"The play mechanic is very similar to that of Eugene Jarvis' earlier Robotron: 2084, with dual-joystick controls and series of single screen areas. The theme of the game, borrowing from The Running Man, involves players competing in a violent game show, set in the then future year of 1999. Moving from one room to the next within the studio/arena, players have to shoot down hordes of enemies as they advance from all sides, while at the same time collecting weapons, power-up items, and assorted bonus prizes until a final show down with the show's host where you are finally granted your prizes, your life, and (logically) your freedom. One of the enemies is fat and is named Mr. Shrapnel who roams aside of the walls of some rooms and after a short period of time he explodes. In the NES version, he is replaced by a giant rolling bomb.
The game features verbal interjections from the gameshow host such as "Total Carnage! I love it!", "dude!" and "I'd buy that for a dollar!". The former quote gives itself to the title of the 1991 follow-up, Total Carnage, which, while not a direct sequel, features similar gameplay. The quote "I'd buy that for a dollar!" is a reference to the catchphrase of Bixby Snyder, a fictional television comic in the popular 1987 film RoboCop.
The announcer in the game is voiced by sound designer Paul Heitsch. The script was created by the game's sole composer and sound designer Jon Hey. The voice of General Ahkboob in the follow up game Total Carnage is Ed Boon, coding creator of Mortal Kombat.
The game is somewhat famous for its extreme difficulty as well as its (for the time) high level of violence.
Smash TV was ported to consoles, including the NES, SNES (as Super Smash TV), the Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis/Sega Master System/Sega Mega Drive (as Super Smash TV). On some home systems such as the NES, players have the option to use the directional pad on the second controller to control the direction the character will shoot on-screen. Using this option for both players requires a multitap. The dual control aspect of the game works particularly well on the SNES, as its four main buttons, A, B, X and Y, are laid out like a D-pad, enabling the player to shoot in one direction while running in another.
Home computer versions were produced by Ocean for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST and Commodore Amiga, all released in early 1992. The Amiga version scored 895 out of a possible 1000 in a UK magazine review. The Spectrum magazine CRASH awarded that version 97%, a rating which proved controversial as the game was very different from the arcade; the programmers believed a game more closely resembling the coin-op would be impossible on such a system. The Amstrad and Commodore 64 versions are similar to this and again, very different and much more basic when compared to the Williams original.
It is part of Arcade Party Pak which was released for the PlayStation in 1999.
It is part of the Midway Arcade Treasures collection, which is available for the PC, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox and PlayStation 2 and was released in 2003. These versions give the player the option to save high scores.
Smash TV has also been made available for download through Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service on the Xbox 360 and is the first version of the game to officially allow two players to play the game online. It costs 400 Microsoft Points to purchase on the Xbox 360.
In an interview made available on Midway Arcade Treasures, Eugene Jarvis and Mark Turmell both agreed that a Smash TV 2 game had been contemplated.
Source: Wikipedia, "Smash_tv," available under the CC-BY-SA License.