A scramble was an early form of slave auction which took place at the height of the Atlantic slave trade in the British colonies of the West Indies in the eighteenth century.
During the height of the slave trade, demand for slaves in the British West Indies was so great that, at a slave auction, purchasers of slaves would literally "scramble" to gather as many slaves as they could. Slaves newly transported from Africa would be herded into a pen, surrounded by eager buyers, often pushing and shoving in order to position themselves to grab hold of the finest specimens. A starting gun would be fired, and the buyers would surge into the pen to try and collect the best individuals. Often, fights broke out among the buyers.
Following the scramble, buyers lined up with their "captured" slaves and paid for them. After this, slaves would be branded with the initials of their new owners.
The system had a number of advantages for the sellers of slaves. A captain arriving in port typically wished to sell his cargo as quickly as possible, in order to realize his profit and, given the ever-present possibility of revolt among his charges, to minimize his personal risk. Slaves would be "prepared" for the auction, given food and rum to make them appear strong and healthy. Slave sellers had many tricks up their sleeves in order to present their cargo in the best possible light. Grey hair might be darkened, damaged skin oiled - even dysentery might be disguised by literally plugging the anus of the unfortunate slave with a cork. Buyers would have little if any time to ascertain the true health of their purchase - only later might disease or infirmity become apparent.
The game was a success, selling 15,136 video game arcade cabinets in the United States within five months, by August 4, 1981, becoming Stern's second best-selling game after Berzerk. Its sequel, the more difficult Super Cobra, sold 12,337 cabinets in the US in four months that same year, adding up to 27,473 US cabinet sales for both, by October 1981.
The player controls an aircraft, referred to in the game as a "Jet," and has to guide it across a scrolling terrain, battling obstacles along the way. The ship is armed with a forward-firing weapon and bombs; each weapon has its own button. The player must avoid colliding with the terrain and other enemies, while simultaneously maintaining its limited fuel supply which diminishes over time. More fuel can be acquired by destroying fuel tanks in the game.