The game was originally designed for the arcade by Mike Hally. It was ported first by Parker Brothers in 1983 and 1984 to numerous 8-bit consoles and computers. These include the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, the Atari 8-bit family, ColecoVision and Commodore 64. The home console version for the ColecoVision was designed by Wendell Brown.
The same game was ported again, in 1987 and 1988, for the Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, BBC Micro and Enterprise 64; the game was also ported again for the Atari 8-bits and the Commodore 64. All ports were developed by UK-based Vektor Grafix (the Atari 8-bit version by Zeppelin Games being an exception) and were published in Europe by Domark. That same year Brøderbund acquired the rights to develop Star Wars games from Lucasfilm. Brøderbund published the Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Commodore 64 and DOS versions of the arcade game in North America in 1988.
Amiga and Atari ST versions are very similar to the arcade original. They allow the ability to use mouse control and feature digitized sound effects. The Macintosh version contains sampled speech from the films, but has no in-game music other than a monophonic theme during the "attract" mode.
This game, along with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was also included as an unlockable extra in the Nintendo GameCube game Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike. In the United States and some European countries, customers could get the GameCube version of the game for free when they pre-ordered Rebel Strike.
A fan-based remake of this game which is similar in gameplay was released on the Vectrex in 1999 by John Dondzila called "Star Fire Spirits" as part of his "Vecmania" cartridge set.