The video game which is central to the movie had already been in development as production of the film began (the game then named "Agent X"); when Atari was consulted to provide a game as an element of the movie, they tweaked "Agent X" and renamed it Cloak & Dagger. Dabney Coleman's character was then named "Agent X" in the movie. The game saw limited arcade release.
The Cloak & Dagger game screens are mostly from the arcade version, and not the Atari 5200 game console as it would appear in the film. Although an 5200 version of the game was planned, it never was released due to the video game crash of 1983 and eventual sale of Atari. The arcade version of Cloak & Dagger appeared in 1983 prior to the release of the film. Next to the Cloak & Dagger games are boxes for the 5200 version of Tempest. Like the 5200 version of Cloak & Dagger, this game was never released.
Because the Atari 5200 version of "Cloak & Dagger" wasn't complete during filming, the cartridge props are actually other 5200 games with a "Cloak & Dagger" label stuck on them. The arcade game was complete by that time, and the signal was piped into Morris's monitor whenever he played. You can actually see the upright game cabinet standing next to Morris's computer setup.
Although the movie has gained a reputation for being something of an Atari 5200 commercial, there is a ColecoVision, the 5200's main competitor, visible in the main room of the Game Keeper. It's visible at the top of the screen as Davie is collapsing the walkie-talkie's antenna after talking to Rice.
In the USA, the movie was launched in a limited release on a double-bill with The Last Starfighter (1984) on 13th July 1984. About a month later, on 10th August 1984, Cloak & Dagger (1984) then re-opened separately for its own season.
The Gamekeeper is an actual shop located in the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California; a few miles from Universal Studios. The shop originally specialized in sophisticated role-playing games, such as the popular Dungeons & Dragons series. Since the time of the film it has relocated to a smaller store space within the mall and sells mainly mainstream board games. There are now also several franchise locations at other malls around the country.
The elderly couple in the film (John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan) both had parts in the original Psycho (1960). Richard Franklin directed the sequel, Psycho II (1983). Henry Thomas would go on to play young Norman Bates in Psycho IV.
The picture was not a remake of the classic 1946 Hollywood black-and-white film of the same name also called Cloak and Dagger (1946). Both pictures, made around thirty-eight years apart, are from different Hollywood Studios, the 1946 film from Warner Bros., and this 1984 movie from Universal Pictures. Both movies however were films in the espionage genre. 1984's Cloak & Dagger (1984) was actually a remake of another picture from that earlier era, 1949's The Window (1949), which was a RKO Radio Pictures production, made and released about thirty-five years previous.
Scream for Help (1984) and this movie, both 1984 theatrical releases, were the final screenplays that screenwriter Tom Holland had produced prior to him become a director with 1985's Fright Night (1985). All three films feature the same basic plot: a kid discovers their life is life is in danger but no one will believe them.
The only ever children's' or family audience picture directed by Richard Franklin. The director wanted to do a thriller for kids, and the project started as a remake of the 1949 Bobby Driscoll suspenser "The Window," which Universal now owned rights to. However, the writing soon morphed into the plot for "Cloak and Dagger."
Some movie posters featured a long text preamble that read: "It began as just another harmless game he played many times. Then top secret documents fell into his hands. And real bullets started flying. Now, he's being pursued by deadly enemies. And they're not playing around. But no one will believe his incredible story. In fact, there's only one person left that can save him . . . a legendary agent named, Flack. And time is running out."