Thexder is an arcade-style run-and-gun shooter action game from Game Arts, originally released as a PC game for the NEC PC-8001 in 1985 and subsequently ported to a number of other personal computer platforms throughout the 1980s and 1990s as well as the Nintendo Entertainment System.
In Thexder, the player controls a fighter robot that is able to transform into a jet.
Originally released in 1985 for the NEC PC-8801 platform in Japan, Game Arts licensed Thexder to Square in order to develop a conversion for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game console. In 1987, Game Arts also developed a Thexder conversion for the MSX platform. The game was licensed to Sierra Entertainment for release in the United States. In 1987, Sierra ported the game to multiple platforms, including the IBM PC, 128K Tandy Color Computer 3, Apple II, Apple IIgs, Apple Macintosh, and Tandy T-1000 computer and became the company's best-selling title of 1987. In 1988, Activision released the game in Europe on the Commodore Amiga. By 1990, the game had sold over one million copies worldwide.
Thexder quickly became a best-selling hit selling over 500,000 copies. The PC8801 platform was only popular in Japan and, despite home market success, Thexder garnered little attention abroad initially. With the conversion for the MSX (the best selling platform in Brazil and many east European countries) it became an international hit. Compute! praised the Apple IIGS version of Thexder as the computer's "first true arcade game" with "excellent play value for your dollar". In 1988, The Games Machine gave the Amiga version a 74% score. In 1991, Dragon gave the Macintosh and PC/MS-DOS versions of the game each 4 out of 5 stars. The game went on to sell over one million copies worldwide, becoming Game Arts' biggest selling title of 1987. Thexder is considered an important breakthrough title for the run-and-gun shooter game genre, paving the way for titles such as Contra and Metal Slug.