like with bunkers, though, invaders’ shots will poke holes in it. The shield disappears briefly with every shot the player takes.
Along with Gorf robots hopping across the screen, the U. F. O. from the original Space Invaders, as well as a second, differently-shaped bonus ship appears as well at times. Also, if a player’s ship gets destroyed with only two invaders (or less) left, the game will still advance to the next wave.
This game featured ships that would fire a laser that would make a very long path down the screen, along with having other ships (and small Gorf robots) that would peel off from their formations and make an attack run at players. If the player did not destroy a ship before it reached the bottom of the screen it would reappear at the top. The ships would move individually peeling off from the formation, as well as the formation also moving very quickly at an angle to another area of the screen before pausing so the ships discharging the lasers could pause and fire a shot at the player.
This is a clone of Galaxian, where several rows of aliens would peel off from their formation and make a bombing run at the player's ship; if the player does not destroy an alien when it passes the player it will reappear at the top of the screen. There are fewer aliens during a wave than on the original, although there is the addition of the occasional Gorf robot appearing above the aliens.
This game involves shooting ships that come out of a black hole that fire at the player while moving at a circular motion around the screen, which their path becomes larger and larger with each successive rotation. A series of dots surrounding the black hole indicates how many ships are left.
This is the final stage before the game starts over at a higher difficulty level. The player has to shoot through a shield first in order to begin attacking the flag ship. As the ship starts taking damage, pieces of debris fly off from the ship, which can destroy the player's ship upon contact, although the debris can be shot for points.
- Move laser base–joystick
- Gorf was one of the earlier games that talked. The player would also receive a rank, as each time a player made it through all five games their rank would increase.
- The player could move their ship in several directions, as well as being able to maneuver around the bottom few inches of the screen (unlike with just moving left and right on Space Invaders and Galaxian).
- Players’ ships would get destroyed by various enemy fire, craft, debris, and even the point values that briefly appeared onscreen on Laser Attack after enemy ships were destroyed.
All versions are missing the Galaxians game, since it would require a second license, as Namco originally made Galaxian. These home versions were created by Roklan and were released by CBS Electronics from 1982-1983 for the Atari 8-bit computer line, the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, BBC Micro, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, and VIC-20.
No saucers or bonus Gorf robots appear on Astro Battles, as well as a shield. The invaders also look different, as one row is made up of small Gorf robots. There are far fewer enemy ships on the Laser Attack wave, plus their attack patterns are different and they move a lot faster. On Space Warp, there is no indication as to how many enemy ships are left and the player’s shots cancel out the enemy shots, which also occurs with the Flag Ship, which also has no shield, nor any debris when the player starts shooting it to pieces. The player also can only move left and right on all screens, not up and down or diagonally, and the game is for one player only.
- Move laser base–joystick (left/right only)
Players can choose from several different skill levels and a game starts with five lives. The second UFO in Astro Battles is a lot larger than on the arcade original. The shield on that round also doesn't allow players shots to go through, with the infamous 5200 controller, the player's ship darts around the screen very quickly and is hard to control, plus the game will skip to the Laser Attack stage if there are several more invaders left (on the original arcade game, the stage would end if there were only like two invaders left). In the Flag Ship stage, its fireball trajectory differs, as most of the time they start out being launched at an angle, then end up heading straight down.
- Move laser base–joystick
- Fire–bottom two buttons?
- Pause game–pause key
This version has four selectable skill levels, along with many minor differences per mini-game, such as the bonus Space Invaders saucer appears on all screens (other than just the Astro Battles wave like on the original), minus the Flag Ship screen, plus Astro Battles was slightly renamed to Astro Battle, the invaders look totally different, they just appear by themselves during the start of the wave, they are not distributed by a Gorf robot at the beginning, and the last remaining invader doesn't move very fast.
Far fewer enemies appear during the first time around on Laser Attack, no point values emerge after ships have been hit, and the non-firing ships have different attack patterns as compared with the original. There are also fewer ships on Space Warp, and the Flag Ship is a lot smaller as compared to the original, debris won't fly off of it when hit and its shots can be destroyed, unlike with other versions of the game. The rank appears onscreen once the player makes it through all four stages as well.
- Move laser base–joystick
- Fire–side buttons?
During Laser Attack, the ships dive-bomb faster and have slightly different patterns (as sometimes they dive in a straight line, which they do not dive in a straight pattern in any of the other versions).
The player’s ship can only move left and right on all games. The first wave is called Space Invaders, which the invaders suddenly appear, with no Gorf robot putting them in place first. The invaders also look different, move independently (rather as one formation as on all other versions) and they are spaced out differently.
On Laser Attack, the attack patterns are different, there are no long-range lasers fired during the first round, and many of the ships stay still without attacking.
The Black Hole wave was rename to Firebird, which has no onscreen indication on how many ships are left.
- Move left–joystick or caps lock key
- Move right–joystick or ctrl key
- Fire–return key
This version is pretty close to the arcade original, although various onscreen stats are shown during the game (such as the mission number the player is currently on and their rank). There is also almost no pause whatsoever whenever one stage is finished, as it will immediately jump to the next one. No point amounts appear during the Laser Attack stage after a ship has been shot, plus the ships are also a bit larger as compared with the arcade original and the game is for one player only.
- Move ship--joystick
The player’s laser base is much larger. In between each wave, a brief status screen appears that gives the high score and tells of the name of the next upcoming wave.
During Astro Battles, the Gorf robots come out much more often than on any other version. On Laser Attack, the flight patterns are different (the ships and Gorf robots mostly dive-bomb as an entire group at once) and is glitchy with the way the enemies jump around on the screen.
- Several pirated 2600 versions were released, being from Polygram for the South America market, as well as H. E. S., who released a compilation cartridge entitled Mega Fun Pak in Australia, which it is assumed that the game on the cart entitled "Battles of Gorf" is Gorf.
- Joysticks was an R-rated American comedic movie released in 1983, which was about a fictional small town arcade (known as Bailey's Video Arcade) where a local businessman is intent on getting it shut down. Near the end of the movie, the local mayor of the town is shown playing a game of Gorf. He asks the businessman for more tokens and tells him to shut up when he starts complaining about the arcade, stating that it's a great place.
Needs a few last blanks of controls and all filled in