Monday, October 25, 2010

Game of the Week: Asteroids

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the golden age of video games, it sometimes felt like every arcade game was about shooting alien invaders out of the sky. Blame Space Invaders.

But one 1979 game from Atari was a bit different. That game was Asteroids. Sure, the player still controlled a spaceship, but the game was different from many others at the time in several ways.

For one thing, Asteroids had vector graphics, which wasn't all that common at the time and never really did become common.

For another thing, in Asteroids the player could fly their ship all over the screen, which was different from a lot of the science fiction shooting games of the day in which the player's ship just moved across the bottom of the screen shooting at things across the top of the screen.

Then there was the fact that in Asteroids the player's man goal wasn't to take out enemy spaceships, though an enemy craft did show up from time to time. No, the main goal of asteroids was basic survival, to blow up asteroids floating around your ship before they could slam into you and blow you up.

With thrust controls as well as a firing button, Asteroids was a little more complicated than most other video games from 1979, but it was also a lot of fun.

Asteroids was so popular that it was ported to many home video games systems, including the Atari 2600 and pretty much every Atari home video game system ever made. Asteroids is still popular today, and versions of it can be found for modern home gaming systems, modern computing systems and often free versions are online. There were even sequel arcade games such as Space Duel and Asteroids Deluxe.

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